shopping Homemade Pepper Spray Recipes

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This forum is titled "Hot Peppers, growing, eating, whatever". I guess my interest in peppers falls under the "whatever" rubric.

I'm interested in making a homemade version of the capsaicin spray you can buy bottled for about $10 in the USA. Ideas?

For starters, you can use chemicals normally forbidden in the preparation of capsaicin sauces used for eating, since this won't be consumed. That allows the use of ketones (acetone) to extract the capsaicin.

I have a few of my own ideas, but let's see what you guys can come up with!

Surinam Habs

Habs blended


the oil starts to become visible, there is still a lot of fluid to evaporate on this picture
My skills in making mace are nill. Whenever I put together a pepper spray for the garden, it's only a mixture of extract sauce and water.
This is a neat experiment Pappy. Please keep us updated, and your pics are GREAT!!
Very interesting. Homemade extract!

I'd usse it as a food additive but I'm curious as to the delivery method...i.e. , how do you "weaponize" it.
The process for making chili extracts for food is not all that dissimilar, but you can't use acetone. Alcohol, yes. And some other people have secret methods. To get really concentrated stuff, you need to evaporate off the solvent, or distill it away. Then to get pure capsaicin you need to break the bond to sugars too ... this post by John of Defconsauces may be helpful:

I do have a question that hopefully someone can answer. Does anyone now of a method to separate capsaicinoids from the sugar crystals when attempting to distillate the extracts? I'm looking for a process which doesn't require the use of ketones in the separation process. The current method I'm using (di-hydration and dual distillation) seems to have brought me to a glass ceiling. Any help would be appreciated. I know of a couple of methods that require some serious lab equipment, I just don't want to have to take out a second mortgage.

The process takes a while, I found various parts of the process on a few different sites, and may have unknowingly created a sort of hybrid process. I have found the extraction process the easiest using dried peppers, it circumvents the dehydration problem quite nicely. Powderize the peppers in a Cuisinart, and at the same time mix a tad of Everclear (or 200 proof if you can get it) and let it run for at least 5 minutes. Add a little water and then the neat part, drop a couple small pieces of dry ice into it. This shocks the water molecules, and retards the capsaicinoid bonding to the sugar crystals, albeit not 100%, hence my glass ceiling. Immediately strain the mixture through cheesecloth. I then perform the standard pressing a couple times, and repeat the process. A double distillation is then needed with a bit more Everclear (BE CAREFUL WITH THIS STEP). Using micro-strainers and a small amount of citric acid, you will get a pretty good batch. Like I said, I'm still perfecting it, but seem to be coming along nicely so far. The capsaicinoid/sugar bond is a difficult little monster to break, as they both dissolve in the alcohol, hence the use of a bit of water to dissolve the sugar, but not the capsaicinoids, and the shocking with dry ice. It sounds labor intensive, but it beats tens of thousands of dollars on lab equipment, at least for now.

The Everclear (pure ethyl alcohol aka pure grain alcohol) is evaporated off during the dual distillation procedure. As for the smell of the gases during processing, it's not really a 'smell', more like extremely fine particles (which love to stick to the back of your throat). They dissipate rather quickly. Most likely from the very fine powder we use. It doesn't hit the air much, but it doesn't have to.
C'mon, guys, nobody here have any recipes?

Here's a simple one:

In a blender, puree the Habaneros in as much Ethanol as possible. Let the mixture sit overnight at room temperature. Longer is better. Pour the resultant sludge through paper towels and place the liquid in a glass container. Begin to boil the liquid slowly using either an electric heating device (naked flames would be dangerous), or a vapor trap to remove the alcohol fumes safely. Continue until 90% of the liquid has evaporated. Remove the pot from the stove and cool. Look for a brick-red oil floating on the surface of the ethanol. If none is present, continue to boil the ethanol away periodically cooling the mixture to look for the red oil on the surface. Once the red oil appears, pour the red oil and the remaining ethanol into a long thin glass cylinder, use an eyedropper to suck off the oil and place it in a clean container. The red oil is fairly pure Capsaicin, probably 40% Capsaicin / 60% Capsaicinoids.
Why is PURE capsaicin dangerous?

"Pure capsaicin is so powerful that chemists who handle the crystalline powder must work in a filtered "tox room" in full body protection. The suit has a closed hood to prevent inhaling the powder. Said pharmaceutical chemist Lloyd Matheson of the University of Iowa, who once inhaled some capsaicin accidentally: "It’s not toxic, but you wish you were dead if you inhale it." "One milligram of pure capsaicin placed on your hand would feel like a red-hot poker and would surely blister the skin," said capsaicin expert Marlin Bensinger.
Another recipe. I just know you guys and gals are going to be trying to make some of this, aren't you?

One and a half kilograms of ripe, red-chili peppers (Capsicum frutescens) were obtained from a farm in Cavite and cut into small pieces. These were then air-dried for seven days and soaked in six liters of acetone for twenty four hours. The pepper bits were then removed from the liquid medium. Extraction of the active component, capsaicin, was done using a rotary evaporator until the acetone solvent had evaporated.

The crude pepper extract collected was divided into four equal parts and diluted with mineral oil using the following ratios: (a) 3:1 (25% extract), (b) 1:1 (50% extract), (c) 1:3 (75% extract), (d) A pure 100% extract. The negative control consisted only of mineral oil. The positive control used was Emla, a preparation of Lidocaine and Prilocaine. These preparations were set aside until the experiment proper commenced.
More recipes for the cap-extraction obsessed!

I chopped 1lb. of orange habs into small peices and dehydrated in an oven on the lowest setting.
I then crumbled them up into a powder, placed into a 400mL beaker and topped it off with isopropanol.
Then I gave it a mad stirring, let it sit, followed by another mad stirring.
I poured the now orangeish liquid through a coffee filter to yield a very nice looking bright orange liquid.
I placed the beaker on a hot plate and evaporated most of it, then using an eyedropper I filled up a ~1mL vial with the concentrated dark red solution and placed it onto the hotplate.
Everytime the vial had more room I would add more drops of the dark red capsaicinoid solution into it to top it off.
I did this until all the liquid from the 400mL beaker was gone.
My yield was about (i'm guessing here) 0.5mL of very dark red, very thick oil that hardens in the fridge.

This stuff is unbelievably hot! I dip the very end of a toothpick into the surface of the oil (nowhere near a drop's worth) and it will heat up my entire mouth and my ears will tingle and i'll be suffering nicely ;)

I have some Pure-Cap and I can honestly say that it is like tap water compared to this stuff I made. :lol:

[May lose potency over about a year, so replace annually at least]
If you're thinking of using ketones like acetone, please note this warning:

There are numerous methods of extraction. The industry standard (at least in my experience) is the use of ketones (eg acetone) to separate the capsaicin crystals from the pepper. Capsaicin and sugar have a strong semi-atomic bond to each other, and the ketones put the capsaicin in solution whilst leaving the sugar behind. However, the down side is having to remove the ketones from the solution (unless you enjoy blindness, central nervous system shutdown, renal failure and, oh yeah, death) so they can be consumed by bipeds. This process is also well-known for having a chemical or metallic taste, ick. There are various other forms of extraction methods, including the one you hinted at regarding vinegar and a semi-fermentation. This process is an interesting one, and there is information on how to do it on various websites. There are also distillation methods as well. But, before I put everyone to sleep, I'll stop here. If you are going to enter the world of extracts I caution you to take pre-emptive measures to ensure your own safety. The stuff you will be creating is not for the faint of heart, and can be quite dangerous if not done correctly. I understand you have a pretty good chemistry background, but even so, never underestimate the power of our friend capsaicin, especially when in a concentrated form. Best of luck with your endeavor.
As a chemist, I think I know the ultimate way to make extracts for both consumption and non-consumption purposes, but I'm not sure I want to divulge the secret because it may have some monitary value as a patent. All I can say it is completely non-toxic and uses a cheap, available chemical.
PM me. We can take this to private email. I will give you a cast-iron guarantee not to use it commercially nor divulge it to anyone else.
im still confused on the pepper spray....

just carry some nagas around and smash them into peoples eyes..... or the gun thing. /shrug
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