How to Remove a Splinter (& What Not to Do)

I don’t have the stats to prove it, but I feel comfortable saying that no one like splinters. They’re annoying and surprisingly painful for something so small in stature. These small wounds can cause harm to the body and should be dealt with quickly to reduce the possibility of infection.

Removing splinters is easier said than done, however. They can be tricky. Sometimes trying to remove one only ends up causing it to dive deeper into the skin.

Here are a few dos and don’ts when removing splinters.

How to Remove a Splinter: Dos and Don’ts

Do

  • Prevent infection! Always begin by washing your hands and the affected area with warm, soapy water.
  • Use the right tools. Good lighting and a magnifying glass will help you see the splinter better.
  • Look closely. Notice the splinter before trying to remove it. Try to pull from the same direction it’s going into the skin.

Don’t

  • Never try to pinch or squeeze a splinter out. It could cause the splinter to break into smaller pieces and make it more difficult to remove.
  • Don’t dig into the skin causing more damage. Splinters can go deep. If they aren’t at the surface of the skin, use one of the methods below making it easier to remove.

Tricks for Splinter Removal

Banana skin on floor

1. Banana Peels

Bananas don’t only taste good; they can remove splinters, too. Well, their peels can. There’s an enzyme in banana peels that forces them to the surface of the skin. Once there, they’re easier to remove with tweezers.

Place the banana peel with the white side down on top of the affected area. Cover it with a bandage or tape. In about ten minutes, check the area. Remove splinter when it’s ready.

Baking soda

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a popular method for removing deeply embedded tiny, almost-invisible splinters. Baking soda causes the skin to swell. The swelling pushes the foreign material to the surface of the skin where it’s easier to remove.

Mix baking soda and a small amount of water to create a thick paste. Smear directly onto the affected area. Cover with a bandage. The splinter should be ready to pull out after a few hours.

Glass of hot water on a wooden table

3. A Bottle or Glass & Hot Water

The bottle and hot water method is my favorite way to remove splinters. Create a pore-opening vacuum with a bit of hot water and a bottle. If the area is large, like your palm, a drinking glass will also work.

Fill the bottle or glass almost to the top with hot water. Press the affected area over the mouth firmly, to create a vacuum seal. Hold it in place for a few minutes to draw the splinter to the surface. Then, carefully remove the bottle and pull out the splinter.

Epsom Salt

4. Epsom Salts

One of the most often-cited home remedies for splinter removal isEpsom salts. It works by absorbing the water from skin cells, which allows the splinter to work its way to the surface.

First, you’ll need a bandage. Next, place a small amount of Epsom salt directly on the padded area of the dressing. Once done, apply it directly to the affected area. By evening the splinter will have worked its way out of the skin.

Red onion on wooden background

5. Onions

Believe it or not, onions work for splinter removal too. It involves taping an onion to the affected area, but that’s better than having a painful splinter!

Tape a slice of fresh onion to the affected area. Wait an hour and then remove the onion. The splinter will be easier to remove.

Raw Potatoes

6. Potato

Another vegetable that can help eliminate splintersis a potato.You can do this in two possible ways: as a type of poultice or as an alternative to tweezers.

The first method uses a slice of potato and works well for splinters that are already at the skin’s surface. Gently press a potato slice over the affected area. The splinter will stick into the soft flesh making it easy to remove.

For the second method, take a slice of raw potato and place it over the affected area. Place a bandage or tape over the slab to hold it in place, and wear it overnight. The splinter will rise to the surface by the morning.

These are just a fewways to remove a splinter; there are many more, too. One technique recommends soaking the splinter in vegetable oil for five minutes to soften the area, making it easy to tweeze. Another approach uses white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to bring thesplinter to the surface.

Do you have a tried-and-true no-pain method for removing splinters that I didn’t mention? Tell me about it (and how to do it) in the comments!

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69 comments

Gino C
Gino C5 months ago

tyfs

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Lesa D
Lesa D5 months ago

i just have always called my Mom!!! LOLOL!!!

thank you KD...

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Naomi D
Naomi Dreyer5 months ago

New for me - thanks

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Leanne K
Leanne K5 months ago

Now I want to know how to remove glass.... thanks Care2

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Leanne K
Leanne K5 months ago

Despite being the backyard adventurer with a vivid imagination, when it came to splinters, my daughter would scream the house down. The tweezers would be still in the cabinet, but the blood curdling screams would be heard two suburbs away. She still is a bit of a sook....

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Leanne K
Leanne K5 months ago

The splinter will poke into the potato? Um ok, perhaps a big splinter?

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Leanne K
Leanne K5 months ago

Omg why have I not heard of all these things before?

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Mike R
Mike R5 months ago

Thanks

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Lisa M
Lisa M5 months ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M5 months ago

Thanks.

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