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How to remove habaneros from contact lenses

Updated on March 15, 2010

How to emove habanero capsaicin from your contact lens

"How do I remove hot pepper, capsaicin, habanero oil burn from my contacts?", that was the question I googled and could find no direct response to.

Im no doctor and I don't even play one on the internet. In case you didn't know, capsaicin is the hot oil that burns your eyes, hands, mouth and soul in the pepper; the active ingredient.

Unfortunately, for you and I, contact lens wearing folk, capsaicin is not water soluble. Next time we choose to cut up habaneros some habaneros to make our own salsa or hot sauce, lets make sure we wear gloves.

(Random Side Note- nothing to do with the subject: The re-captcha code, the code I had to type in to verify I was a real person trying to post this blog-hub and not the result of emergent behavior from the ghost in the machine, was "member silicone". I thought that was pretty funny for a randomly selected sequence of worked out in a MAD LIBS kind of way.)

Just like you I could not find anyone telling me how to save my contacts from the effects of habanero peppers.

But I took some info bits from here and there and this is what I did to clean the habanero pepper burn from my TORIC CONTACT LENSES:

  • I soaked the contacts in Hydrogen Peroxide for 1 hour.
  • Rinsed with water
  • I soaked the contact lens in rubbing alcohol for another 1 hour
  • Rinse with water and milk
  • I rinsed them with milk
  • Soaked lens overnight in milk
  • Rinse with contact solution
  • Put lens in eye and bear with the mild should go away in a minute. It worked for me.

Im not telling you to go and do this. This is really what I did and it worked for me.

I was leaving on tour and I was afraid I was not going to have back up/spare lenses for tour...thank god...or thank milk.

I wonder if I could have skipped the rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide and just cleaned them with milk and soaked them in milk overnight. But that formula worked for me.

I had to steal some real milk from my roommate for I only drink Soy Milk. And NO, soymilk does not remove the capsaicin/Habanero burn. His milk was skim...and I know whole milked would have cleaned them a lot better.

Hope this helped.


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    • profile image

      Ash 2 years ago

      Need to try this, stayed out of town and forgot my contact case but had contact solution so I simply figure putting them in one of my moms bowls. Turned out she had hot sauce in that bowl for a few days so regardless how washed it was it ruined my contacts. Can't have them in for not even a second after leaving them in solution for a few days. Hope the milk method works :( I can't see shucks.

    • profile image

      sonia 2 years ago

      I'm going to try this tonight if it doesn't work, oh well it's not like I'll be ruining them, I've already done that

    • profile image

      benny 3 years ago

      Thanks for the thread! Cut up jalapenos then tried to put on contacts a couple hours later...ahhhh it burns! Let them sit overnight in milk then rinsed with glad it worked!

    • profile image

      Gert 4 years ago

      Totally works just soaking in milk for a day! Rinse and wear. Just cut up some serrano chilis and took out my contacts last night, this morning they stung. I put them back in my contact case with half and half for the day and it totally washed off the capsaicin. Great idea.

    • profile image

      esther 4 years ago

      using cold milk?

    • profile image

      Andre 4 years ago

      I'm trying this now. The solution on its own doesn't seem to work (although it helped a little). I know capsaicin is fat-soluble so I'll try the milk method. Thanks

    • profile image

      curbstompjohnson 5 years ago

      yep...was peelin out some jalapenos, just so happen to be allergic to them..., burnt my hands face etc, came to night time...took my contacts out, oh dear lord my eyes!, hopefully this cleansing method works cause i have no spare contacts and gotta go somewhere in a couple hours XD

    • profile image

      Nora 6 years ago

      Thanks so much. Iwill be trying this tonight. This is the only thing I could find about habanero and contacts. I am really hoping this works!

    • HollywoodRasta profile image

      HollywoodRasta 6 years ago from Hollywood sure capsaicin is not good for the eyes. I am not a medical doctor. Try at your own risk. My eyes still work.

    • profile image

      Klaudia 6 years ago

      I have a similar situation with one of the contact lenses. I am currently soaking them in a milk.

      My question is if the contact lenses caused any damage to the eye afterwards or the eye stayed healthy. I am worried because the doctor told me many times that a contact lens should't be soaked in anything other than contact solution.

    • profile image

      Hayden 6 years ago

      This week I tried some hot sauce with ghost pepper in it... and if you think the mouth burn is bad, you should try getting it in your eyes. Unfortunately I managed to get my contact infected :(

      I will be trying your method and praying it works!

    • profile image

      mvang 6 years ago

      Thanks for the tips! I wasn't worried about the capsaicin on my fingers afterwards. My worries were with the contacts. I found your blog to be really helpful! :D Here's what I did, since I had a short amount of time before I needed my contacts.

      -Rinse with Hydrogen Peroxide

      -Rinse with water

      -Soak in Half & Half for about 5 minutes (It was the closest thing I had to milk)

      -Rinse with water

      -Rinse with contact solution

      -Put the contact lenses on :D

      I was so happy when I put them on and experienced no severe burn anymore. The closest was probably a slight burn for a second on one eye. I'm grateful I found this thread, thanks!!

    • HollywoodRasta profile image

      HollywoodRasta 6 years ago from Hollywood

      Hi Mvang! Thanks for checking out the post. Its just my 2 cents. If you want to keep it simple. Wash your hands with the milk to remove the capsaicins from your finger tips. Then soak them in whole milk overnight. Good Luck! Hope it helps

    • profile image

      mvang 6 years ago

      Soo, I'm tempted to use this method since I couldn't find anything either. I forgot to put on my contacts before cutting the jalepenos for lunch, and now my contacts are infected with jalepeno capsaicin. I'm trying to put them back on before I leave the house for other things, and these aren't disposable ones... =/ I'm going to give this tip a try. I'll let you know if it works. :D

    • profile image

      Commonguy2 7 years ago

      i should probably try this out...

      I basically rubbed my eye after eating chilli (stupid, i know) with my contacts still in, and it hurt A LOT.

      I had to take it out, but of course that put more chilli residue onto the lenses. When i got home,I soaked it in the contact lens solution (ReNu) for about 6 days but when i tried putting them on again it still BURNT.

      Ive only tried rinsing with milk, and that sorta helped; but although i can keep the lense in for a while, it starts to irritate after a couple of minutes.

      Anyway, i should probably try soaking it in milk and then washing again :D

    • HollywoodRasta profile image

      HollywoodRasta 8 years ago from Hollywood

      Glad to help! hopefully you didn't get Bhut Jolokia in your eyes! ouch.

    • profile image

      common 8 years ago

      thank you so much!

      this is the same situation as mine, except with a different type of pepper. its strange similar people's situations are. many thanks! you just saved me a day of irritation


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