Learn How to Make the Best Pepper Spray on a Budget

Jarhead 03

How to make your own pepper spray.People have come to know Pepper Spray as the most commonly used form of non-lethal self-defense. It is readily available.

In the event of an economic collapse or other unknown situation where you can no longer purchase pepper spray, you may come upon a situation where the firearm is not needed, conserve ammo, keep animals and pests away from plants or you just don’t like guns. You may have to make it yourself and thankfully it’s easy to make the best pepper spray at home.

Please note: Making your own pepper spray involves risk of injury so don’t accidentally spray yourself and use caution. If you have breathing difficulties have someone else make it for you or make it in a well ventilated area.

Making your own pepper spray can be as simple as stocking up on dried pepper/chili or growing your own and a delivery system. You can make it to carry on your person or make a wide dispersal device for groups. You can buy them at any yourself store, nursery, garden center as or on Amazon and do a search for any of the following peppers/chili.

Selecting the Pepper/Chili:

The following are types of peppers/chili recommended and the rating heat index of each pepper/chili:

The Scoville Heat Unit is the rating or “hotness of peppers” that measures on a scale of mildest to hottest. I am going with the hottest and easiest to acquire. If you know a hotter pepper/chili and where to get it please let us know.

The lowest heat index recommended is the Red Cayenne pepper at 30,000 SHU to 60,000 SHU.

The middle heat index is the Thai or Thai Bird Chili at 50,000 SHU to 150,000 SHU.

At the top of the are the Scotch Bonnet chili and the Habanero chili at100,000 SHU to 350,000 SHU, the Red Savina Habanero at 350,000 SHU to 650,000 SHU and the Ghost Pepper or Naga Jolokia Pepper which is considered the hottest at 800,000 to 1,500,000 SHU.

The 10% Capsaicin pepper spray issued to LE can vary from 2,000,000 SHU to 6,000,000 SHU compared to store-bought pepper spray containing 2% to 10% Capsaicin vary from 500,000 SHU to 2,000,000 SHU.

You are capable of using the oil you could deliver a greater amount of Capsaicin but what I’m presenting is an effective means of delivery without having to own a pepper farm.

Delivery System:

Homemade delivery systems can be as effective although you may not get the same results as the LE brands I’m showing you how to make up for it.

Delivery systems are as simple as a one to three ounce spray canister you get in the travel section for toiletries and up to 32 ounce spray bottles reminiscent of the glass cleaner bottles where you squeeze the trigger in a spray mist or stream. You can also make a delivery system with Garden hand pump pressure sprayers as well as the one to four gallon hand pump pressure sprayers used for gardening, pest control and weed control. Of course the larger the container the more pepper/chili you will need.

The Process:

Step 1. Container preparation.

Inspect your spray bottle or pressure sprayer for leaks by filling it with water. If the device leaks when tilted, lying on its side or after excessive spraying then choose another container. You don’t want it dripping or leaking in your pack, vehicle, purse or hand.

We will be making enough for a pint of pepper spray.

Step 2. What you need.

  • Six peppers or chili’s, the hotter the chili or pepper the better. You can use more pepper/chili if you like to get it as potent as possible.
  • Garlic, two medium or one large-sized bulb or two table spoons of minced in a jar or powdered if you don’t have it (the odor repels some bugs and people)
  • A method of drying the pepper/chili (dehydrator, stove, solar oven or sun dried)
  • Rubber gloves (to handle the pepper and oils)
  • Safety glasses (to keep it out of your eyes)
  • N95 mask or other respirator (prevent inhalation especially if you are sensitive)
  • Vegetable chopper or knife and cutting board to break it down.
  • Blender, grinder or coffee grinder (crush the pepper/chili and garlic)
  • Two sealable containers (I used a 32 oz. sports drink bottle and a16.9or 20 oz. bottle)
  • Strainer or cheese cloth (to remove the pits and seeds that will block the flow to spray)
  • Funnel (allows it to flow in the container saving as much as possible and prevent a mess)
  • A well sealed container for storing unused pepper spray. Keep it in a cool place or fridge.
  • Vinegar or Ispropyl Rubbing Alcohol (this is used as the delivery system and it keeps the pepper and Capsaicin in tact longer than water would as well as already contains an irritant to the senses)
  • Baby oil or mineral oil (this is used to latch on to the body or clothes)

NOTE: If you are using this around plants, trees and vegetables to fend off pests and animals ordon’t have it, you can substitute the vinegar, alcohol and baby oil with water. If you are running low on vinegar or alcohol you can add water to makeup the difference in measurements.

Step 3. Preparing the pepper/chili.

I am giving instructions for those with and without a blender or grinder.

  1. Dry the peppers/chili by means of a dehydrator, sun-dried, solar oven or set in the oven at a low temp.
  2. a. Place the peppers/chili in the blender.
  3. b. Cut, chop or grind the peppers/chili as fine as possible then place in a bowl.
  4. a. Place the garlic bulb or bulbs in the blender.
  5. b. Mince, chop or grind the garlic and place in the bowl.
  6. a. Two table spoons of baby or mineral oil into the blender.
  7. b. Two table spoons of baby or mineral oil into the bowl.
  8. a. Add twelve ounces of alcohol or vinegar into the blender. Blend on high for two to three minutes until purged.
  9. b. Add twelve ounces of vinegar or alcohol and mash and grind until it’s as close to being smooth as possible. You can slowly add the alcohol or white vinegar as you blend it to avoid splashing.
  10. Pour it into the larger bottle with a funnel to let it sit overnight in a cool place to react and increase the effectiveness of the solution.
  11. When ready get your funnel, strainer or cheese cloth and water bottle. Place the funnel in the smaller16.9 oz. to 20 oz. water bottle then place the strainer or cheese cloth over the funnel.
  12. Pour the pepper/chili mixture into the water bottle using a funnel and strainer. Any left over remnants from the strainer can be used in the garden or trash area to keep pests and animals away.
  13. You now have pepper spray and can store it in the refrigerator or a cool place and it’s readyto pour in your sprayers at any time. Since it is sitting in vinegar or alcohol it should last anywhere from a month to three months. I sprayed an opossum in my trash can with a garden pressure sprayer and he darted out of there. I haven’t seen him in two weeks. I used a solution around my garden and theneighbor’s dog won’t go near the fence.

Step 4. Cleaning the container and blender/grinder after use.

A solution of bleach and water will counter the oils left behind in the container. Mineral Oil and soap and hot water can be used to clean out the blender or grinder. Use caution when cleaning the containers by wearing safety glasses and gloves.

NOTE: You can make pepper spray with powdered/ground pepper instead of home-grown or store bought dried peppers/chili but the intent is to get the maximum use of the pepper/chili and garlic. If you do store Cayenne or hotter pepper/chili powder here are the instructions:

  1. Take eight tablespoons of Cayenne pepper or four table spoons of habanero pepper and pour it into a 32 ounce or 1L bottle
  2. Take two tablespoons of powdered or minced jars garlic and pour it into a 32 ounce or 1L bottle.
  3. Add two table spoons of baby or mineral oil and pour it into a 32 ounce or 1L bottle.
  4. Add 14 ounces of alcohol, vinegar or water and pour it into a 32 ounce or 1L bottle.
  5. Shake bottle well and let it sit overnight in a cool place to react and increase the effectiveness of the solution.
  6. With a funnel and cheese cloth or towel you can pour it into the 16.9 oz. to 20 oz. water bottle and you are ready to store or place it in your dispenser.

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  1. Tinfoil Hat says:

    Awesome article Jar! Well put together, simple, easy to.follow directions! Nice job!

  2. jr from ar says:

    Great article Jarhead although I am fearful my princess wife may be tempted to use it on me if I get fiesty 😉

    • Jr, my gf knows I store it in the fridge and said if I didn’t get out of bed to do my laundry she was going to test it on me lol.

  3. karla from colorado says:

    Good stuff, thanks! I’d refer to the Scoville scale and find the hottest puppies you can; grow your own if you can, too. Saving this for my files!


    (You mentioned this being useful for plant pests and critters, but if you use vinegar in your concoction you shouldn’t spray it on plants – it’ll kill the foliage and possibly the entire plant. Alcohol may do some damage, too, so I’d go with water in the mix if you’re applying it for this purpose.)

    • Thanks Carla. I noted that in the article if using around plants to substitute with water. I had family that also used it for spraying wood so the horses wouldn’t gnaw on it.

  4. I’m copying this one to my files. This could come in very handy.

    One word of note: I’ve seen an east indian guy eating habanero peppers like they were nothing, so if your attacker is east indian consider whacking him on the head with a baseball bat instead of pepper spray.

    • Mike, agreed. There is a picture of me in a Skateboard magazine where I was guiding kids out through tear gas when someone turned it into a riot. I had built a resistance to it. I grow habaneros because they are common in foods around me since there is a large Hispanic population so it’s grown for salsa and defense. I figured if I added the ghost pepper it would make even the strong cring lol

  5. JP in MT says:

    Great stuff! Thanks for the info.

    I currently don’t have any kind of pepper spray. With this I may very well rethink that and add this as an option.

    • JP, I have several forms of pepper spray from small to the large riot control due to old jobs as well as Bear Spray which works well on bears and non bears alike

      I was looking at the expiration date on a few and found out some states and DC regulates its potency and some even require its registration. I’m good on ammo but if I could keep the opossums and skunks away without having to shoot them our protect the plants without chemicals why not.

      • JP in MT says:

        Jarhead 03:

        Thinking along the same lines but my “opossums and skunks” have 2 legs. I’m thinking about something I can use outside the door from inside.

  6. SurvivorDan says:

    I followed your directions but as I was spraying it onto my chicken burrito the top of the pressurized sprayer blew off.
    My dining companion, TFMrs.SurvivorDan and I were inundated in a cloud of pepper spray.
    Being of Mexican descent, TFMrs.SD was unaffected (she actually enjoyed the flavor and continued to eat her burrito after calling 911 for me) but I had to be transported to the emergency room where they had to pry the crushed burrito from my palsied grasp before flushing and oxygen were administered.

    Seriously…..looks good. You know I dearly love a less-than-lethal option. I will stash this in my trove of prepping lore as I am loathe to test the efficacy of this as I take your warnings seriously and I will stay with the safety of factory prepared for now. But as long as you have tested it and it BURNS and CHOKES, I will keep the instructions for exigent circumstances. Nice job Jarhead.

    • Tinfoil Hat says:

      LMAO. SD, you never fail to crack me up…

    • SD, command was pissed in Somalia when they found out some of use were spraying pepper spray (issued us Mk4 cans for riot control) on our MREs.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        Hee-hee! So the REMFs disapproved of using pepper spray as a flavor enhancer? If the Corps wanted you to have hot sauce ….they’d have issued some, huh?

        Marines………..adapt and overcome.

    • SD,

  7. Excellent! Bravo! Wonderfully done.
    Now I know what you were talking about with my wasp problem…… Nodding head.
    I keep this stuff around too for the night critters. DO NOT spray the porch or anywhere where it might get tracked back in the house. I went to the school of hard knocks for hard heads. Not to bright sometimes.

    Example: On cats paws, cat jumps on couch, cats lick paws, freak out, runs over my head, deposits pepper spray into scalp wound.

    I put on goggles and a mask and sprayed a big wasp nest I found this morning. (a bit of a breeze) Not in the wood pile though cause I don’t want a hot surprise on my hands when I carry wood in this winter.
    They hated it! Freaked and went nuts. Anyhoo. I’ll let you know if they go back to that nest after dark. I hope it works because I am organic and can’t use chemicals in wasp spray. My only other option is to go out after dark, gently knock the nest into the ground or coffee can and hope not to get stung. IF I can get to the nest.

    For a really nasty brew you can put some urine and rotten egg in the mixture. They sell something similar commerically. I would wear a respirator though. It would make you, the neighbors, wildlife and the bad guys gag. I would be totally pissed if someone sprayed me with it, and I am accustomed to some really nasty smells. And for goodness sake. Don’t get any on you! Whooo.

  8. Great article and a fun topic. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  9. Dean in Michigan says:

    Nice one 03……

    I am now printing, as I have hot chilies in the garden right now. I have been drying them for seasoning, but probably have one or two more harvests’, so I am definitely going to try this.

    • Dean, I’ve been adding a plant or two each week until I get a comfortable amount. May have to start a raised garden to get what I want going.

  10. village idiot says:

    I like it, I like it…this is another tool with multiple uses. I want to make some up and spray it on some foliage the deer have taken a liking to. Great article, J.

    • VI, I always said I wanted my first article to be non firearm. Figure it would help many here for multiple uses.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        Absolutely. Some folks in liberal land have no access or very restricted access to pepper spray. Maybe this mix in a spray bottle marked Jarhead Hot Sauce could be carried legally. Why not? It’s just a hot sauce.

  11. tommy2rs says:

    For garden use I’ve found that skipping the oil and adding a bit of dish soap helps it stay on the plants. You still have to reapply after rain or watering.

    Had good success against squash bugs substituting fresh grated horseradish root for the chile. And I’ve used good ole tabasco in a cheap water pistol against wasp nests. Still gotta run right after you squirt them but they do end up abandoning the nest allowing safe removal.

  12. Mother Earth says:

    Great article! And duh, why didn’t I think of making some before now. That’s why I come to this site, helps me do the things I didn’t think of on my own. Thanks MD and Jarhead03!

  13. Great idea, but you might want to research Cold Steel’s INFERNO. They enhanced pepper spray by making it 2% black pepper to induce an involuntary sneeze/inhale reflex with 8% red pepper. I have some of those and if you watch the videos they are powerful.
    On the more or less humorous side, I gave one to my brother and he had left it in his vehicle. He got in the vehicle and drove up our dirt road and stopped at the top to talk with a friend. The overheated cannister blew up and he made an involuntary test. This wouldn’t be quite as bad had I not done the same thing some months before and warned him that in a closed vehicle in the sun they could blow up. In my case I wasn’t in the vehicle at the time, but suffered the effects when I next had to drive it. The watering eyes persisted for some days even though I wiped off every surface I could.
    In a sense, this system would be safer in a vehicle because it wouldn’t be pressurized in a fragile aluminum cannister.

    • Grant, good mentioning. Thought about crushed black pepper as a sneezing or choking agent but since it is strained and did t want clicking in the sprayers I avoided it. In aerosol for it may work better. As you said with this design you don’t have to worry about excessive heat conditions and it may spray like hot water in addition to the chemical reaction on the hot days.

  14. (Blank Space) says:

    Pardon me, I don’t mean to be rude, but what type of wine would one serve with this “Prepper Spray” dish?

    • Dean in Michigan says:

      OK……….I’ll bight like a dumb ole Crapie

      Hot dishes are best served with whatever u want, but not wine. Most likely a hot dish(schechuan) will not be offered with wine, red or white. That’s just a sell up. Clearly you have no vernacular of the culinary……..just ask Rawdawg, he outta know……hahahahhahahhaah

    • I would think red to go with the reddish brown tint of the spray on some carne asada

  15. Grow and use the ghost pepper , you might also look into things to mix with it that could cause as serious a damage as a spray can , permanent eye damage is a desirable effect , you also might want it flammable as well . In a SHTF world , no reason to be humane or polite about self defense .

  16. Thanks for the info, but want to warn you about using a pepper spray containing vinegar on plants. Vinegar will burn, and possibly kill the plant. I use vinegar as a weed killer, it burns the leaves(grass and broad leaf) and the plant can’t photosensitize for life and growth. Cheap generic vinegar is non-toxic to a vegetable garden as long as it doesn’t get on the good plants.

  17. Jarhead,
    thanks of much for this useful article.

  18. Cosmolined says:

    This was worth the wait! Good job, Marine. Cos

  19. Great article! I wonder if you could actually use a squirt gun for a delivery system. It would be more stream lined and could hit from a farther distance than a small spray bottle. It might clog easily though.

  20. I once had a BF who grew scotch bonnet peppers on the roof, outside his apartment. He was chopping and putting them fresh in oil as a condiment. He washed his hands and went to pee, and the rest of the night he spent sitting in a cold water bath. If you handle the hotter peppers, please wear gloves, even to pick them. He had washed his hands and still had pepper enough on them to hurt his – you know.

    • Penny, I got some in my eye after spraying someone. Didn’t realize I got it on my finger and while driving down the road I had to itch my eye and bam. Not fun

  21. Also, why not use vodka or everclear instead of isopropyl alcohol, and olive oil instead of mineral oil. Then if you get bored with bland bunker food you can spray your beans and rice. You also have the plausible deniability that it was for your food, if you are questioned about having homemade pepper spray, where if it’s made with inedible things then it’s obvious what it was for.

    I’d keep away from anything that would cause permanent eye damage. If you fumbled the spray in the heat of a melee, you could blind yourself. Or if your assailant got it on their hands and went for your eyes. Also, what if you’re attacked by someone you don’t really want to blind permanently. It could be almost as painful but not maim them.

    • Penny, love the idea as long as it is going into food or the cheap stuff for defense and like the idea of olive oil. Will have to try it

  22. J.D. in Ohio says:

    Excellent article and one that I will definitely print off once I get my printer fixed.

    As some others have mentioned, I would caution making it so strong that it causes serious damage. Every time but once that I have been a party to someone being sprayed, I have been contaminated as well. Not purposefully, but it does happen a lot.

    I wonder about making a large batch of this stuff and put it into one of those cannisters that you hand pump and spray, such as you see people using when they mix chemical fertilizers or weed killers. If you are defending your homestead and can do so safely from cover or other position of advantage, then you could disperse quite a bit over a broad area and effects those within the flight line. This would be especially good for trespassers in a grid-down/WROL type scenario. You know, the type of people you want to keep away but deadly force isn’t practical/warranted. Just a thought!

    Also Penny Pinchers story about her bf brings up another reminder. I personally keep a large bottle of Johnson and Johnson’s baby shampoo under my bathroom sink for me only. I learned the hard way that if I have even been around a pepper spray deployment then the first thing I do when I get in the shower is wet my hair and immediately start washing my hair AND body with the J and J baby shampoo because it does cut the oil immediately. I have had reactions on other parts of my body due to trying to use another soap or forgetting all together that I had been involved in such an incident earlier in my shift. It was a painful lesson that I hope to help others to avoid!

  23. Raid sells insecticide in a bottle with a small battery operated pump in the top. An empy one might be able to be purged and used to spray pepper srpay. Could consider pepper spray “grenades” as well. Fill small balloons (water ballons) and throw. Might be able to to empty an egg and refill with pepper spray, seal the holes and throw.

  24. riverrider says:


  25. riverrider says:

    j, you got linked over at notes from the bunker blog! even cooler!

    • village idiot says:

      river, I’m calling J’s concoction Prepper Spray. I going to try to get him to let me bottle it up, put a neat little label on it. Truth in labeling will go something like this:

      101 Uses for J’s Prepper Spray

      1. Sheeple repellent.
      2. Insect repellent
      3. Animal repellent
      4. MRE additive.
      5. Cajun food mixer
      6. Mexican beer enhancer
      7. Hot sauce

      And many more. Could be a big market for this stuff. We’ll be rich!

      • VI, lmao love it!

      • riverrider says:

        LOL< BUT WAIT THERE"S MORE!! if you call NOW we'll toss in ANOTHER bottle FREE, you just pay tripple shipping and handling. AND if you're in the first 100 callers, we'll throw in a handy dandy PREPPERSPRAY REMOVAL SYSTEM ( a wash rag). CALL NOW!

    • River, will have to check it out. Never been to that blog before

  26. Encourager says:

    40 years ago, we were living in an apartment. We had a puppy that just loved to destroy stuff. Because he wasn’t fully housebroken, we kept him in the tiny bathroom with a gate across the doorway. He started eating the wood bathroom cabinet. First, all the edges were rounded off. Then he started in on the doors. We tried everything. Some friends in the complex (they were actually the apartment managers) made us a concoction of seriously hot pepper spray. We sprayed it on a cloth and wiped it on all the edges of the cabinet. That poor pup was dragging his tongue across the carpet, trying to get the spray off his tongue. But he never touched anything wooden again…he went for my hubby’s work boots instead…and only the right one, never the left. Who knows why. Our friends used the spray as an ingredient in their Chinese dinner that night; we declined the invite.

    • I had a friend that worked at a lab , and he lived close enough to be able to ride his bike to work every day. He had to pass by one area where somebody had a dog that would chase him on his way to work . He then bought a squirt gun and filled it up with industrial strength ammonia that was at the lab . After getting hit with that ……the dog just barked at him from that point on , and wouldn’t leave the confines of its yard lol .

    • Encourager, hope the article brought back memories lol

  27. Finn Mahone says:

    This just got printed and put into my binder!
    Thank you Jarhead

  28. Andy Ford says:

    Nice article gonna have to try this at home!!!

  29. good article

  30. charlie (NC) says:

    great article. I’m gonna try it!
    While reading I came up with another idea I might try too.
    I’m open to opinions on how well it would work.
    Here’s what I’m thinking:

    Grind dried peppers, garlic powder, etc in a food processor until it’s the consistency of coffee. Put it in an old coffee maker. Add white vinegar or vinegar water mix to the coffee maker and brew it up just like making coffee.

    • michael c says:

      I think that will take the stains right out of the coffee maker.

      You’ll also have some specey, spicey coffee.

  31. charlie (NC) says:

    No doubt it will clean out the coffee maker but if it makes good pepper spray the cleaning becomes a bonus. If not you only loose a little bit of pepper.

  32. FreeRangePagan says:

    This is exactly what I’m looking for. I’m not that big on guns, my BIL is the man on that (we plan on heading his way when SHTF) but I was in need of some sort of personal defense I can carry around. This is awesome. Thank you

  33. Thank you so much for this article! It came at just the perfect time fo us. We are growing some KILLER cayenne peppers in our meager flower bed garden! They are so impossibly hot that I wear gloves to cu them up to dehydrate, and just to accidentally catch a whif of it burns my throat! And we have been wondering what in the world we were gonna use these peppers for, cause they are too dang hot to season food with, and we like hot pepper. So, we have printed out your article and now we know what (and how) to do with the peppers.

  34. FarmerKin says:


    Awesome article! And thank you for this recipe. I think this will work nicely for my circumstance. I’m not allowed to have any sort of
    weapon on my employers property, so I can’t have the commercially sold stuff … but no rules against condiments. I will be adding these ingredients to the stash I keep in my desk drawer, along with the soup cans and tube socks someone else recommended a while back. Love you guys!!!

    I’m just back in town from vacation, otherwise I would have nominated you for the contest. You are such a wealth of information, I love reading everything you write. Looking forward to your future articles. Thanks again.

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