How To Painlessly Remove Chili From Your Fingers

Do your fingers tingle when you chop chili? Also known as chili burn, that's what happens when the chili oil from the siling labuyo transfer to your hands when chopping it up for your favorite spicy dishes. While preparing chili isn't deadly or dangerous, it can be painful, especially if you touch other parts of your body, such as your face, without washing your hands first.  

You can avoid the dreaded accidental eye burn when you absentmindedly touch your face with your hands! You can do any of these tips and tricks to remove that burn on your hands when you prepare chilis for a dish: 

1 Wear gloves. 

Placing a layer of plastic between your hands and the chili is a great idea. Not only will you be able to hold and chop the chili without any fear of the chili burn, but you can avoid it altogether without any worry. 

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2 "Wash" your hands with oil. 

There's a good reason for using oil instead of water to rub oil on your hands before washing them. What people, in general, may not know is that flavor compounds, such as chili oil, are more soluble in fat than in water. What this means is that it's the fat where you will find the most flavor, not the soup. This is why spices are bloomed in oil, including chilis. That's why it's more common to find chili oil than chili water. It is just more potent and tasty. 


To make sure that all the chili oil has been removed from your hands, rubbing oil on your hands after chopping up chilis can help the oils loosen from your skin, distributing it to lessen the burn. This also makes it easier to wash off when you do wash with soap and water. Just make sure you use enough soap so you're not left with oily hands. 

3 Rub on alcohol or vinegar. 

This may sound odd but alcohol is even more effective in removing the burn than oil. Alcohol will dissolve the oil so using rubbing your hands with alcohol after chopping will stop the burn. You should still wash your hands with soap and water and rinse well to make sure that any chili oil doesn't linger on your skin. 

Just like alcohol, vinegar will do the same thing since vinegar is an acid and will also dissolve the chili oil that's lingering on your hands. 


If you do burn more than just your hands with chili, soothe the burn by cooling the area immediately in milk, cream, or, if it's your eyes that are suffering, a quick wash with cold water.  


Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here.

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