Self-defense tips: How to make pepper spray
By Zoey Sky // Sep 02, 2021

Pepper spray is one of the best non-lethal self-defense weapons you can use when SHTF.


You can even make pepper spray at home if you want to save a bit of money or if you can't buy it from stores. (h/t to

Things to remember when making pepper spray

DIY pepper spray is easy to make, but you need to be careful to prevent accidents while making it.

Exercise caution while making the spray

As a self-defense weapon, pepper spray can cause harm if you accidentally spray it on yourself. Be careful while prepping the liquid to avoid serious irritation. Make the spray in a well-ventilated room since you are using hot chili peppers that can cause irritation if you accidentally inhale the fumes.

If you have any respiratory problems, ask someone else to make this for you -- or just buy pepper spray from the store. This will help prevent any breathing difficulties if you inhale the spray by accident.

Homemade pepper spray isn't as effective as store-bought versions

Homemade pepper spray can slow down an attacker, but it's not as strong as a store-bought product. This is because the DIY version will be made using simple tools and not the same machines and ingredients as companies that manufacture pepper spray products. Additionally, manufacturers store pepper spray inside high-pressure bottles. These aerosol spray cans increase the length of the spray. The longer the spray, the longer you can defend yourself when facing an attacker.

However, in a post-SHTF world where you can't buy pepper spray from a store, homemade pepper spray might just save your life during a dangerous encounter.

How to make DIY pepper spray

Wear gloves when handling the chili pepper oil because it can irritate your skin. If you don't have gloves, wash your hands thoroughly once you're done preparing the liquid.

DIY pepper spray requires two ingredients: Capsaicin and a liquid.

Capsaicin is an oil found in chili peppers and this ingredient provides the heat in your pepper spray. The oil will irritate your attacker and slow them down so you can escape.

But since capsaicin is an oil, it has a thick consistency. This is why you need another liquid to make it thinner and easier to spray.

You can use the following liquids to make DIY pepper spray:

Before choosing your liquid, answer the following questions:

  1. Are you going to use the pepper spray in the next few days?
  2. Will you use the pepper spray within the next few weeks or months?

Use water in your recipe if you're planning to use the pepper spray in the next few days.

If you are storing the pepper spray for later use, use alcohol or vinegar since both ingredients will help preserve the mixture.


  • 12 Ounces water, alcohol, or vinegar
  • 6 Chili peppers or more
  • 2 Tablespoons baby oil
  • 2 Teaspoons garlic, minced


  1. Put on gloves and a mask before you start to make the pepper spray mixture. Process the hot chili peppers in a food dehydrator at a low temperature.
  2. Once the hot chili peppers are dried, chop them up finely. You can speed up the process by using a blender to chop the dried chili peppers. Place the chopped chili peppers into a bowl.
  3. Add the two teaspoons of minced garlic and two tablespoons of baby oil. The baby oil will help the mixture stick to an attacker’s clothes and skin.
  4. Add the liquid of your choice (water, alcohol, or vinegar) to the pepper spray mixture.
  5. Pour the mixture into a blender. Process on a high setting for at least two to three minutes.
  6. Once the mixture is blended, pour it into a large bottle. Set the pepper spray aside and let it sit overnight in a cool area. This step is important because the pepper spray mixture must be reduced to increase its effectiveness.
  7. After the mixture is reduced overnight, pour it into a spray bottle. Use cheesecloth and a funnel to strain the mixture.
  8. Add an additional twelve ounces of your chosen liquid. Store the pepper spray in a cool area or refrigerate it. Bring it with you when traveling for self-defense.

Tips for using pepper spray

Pepper spray is a non-lethal weapon, but it's one you should use responsibly. Follow the tips below to use pepper spray properly.

  1. Read up on laws regarding pepper spray usage. Pepper spray is legal in all 50 states but there are restrictions in certain states, counties and cities. In some areas, like Wisconsin and California, pepper spray usage is limited to a certain size canister and percentage of OC (Oleoresin capsicum). Not following local statutes could mean criminal liability for you if you are caught.
  2. Always carry your pepper spray. Carry pepper spray in your hand, not in your bag. This makes it easy to access the spray if you need to defend yourself.
  3. Practice using your pepper spray. This ensures that you know it's maximum effective range and that you don't spray too far away from an assailant.
  4. Don't use pepper spray upwind. If you use pepper spray and aim right into the general direction of the wind, you will get sprayed instead of your target. This would make you vulnerable to an attack. Always spray downwind when using pepper spray on an attacker.
  5. Don't get close to your attacker. Use your pepper spray properly and keep your distance. Stay at least two arm’s length away to maintain a relatively safe distance. (Related: Here’s why self-defense fitness is crucial to your survival.)
  6. Never turn your back on your attacker. Unless you're sure that your attacker is dazed or unconscious, keep your eyes on them. After you use your spray, watch your attacker. Run away only when the coast is clear.

Wear protective gear while making DIY pepper spray and learn how to use it properly so you can defend yourself if an attacker comes after you.

Visit for more articles on how to defend yourself when SHTF.

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