For as small as they typically are, splinters can cause a lot of pain. You usually find them somewhere sensitive, like your hands, and any injury could potentially become infected and cause much more severe issues.
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When To See a Doctor
Unfortunately, you can’t remove every splinter at home. Sometimes, your best splinter removal option will be going to a medical professional. You should see a doctor rather than attempting to remove a splinter yourself if it’s:
- Near your eye
Attempting to remove a serious splinter yourself could result in more harm than good. If you’re not sure if it’s safe to try to remove a splinter yourself, it’s best to consult your doctor.
Your Removal Options
While most people think about wood when they think of splinters, glass and metal are common. While it shouldn’t matter what type of splinter you have for the removal process, it’s important to note that wood and other organic materials are more likely to result in inflammation or infection. Therefore, you should remove a wooden splinter as soon as possible.
A Safety Pin and Tweezers
Many people grew up using this method. It’s a classic for a reason, too: a safety pin or a sewing need, and the judicious use of tweezers is one of the best ways to remove a splinter. To take advantage of this method, you will need:
- A safety pin, sewing needle, or another needle
- Tweezers or forceps
- Something to sterilize your materials
To begin with, gently wash the area around the splinter with soap and water. You don’t want to drive the splinter more deeply into your skin or break it into smaller pieces. Sanitize the needle and tweezers as well. Rubbing alcohol works, and you probably have some on hand.
Next, locate one end of the splinter and begin to push it out of your skin using the needle carefully. When enough of it is free, use your tweezers to grasp it and pull. When the splinter is out, wash up with soap and water again, then put a bandage over the splinter site.
People often joke that duct tape can fix anything. While that isn’t strictly true, you may be surprised to learn that this sturdy, sticky tape could help you remove a splinter. Duct tape would be a good option if the needle method didn’t work for you or you hate needles. It’s easy, too. All you’ll need is duct tape and a bit of patience.
Put a bit of tape over the splinter and leave it for a while. For the best results, give it half an hour. Then, slowly remove the tape.
Using duct tape to remove a splinter is most effective for small, shallow fragments. However, if you have a lot of body hair in the area around the shard, you may want to look into one of our other options.
Like the duct tape method, you can also use Elmer’s glue or a similar product to remove a splinter. Just cover the area in glue, then wait for it to dry. Please make sure the glue is dry all the way through before you try to remove it; otherwise, it isn’t likely to work. When you’re sure it’s dry, peel the glue off. Your splinter should come out when you do.
Like the duct tape method, glue is most effective for small, shallowly located splinters. It’s also essential to use the correct glue. Something washable and meant for paper is best.
Epsom salt isn’t just for relaxing baths anymore. You can also use it to help remove a splinter. For this method, you’ll need to dissolve Epsom salt into warm water. How much, exactly? That depends on how much water you’re planning to use.
Ideally, you’ll be able to soak the splinter until it begins to emerge, so you’ll need a container at least that large. Fill the container with warm but not painfully hot water, then start stirring in salt. Do so until you can add salt and it doesn’t dissolve.
Now, soak and affected area and wait. The splinter should begin to emerge as it works out and the skin draws away from the site. That way, you can grab it with tweezers without having to use a needle.
If you’re a little bit hungry and feeling adventurous, you can try removing your splinter with a banana peel. It might sound dubious, but many people report great success with this method.
After you’ve eaten the banana, cut out a piece of the peel large enough to cover the splinter and the skin around it. Then, tape the peel securely over the area and leave it, preferably overnight.
While the idea of spending the night with a piece of banana peel taped to your skin isn’t appealing, you should wake up in the morning with the splinter either out or easily graspable with tweezers.
Whatever method you choose to remove a splinter, keep in mind that prompt action can prevent infection and more severe issues later on. If you have concerns, be sure to discuss them with your doctor.