Have raccoons been climbing your apple trees and stealing your fruit? Are rabbits munching on your garden veggies? Has someone been stealing from you? Maybe it’s time to make your own pepper spray and put it to use.
Pepper spray might be the most underrated self defense weapon. It’s non-lethal, but it’s easy-to-use and effective at deterring pests and hostile people. Pepper spray is easy to carry – a stealthy weapon that isn’t regulated by gun laws. If you do use it on a person, remember that you are committing assault. So be sure you are justified in defending yourself; be prepared to stand your ground and finish the fight or run to safety. An assailant may be prepared to fight back with greater force, that is, if they can see past the capsaicin that is burning their eyes.
To make your own pepper spray, first you’ll need a delivery system. You can find spray bottles of various sizes online, or you can buy standard size spray bottles at nurseries, department stores, or garden centers.
Second, you’ll need to prepare the hot slurry. Caution: When making the slurry, wear gloves and work in a well ventilated area. Also wear eye protection and an N95 mask. You cannot afford to get this stuff in your eyes or on sensitive areas.
Make your spray more potent by increasing its Scoville Heat Unit
If you have dried cayenne or habanero powder, you can quickly prepare a hot slurry using four tablespoons of habanero or eight tablespoons of cayenne powder. The amount of pepper you’ll need depends on the peppers’ Scoville Heat Unit rating (SHU). The SHU indicates the intensity of the peppers’ heat. The higher the number is, the more intense the burn.
Red Cayenne pepper provides the lowest recommended heat index for pepper spray, coming in at 30,000 to 60,000 SHU. If you use cayenne pepper, you’ll need more pepper to achieve greater potency.
The Thai Bird Chili pepper measures at 50,000 SHU to 150,000 SHU. The Scotch bonnet chili and Habanero pepper measure between a hot 100,000 SHU to the extreme of 350,000 SHU. Just a pinch of these peppers will set your mouth ablaze for several minutes.
Not to be outdone is the Red Savina Habanero, which measures 350,000 SHU to 650,000 SHU. At the top of the scale is the Ghost Pepper, which hits a breathtaking 800,000 to 1.5 million SHU. Use these peppers for the most potent slurry.
A store-bought pepper spray contains 2 to 10 percent capsaicin and ranges in heat from 500,000 SHU to 2 million SHU. Law enforcement-grade pepper spray may contain 10 percent capsaicin and be as potent as 6 million SHU. For deterring animals or setting a perimeter around your garden, consider a two percent capsaicin mix. For stopping home intruders, consider making a powerful formula that is 10 percent capsaicin. Your life may depend upon the strength of your formula.
How to prepare the hot slurry
Now that you have your powdered pepper, pour it in a 32-ounce bottle. The mixture is enhanced by garlic. Mix in two tablespoons of powdered or minced garlic. Then, add two tablespoons of mineral oil so the mixture will readily stick to its target. Finally, pour in 14 ounces of either isopropyl rubbing alcohol or white vinegar. Shake well and let sit overnight. Once the mixture is ready, pour it out into your dispenser bottle, using a strainer to collect the debris. The pepper spray is now ready to be stored or used. Just make sure there are no leaks in your bottle or you could ruin your clothes, your purse, or cause an accident.
To make the mix from scratch, you’ll need to purchase peppers from the store or collect peppers from your garden. Start with 12 habaneros or 24 cayenne peppers. You can make the mixture as potent as you like by adding more peppers. If the peppers are not dry, place them in the oven on low heat. Once they are dry, break the peppers down and grind them as fine as you can, maximizing surface area. Use a blender, grinder, or coffee grinder to crush the chilis and the garlic together. Use the blender to mix the mineral oil, garlic, peppers, and vinegar together at the end. Let the blend stand for 24 to 48 hours, as the properties of the peppers extract into the liquid. Finally, strain out the debris using a funnel strainer. Store excess slurry in a sealed container and place in the refrigerator. Clean the blender with caution and use a solution of mineral oil, soap, and hot water to remove the capsaicin.
You can fill your sprayers as needed. You now have a versatile weapon that will last three to six months.
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