Introduction: How to Make Pepper Spray at Home!

Picture of How to Make Pepper Spray at Home!

In this instructable, I will be showing you how to make your own Pepper spray at home!

Commercial Pepper spray is made using capsaicin, the active chemical in chillies. We will be extracting capsaicin from chillies using acetone solvent extraction. We will also add a pepper extract for coughing and sneezing effect.

DO NOT WORRY, there is no complicated chemistry involved in this instructable.
I am not responsible for any harm you cause to yourself, or others, in the process of making, or using, these chemical solutions.
Be very careful with this as it causes coughing, sneezing, temporary blindness, and severe pain.
Please note this is illegal in certain countries and should only be used where it is legal. Only for use in self defence.
The effects will only last for 30 seconds, but the pain may last longer.

Step 1: Equipment and Ingredients

Picture of Equipment and Ingredients

First, you will need to get a few pieces of equipment and ingredients together.

Coffee filter papers
3 small glasses
A funnel
250ml acetone

10 chillies (scotch bonnet chillies or hotter. hotter is better!)
About 50g of ground black pepper
Food colouring of your choice (I used red)

Step 2: Preparing Chillies

Picture of Preparing Chillies

Now, we will prepare the chillies so we can extract the capsaicin from them.

First, chop up the chillies as finely as possible. Put them in one of the glasses. Try to compact them down a bit.
Mash them with a fork until the are in a pulp. Make sure there are no large lumps or the extraction will not work well.

Step 3: Extracting Capsaicin

Picture of Extracting Capsaicin

Pour enough acetone into the glass to cover all of the chillies. Then cover the top with cling film to stop the acetone evaporating and put in a cool place for 24 hours. Shake the glass every hour or so. After 24 hours remove the clingfilm and  pour the liquid through the filter paper and funnel into a glass. Leave the glass in a warm place for the acetone to evaporate.

When all of the acetone has evaporated, you should be left with a red sticky substance or small crystals, depending on the water content in the chillies. Smell the liquid and if it smells of acetone leave it for another 24 hours. Put this to the side for now. 

Step 4: Making the Pepper Extract

Picture of Making the Pepper Extract

To make the pepper extract, pour the pepper into one of the glasses and repeat step 2, substituting pepper for chillies. 

You should be left with a grey-brown syrup. Put that to the side.

Step 5: Making the Pepper Spray

Picture of Making the Pepper Spray

Take all of the extracts from both the chillies and the pepper and mix it in a glass. Add in about 20 ml water and mix thoroughly.
If you want to colour it, add in your choice of food colouring until it reaches the colour you want.

Transfer the liquid to a small bottle or a small spray bottle. I would recommend the spray bottle, so you can spray it. Pepper spray is meant to be sprayed!


Step 6: Finished!

You have now made your own pepper spray!
Be very careful with this as it causes coughing, sneezing, temporary blindness, and severe pain.
Please note this is illegal in certain countries and should only be used where it is legal. Only for use in self defence.
The effects will only last for 30 seconds, but the pain may last longer. I am not responsible for any harm you cause to yourself or others, in the process of making, or using this pepper spray.



ArtisanEclectic (author)2013-09-03

I find it hilarious that one of the Related 'ibles on the right side column is one called, "How to make a man fall in love" lol


rimar2000 (author)2013-08-26

This is good to deter dogs, when you are biking. Some weeks ago one of them bit me.

thedigi321 (author)2013-08-26

this would be awesome

oolala170 (author)thedigi3212013-08-26


Yueh YingL (author)2016-08-15

I don't know if you still read comments, but can I use chilli powder or flakes instead of fresh peppers (I don't know if I have access to those where I live). Would that affect the strength of the pepper spray?

Delaney (author)2014-10-23

this is an old instructable but an improvement to this would be take a highlighter and soak it in the water before adding the pepper extracts. it will add a phosphorescent effect under UV light so you could possibly identify an attacker.

MetinK1 (author)Delaney2016-04-07

damn..some serious idea..they should use it in the commercial products

tman.phoenix (author)2015-03-21

Could I use nail polish remover instead of straight Acetone?

SamN2 (author)tman.phoenix2015-09-29

yea but the pepper spray would smell like the perfume. but you can get acetone easily at any paint store

pieterc1 (author)tman.phoenix2015-03-28

Yes, Acetone is nail polish remover. Buy a tin of acetone it is cheaper.

matt.carrasquillo (author)2015-05-31

Will the acetone remain in the finished product at all?

Jesse-pinkman (author)2015-01-28


Jesse-pinkman (author)2015-01-28

10 chillies is alot it did not look like you had 10 chillies in that cup

oolala170 (author)Jesse-pinkman2015-01-28

I didnt use 10 chillies in the photo as I had already done this step, and I was just repeating it for the instructable. Ten chillies should be the right amount:)

Jesse-pinkman (author)2015-01-28

10 chillies

Techno Boy (author)2014-05-27

I don't understand step 4 , what do you mean by repeat step 2 ....? what do i do with the pepper (powder)

oolala170 (author)Techno Boy2014-05-27

Mix the pepper and acetone. Mix it and filter it. Wait until the acetone evaporates.

Techno Boy (author)oolala1702014-05-27

Ok , Thanks .. Now it's clear , You can also you may add bleach or soap to make it more effective

thehbird (author)2014-01-03

color not colour

oolala170 (author)thehbird2014-01-04

I am English, and that is the English way to spell 'colour'.

thehbird (author)oolala1702014-01-06

Oh cool! Didn't know that thanks :)

jeterkurtis (author)2013-12-12

sometimes you can find a aerosol can where the air can be refilled via base. just put the mix in the top through the used up can. then refill the PSI. (DO NOT EXCEED 100 PSI THOUGH MIGHT EXPLODE)

kathynv (author)2013-08-30

I saw he price tag on your acetone and was shocked. You can get pure acetone at your drug store or cosmetics supply (mine is a CVS) right with the nail polish remover. I recently paid under $4 for a 300 ml bottle. Hope this helps.

CapnKlay (author)kathynv2013-09-21

I pay about $3 for a pint of pure acetone @ Wal-Mart.

oolala170 (author)kathynv2013-08-30

yh I buy mine off amazon but i had run out and really needed some

theminer1234 (author)2013-08-30

omg! I love this! it is a lot cheaper this way than to just get a can at the store!

illuminatis (author)2013-08-27

we did it the old school way back in my highschool days, soak about a pound of dried cayanne in high proof rubbing alcohol, filter, then boil off the alcohol. put it in a nasal spray bottle, you're all set. PS, afrin bottles "mist" so it's more like tear gas.

oolala170 (author)illuminatis2013-08-27

yeah you can use alcohol, or any solvent but you want the least poisonous. also you would want hotter chillies than cayenne peppers. nasal spray is a good idea!

ilpug (author)2013-08-27

Good idea, although I would combine this with two extra ingredients to make it more effective.

Go to the store and get some penetrating muscle rub, OR teatree oil. Both of these help medication or mixtures to better enter the skin, causing a longer and more intense effect. Plus tea tree oil smells really strong, and is a hard odor to get rid of.

Another ingredient is to go get a high quality highlighter pen and take the ink out of it and mix that in. Most commercially available sprays have dyes like this in it to show up under UV light, so your assailant can be more easily identified later by police.

oolala170 (author)ilpug2013-08-27

that is a great idea! I could also put in vicks menthol rub which really stings the eyes

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