Comprehensive Post-COVID Care Now Available! Click here to learn more.
How To Remove a Splinter

Quick Tips: How To Remove a Splinter Painlessly

Have you ever had a tiny piece of wood, glass, or metal get painfully inserted through your skin’s surface?

It’s common to get a splinter in finger, but it can also be shockingly discomforting. While they often seem minor, improper splinter removal can lead to pain and even infection.

Today’s blog will provide you with all the practical tips to remove a splinter painlessly and effectively, ensuring a smooth return to your daily activities without any lingering pain.

What Are Splinters?

Splinters are small, sharp fragments of foreign material, such as wood, glass, metal, or plastic, that get deeply embedded in the skin.

Their entry point in the body is mostly accidental contact, especially when handling rough or sharp objects. Entire splinters can vary in size and depth, causing symptoms ranging from mild irritation to severe pain and inflammation.

What Should You Do After You Get a Splinter?

Once you notice an entire splinter deeply embedded in the skin’s surface, it’s essential to remain calm and take immediate action to avoid infection and further embedding.

Here’s what you should do:

  • Stop Any Activity: Stop any activity that might push the entire splinter deeper into the skin’s surface.
  • Wash Your Hands and the Affected Area: Clean your hands and the area around the splinter with soap and water to avoid infection.
  • Assess the Splinter: Determine the type, size, location, and depth of the entire splinter to choose the most appropriate splinter removal method.

How To Remove a Splinter?

There are several effective ways to remove a splinter. Here’s a list of all the effective options detailing how to remove a splinter:

  1. Tweezers

Tools Needed: Sterilized tweezers, magnifying glass (optional).

  • Sterilize the tweezers with rubbing alcohol.
  • Grip the end of the splinter with the tweezers.
  • Pull out the splinter gently, and in the same direction as the entry point.
  • To avoid infection, clean the area with soap and water, then apply an antiseptic.
  1. Needles

Tools Needed: Sterilized needle, magnifying glass, tweezers.

  • Sterilize the needle with rubbing alcohol.
  • Gently use the sterilized needle to gently remove skin over the affected area.
  • Carefully pull part of the splinter to expose its end.
  • Use tweezers to pull out the splinter.
  • Clean and disinfect the affected area to avoid infection.


  1. Duct Tape

Tools Needed: Duct tape.

  • Place a piece of duct tape over the splinter.
  • Press down gently and leave it for about 30 minutes.
  • Slowly peel the tape off, and pull out the splinter with it.
  • Clean the affected area thoroughly.


  1. Baking Soda Paste

Tools Needed: Baking soda, water, bandage.

  • Mix baking soda and water to form a thick paste.
  • Apply the paste over the entire splinter.
  • Cover with a bandage and leave for 24 hours.
  • Remove the bandage; the splinter should come out as the paste dries and expands.


  1. Epsom Salts

Tools Needed: Epsom salts, warm water, bowl.

  • Dissolve Epsom salts in warm water.
  • Soak the affected area for 15-20 minutes.
  • The entire splinter may move closer to the skin’s surface for easier splinter removal with tweezers.


  1. Hydrogen Peroxide

Tools Needed: Hydrogen peroxide, cotton ball.

  • Apply hydrogen peroxide to the affected area.
  • The bubbles may push the splinter to the skin’s surface.
  • Pull out the splinter with tweezers once it’s more accessible.


  1. Wax Strips

Tools Needed: Hair removal wax strips.

  • Apply a wax strip over the splinter.
  • Press gently and let it adhere.
  • Pull off the strip quickly, bringing the splinter with it.
  • Clean and disinfect the area to avoid infection.


  1. Potatoes and Banana Peels

Tools Needed: Slice of potato or banana peel.

  • Place a slice of potato or banana peel (inner side down) over the splinter.
  • Secure with a bandage and leave overnight.
  • The enzymes can help draw the splinter to the surface for easy splinter removal.

What Should Be Done Once The Splinter is Out?

After a successful splinter removal:

  • Clean the Area: Wash with soap and water to remove any debris.
  • Disinfect: Apply an antiseptic to avoid infection.
  • Cover: Use a sterile bandage to protect the area until it heals.
  • Monitor: Keep an eye on the affected area for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus.

Treating An Infected Splinter

If a splinter becomes infected, it’s crucial to act promptly:

  • Clean the Area: Wash with soap and water.
  • Apply Warm Compresses: Use warm, moist compresses to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Use Antibiotic Ointment: Apply a topical antibiotic and cover with a bandage.
  • Seek Medical Attention: If the infection persists or worsens, consult a health care provider.

Splinters & Tetanus

Tetanus is a serious bacterial infection that can occur when Clostridium tetani bacteria enter the body through wounds, including those caused by deep splinters. Symptoms include muscle spasms and stiffness. It’s essential to:

  • Check Vaccination Status: Ensure your tetanus vaccination is up-to-date.
  • Seek Medical Advice: If unsure about your tetanus immunization status, contact your health care provider.

Risks of Not Removing a Splinter

Leaving a splinter in finger untreated can lead to several complications:

  • Infection: The most common risk, leading to pain, swelling, and pus formation.
  • Abscess Formation: A localized collection of pus can develop, requiring medical intervention.
  • Chronic Pain: Persistent discomfort due to the foreign body.
  • Systemic Infection: In severe cases, infection can spread, causing systemic issues like fever and malaise.

When to see a Health Care Provider?

Consult a health care provider if:

  • The Splinter is Deep: If it’s deeply embedded and difficult to remove.
  • Signs of Infection Appear: Redness, swelling, pain, or pus indicate infection.
  • Splinter is Large or Made of Glass/Metal: These materials can cause more significant injury and complications.
  • You’re Unable to Remove It: If self splinter removal attempts fail or cause excessive pain.
  • You Suspect Tetanus: If the wound is dirty and you are unsure of your tetanus vaccination status.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do splinters come out on their own?

Splinters can sometimes come out on their own, especially if they are small and not deeply embedded. The body may push the splinter out naturally as the skin regenerates, causing it to work its way to the surface. However, this process can take days to weeks and carries a risk of infection. Therefore, it’s usually best to remove a splinter promptly using appropriate methods.

How to remove a deep splinter?

To remove a deep splinter, first, clean the area with soap and water. Use a sterilized needle and tweezer. Gently use the needle to break the skin over the splinter and lift it slightly. Once the end is exposed, use the tweezers to carefully pull out the splinter. If you’re unable to remove it or if the pain persists, seek medical assistance.

What is the fastest way to remove a splinter?

The fastest way to remove a splinter is to use sterilized tweezers. First, clean the affected area with soap and water. Sterilize the tweezers with rubbing alcohol, grip the end of the splinter, and carefully pull out the splinter in the direction it entered. This method is quick and effective for splinters that are visible and easily accessible.

How long does it take for a splinter to come out?

The time it takes for a splinter to come out varies. If left on its own, a splinter may take several days to weeks to work its way out naturally. Active splinter removal using tweezers or other methods can take just a few minutes. For deeply embedded splinters, it might take longer and may require assistance from health care provider.


– Disclaimer –

This blog is for informational & educational purposes only and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health-related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 05/17/2024

Learn more about our editorial process.

  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

Read More