How to Make Your Own Pepper Spray

Make Your Own Pepper SprayPepper spray is an excellent non-lethal close-range antipersonnel weapon that can mean the difference between life and death. While it is readily available for purchase at the present time, in a post-collapse survivalist scenario, you may not be able to acquire store-bought pepper spray as easily.

Fortunately, pepper spray is fairly simple to make with a few ingredients that you will either be able to grow in your backyard vegetable garden, have already stored in bulk, or barter for. Homemade pepper spray is simply a combination of dried peppers with a high Scoville rating and a delivery medium.

By stocking up on pepper seeds and other materials now, you will be well prepared in a post-collapse scenario.

The main ingredient of homemade pepper spray is the dried chili peppers. Chili peppers are spicy because they contain the chemical capsaicin. Capsaicin not only gives spicy food their flavor, it is also the active ingredient in pepper spray that irritates the eyes to induce tears, pain, and temporary blindness.

Peppers with more capsaicin are “hotter” and therefore more effective in pepper spray.

Scoville Units and Choosing Your Peppers

The level of “heat” in a chili pepper is measured in Scoville Units. U.S. Law Enforcement Grade Pepper Sprays have a Scoville rating ranging from 500,000 to 5 million Units.

For effective homemade pepper spray, it is best to pick a chili pepper that is rated at a minimum of 200,000 Scoville Units. Individual peppers will vary in their Scoville rating depending on several factors, so the ratings are given as a range:

• Bird’s eye chili peppers have a Scoville rating from 100,000 – 225,000 SU.
• Habañero chili peppers have a Scoville rating from 100,000 – 350,000 SU.
• Red Savina habañero peppers have a Scoville rating from 350,000 – 580,000 SU.
• Bhut Jolokia (Ghost) peppers have a Scoville rating from 850,000 – 1.04 million SU

Ingredients for the Spray

• 6-12 chili peppers, preferably from the above list. Using more peppers will increase the percentage of capsaicin in the final product and make the spray stronger.
• 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
• 2 Cups Vinegar or Ispropyl Rubbing Alcohol (the delivery system)
• 2 Tbsp. Mineral oil (causes the spray to adhere to clothing or fur)


• Latex or rubber gloves
• Eye protection
• Mask to protect nose and mouth. If you do not have an N95 respirator, soak a bandanna in lemon juice and tie it snugly over your nose and mouth.
• Knife and cutting board
• Sealable jar or bottle
• Cheesecloth
• Funnel


• Dry the chili peppers. Tie the peppers to a string and hang them for 1-2 weeks in an area that gets plenty of sunlight and airflow. You can also dry them more quickly by heating them for several hours in an oven set to 150, or use a dehydrator if you have one.
• Remove the stems, and mince the peppers as fine as possible. Be careful not to lose the oils and juice while you are mincing. If you have a food processor, you can use that for this step.
• Mince or process the garlic.
• Combine all ingredients. If you do not have a food processor or blender, combine ingredients in a large bowl mix thoroughly until they are a homogenous mash. Push the mash through a sieve to strain out the largest pieces.
• Leave in a cool place (preferably a refrigerator) for 24-48 hours to tincture the mixture.
• Spread the cheesecloth across the base of the funnel mouth, and slowly pour the mixture into the jar or bottle. Remove excess chunks as they build up on the cheesecloth and discard.

This recipe makes about 10 ounces of pepper spray. You can store it in a cool place (preferably a refrigerator or icebox if you have one) in a sealed container for up to 2-3 months. A simple spray bottle works as a delivery mechanism.

It’s important to find one that has a range of about ten feet with a fairly concentrated stream. Avoid spray bottles that create a fine mist, as this risks the pepper spray blowing back in your own face.

11 thoughts on “How to Make Your Own Pepper Spray”

  • TampaBri

    Well done indeed. This post goes to my Bookmarks, and print - should the sky fall in...

  • Boywonder

    This recipe when used with vinegar and olive oil can double as a pest spray for all your garden edibles. Just be sure to wash it off thoroughly before eating.

  • Northwoods Cheryl
    Northwoods Cheryl March 18, 2015 at 5:08 am

    Very interesting! But above all things, should you make this solution, be REALLY sure which way the breeze is blowing if used outdoors. You don't want to catch it in YOUR face by accident! When out riding one of the horses I used to get chased by dogs from 1 farm. I finally loaded a plant mister with straight vinegar and used it on "stream" setting and caught both dogs in the face. After the 2nd time, they no longer come near the road when I go past.

  • Terry T

    Uh.....You're joking right? Anyone out there ever had to pump a spray bottle 20-30 times to prime it after a long period of disuse. I wonder if a vicious attacking dog or a mugger would have the patience to wait while you play stupid priming your homemade spray rig and and get the spray adjusted just right. For those incapable of devising a better system of delivery, I really think a better suggestion would be to pay the few bucks for the commercial spray in a real deal delivery system. Some even present themselves much the same asa small pistol and cost little for much better assurance of delivery. At least if there are any survivors left from among the victims, they can sue if the product doesn't deliver. if you still wish to trust your life with an experimental curbside demonstration of your culinary ingenuity, I would strongly suggest making a large enough quantity of the stuff to halfway fill a trusted reusable aerosol can which may be charged with compressed air.. If you really want an edge, thread a brass tire valve stem, the kind used in commercial truck wheels, into an empty but decent quality small fire extinguisher after drilling an appropriate sized hole in it. Fill the cleaned out container to about the 1/2 way mark with your prepared mondo mix and top it off with 150 psi of compressed air. I promise that the crippled victim of a bath in your concoction will not be eager to come back for seconds when the first one begins to wear off in 15 min or so but there will be plenty left available it he, she, it decides to take another stab at it (so to speak). If you cannot manage this, just use the damn dry chemical fire extinguisher on the bastard, or even the mugger. At a minimum it will choke your assailant half to death and give you a good chance to split. I would recommend keeping the aerosol propelled device on the weak side to free your other hand, and your best dexterity for the powder propelled plan B device, such as the one I carry on my strong side.

    • Cheryl L Olson

      Not exactly sure who you are addressing here, but I NEVER have to pump a spray bottle to ready it for use at the time of use. It only takes a tiny bit of common sense to realize that. Your inflammatory discussion is not necessary! I am sure you could get your point across without belittling others. Not so sure everyone else on this site "plays stupid".

      • Bets

        I agree with you, Cheryl.
        Plus this 'recipe' should only be kept in the refrig 2-3 months.

        So i think we should already have these ingredients available to use when we need it, especially those hot peppers that need to be dried.

  • ron

    Funny post by Terry T, however, if he has a Big Iron on his 'strong side' he doesn't need a puny little can of pepper spray. He could probably buy an old fire truck and make some big pepper spray as well. Ok, enough of that.

    I have soaked fresh peppers and dried habaneros in vodka and also pure grain alcohol to make pepper spray. By the time it's finished I'm soaked with sweat as these peppers light me up. I've used cod liver oil and fish emulsion for a stinking carrier. And have also poured in a bottle of food dye for that festive look. (It makes him easier to pick out in a police line-up).

    So Terry T, if you see a green man running through your back yard he's not an alien but probably some unlucky soul that's been to my house first. Please keep that thing holstered and let him keep running.

  • Cheryl Olson

    Not sure why this comment is on this site..It has nothing to do with APPs, iPods, etc. You are spamming us here..

  • Cheryl Olson

    For faster "production", (though a bit costlier) you can buy powdered ghost peppers on ebay for about $3 a test-tube full. East to stash for future use. It saves worrying about things like crop failures when growing your own. Or, as a stand in until your peppers reach maturity and you can process them.

  • El Duderino

    I bought a name brand spray, but being "a guy" I threw the instructions away. I live in perpetual fear I'll spray myself. Thanks for the how-to. Even I can't screw this one up! My eyes! My eyes!

  • Harry Merkin

    Don't use a spray bottle. Get REAL REACH with a cheap kid's toy. A SUPER SOAKER SQUIRTGUN.

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