Help! My Fingers Are On Fire! How To Cure A Hot Pepper Burn

jalapeno peppers
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Oh. My. Goodness. Tonight, I totally thought the flesh was going to melt off of my hand. It all started when I was making peach salsa, which called for diced jalapenos.

Blissfully unaware of the danger lurking on the cutting board in front of me, I chopped away at the three deceiving peppers.  Nobody had ever warned me to wear gloves when dealing with jalapenos. I had no idea what I was in for.

Not long after I’d chopped the peppers I began feeling a little tingle in my finger. No big deal. But as I continued cooking, the tingling turned to a slight burning. I washed my hands, and kept working away. It wasn’t long, however, before my hand was completely on fire.

I was not at a good stopping point though, my peaches were peeled and ready to be chopped before they began turning brown, so I had to keep going.

I dealt with the pain for a while, but pretty soon I was constantly having to plunge my hand into the icy bowl of water I’d used for blanching, seeking temporary relief.

Once my salsa was all in the pot and boiling, I was able to take a moment to seek a remedy. I immediately got online and searched for help. (Thanks to all of my Facebook fans who offered their advice!)

I’m going to tell you about all of the ideas people have given me to treat a jalapeno pepper burn. While only one ultimately worked for me – don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about it! – everybody is different with how their skin reacts to the chemicals in jalapenos, so feel free to give them all a try.
But first… why so harsh a burn?

Why Do Jalapenos Burn Your Skin?

Jalapenos are spicy because they contain capsaicin. Capsaicin is an active alkaline oil in all chili peppers, and is part of the reason why they taste so darn good! However, it’s also what makes them burn.

And when you have just a small amount of jalapeno residue on your hands, it can really hurt. In fact, capsaicin is the active ingredient in many animal repellents and pepper sprays. Who knew.

Jalapeno burns are really common among people who cook a lot. It can cause something known as Hunan Hand, which is a form of contact dermatitis seen among people who regularly touch jalapenos.
Capsaicin has a ton of medical benefits when applied to the skin and is often used to treat pain as it prevents the nerves from transmitting pain. However, I’ll be honest – I was in a lot of pain of my own when I had my jalapeno burn!

How to Treat a Jalapeno Burn

Here are some of the best ways to treat a jalapeno burn on your skin.

Take Appropriate Preventive Steps

All chili peppers are spicy, but not all of them are dangerously hot. Peppers are measured on the Scoville scale, with jalapenos generally falling between 2,500 to 8,000 – for a reference point, bell peppers are usually 0.

Remember that jalapenos that are grown in hot weather or lack water while they are growing are typically spicier, as are those whose skins are covered in veins.

And remember – wear your gloves at all times! Oh…and definitely avoid touching your eyes. Jalapeno burns in the eyes are even more painful and difficult to treat, especially if you wear contact lenses.

First, Wash Your Hands!

You probably already know this if you’ve ever eaten spicy food, but water doesn’t help quell the heat. You need to neutralize it before you can get rid of the burning sensation.

Unfortunately, water just isn’t going to cut it when you’re trying to get your hands to stop burning.

I found that scrubbing with dish soap did not help. I’ve read that using hand grease cleaner designed for heavy-duty applications can be more effective, but I did not have this on hand so was not able to try it.

The ability of hand degreasers to cut through heavy build-up may be effective against jalapeno burns as they can dissolve oils.

I’ve also heard that you can rinse your hands in vinegar, which is acidic and should break down the alkaline nature of the capsaicin. I poured vinegar over the burn. Not much help. (Maybe I should have soaked it?)

Finally, corn starch allegedly draws the spicy oils out of the skin, helping to neutralize the burn. Again, I did not try this, but it may have been worth it.

Dairy Products?

My theory in using dairy products was that they have a natural cooling, calming effect – so I popped open my refrigerator to see what I might have to treat my burning skin.

First, I soaked my hand in milk for 15 min. Temporary relief for the first 5 minutes, but then the burning came back.

I plunged my hand into the sour cream container. Good for a while, but the burning returned. And then I had to throw out the sour cream.

I rubbed real butter over the pain. A little help, but not for long. Again, the theory behind this treatment is that jalapenos are more soluble in fats and oils than in water. So it’s definitely worth a try.

Aloe Vera or Aloe Leaves?

Aloe is often used to treat burns on the skin, and I’ve used it tons of time for minor scrapes, burns, and of course, sunburns. This time, I broke an aloe leaf and rubbed the gel onto my hand. Very little relief.

Rubbing Alcohol?

I soaked cotton balls with rubbing alcohol and rubbed my hand with them. Not much help. Later, I read that there’s actually a better way of using rubbing alcohol to stop the burn.

Rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, is a solvent, meaning it can dissolve oil and dirt. Try covering your hands with rubbing alcohol before washing them with dish soap – and then repeating this process twice.

Poison Ivy?

Since my hands felt a lot like my skin does when I’ve suffered from contact with poison ivy – you know, it really burns – I thought some of the most common poison ivy treatments might be effective. I sprayed my hand with Calamine Lotion. No good.

I also tried pouring Tecnu over it. I poured Tecnu all over it, and rubbed it for 2 minutes. (My theory: It removes the oils from poison ivy, so maybe it would remove the jalapeno oils?) No good. I poured burn spray stuff on it. No relief.

Lavender Essential Oil?

Lavender has soothing properties, so I tried this solution by I tried rubbing lavender oil on it. Didn’t help.

Acidic Foods?

Run to your refrigerator and see what you might have for acidic foods. Think tomatoes, lemons, pineapple, avocado, or lime. These can neutralize some of the spiciness on your skin.

I rubbed it with a freshly cut onion. Didn’t work either.for me either, but you might want to give it a try.

I poured burn spray stuff on it. No relief.


I rubbed it with toothpaste. Toothpaste often works on skin problems because it has mint in it, which relieves inflammation and has a pleasant, cooling effect. Not in this case. Only made it worse.


I tried pouring honey over the burns. No luck. I just got really sticky.

Vegetable Oil?

I doused my hand with vegetable oil. Not any help. I’ve read that olive oil may be more helpful, as it has anti-inflammatory effects and may have done a better job at soothing my skin.

Trying to Rub it Out?

I read that if I ran my hands through my hair it would help. Nope. Jerry just said I looked like a crack head, freaking out rubbing my fingers through my hair. Thanks hunny.


My Personal Winner…Mustard!

Can you picture me running through the house trying to find something else to put on my flaming hand? Actually, Jerry was searching the computer calling out remedies as I found all of the ingredients and tried them.

Now, I’m a tough cookie. I can handle pain. But this, this got to almost unbearable. It was the feeling of holding my fingers over an open flame, and leaving them there.

Every now and then I had to look down at my hand to make sure my skin wasn’t blistering up. I’m pretty sure these jalapenos were from Satan himself.

The only thing that helped at all was holding my hand in a bag of ice. For three hours I tried to ease the pain. What was even worse is that it can spread to others, so I was afraid to pick up baby Xia.

Jerry had to stay home from church to help me with her. He brought me some rubber gloves to put on while I nursed her, but having my hands in those hot gloves only intensified the burning.

I finished up my canning one handed. This salsa better be darn worth it! I muttered under my breath. When I was done in the kitchen I headed back to the computer.

As I scoured every article on jalapenos I could find, looking for some advice other than, “Make sure you wear gloves when chopping jalapenos.” Thanks! A lot of good that does me now! And all at once, I finally came across something I hadn’t tried yet.


I shot to the fridge, grabbed the two year old bottle of runny yellow glop, and slathered it on my hand.

Ahhhhh. Instant relief! I couldn’t believe it. I left it on until it dried. After a little while the burning sensation came back, though definitely muted.

I touched up my mustard manicure. Three times I rubbed it into my hand, and after about 30 more minutes I washed it all off, and the pain was completely gone!

Mustard!! Oh, how I love you.

So there you have it.

Lesson One: Wear gloves when you chop jalapenos! Every. Single. Time.

Lesson Two: If you were absent during Lesson One, and you are crouching in the corner of your kitchen in agonizing jalapeno misery, try mustard first.

This is one of those things you will only do once in your life.

updated by Rebekah White 07/20/2019

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About Kendra 1035 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.


  1. OMG this is a serious life saver!!! I literally tried everything on the damn internet and was about to give up and go to the hospital when I saw this and thank God it worked. Took 3 half hour applications but it reduced the pain immensely from the beginning!! So glad I found this blog!

  2. uwaaaa!!!!
    I did not know these jalapenos have this effects!! I even open it and remove the seeds with soooo much passion 🙁 now my hands are burning!!!
    I cannot find mustard in the ministop near me.
    Because of the ECQ, I cannot go the mall which is kilometers away from me 🙁
    I’ve already tried alcohol,milk,baking soda,hand grease cleaner too.
    Eotoke 🙁

  3. Thank you so much for your post..
    i was in agonizing pain.. tried everthing from ice, dipping in milk for an hour, soap dish , olive oil, baking soda was about to give up while trying to catch some sleep at night, when i saw this and thought of giving a final try..

    I first dipped my hand in hot water for 10 mins, though it was difficult at first but it helped to open out the pores so that the cacisin oil could be released from under the skin. Then applied a fine paste made of mustard seeds on the affected area.. and the pain stopped in 5 mins.. it was unbelievable.. i thought would have to endure the pain for 24 hours but this acted like a miracle..finally cud go to sleep..
    Thank you so much..

  4. The product Goo Gone is the only thing that helped me after 8 hours of agony. Probably any product with orange oil in it would help as that oil even dissolves tar.

  5. Definately saving mustard for the next time we cut Jalepeños without gloves. We were about to try mustard on my husbands hands when he decided to spit on his hands (since it burns for less in the mouth than on skin. 😣) He swears the spit removed the burn, so that could be an option in a pinch. We tried all the other remedies with no luck. I will say he did wash his spit of with dish soap afterwards. (We had tried the dish soap before with no luck and no relief).

  6. For in case this dosent work. Try opening your pores back with some warm water then wash with dish soap and apply olive oil afterwards. Wash it. And repeat like 3 times. The pain went to a 3 from a 10. Then after some minutes it was gone. Painful but works!

  7. I love hot peppers, and get a near constant supply from my grandfather who still treasures his pepper garden (and complains that ghost peppers, scotch bonnets etc. Are too mild). So…I knew to be cautious..and yet, I arrogantly thought I could cut a few jalapeños for canning salsa without gloves. BIG MISTAKE, but they’ve never bothered me before so I thought I was safe! I tried oil,dish soap and baking Soda-all of which provided only brief relief. Finally, I found this, and lo and behold, all except two fingers were virtually normal after 1 application. I mixed the mustard with baking Soda for two more applications and it worked like a charm.

    Thank you, for saving me from my own mistakes!

    • Do the full 30 minutes! It WILL be the only thing that works. I suffered like an idiot for hours before lathering on the mustard then re-rinsing with olive oil. Thank you for saving me!!!

  8. Thank you so much for this tip! Literally cut a jalapeño tonight and felt like the flames of hell were burning my finger off. After trying oil, milk, yogurt, dish soap, and alcohol, seemed like the burning was going to last forever. After the short mustard bath finally felt some relief. Thank you 🙏🏻

  9. So glad I found this! Tried milk and olive oil nothing… Sat for about 30 minutes with it on my hands after cutting jalapeños… Much better than before!

  10. God bless you & God bless mustard 🙏💙
    Laying in bed in agony, at midnight decided to make one more attempt to find a solution before leaving for the ER. Thank God for mustard

    • Me too! Pure agony! I was crying uncontrollably! I was like, seriously?! I feel like this post is a Godsend for sure!

  11. Thank you so much! I made stuffed jalepenos last night and oh my god the burning was terrible! I also happen to be covered in mosquito bites and I made the dumb choice to itch them, causing my entire arms and legs to start burning terribly as well! I wasn’t able to sleep last night because of the pain and trying to wash it off with soap and water. Piled Lidocaine burn gel all over me and still no help. I just read your post and decided to try the mustard, and it helped a lot! I’ll likely have to do it a few times but I’ve found relief! Thank you 🙂

  12. Omg! I just found this and first I was laughing because I did every remedy the internet could throw at me.. and second the mustard WORKED! The only thing that helped me aghhhh relief with my favorite condiment thank you for keeping this post on the Internet! Hand saver!

    • This was the first remedy I found today and it’s wonderful. I was dicing serrato peppers two hours ago and after squeezing a little dijon under my thumb nails I used normal bandaids and made a funnel around the tips of my thumbs to keep the mustard in and to apply more when needed. Pretty dope.

  13. Thank you thank you thank you. You saved me today. I am an English woman living in France and was preparing our chillis for freezing today. Once I had finished my left hand started an agonising burning and I tried nearly everything on the internet – milk, oil, dish detergent etc etc and nothing worked. I was crying with the pain which I can only say was like having my hand in a pan of boiling water. When I read your blog I looked for mustard – we only had a pot of Dijon si I spooned it on. Within 5 minutes it felt a little better, after an hour I was able to take it off (with oil not water, I still darent get my hands wet). Thank you so much.

  14. I got burn from green chillies this hands didn’t burn at first..but I accidentally rubbed my left eyelid with my hand….and OH MY GODDDDD…My eye burnedd..i then put some water on my eyes my hads..i am such an idiot..then both my eyes started burning… It hurt like hell…then i got my senses back and washed my hands thoroughly..then again splashed water on my eyes..then i put some ice and the burning veryyy gradually faded and finally finished..but then my fingers started burning..i have used mustard after reading this post..but the burning only fades when i wash the mustard keeps coming now i am using ice on my fingers…my fingers are just BURNING…hell

  15. Absolutely works. It took three applications of mustard and washing my hands with dish soap and cold water in between applications. Slather the mustard on, and leave it until it dries. The beer and Tylenol may have helped.

  16. The same thing just happened to me. As a matter of fact my hands are burning right now. I was cutting up jalapeños but that’s not how I got the burn. After I cut them up I wiped of the jalapeño seeds of the cutting board. Then I had to wash my hands. I needed something to dry my hands with. So i dried my hands with the same rag I wiped the jalapeño seed with. God help me.

      • Me toooooo!!!! And at the very beginning of the pain I said to my husband, my finger feels a little tingly… and I thought I liked it – but omg – i need a mustard bath!

  17. Wow! I read this post in agony, fingers literally on fire (in my mind). I did a mustard manicure for about 5 minutes and rinsed it off in despair, thinking, this isn’t working. Then I re-read all the success stories and your directions again in desperation and realized that it would take much longer than that to dissolve all the capsaicin that I subjected my hands to when attempting a recipe. I soaked them for about 45 minutes until it dried. I will need to do it again, I think, but it did give me some relief, but not until rinsed it off. It’s coming back now, but I hope if I do it a second or third time, it will do the trick. Ouch! Never again without gloves!

  18. Kendra. 8 years since you wrote this post and it’s still saving people from some dreary misery. I myself tried every other option on the internet in my 19 hours sleepless struggle of burning hands till I found this. Rushed to the supermarket to get some mustard sauce and it miraculously worked. Can’t believe how relieved I feel. Thanks a ton.

  19. Wow! Like everyone else, tried every remedy under the sun.Came across this page and tried the mustard and the burning stopped immediately.,Thank you so much.

  20. Thank you so much. The mustard was the ONLY thing that helped me tonight. I was desperate and had tried milk, olive oil, vegetable oil, dish soap, steel wool, vinegar and ice. I cannot thank you enough for this suggestion. Significant relief after first application, almost gone with second application except for tips of thumbs, and I’m now on my third application.

  21. I too came here searching for help after working with jalapeño pepper without gloves. I tried all remedies I could find, then mustard gave some relief, but pain would return after I wash dishes in warm water or even sun gets on my hands, it was weird, in the evening I was back to full blown burning again of that same day I worked with pepper and I was getting desperate trying to try those remedies again, and then I remember I saw one of the ineffective remedies were toothpaste that someone mentioned earlier. I had MyMagicMud toothpaste, and decided to try. Oh, my God! That was real magic. Immediate relief, I washed it off in few minutes a did it again, then again. The burning and pain was gone completely.

    • THANK YOU!
      I type this with mustard on my other hand. It’s almost two in the morning and i was going INSANE. The pain was unbearable! Mustard is the only thing that worked. Thank you thank you

  22. Finding this post was a miracle! I made jalapeno poppers tonight and my hands have been burning for a few hours now. Tried everything from washing them with different soaps, milk, sour cream, etc.

    • Did the palms of your hands peel the next day? Mine are! I burnt them making Chile verde last night. I had no idea I needed gloves while chopping jalapeños!

  23. Thank you so much for this tip- my daughter and I made salsa today and she cut up the jalapeños. She has been in pain for hours and tried everything. Finally I saw your post about mustard and she is feeling some relief now. Thanks.

    • Oh my gosh, thank you!!!! I knew better than to cut jalapeños without gloves, but figured it couldn’t be that bad. Never again! Just as you did, I went through every soap, lotion, medicine cabinet, and most of the products in my fridge before finding your post. THAT was agony! I love you! 😘

    • I used gloves while handling ghost peppers and took them off to pour the vinegar in the bottles over them. The vinegar overflowed onto my left hand and its still on fire 24 hr later. I will try the mustard

  24. This was me last night. Most absolute worst pain I have ever felt! I finally gave up after 6 hours and just rubbed my hands down with olive oil and prayed I could get a couple hours of sleep. Around 12:30am I reached across my nightstand and poured some dottera fractionated coconut oil and rubbed it into my hands. I kid you not, it was 100% I stand relief! It was like it didn’t even happen! I had no idea it would help like it did! Learned my lesson the hard way, gloves only for now on when making salsa!

    • Thank you. I was making pepper sauce using scotch bonnets without gloves. I did feel the burn until I used hand sanitizer. The mustard helped to cool my hand down

  25. A friend of mine had burning hands from handling chili. She pretty much tried everything as well. I found this page and having run out of ideas, we figured what the hell. We tried it and to my amazement, it worked. It took a second application before it was almost gone, but it was only under her fingernails at this point. Her hands were actually red before she tried this. The redness went away after trying the mustard. I’m baffled why this works, but thankful nonetheless.

  26. Oh my goodness. I will never be without mustard again. My hands were on fire last night, still after 24 hours of making jalapeno poppers. I read this post about yellow mustard and it worked. It was instant relief. Thank you thank you thank you.

      • Hey Kendra..I chopped up ghost peppers and jalapenos..we had plants and I thought I was being all thifty by cutting them up and freezing….my hands have been on fire all evening….I tried everything to get rid of the burn… my daughter told me to try Vicks vapor rub with contains great..burn is gone…never ever again will I do that….thanks for your tips!!

  27. Omg! Thank you so much! I felt like my fingers were NEVER going to stop being on fire! INSTANT relief ☺️ Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!!!

  28. Thank you! My daughter made us stuffed jalapenos last night. This morning she woke me up at 6:30 am asking for my lavender oil. Half asleep I told her where it was and she tried it. No success. Still in lavender land from my diffusing, I got up and googled finding your post. She was grossed out but willing to try anything. It worked! Thank you, for sharing! I will pin to hopefully help others!

  29. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Made the mistake of cutting up jalepenos without gloves and thought I was going to go insane from the pain!! Other remedies did not work and after 3 hours I found your post. Mustard did the trick after just 30 minutes of keeping it on my hands. Relief at last!!!

  30. Thank you for the mustard tip. I cut and seeded cayenne peppers on Monday and my hands were finally not burning the next morning but something about hot tubs makes them start to feel on fire again. It’s feeling worse than the initial burn after 20 minutes in the jacuzzi. Any ideas why? Need more mustard…

    Warmest regards,


  31. Hi so glad I found this site ,first thing tomorrow I will be buying mustard im in so much pain my poor thumbs , tried milk baking powder with the milk no relief I won’t make this mistake again fingers x I’ll be able to sleep tomorrow night .

  32. My wife just chopped up 3 banana peppers for soup… noticed not much of anything ’til taking a shower…then the burning set in, as described in all previous posts. First Googled site suggested milk… some relief. Your link was second…much much improvement & continuing to improve.

    Thanks for sharing… mustard… who woulda thunk?

  33. I am sitting here with my hand in a bowl of yellow mustard! It is helping! I bought some in season Hatch New Mexico green chiles at my local grocery store, I opted for the one in the box labeled ‘hot’! My family complains the green chile verde I make is never hot enough! Well, needless to say they were HoT! I have a box of plastic food handlers gloves I use for this reason, why I though I’d be immune today, I’ll never know! I got serrano chile in my eye a couple months ago, I thought I’d go blind! Milk was an instant relief as an eye wash at that time, but not this time! I think I’ll take a god pain killer too! Thanks for the tip!

  34. yep mustard it up!
    my hand burnt for 3 and a half hours. I first used olive oil and it only relieved the pain teeny-tiny bit. Mustart was an instant relief! Thanks for the share! I washed it off and now I feel very light burning which is totally bearable compared to what it was like just 15 min ago!

  35. I just sliced and deseeded a whole bunch of super chile peppers about 3 hours ago and the burning started about 20 minutes after i got done. And my fingers are almost ready to burst into flames. I have tried so many things I read online and nothing has worked for me, not even the mustard. I have pretty sensitive skin. So I guess for now I will just continue to hold on to my kids’ popsicles…lol GLOVES next time!!!

  36. Thank you so very much! I have never had a problem with peppers until yesterday and today. The mustard was an INSTANT relief!!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

  37. Thank you so much! I deseeded half a kilo of chillies without gloves last night. Felt fine, just a few tingles but I’d washed my hands so thought I was all good. Then before bed, I had a shower. Not sure what happened there – I washed my hands again, scrubbed my nails, washed my face. Five minutes after the shower my left hand started to burn like fire, as you say it felt like I was holding my hand in fire. I slept on and off getting up to try various remedies but the only way I got some sleep was by lying with my hand in a bowl of iced water. Come morning it was still extremely painful so I went to the chemist but he couldn’t help. I kept holding frozen peas and coping with one hand. At midday I found your post about mustard and it worked! Thanks so much! I did about five applications of five minutes each and had a nap holding frozen peas…by the time I woke up I was all good. I love you!

      • Thank You sooooo much, I burned my hands too with jalepanios and nothing helped until the mustard. I have been in pain all day, and tried enverything that was on the Internet… Mustard… Oh the new appreciation I have for you!!!!

    • 3.5 hours of cutting n canning a variety of hot peppers with gloves on, 3gallons n3 quarts. Now my hands are on fire with gloves off. I’m going for the French’s now!!!!!!¡!!

  38. A few weeks ago, I found your site at 2 a.m. after chopping a bucketful of banana peppers from our garden earlier in the evening. Knew jalapeno peppers would be harmful, but never, ever, (ever!) thought sweet banana peppers would be a problem. Oh the burning! I’d held a ziploc bag of ice for hours until reading about the yellow mustard here, glopped a gracious plenty on my hand to find some sort of relief from the intensity. My hand continued to burn until mid-day the next day, though it was more bearable. Incredible. Thank you for writing and sharing your information!

  39. OMG…Like you I ran around trying anything to take the horrible burning away,every thing I read,then you and your Mustard,who would of thunk,not me.45 minutes later blessed relief 🙂
    I may never touch another,more less half a case full,yep I did,gloves never even crossed my mind.thank you so much.

  40. Hi Kendra,
    Greatly glad to find your link. In my case it was not a jalapeno, just some local (Indonesian) large red cayenne pepper, that I sliced for pork in soy sauce. Usually it do me no harm, but maybe it is now because my immune system is low due to recovery from bad flu (I was down with fever for the last few days).
    Will definitely sharing this tips.

  41. Glad I found this. The difference with my situation is, I was downtown on new years eve walking around with some friends and to make a long story short, a group of people started fighting, I was near the brawl, and without ANY warning the police began spraying the 6 or 7 people with mace which is made from pepper extract plus some other torturous chemicals. For those that dont know, mace travels pretty far airborne and its effects have some range to it because it hit me hard! The burning in my hands went from 0-100 that night while I was sleeping and I’ve been in pain all day for new years.

    Anyways I found out that soaking hands in milk, then washing them in cold water with a lot of dawn dish soap, then (hear me out) licking them until they have a coat of saliva on them really worked for me. I blew on them as the saliva dried and the pain was gone. It kind of make sense to me that your saliva is an acid that is made to break down things and it did a pretty good job of breaking down the peppers oils.

    • Dang, Malik! That’s pretty messed up that you got hit. I hate to hear that, but I’m glad you found something that worked to ease your pain. What a bummer 🙁

  42. Years ago my hands were burned while chopping jalapeños and wearing two pair of gloves. After trying everything in the house and finding some relief with ice, I called my husband at work. Told him I was using the last of the ice and couldn’t drive myself to to ER. He went to the nearest pharmacy and came home with camphorated oil. It is a counter irritant and it worked! Loved to hear about mustard. It is likely that people would have that in their home, but since my event I keep camphorated oil in the medicine cabinet.

  43. Mustard. That was a miracle. I was dying of pain and trying to sleep after a long day of worry. Put on the French’s, then a rubber glove, ice pack,and instant relief. I sleep very well thanks.

  44. The only thing that helped me was urine. And I tried everything else before that. Its a horrible situation to be in and I just want to pass this on to help someone else.

  45. Thanks for the mustard tip. As I read your post I remembered that I had sliced some hot peppers the previous evening. Next time I will wear a glove and I wont’ forget! Best regards.

  46. I didn’t have any mustard so I tried coconut oil but it didn’t work either. I had some citrus Smirnoff so I figured why not, I poured it on my hand and rubbed my hands like I was washing them and almost instant relief. I rinsed my hands and it’s been 15 minutes and the burning hasn’t returned. I don’t know if it’s the alcohol or the citrus or a combination of the two but I’m just glad the burning is gone.

  47. Pee! I know it sounds gross but after trying everything anyone has put on the internet from ice to mustard pee is the only thing has given my wife any relief.

  48. Oy my! Thank you so much for posting this! I tried just about everything to get the burning to stop and you were right — mustard did the trick. So very thankful.

  49. I canned Jalapenos for the first time the other day. I didn’t use rubber gloves and paid for it greatly. I tried milk, ketchup, vinegar, toothpaste, mouthwash, yogurt, dish soap, bleach, salt, olive oil, calamine…..all recommended through blogs and posts online. None of which worked. I finally found this post and thought I’d try it. Thank goodness I did. This was awesome! It didn’t get rid of the burn completely, but it lightened the burning a great deal and within a couple of hours all of the burning was gone. Thank you so much!

  50. Yes! Mustard works! My fingers were on fire from dicing habaneros. I actually removed the seeds with no gloves too! Never again! I also have a high tolerance for pain but this was unbearable. I tried everything: rubbing alcohol, soaking
    my fingers in vinegar (it’s not the vinegar in the mustard that does it), lemons, dish liquid, salt, tomatoes, milk, etc. The mustard made all the difference. The pain significantly subsided, I did one more ice cold milk soak and I could finally sleep. Mustard is the key!

  51. I’m so glad to have come across this site. My family members all thought I was retarded holding beer cans or anything cold I can find to relieve the pain of my burning hands. I tried the mustard and it helped a lot but it wasn’t “instant” relief. I wore gloves over my mustard hands for about 15 minutes, and when I took off the gloves and washed my hands with water and dish soap, I realized that the pain was finally mostly gone.

  52. Ramsey says lemon juice. Makes sense when you go out to eat and they give you finger bowls. Just discovered your site and like a good book, I can’t put it down! I know I’m late to the party, but there is still a lot of fun to be had!

  53. I have found that if I take a shower starting with washing my hair that the lather from the shampoo will actually work to break the oils down and wash it away. YMMV

  54. Yep. In my case I didn’t believe anything that said to wear gloves, and chopped the peppers bare skinned anyway. Definitely something you only do once! 🙂

  55. That happened to me last year. Except I had worn gloves while cutting the jalapenos, then took them off to finish my salsa. I didn’t think about putting them back on when I was washing the cutting board and knife I had used on the jalapenos! Oh I was sorry I didn’t. I tried the the milk remedy, then the honey, vinegar, etc. They only seemed to give relief for a little bit. It’s an awful feeling. Thank you for sharing the mustard remedy. I’ll keep that in mind…just in case!

  56. I found Baking soda and/or Apple Cider Vinegar neutralize this. They took some time but worked. The last time I used Neosporin Burn and Pain cream. It worked the quickest.

  57. OH thank you so much for this information! I was slicing banana peppers today and almost wore gloves, but I thought “they’re not THAT hot”. I was wrong. Not as hot as jalapenos, of course, but my fingers still felt like they were on fire! The mustard did the trick…I never would have thought of that!

  58. Kendra,
    I did this about two months ago too! I cut a whole box to can, about 15! And it got worse and worse and worse! I tried baking soda paste, milk, orange juice, dawn dish soap to cut the oils, salt scrub, sugar scrub, everything I could find. My hands got inflammed and I ended up having to go to the ER. I felt crazy going in, but my blood pressure was through the roof, so they knew I was hurting. The doctor came in and said it was a first for him. We tried another baking soda soak, and then tried maalox, which made it worse. He ended up just giving me a pain pill for it, I’m not big on pharmaceuticals, but I was willing for this! I took the pill, went to sleep and woke up and it was gone. Glad to know mustard if I ever have a next time. Thanks for the tip!

  59. I, too, have made this fatal mistake before. The remedy I recommend is smearing your hands with coconut oil. Instant relief 🙂 Hopefully you won’t need to use it, but just in case 🙂

  60. I have learned not to chop peppers without gloves the hard way, as well. I also learned to be cognizant of what I’m touching with the gloves on! Watch out not only for your eyes, but the poor cats, and trips to the restroom!

    Last night I was going to start a job of canning some salsa, but only had two pairs of gloves left, and realized that I was probably going to be making more than one trip to the restroom, and would not be able to re-don the gloves safely. The salsa will have to wait for tonight when I can get more gloves! :->

    The bonus? Latex-free gloves are covered on the medical Flexible Spending Account, at least through this year, and I have a lot of FSA to burn up! I’m thinking I’ll be stocking up on gloves this fall!

  61. I feel your pain! I once was making a chile sauce using dried pasilla chiles. I thought it would be fine to stick my finger into the chile to shake loose the seeds since pasillas are fairly mild. Wrong! The only thing that gave me a little bit of relief was soaking the affected finger in milk and even that didn’t help much. It hurt for days. You can believe I will remember your mustard trick.

  62. Oh, How I sympathize! Once when I was cutting up hot peppers (with gloves, I had been warned) I happened to touch my eye! I hurt horribly! Wonder if mustard would have helped? Or ruined my eyesight!

    Now, when I make salsa – I cheat. I just measure out some crushed red pepper. So much easier! And NEVER a burn!


  63. I was told by many people to wear gloves while handling jalapenos, including my mother many times, but I have a tendancy to be a bit stubborn. So I still had to learn the hard way. I chopped a peck of them last year and not until I was finished did the burn set in. Yes it was unbearable. I did the same thing you did. Search for a remedy until one finally worked. I soaked in milk but like you said it was a very temporary relief. Washing my hands in rubbing alcohol finally made it stop. It was like a miracle. It is the oil that gets on your skin and until you get it off it burns. So atleast you had the excuse of not knowing. Mine was just stupidity 😉

  64. I wish I had read this post 2 weeks ago!!! I canned 24 quarts of salsa (and cut all the jalapenos with no gloves)! My fingers burned for 4 days … ugh! I’m sorry you had to endure pepper pain … but thanks for sharing your lesson with us!

    • Thank you for mentioning 4 days! I’m on day 2 and was about to head to the er as I couldn’t imagine the burning would last over night and through showers and multiple hand washing! Waiting on a jar of mustard now, thanks to you all for sharing, I was getting my worry on but good!

      • Roasted Peppers – YUMMY – we put them in Jars of vinegar and olive oil… wife said the Habaneros were less hot than jalapenos (but she put on gloves, hmm… first clue?) – ok, I shouldn’t need gloves… OMG don’t make y mistake – put on the gloves (Nitrile works best) . ok, it took about an hour to strip the seeds and skins and I guess only about 30 min in to it for the heat in the hands to start… finished at about 10pm Saturday evening… thinking it was oil based, tried dish soap. NO. then alcohol. NO. then more soap, vinegar, milk and almost everything in the frig – strangely not the mustard however… nothing helped much.. was exhausted so slept but was snoring so loud (no idea if it was related) that the wife had to sleep in another room with the doors (yes, plural) closed… woke up to hot hands… I must say I was totally amazed how much it hurt – then the shower… hmm… all I can say about that is do not use ANY hot water on the hands when they feel this way it ramped up the pain on a logarithmic scale…. in the shower tried 3 different shampoos, cream rinse, exfoliate (the stuff that’s used to take off skin), tried my tooth brush to get the stuff out of the cuticles… (side note – if you use your tooth brush like I did… throw it away afterwards like I did not (a different story)) spent the whole day at the Renaissance Faire finding excuses to hold peoples cold drinks – on the way home stopped at Dos Coyotes and went straight for the cold drink bin full of ice… AHHH! got home and started the research… read about all the things I tried and a few more that I tried (except the mustard) and found hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and a touch of detergent… made some up and damn… it worked!!!! about an hour of little to very little pain. ok, tried some more and then washed my hands in the sink… the same sink the wife had used to wash her hands (repeatedly) while she was using the gloves to help me strip the peppers for storing in Jars.. I did not know she had not washed down the sink handle.. DAMN… wow, why is it getting hotter… OMG… its like a virus that can spread based upon contact.. so I washed down the sink and surrounding environment but have the dull heat still in my hands… I have not been able to touch anything even slightly warm for any time – sleeping last night was with an fan blowing outside over me so when I awoke every 10-20min I could hold my hands in the cold airstream… I suspect I will need to try the mustard when I get home this evening… as others have said, you only make this mistake ONCE… I really liked the story of the person that decided to wait due to lack of gloves… Oh, that reminds me… even a day later with all the washings and oils and , and, and… I could still feel the burn when thoughtlessly scratching, um, more sensitive regions – over 24 hour later… Sheesh…

        • update – Thursday morning 4 days10 hours later and ever so slight feeling of peppers on one hand, the other is ok… they are a slight bit sore, like I played a few hours of tennis but otherwise I think this is the last of it… Wow.. NEVER AGAIN without gloves.

  65. Mark that one as a lesson learn the hard way.I learned the hard way many years ago when I chopped two quarts of peppers without gloves. I finally had to sleep off the burn. If you chop enough peppers routinely in cooking you get to the point that you won’t feel the burn. Now I can chop a couple dozen and only have the tingle, no burn.

  66. I would never have guessed mustard would help! When our son was about 5 months old, my husband picked him up after eating a fresh habanero. (You think jalapenos are hot? Get your hands on a habanero if you REALLY want hot!) Poor David was trying to get out of his skin! He suffered so long, and he even had burn marks on his skin! Sure wish we’d have known to put mustard on it!

  67. Oh Kendra,
    You are so entertaining. You do such a good job of painting a picture of your misadventures and educating us at the same time!

    On a side note, I have been thinking of making some salsa with my overabundance of tomatoes and it never occurred to me to use gloves for jalapenos! Thank you for saving me the pain!!

  68. Heh. Never would’ve thought of mustard. Usually tumeric is more of a dye/coloring though, so who knows. Having a box of nitrile gloves in the pantry is definitely handy though… 😉

  69. Well next time, to save you time and stained finger nails, just SOAK your hands in vinegar. It’s not the most pleasant smelling, but neither is mustard. The reason the mustard works is because of the vinegar in it. If you prefer being able to take your hands out of the bowl, etc. of vinegar, mustard is a good option, but it’s the miracle of vinegar that saved your poor little fingers. If I’m using jalapenos and don’t have latex gloves on hand, I make as few cuts as possible and always keep them skin side up. It’s harder on the knife but it saves my fingers. I never do enough to make it too painful but the second it gets under my nails I start cringing. Glad you found some relief! Hope you’re feeling better and that your salsa really is worth it!

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