Why is it so hard to wash away hot chili peppers?


Unless you’re wearing gloves, it’s almost impossible to wash away the hot spice of chili peppers at the end of a meal.

The spicy stuff seems to stick to your hands and fingers, no matter how many times you try and wash it away with soap and water. Sometimes, even if you think you’ve done the trick, one wipe of the eyes is all it takes to deliver a high dose of instant pain!

While it helps to give your hands a good wash after handling hot peppers, unfortunately it doesn’t always do the job completely. That’s because capsaicin, the part of the pepper that packs the greatest punch, can’t always be wiped away with water alone. The oil on your skin may actually be attracting the capsaicin, rather than repelling it. While you may be able to wash some of it away, it’s not always easy to remove all of it. Keep in mind, capsaicin is remarkably potent. It doesn’t take much of the hot stuff to really heat things up. That’s why some products on the market actually use capsaicin as a pain treatment. It soaks into the top layer of your skin via a cream or gel. When you’re cooking with peppers, some of the chili juice could do something similar, or it simply stays on the surface of your skin. That’s why if you end up touching hot peppers, you really want to do a good job with the soap and water before you even think about touching your face and eyes.

Better yet, consider putting on some gloves before preparing a meal with hot peppers.

Of course, there are some potent pepper extracts out there that rank extremely high on the pepper heat scale, themselves. Rather than avoiding hot peppers and the flavor completely, just be smart about how you handle them.

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