How Long Does Pepper Spray Last?

If you have ever tried a spicy curry or chili chutney and that was just a little too spicy and you can’t handle the burning sensation in your mouth. No matter how much you drink water it doesn’t seem to stop.

Now, imagine if you feel the same burning or irritation all over your face like in your eyes, nose, throat. It would be extremely painful. And you won’t be able to handle it.

We are going to answer very important questions today:

  • How long does pepper spray last?
  • What does it feel like if someone sprays pepper in your face?
  • Is pepper spray legal?

Pepper spray has been employed by law to deal with violent, hostile, or dangerous situations. Many people also use it as a personal self-defense weapon to defend themselves or try to protect themselves.

What Exactly Does Pepper Spray Do to Your Body?

Pepper Spray Effects

Capsaicin is the active ingredient in pepper spray. It is the best choice for both legal and for personal use because you can take pepper spray anywhere (portable) and it is easy to use.

If you were sprayed with pepper spray on the face, then immediately you will feel the burning sensation, irritation in your eyes, nose, throat, mouth. Its effect is immediate and powerful. 

You don’t feel anything if you hold a pepper in your hand. It feels like you were holding a harmless thing. Pepper causes acute burning and discomfort when it comes into contact with your lips or your tongue. This is because the capsaicin in the pepper makes chilies hot but in an intense form.

Pepper spray’s effects are based on the amount of pepper that is sprayed in your face, the strength of the spray, and where it was sprayed. If someone sprayed straight into your face then the effects will be more powerful and long-lasting.

You would immediately feel a burning sensation in your eyes, nose, mouth, and possibly even potentially in your throat and on your skin if pepper spray was sprayed in your face. So how long does pepper spray last? As per NCCEH, the burning sensation from pepper spray can last anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes. Your eyes would be inflamed and swell shut, resulting in temporary blindness lasting 15 to 30 minutes. If your throat swells you may find it difficult to breathe and start coughing.

If a person is allergic to any of the pepper spray’s chemicals, has asthma, or has a pre-existing cardiac problem, the effects of pepper spray may be more severe and in some situations, death may result.

The entire effect usually lasts between 20-90 minutes. Despite this, discomfort and redness in the eyes last up to 24 hours.

When a person’s skin is exposed to OC spray, people can experience “tingling, intense burning pain, swelling, redness and blistering”. If it gets in the eyes, it can cause pain and stinging and temporary blindness that lasts 30 minutes or so. You should test your spray every 90-180 days. Inhalation of high doses of some of these chemicals can produce adverse cardiac, respiratory, and neurological effects, including arrhythmias and sudden death.

Expiration Dates of Pepper Spray

Expiration Dates of Pepper Spray

Expiration dates are usually stamped on the bottom of the spray canisters or somewhere else on the product. The reason for the dates on the canisters is that the main ingredient (OC) will decay over time, but the canister itself may not be able to spray as effectively. 

After a while, it may not be able to spray at all. This is due to the fact the aerosol propellant used with the OC ingredient may leak out and make the act of spraying impossible. This type of leakage is seen in all canister sizes, but even more so in similar sizes. Since the distance of the pepper spray is vital to the product’s use, always pay attention to the expiration dates.

Testing Your Pepper Spray

Even if your pepper spray product or canister is well within the limits of the expiration date stamped on it, it is still important to test the product periodically. You should test your spray every 90-180 days. Remember that with each test there will be less content in the canister afterward. If you have a small canister like a key chain, then you may need to replace it every 12-18 months if you test it regularly, just to ensure it will contain spray if you need it.

To test your pepper spray, head outside on a non-windy day. Be sure to see which way the breeze is blowing and stand upwind. Press the spray button for 5 seconds. Do this every 90-180 days to ensure your product is in working condition

Even if you don’t use pepper spray it’s a good idea to replace it every 12-18 months. If you are testing it regularly you may need to replace it even more often. This means throwing away a non-empty canister. It is a good thing if you are not using it and tend to throw away unused canisters. That means you are staying safe.

Is Pepper Spray Legal?

Pepper spray is a chemical that law enforcement and civilians are legally allowed to use for defense. It can be dangerous, and its use is controversial, especially when agents use it against civilian protesters. In the United Kingdom and many other European countries, pepper spray is classified as a weapon and nobody is allowed to use it without permission from the home secretary.

In the US, laws vary from state to state.

In India, it is legal to use pepper spray for self-defense and no license is required. It is sold through state-approved companies.

Till now, pepper spray found its use in incidents of violent protests across the world, self-defense against animal or human assaults. 


Remember that pepper spray is a self-defense device, used to temporarily stop a threat and allow the user to escape physical harm from their assailant. It is unlawful for the user to use pepper spray for any other reason and could incur criminal and civil penalties if used for other purposes. It can be dangerous, and its use is controversial, especially when used against civilians. 

If you have any questions about pepper sprays, Fell free to reach out to us via the comments.

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