Posted by Solv, October 15, 2018 (last updated on February 11, 2019)
Getting a splinter may not be the most painful injury, but it is still an injury all the same. At best, splinters can be a minor annoyance in your day. At their worst, splinters can get infected and turn into a much bigger problem. If you’re not careful, getting a splinter removed can be a painful process, but leaving it in may be worse. Consider some of the following ways to quickly and painlessly remove a splinter.
Related: 4 Signs You Have a Sprain
How to Remove a Splinter
Splinters can be irritating and painful, especially for children. The best way to deal with a splinter and get back to your day is to take care of it immediately. First, you should clean the area gently with water. Then, pat the area dry with a clean towel. Fortunately, most splinters can be removed at home, without the help of a physician. However, some splinters may need medical attention, depending on:
- Where the splinter is located on your body
- How big the splinter is
- How deep the splinter is
If you can see the tip of the splinter, you should be able to remove it gently with sanitized tweezers after cleaning the wound. If you cannot see the tip of the splinter, a needle may be used to puncture the skin where the splinter is closest to the surface. After freeing a section of the splinter, you can then remove it with tweezers. Don’t forget to clean the area again after removing the splinter!
The tweezer method is one of the most common ways of removing a splinter, but it isn’t always an option. Sometimes tweezers may not be available, or the tweezers that you have may not be able to grab the end of the splinter effectively. However, there’s no need for you to worry. Below, find five creative, easy ways to remove that pesky splinter.
1. Tape is Quick and Easy
One of the easiest ways you can remove a splinter is with tape. You can use either scotch tape or duct tape for this method. Cover the tip of the splinter with a piece of tape and gently remove the tape in the direction opposite of the way that the splinter entered your skin. The tape should stick to the end of the splinter and pull it free as you peel the tape away. This method may not work as effectively if the splinter is deep or large.
2. Baking Soda Pulls up Splinters
Make a paste using one tablespoon of baking soda and one tablespoon of water. Cover the skin around the splinter with the paste. Then, put a bandage over the area and leave it alone for at least 24 hours. The baking soda solution should work to pull the splinter up to the surface, making it easier to pull out with tweezers easily and painlessly.
3. Glue Peels Off
Did you know that you can use simple Elmer’s glue (or your favorite brand) to pull out a splinter? Simply cover the area of skin around the splinter with glue and let it dry around the splinter. If you attempt to pull the glue away from your skin before it has dried completely, this trick will not work. Once the glue is dry, peel it off. As long as the splinter is not too deep, it should come out quickly when you peel away the glue. This method is best used if the splinter is small and near the surface.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide Pops Splinters Out
If you have some hydrogen peroxide around, pour some over the area of the splinter. As the peroxide bubbles, it will move the splinter toward the surface. In just a few minutes, the peroxide can pop the splinter completely out of the skin, without any pain. This can be used for large splinters but may be less effective if the splinter is too deep. Don’t have any hydrogen peroxide laying around? White vinegar can also be used to achieve the same effect.
5. Find the solution in your garden
If you’re having trouble bringing the splinter to the surface, the answer may be found in your garden—or the produce section of the grocery store! Some people swear by the ability of onions and potatoes to draw out a splinter so that you can remove it with tweezers. Cut a small slice of one of these foods and use a bandage, cloth, or even a clean sock to secure it to your skin. Leave on for a few hours—or overnight, if possible. Once the splinter has risen to the surface, you should be able to pull it out with tweezers painlessly.
Take care to prevent splinters
Sometimes you can’t avoid getting a splinter, but taking extra precautions may help save you from getting injured unnecessarily. For instance, wearing shoes while outside can protect your feet from splinters, as well as broken glass, rocks, and other potentially painful debris. Additionally, you should always wear protective gloves when gardening or working with wood.
Should you go to urgent care for your splinter?
While it’s true that most splinters can be safely removed at home, you shouldn’t be afraid to seek medical attention for your splinter. You may need to see a physician to remove your splinter if the splinter is especially large, deep, or located in or close to your eye.
Additionally, any splinter wounds that show signs of infection—including redness, swelling, increasing pain, or warmth near the site of the splinter—should be treated by a medical professional. Depending on the circumstances, your doctor may recommend a tetanus booster if your last booster shot was over five years ago.
If you have tried these tips to remove your splinter and are still having trouble, it may be time to head to a clinic. Urgent care centers are a great option for getting deep or large splinters out. They will be able to get the splinter out completely and ensure that you are not in pain. The physicians at a clinic will also be able to examine the wound for infection and administer treatment as needed
Getting a splinter out can be a painful process, but it doesn’t have to be. Depending on where the splinter is, and how deep it goes, you may be able to get it out of your skin by yourself. However, if you are unsure whether you can safely remove the splinter, or you suspect that the wound may be infected, don’t hesitate to book an appointment at your local urgent care clinic today.