Last Modified on Feb 24, 2014
Splinters or slivers of wood, metal, and other materials can be hard to remove and extremely painful for their small size. Fortunately, a few home remedy tips and tricks can help you remove a splinter more easily and prevent infection in the wound left behind.
Digging around with a needle is perhaps the most common way of removing a splinter, but this needle can introduce infectious agents. For children in particular, a needle can also be scary and painful, as can repeatedly squeezing the skin around the splinter, whether that be in the fingers, the hand, the feet, or in some other area of the body.
However, and especially if it is a wood splinter, you may be able to apply a poultice or liquid that will help the body to soon expel the sliver relatively painlessly.
Natural Cures: Earth Clinic users have found that using vinegar or a white bread poultice can help you remove a splinter easily and help to prevent infection of the surrounding skin. Tape may also be applied to pull out the exposed end of a sliver, or a paste of baking soda applied to the wound may cause the sliver to expand so that the splinter pushes itself back out of the hole in the skin.
|White Vinegar||8 YEAS|
Apple Cider Vinegar
11/03/2012: D from Naples, Fl: "I recently picked up a prickly pear in the grocery store and squeezed it for ripeness. I asked the produce attendant about the taste and he said he never had one. I asked some ladies and they said there were alot of seeds inside and it didn't taste anything like a pear. I decided not to buy one and a few minutes after putting it back my hands started stinging. The pear did not feel prickly really just bumpy. I went to immediately wash my hands with soap and water and could hardly stand the pain or touch them with a towel. It felt like tiny splinters or needles all over my palms and fingers yet I couldn't see anything! When I searched at home with a magnifying glass I could hardly see anything but tiny white, almost clear splinter like needles. In my search for help, I did not see anything on Earth Clinic so I went searching further. The first advice when handling this fruit was to wear gloves! Too late....... As I searched I found that double face tape may help get the needles out, I did try but it was too painful. I also tried pantyhose as it stated that when you rub in one direction it may catch the needles. It did help a little.
I heard so much about ACV on Earth Clinic I decided to give it a try. It seemed to help ease the pain a bit so that I could try to at least touch them. I used a magnifying glass and tweezers to try to remove the tiny white, almost non-visible needles from my hands. I washed again with Apple Cider Vinegar and then soap and water. I will continue to wash with ACV for the remainder of the evening and tomorrow if necessary to help ease the stinging now that the needles have been removed. I did find that prickly pear is used to help in a number of things, one being diabetes and maybe even hair loss because of it's nutrients. If you decide to give it a try please use caution in handling. I am so grateful to Earth Clinic and it's readers for your help and feedback over the years--I hopes this helps someone else who may have been stung by the pear needles."
[YEA] 08/03/2009: Candice from Victorville, Ca: "Hello. I just had a splinter stuck in my index finger for two days and it hurt so bad I couldnt even type with it! I soaked it in Vinegar (apple cider, I didnt have white) for about 1 minute the attempted to tweeze it out but it didn't work. So, I just tried pushing it out from the bottom of the splinter to the top (the top being the part hardly sticking out of the skin) and about two good tries and it POPPED OUT! I was shocked, so the vinegar must loosen it some how? I dont know how it worked but Im glad that it did! Thanks for the advice!"Replies
[YEA] 06/10/2010: Donna from Taneytown, Md replies: "Thank you for the Apple Cider remedy. I had a splinter under my fingernail so I did 3 things. I soaked it in the vinegar, then in warm warm 20 minutes each. Then I remembered my Dad using a piece of bacon fat to draw splinters. I then washed throughly and added a small piece of bacon fat to area where splinter was under the nail-was on top of nail kinda after trimming the nail as far back as I could. Put a band-aid on it to hold in place as slept with it on. The next morning with just a little coaxing the splinter came out! I am not sure what really worked but the combo seemed to disinfect, clean and draw it out."
[YEA] 08/09/2011: Regina from Cape Cod, Massachusetts replies: "I can't believe the white vinegar really worked. My five year old had a terrible splinter under his big toe nail. It was quite painful for him and he would not let me near it. His doctor's office said you just have to pull and have someone strong hold him down. I had him soak it in water with antibacterial soap for some time, then I read this advice. I put his whole foot in a bucket of white vinegar and soaked it for 20 minutes. Then I told him to let me try ONE pull on the splinter. Well, that is all it took. The splinter that had been unmovable before simply slid right out. I even called back the doctor to share this wonderful remedy. Thanks it really worked!!!"
[YEA] 07/02/2010: Scott from Hanston, Ks, Usa: "Bread Poultice - Infection & Splinter Cure
This was a remedy used by my Grandmother for years, living on the farm, it was too far to run to the doctor for small infections, spider bites, splinters, glass, asphalt, scrapes, puss, etc.. You would soak a piece of bread with water, at bedtime, wrap it with bread wrapper to hold moisture in, and wrap with Ace (elastic) Bandage. When you awoke in the morning the venom, splinter, glass, rocks, infection and or puss lay on the surface of the bread. Acts like a sponge drying out, creating suction & removing obstruction. Other than the 3 hour bath (wrinkly) skin, laughing aloud, it works miracles."
[YEA] 09/05/2012: Anonymosaurus Rex from Somewhere, Alone, Listening To Radiohead: "To remove splinters, try using magnesium sulfate (AKA Epsom salts).
You can either use a small amount of water to make a paste and apply this to the area and cover with a bandage, or you can soak the splinter in epsom salts if a bandage cannot be applied.
This method will also reduce the local swelling and any pus that is around the splinter."
[YEA] 04/25/2012: Caca from Orangeburg, South Carolina Usa: "After a splinter got under my fingernail, I cut nail as low as possible and pulled skin back from nail. After several attempts to remove splinter with needle (after sterilizing it), I had no success. I then soaked finger in alcohol for about three minutes. After making sure there was an opening over the splinter I forced neosporin ointment under the nail. I only waited about two hours before I pulled skin back from under nail and then pushed on the nail and the splinter slid out. Thank goodness. Maybe it was just just luck..... but it worked for me."
[YEA] 09/22/2013: Mmsg from Somewhere, Europe: "Another YEA for vinegar soak for splinters. After about 10-15 minutes of soaking (I only had wine vinegar), the edges of 2 hair-thin spliners came out of the sking far enough for me to painlessly pull them out with tweezers."
[YEA] 11/11/2011: Austin from Texarkana, Texas: "Thank u so much. It just made my day because I was just about to go to a wedding in Arkansas with a huge splinter in my thumb. My mom just told me to tweeze it out but it didn't work. Then I looked up this website and it saved me from my worst dipleasure in the world. Thanks a bunch."
Wei Ling Xian
01/12/2009: Tan Koon Peng from Singapore: "Home Remedy For Bone Struck In Throat
This remedy is suitable for fish bone,chicken bone or any other bone struck in the throat during eating.
Ingredients:Wei Ling Xian 50g,water 800g and vinegar 800g.
Boil 800g of water and add in herb and vinegar when the water comes to a boil.Cook under low flame for 90 minutes and it is ready for comsumption.
If your condition is serious you can drink the medicine twice a day and if needed continue taking the medicine over the next few days.
Wei Ling Xian
EC: Thanks, Tan Koon. Unfortunately the Chinese characters that you send us don't work on the EC database, so we replaced it with the English translation for this herb, Wei Ling Xian.
White Bread in Milk
[YEA] 03/05/2009: Sharon from Vancouver, BC Canada: "I had a huge painful wood splinter under my thumbnail that was impossible to reach with tweezers and about a week later it either became infected or I had an allergic reaction to the wood itself which was cedar. A good friend insisted that white bread boiled in milk would remove it, and (ignoring my protests about the evils of white bread and milk) proceeded to boil 1/2 a slice of white bread in about 1 cup of milk for about two minutes, then while it was still very hot but not boiling, put a blob of this mixture on my fingernail and covered it with a bandaid. I was given strict instructions not to remove the bandaid until it was completely dry, so I left it on overnight and the next mornng removed it to find that the splinter had been almost completly drawn out from under my nail and was very easy to remove. I was very grateful and also amazed...that simple home remedy saved me a trip to the doctors who would likely have used a scalpel!"
White Vinegar Remedy for Splinters
Home Remedy Instructions:
- You'll Need: White Vinegar
Soak the finger or other body part containing the sliver in a basin of white vinegar for several minutes. The wood or other material (cactus needles too!) may leap out on its own, or a little pressure should cause even deeply seated splinters to pop out enough to grab them.
[YEA] 02/24/2014: Tiffany from Northern California: "My young son had a minuscule splinter in his foot that was causing him a lot of discomfort. We soaked his foot in soapy water for about an hour but this did not move the splinter to a removable position. After reading Earth Clinic, we soaked his foot in white balsamic vinegar for 30 minutes. The splinter almost slid out of his foot! We were able to use tweezers with no problem at all to remove the splinter easily. Thank you Earth Clinic for all your information. You have saved our family many times!!"
[YEA] 01/13/2012: Ashley from Austin, Tx, Usa: "I tried the white vinegar last night and let my finger stay dipped in it for about 20 minutes. I didn't notice anything come out.
The next day I noticed it looked like my finger was getting an infection and there was dead skin (where I was trying to get the splinter out).
I used my fingernail clippers to clip the skin away and noticed that it wasn't dead skin it was actually a white tiny bubble of pus. I popped it and the splinter came out on its own!
So, don't get discouraged if this doesn't work right away. I'm not sure if this bubble of pus would have formed on it's own or if the vinegar caused it. Either way, I would try the vinegar again!"Replies
01/14/2012: Bonnie from Riverside, California replies: "A year ago I was working on my mother yard. I foolishly picked up a wooden rake under some bushes and began raking my mothers yard. I felt stinging horrible pain in my hands! What I didn't realize is that the wood on the rake had splintered! I had gotten about 300 splinters in my hands!
I could hardly wash dishes after that and had to use gloves to wash dishes with all the splinters in my hands. This was extremely painful!
I read that you can buy drawing salves such as Prid at pharmacies. There are other brands as well. A Salve I used for drawing boils out worked just as well.
In the dark while watching TV I rubbed the drawing salve in my hands and within minutes I felt something weird in my hands! When I opened the light my hands were full of splinters that the drawing salve had worked out of my skin!
Try the drawing salves for splinters---this really works. My doctor didn't know about this.
In early spring be sure to sand any wooden yard tools and oil the wood or wrap tape around the wood so that you don't have to go through what I went through!"
01/15/2012: Timh from Louisville, Usa replies: "... and not only wood, I got the same thing happen climbing a fiberglass ladder with a heavy bucket of paint in one and the other hand."
[YEA] 09/07/2009: Ada from Geneva, IL: "Splinter deep under index fingernail
Just want to say Thank you. I followed the instructions above soaking my finger in white vinegar then applying pressing to the end of the splinter. It moved just enough to pull out with tweezers!! Thank you so much. Thought I was going to have to go to urgent care."Replies
[YEA] 01/12/2011: Lil Bread from South Bend, In replies: "About three weeks ago I got a long wood splinter in my finger. I pulled out about 1/2 inch of wood and thought that was all of it but sadly it wasn't. I tried soaking in Hydrogen peroxide, alcohol and salt water to no avail. I came across this article about soaking in vinegar. I submerged the finger in vinegar for about 30 minutes. Squeezed the Affected area and out popped the 1/2 inch long splinter. I was amazed."
[NAY] 08/10/2011: Disapointedboy from Phoenix, Az replies: "well this didnt work for me I am very disapointed I tried everything I even tried the tape method any other ideas?"
[YEA] 07/10/2008: Beth from Madison, Wisconsin: "I had a tiny wood splinter in my finger. I first tried to take it out with my tweezers; I had to rip of the top layer of the skin to get to the splinter. I only got 90% of it out that way. Then, I read a post on this wonderful website about using white vinegar. I soaked my finger in the vinegar for several minutes and then pulled out the rest of the splinter with my tweezers painlessly. Wow, I was happy. That was last night, and now this morning, as I look at that same finger, I don't see any marks or cuts where the splinter was!! Thank you all for creating a fantastic website and for contributing more safe remedies to it!!"
[YEA] 05/13/2008: Jamie from Gilbert, Arizona: "SPLINTER REMEDY: White vinegar removed a splinter quickly and pain free! My 2 year old son grabbed a catus and had, what seemed like, hundreds of splinters all over his hand. We soaked it in a bowl of plain, white vinegar and the splinters all popped out on their own!"Replies
[YEA] 10/17/2012: Krazierkay from Newcastle, Nsw, Australia. replies: "Had a nasty splinter in my finger that wouldn't budge. Tried Magnoplasm and Bi carb soda paste and wouldn't budge and my skin was swollen around the splinter. To painful to get to it with the needle. Tried the vinegar. Soaked it for 30 mins. Swelling reduced to a shriveled finger look. I was able to slide it out with a needle with very little pain. Thank you Earth Clinic."
[YEA] 10/27/2012: Goldy from South Elgin, Il replies: "OMG!!! This vinegar things really works! Had a small pc. of a thorn in my thumb for a couple days. Soaked it in vinegar for 30 min. After reading this and it worked! Had to pull a tiny bit of the skin away from the top with a needle, but I started sqeezing it after that and it came right out!!! Thanks everybody! Many Blessings!"