Self defense substances

How To Survive Tear Gas Without A Mask?

February 22, 2019April 2, 2020

The best way to survive tear gas is to wear a gas mask. If you want one for a reasonable price, check this one on Amazon. If you don’t want to spend money on it you still have options but remember that you are putting yourself in a slightly more dangerous situation.

Below I will describe in detail how to survive tear gas even without a gas mask. If you already have been exposed to mace or pepper spray here is what you shoul do.

What can be done before?

First, avoid places with a high risk of exposure to tear gas, but if you don’t have this chance you need to do this. Cover your face with any cloth available at that time for example inside of your coat or shirt. These chemicals are not gases, so they stick to you. After exposure throw the cloth away.

Be cautious and avoid interaction of the cloth or equipment as it was exposed. Avoid crouching. The chemicals are heavier in the air and thicker the lower you get.

Another precautionary measure that can be taken if you think you can encounter tear gas anytime soon. Firstly, keep a bandana or paper towel soaked in lemon juice or cider vinegar in your bag and you can breathe through it as it can make you feel better for a sufficient amount of time.

Avoid wearing contact lenses/glasses or if you are wearing them already you can remove them instantaneously. Keeping googles is a good idea to protect your eyes from the chemicals. Tight fitting swimming goggles can be used in case you don’t have chemical safety goggles.

What you can do after?

Furthermore, there are a few basic but very important things that should be done if you are exposed to tear gas. Stay Calm. This is very important as panicking may increase the irritation and make the irritation go worse. 

Hold you breathe and close your eyes and move out from the area and move to a higher place. Inhaling the gases can be very harmful.

Wash your exposed skin with cold water and soap as it will ensure that it does not recontaminate your body. Do not wash with warm water as it may react with the skin and open skin pores and the chemicals can get deeper in your skin.

Rinse your eyes with lots and lots of water. Sniffing onions can also make you feel better. You can carry it just in case.

What is tear gas?

Tear gas, also called mace or CS gas, is a group of substances which causes irritation in the mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs.

It is not a lethal weapon hence it is commonly used for disabling protestors by the law enforcement agencies and for self-defense by the civilians. Tear gas was used first time in World War 1. It cant be used in war ( Geneva convention ), but in some countries, it is used for internal purposes.

Tear gas effects

Tear gas may cause irritation in skin and eyes and is also hazardous for people prevailing respiratory issues. Feeling disoriented, dizzy and excessively coughing are also reactions of tears gases.

The effects usually vanish in an hour but the irritability in the skin can persist for hours. Precautionary measures should be taken beforehand if you have the idea of being exposed to tear gases in any protest. A gas mask is one of the best tools to protect yourself.

Tear gas vs. pepper spray

Nowadays law enforcement officers also use pepper spray instead of tear gas ( mace ). The main difference between the two is that tear gas is irritant and pepper spray ( OC spray ) is an inflammatory agent.

Tear gas is a man-made chemical and pepper spray is a natural extract from chili peppers, called capsaicin. Tear gas can have long-lasting effects and pepper spray only last for about 60 minutes.

I also discovered that tear gas effects start to work in between 5 to 30 seconds, but pepper spray starts to effect immediately. If you want to know more about the differences between mace and pepper spray visit this link.

After I covered all the necessary topics, now let’s point it out once again.


The best way to survive tear gas or pepper spray is to wear a gas mask. Do not pick up unexploded tear gas canister as it can explode and cause injury.

Secondly, do not make physical contact at all with the people around. Do not take off clothes. Keep the exposure of gas from your skin as minimum as possible. When you are safe, get your clothes washed separately with cold water


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