Splinters can be some of the most annoying, most common, and most painful things that can happen to you. It’s usually best to use caution around bare wood to avoid getting them in the first place, but once you’ve got one, you need to take it out. You should always start by washing the area with soap and water, like you would with any other wound. Be gentle, and make sure you don’t agitate the splinter, as that could cause it to wedge further into your skin. Then dry the area gently and make sure it is completely dry before you try to remove the splinter – a soggy or wet splinter is much harder to remove.
Probably the easiest way to remove a splinter is with a piece of tape. Note that this method will only work on splinters that have at least some part sticking out of the skin; if your splinter is fully embedded, you will have to try a different method. Examine the splinter and note the direction the splinter went in. Then, gently lay a piece of tape over the splinter, and pull it off sharply in the opposite direction. The tape should stick to the splinter and pull it out as you peel off the tape.
Another easy way to remove a splinter that is sticking out of the skin is by using common household glue. Make sure not to use superglue, as that will likely be too sticky. The general principle is the same; apply the glue over the splinter and wait for it to dry. Then peel the glue off of your skin, and the splinter should come out with it.
If none of these methods work, or your splinter is stuck completely beneath the skin, you’ll have to try something else. A common method that most people are familiar with is using tweezers to grab the splinter and pull it out. Steady hands are a must when using this method, but it can be very effective. If the splinter is too far in to grab with tweezers, you can use a needle to open up the skin a bit above the splinter, so you can access the splinter with your tweezers. This may hurt a bit, though, as you are cutting the skin a bit. Once again, be careful and be sure to wash the area before doing any of this to avoid infection.
Other ways to remove a splinter involve using different household materials. For example, you can use a potato. Cut a small slice of the potato and put it on top of the splinter, securing it lightly with a bandage or similar material. Leave this for a few hours or overnight, and the potato should naturally pull the splinter out of your skin. This method works with other common foods as well, if a potato is not readily available. Banana peel can work to pull the splinter out, used the same way, or the inner surface an eggshell.
If none of these methods work, you can use baking soda to remove the splinter. This should be your last option, as it works by causing the flesh to swell, which will make removing the splinter with tweezers or tape more difficult. To remove a splinter with baking soda, mix some baking soda with water to create a thick paste. Then apply the paste over the splinter, and cover with a bandage or gauze pad. Wait for 24 hours, and the baking soda should have caused the flesh to swell and push the splinter out. If it has not been completely extracted, you can then use any of the other methods discussed in the article to get it all the way out of your skin.
These tips should help you next time you have a splinter and need to remove it. Always remember to clean the site and wash with soap and water before trying anything, to prevent any infections from happening after you remove the splinter. Once the splinter is removed, bandage the site and treat it as you would any other wound – it’s still a small puncture in your skin, so keep it clean and apply antibiotic cream or similar wound care ointment afterwards. Hopefully these tips will let you get your next splinter out easily and quickly.