“I carry pepper spray.” This is a statement said in a certain Indian song after the girl gives her number to a guy whose been eyeing her for quite some time. She says it as a humourous warning, but we all know that in a different context, pepper spray can be used as a self-defence weapon. So how do you make this weapon at home?
First, you will need basic kitchen supplies including;
Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol (92%) is more effective as an irritant than water.
You can use any pepper as long as it has equal or greater heat than cayenne pepper. If you have cayenne pepper the better. You want to make it spicier for the best result.
You can add any extra ingredients to the pepper spray as long as they won’t cause permanent eye damage.
Gather all your ingredients. In a bowl, put two tablespoons of the chilli powder. In case you have red peppers begin by grinding them first before proceeding.
Pour the isopropyl alcohol as your stir. You want to add the alcohol until the pepper is submerged under it. You may use water instead of alcohol.
Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil or baby oil per every two tablespoons of chilli powder. Stir the mixture to incorporate. Oil gives the mixture some texture so that it can stick when sprayed on the perpetrator.
To make it even more irritating you can try adding lemon or soap to the mixture. Although this step is optional.
Cover the bowl with a plastic paper and leave the mixture to stay overnight.
The next day, strain the mixture into a spray bottle. You can use a strainer or a cheesecloth to filter the residue.
Practice spraying while ensuring the nozzle is faced in the opposite direction. Always keep the lid of the bottle tightly sealed to avoid getting the spray on your belongings. If you accidentally get it into your eyes, wash it off immediately with cold water. The effect might linger for about 3 hours.
Store the spray out of reach of children. A cupboard or somewhere with cool temperatures is preferable. Whenever you need to use it put the pepper spray in a strategic place where you can access it. You can carry it in your hand in case you feel threatened, or in your pocket.
But always bear in mind that in order to counter a threat using your pepper spray, and that too effectively, you need to have it in a functional canister/spray bottle, and be familiar with how to use it. That way whenever a threat presents itself, you are quick to protect yourself.
Please note that having manufactured pepper spray is illegal in Kenya so you should carry it at your own risk because even homemade pepper may get you in trouble.
Kenyan women and queers:
As you may know, pepper spray/mace is illegal in Kenya.
Last week, I learnt from a trainer that hairspray has a similar effect. It may not be as powerful, but it really stings. Most importantly, it’s legal and cheaper.
I am a writer with interest in hair, beauty and fashion. I also like telling stories, but most of all I enjoy listening and reading them. If I'm not doing any of the above, I will be trying to crack a game of chess or monopoly. My biggest fear is being ordinary.