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Splinter Remedies

Last Modified on Mar 27, 2015

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.

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Most Popular Splinters Remedies:

White Vinegar8
Apple Cider Vinegar3

User Reviews

Apple Cider Vinegar   3  0   

Posted by D (Naples, Fl) on 11/03/2012

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.

Posted by Candice (Victorville, Ca) on 08/03/2009

[YEA]  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!

Replied by Donna
Taneytown, Md

[YEA]   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.
Replied by Regina
Cape Cod, Massachusetts

[YEA]   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!!!

Bread Poultice   1  0   

Posted by Scott (Hanston, Ks, Usa) on 07/02/2010

[YEA]  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.

Charcoal Poultice   1  0   

Posted by Mama to Many (Tennessee, US) on 09/11/2014

[YEA]  A post today regarding splinters reminded me of an accidental cure we had last week.

My husband got a splinter in his hand from a 2x4. He removed the splinter. The next day, his finger was swollen and red where the splinter had been. It was above his wedding band on his ring finger; I had visions of having his ring cut off as there was no way he was going to get that ring past the swelling. He figured that in removing the splinter, he must have introduced some bacteria and now the area was infected.

I put a charcoal poultice over it, a bit of plastic wrap and some cohesive tape to secure it. He went to work and we thought nothing of it until evening. We removed the bandage and poultice. The swelling was gone and so was the redness. And right there at the cut in his hand was the splinter! Apparently he had not gotten it out (or at least, all of it) and the charcoal drew it out.

I love charcoal! :)

~Mama to Many~

Cutting Open the Skin   0  1   

Posted by Greenllll (Kingstree, SC) on 09/11/2014

[NAY]  I got a big splinter in my foot. I pulled it out w/ tweezers, but the tip of it broke off deep inside.

I got a fillet knife & cut 1/8" deep, 1 layer of skin at a time, deeper & deeper until I found it. I grabbed the tip with the tweezers and pulled it out again. Again, the tip of that tip broke off inside.

I soaked it in ACV for an hour or 2 and it didn't seem to help. I was limping for about 2 weeks after that, but probably due to the deep cut, not the splinter. Next time I'll probably just use ACV longer & not dig at all. My foot is finally back to normal though. I'm walking on rocks again, like I usually do barefoot. I'm used to it. I got thick skin down there, but a splinter will go right through it.

Epsom Salt   2  0   

Posted by Adstradamous (Cincinnati, Oh) on 07/15/2014

[YEA]  Epsom salt for splinters

My sister and I noticed a large red bump on my sons butt cheek one afternoon. We had no idea what it was and could see nothing inside when we examined it. The next day my sister decided to soak his bottom half in an epsom salt bath and a splinter surfaced! It was obviously infected, but as soon as the splinter came out it began to heal. I soaked him about 3 more times and made an appointment with his doctor just in case. Later that night a small, pale yellow bump surfaced as well! The epsom salts were also pulling the infection out! By the time we saw the doctor, there was no infection and nothing left behind in the skin!

Posted by Anonymosaurus Rex ( Somewhere, Alone, Listening To Radiohead) on 09/05/2012

[YEA]  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.

Neosporin   1  0   

Posted by Caca (Orangeburg, South Carolina Usa) on 04/25/2012

[YEA]  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.

Vinegar   3  0   

Posted by Toni (Henderson ) on 03/27/2015

[YEA]  I was a little skeptical about the whole vinegar treatment for splinters but I got one under my fingernail that could not be removed and it hurt so bad that after reading this I had nothing to lose. I went home from work and soaked in for 15 minutes in white vinegar. I bandaged it and left it alone for the night. The next day, I massaged the splinter on my fingernail in a forward position. On the third try, the splinter came out in one complete piece. I was so excited and my husband couldn't even believe it worked, but it did.

Posted by Mmsg (Somewhere, Europe) on 09/22/2013

[YEA]  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.

Posted by Austin (Texarkana, Texas) on 11/11/2011

[YEA]  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   0  0   

Posted by Tan Koon Peng (Singapore) on 01/12/2009

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   1  0   

Posted by Sharon (Vancouver, BC Canada) on 03/05/2009

[YEA]  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   8  1   

Posted by Tiffany (Northern California) on 02/24/2014

[YEA]  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!!

Posted by Ashley (Austin, Tx, Usa) on 01/13/2012

[YEA]  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!

Replied by Bonnie
Riverside, California

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!

Replied by Timh
Louisville, Usa

... 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.

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DISCLAIMER: Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.

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