How Long Does Pepper Spray Last?

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How long does pepper spray last is an important question as this determines how much time do you have to run from the attacker & survive, that is why i decided to make this article to share with you my thoughts while using this pepper spray.

According to my experience in using pepper spray, and the team practical knowledge here in Selfdefenseme, we found that 3 factors can affect on how long does pepper spray last:

  1. The Concentration of the pepper & capsaicin inside the canister.
  2. How far do you spray your target.
  3. The amount of pepper that have been sprayed at his/her face.
  4. The person’s sensitivity to pepper spray.

Key Takeaways:

  • 5 mins is the least duration of how long does pepper spray last considering the capsaicin amount inside the canister & the shooting range as a factor can impact the success of stopping the attacker.
  • Just like any self-defense tool, it has PROs & CONs that will be discussed into details to illustrate more is it good or not to rely on using pepper spray.

How Long Does Pepper Spray Last?

Like i explained to you before, the effects of pepper spray can last anywhere from 5 minutes up to an hour, during which time the attacker will experience intense burning and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as difficulty breathing.

Also, you need to consider that the effects of pepper spray can vary depending on the shooting range and distance as 5 feet distance is much harder than 15 feet.

What Are The Factors Affecting Pepper Spray’s Effectiveness?

Based on our observations, the weather conditions can affect the effectiveness of pepper spray, beside the range & the amount of pepper and capsaicin:

  • The concentration of the spray refers to the amount of capsaicin, the active ingredient in pepper spray as there are types of pepper that are quite hot like the ghost pepper and you can check the scoville scale as below to have a quick idea about it.

  • You will have to put into your consideration the distance from the target as If you spray the attacker from a long distance 20 feet. for example , that may disperse too much and lose its potency.
  • If it is too close, it may not have enough time to fully affect the target, So i recommend you can spray from 10-15 feet to make the pepper spray effective and also you can be safe by being not too close to the attacker.

  • Please take care of the duration of the spray is also crucial. Some sprays are designed to provide a short burst, while others are meant to last for a more extended period.
  • Also you don’t have to spray too much at the face of the attacker, and that will cause him serious injuries then the legal consequences will not please you.
  • You must deal with the different weather conditions. As it can also affect the pepper spray’s effectiveness, for example the wind can impact the spray’s direction to be directed to your face instead of the attacker or the rain can reduce the power of the pepper spray.

Also note that age, health & respiratory issues can be a main factor in determining how effective a pepper spray can be.

Can You Rely on Pepper Spray When You Need It?

pepper spray

Pepper spray is an effective self-defense tool that will help you to survive any dangerous situation, however you must consider the previous factors that can reduce the effectiveness of pepper spray, so you can be confident while using it.

The amount of capsaicin must be high & you can spray the attacker from a distance that doesn’t exceed 15 feet.

Also you must practice too much to be familiar with the canister to grab it easily from your pocket and start shooting as fast as possible.

Practice using the pepper spray in an outdoor area where no humans or pets are around, place a whiteboard as a target and then spray from different angels & distances to recognize the strength of your self-defense weapon.

Pepper Spray – Pros and Cons:

Pepper spray is a non-lethal self-defense weapon that is capable of stopping any attacker & it is considered to be the best choice for women especially but I discovered some disadvantages through using pepper spray which am going to discuss it with you:

PROs Of Pepper Spray:

  1. Very Effective self-defense tool that you can use to disable any attacker quickly by causing temporary blindness, so you would have a decent chance to run and survive.
  2. Non-Lethal weapon that can incapacitate an attacker without causing permanent damage or death unlike the firearms, So you are on the safe side legally.
  3. It is easy to use but it requires minimal training as I explained to you earlier in the article.
  4. Easy to carry in pocket to be ready any time and very affordable, you can notice that our top pick cost only 26 USD and It has hundreds of positive reviews from the clients who purchased the product, tested & reviewed it positively right after.

CONs Of Pepper Spray:

  1. Wind or the air can change the direction of the spray.
  2. Some individuals may be less sensitive to pepper spray such as the people with respiratory issues.
  3. The use of pepper spray is prohibited in some states according to the local laws.

The Bottom Line:

  • Now you are aware of how long does pepper spray last, the factors that impact the strength of pepper spray, pros and cons of using pepper spray.
  • According to our research and practical knowledge, Pepper spray can be the top pick for any one look for a self-defense option especially for women as it is long-range weapon & very cheap.



I am Dibo, the founder of, my goal is real simple which is keeping everyone protected & able to defend him/her self when needed. So, I have decided to make this website to review the most effective self defense weapons and also share my experience in using them through the published tips & guides.