Let’s face it. Your friendly neighborhood Spiderman won’t be coming… You can scream. You can shriek and even beg for mercy. Unfortunately, not one among those trivial actions will help save your life (or your hard-earned property). Worse, your loved ones can be endangered too. What if, one night, in the middle of your sleep, some random people break into your house. Those people can take EVERYTHING from you; your spouse, your child, your properties and even your life. You have to fight back against the overpowering odds. How? Arm yourself. Why not start with a home-made pepper spray?
Whether you live in a hostile neighborhood or just want a trusty pocket buddy that can fend-off unwary attackers, this article is for you. Read on to find out how to make a home-made pepper spray.
In this article, you will find:
- What are Pepper Sprays?
- Preparing the Canister
What are Pepper Sprays?
Their name says it all. Pepper sprays are sprays that contain *SPOILER ALERT* peppers. Also known as maces, these devices are used for riot control, policing and self-defense.
The main ingredient of pepper sprays is a substance called capsaicin which is derived from peppers. It’s an inflammatory that can irritate mucous membranes including those of the eyes, nose, and throat. Moreover, capsaicin is insoluble in water! This means that you cannot wash it off your eyes if you are unlucky enough to get sprayed.
Steps for Making a Home-made Pepper Spray
Nope. It is not as straightforward as violently mashing a few pieces of pepper and chugging it into a random spray bottle. While youtube videos of DIY pepper sprays make it appear like that, a home-made pepper spray is far more effective if you do it the right way.
Step 1: Factors to Consider in Making a Home-made Pepper Spray
Most DIY videos will instruct you to use any pepper you think is spicy enough, mash it and pour it into some cheap cologne spray bottle. Thankfully, those methods are very effective. That is if you want your pepper spray to be a laughingstock when you want to defend yourself. Frankly, an easy way to get yourself robbed or killed.
There are factors to consider when making a pepper spray, namely:
How far and wide should you be able to mace attackers? Keep that in mind when choosing a spray bottle. Pressure is a deciding factor here hence cologne sprays are practically useless. In fact, you may better be off improvising a spray bottle of your own (more on that later).
Do you want your pepper spray handy and portable? Or maybe you are willing to sacrifice portability for more power? If you want a pepper spray for home-defense only, you can settle to using trigger spray bottles. They are sizeable but their pressure is enough to heighten the range of your pepper spray.
This is probably the most complicated factor to consider. Of course, you need your lachrymatory agent (the pepper) to be as “hot” as possible. However, there are cases that you need to consider the concentration of payload you put into your pepper spray. For instance, the maximum concentration of capsaicin in Italy is 2.5%. Beyond that range is illegal.
Unleash the inner Peter Piper in you and choose the appropriate pepper for the payload you want. DIY guides will tell you to pick a pepper that is “as spicy as possible” but we will not.
You can use the Scoville scale as an objective guide. The Scoville scale is a measure of how pungent a spicy substance is. This measurement system is far from perfect but it is the most logical and scientific one we have. With Scoville scale, the “heat” of a spicy substance is measured by the concentration of “heat generating” substance such as capsaicin and is described using the unit SHU or Scoville Heat Unit.
Law-enforcement pepper sprays are recommended to range from 500,000 SHU to 1,000,000 SHU. Since we won’t be using the pepper spray to deter riots, we’ll settle to 30,000 SHU to 50,000 SHU. An ideal pepper that falls in between this range is Cayenne pepper so we’ll use Cayenne for our home-made bell pepper.
You are going to need the following:
- At least six pieces of Cayenne pepper
- A blender of anything you can use to chop the pepper
- Alcohol (92%)
- Vegetable Oil
- Food Dehydrator (If feasible)
- Filter Paper, Cloth or anything you can use to filter residues
- Funnel (optional)
You can add as much Cayenne peppers as you like to make it stronger. Alternatively, you can go up the Scoville scale to find something hotter than Cayenne such as Habanero pepper.
If you are feeling lazy or just want convenience, you can go to the local convenience store to buy a Cayenne chili powder. However, chili powders contain all sorts of impurities so it is highly unlikely that you will get the SHU you want. If you choose to travel through the long road, you will have to prepare the pepper on your own.
The first step is to dry the pepper. You can either sundry them or put them inside a food dehydrator. By drying the pepper, you remove the impurity called “water” and leave capsaicin behind.
If you only have access to low-heat spices such as Jalapeno, you can opt for higher quantities. Remember, SHU is a measurement of the concentration of capsaicin, thus you can produce high SHU using low-heat peppers with a higher amount.
Step 5: Mix and Blend the Ingredients
Put the pepper into the blender and pour 12 ounces or 354 ml of 92% rubbing alcohol. Blend them together and pour into a sealable container using a funnel and let the mixture sit in a cool place overnight.
If you do not have a blender, you can chop the pepper into fine pieces. Make the pieces as fine as possible! Then put them on a container and pour the same amount of alcohol and mix.
The purpose of the alcohol is to serve as a “vehicle” for the capsaicin. It allows the capsaicin to be sprayed without compromising the level of irritation because alcohol itself is an irritant to the eye. In addition, residues will form around the spray without alcohol or anything to dilute the pepper.
You can also use water as the vehicle but it will dilute the mixture causing less irritation.
Step 6: Filter the Mixture
You will have to filter out the sediments. Otherwise, the spray can end up being plugged with a bunch of them. You really do not want to confidently go face-to-face with a robber only to find out that your pepper spray is now a mere pepper-in-a-bottle!
To filter the sediments, you need to attach your filtering device of choice into the funnel then pour the mixture. The seeds will be filtered out along with other filtrates. Squeeze the filter to make sure that you get less leftover as possible.
If your reading this you may also be interested in: How to make your own sugar
No matter how potent your solution is, your home-made pepper spray can end up useless if the solution won’t even reach the eyes of your target! Worse, you can end up hurting yourself if your spray is too weak. Cheap cologne bottles usually spray mists instead of continuous streams while compressed canisters are depressurized when their contents are used up.
You will need the following materials:
- The spray can (preferably a deodorant can).
- Syringe or any way to inject the solution into the bottle
- Drill or anything you can use to punch a hole into the bottle
- Air Compressor. A tire pump is OK too but not recommended
- Tire Valve
- Male or female adapter if needed
First, Drill a hole into the bottom of the can. The hole should also be even and not too large so that you can easily seal it off with epoxy. Then, inject or pour the pepper spray solution into the hole and seal the hole with epoxy. After doing so, remove the cap of the spray nozzle and put the tire valve. Take note that some nozzles won’t allow the tire valve in. Lastly, pressurize the can using an air compressor via the tire valve. Most pressurized cans require 90 psi so aim for that.
Note: Do not use butane to pressurize your pepper spray. It can cause permanent blindness!
- Spray Can
- Air Compressor
- Tire Valve
- Male or female adapter if needed
- Stove and pan or any way to boil water
First, boil enough water to put in a container where you can sink your can. Then, soak the can in the boiled water. Every half minute, press the nozzle to release the remnants of the original contents of the bottle. Once you are certain that you emptied the canister, let the can cool. Then, put it inside the fridge for 30 minutes. The goal is to create a vacuum inside the can.
After the cooling process, pour the solution into a bowl. Dip the nozzle into the bowl and press it. Because of the vacuum, the can will drain the solution instead of spraying. You will most likely fill half of the can. The last step is the same as the pressurization process in method 1. Then you can try and check if your home-made pepper spray is working.
There you have it! Your very own home-made pepper spray. Take note, however, that ready-made pepper sprays are way much better than a home-brewed one so if you get your hands on one whenever possible.
While it may seem fun to mace people in the face but please refrain from doing so. Also, only use pepper sprays when you really need to and only own one whenever legal. You should also keep in mind that a pepper spray is a tool to disable people so that you can escape, not a tool to disable and attack.
Steer clear of trouble. Spray responsibly!