Splinters - Editor's Choice

Over the years, Earth Clinic readers have sent us many reports about their treatments for Splinters. The editors at Earth Clinic consider the below posts to be some of the most helpful and informative and have named them 'Editor's Choice'. We hope that you will find this useful.

Baking Soda Poultice

Posted by Servant (Farmville, VA) on 02/04/2021

I was barefoot and stepped on a wooden toothpick that had been dropped on my living room carpet. The toothpick went deep into the skin near the nail of my big toe. Just the very tiny tip of the toothpick could be seen but when my husband tried to grasp it with tweezers, tiny pieces just broke off and left the remainder deep in my toe.

For several days I tried repeatedly soaking in Epsom Salt which kept down the infection, but the toothpick was very deep and didn't come to the surface of my skin. I made an appointment with my family doctor. She tried digging down to find the toothpick splinter and was not able to locate it to extract it. She sent me home to continue my Epsom Salt soaks, but said that the only other thing I could do would be to go to a surgeon to have it surgically removed.

Later that day I saw a YouTube video by a doctor who was sharing ways to extract splinters. She said to prepare a paste of Baking Soda and water, place this poultice on the affected area and cover with a bandage.

The Baking Soda causes the skin tissue to swell and this will bring the splinter to the surface where it can be extracted with tweezers. I tried this and after several hours of using the poultice, the tip of the toothpick had moved up to the surface of my skin so that my husband used simple tweezers to grasp the toothpick and easily pull it out. This was quite a large section of that toothpick that had been painfully embedded in my toe. I placed that extracted toothpick in a small plastic zip bag along with written instructions concerning the Baking Soda poultice and brought it to show to my doctor in hopes that she would adopt this method for splinter removal. I'm thankful that the Lord led me to that YouTube doctor who had just the answer I needed.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Posted by Dean (Illinois) on 02/03/2021

About a month ago I was closing a ziplock plastic bag, squeezing the top between thumb and forefinger and running them along the ziplock part, when suddenly I felt the unmistakeable sharp stab of a splinter going into my thumb. A plastic splinter of all things. I looked at my thumb but couldn't see anything. But I could sure feel it - a sharp stab every time I ran my fingernail over it.

I figured it would work its way out by itself, but a month or more later it had not. I still couldn't see anything there, but I could definitely feel that stab when that part of my thumb was touched.

So I poured a little apple cider vinegar out, warmed it to 130F, and stuck my thumb in it for about 10 minutes. Then I washed it off, and looked with a magnifying glass. Still couldn't see anything. So I just scraped and scraped along that part of my thumb with a fingernail. Somehow, it must have come out, because I can run my fingernail along that part of my thumb now and there is no pain. Incredible!!!

Epsom Salt, Calamine, Castor Oil

Posted by Diane (Southern Ca.) on 09/07/2016

I thought I had Stinging Nettles and Ringworm in my hand! I didn't know what to make of my hand and it took me a long time to figure out why my left hand was so painful! I am 65 and the skin on my hands is now thin and I used a rake that was older and worn out. I didn't realize I had gotten hundreds of fiberglass splinters in my left hand! I was even treating my hand for Ringworm! At times my hand looked like I had ringworm. I tried everything on line regarding getting the Fiber glass splinters out and it took me months to get them all out!

This is what I did!

I found that soaking my hand in Epsom salt would bring out the splinters, but usually only the top of the splinter. Then I would use calamine lotion on the infected area and let it dry on my hand and the lotion would attach itself to the splinters when it was dry so I could pull or scrap them off with my finger nails! This was not the end as most of the fiber glass splinters had gone deep into my hand. I had to repeat this process every day to get the fiber glass splinters out completely!

I even went to the doctor and that didn't help. Also to help get the splinters out I used Vaseline worked into my hand followed by caster oil worked into the skin, and even vicks! The 3 oils would help work some of the splinters out! Then I would go back to the Epsom salt again and repeat the process all over again, the Epsom salt, the calamine lotion and then the oil.

It took me about 6 months to get all the splinters out! And it was HELL!

Please use gloves when working outside! My infected hand was so bad that I actually was worried that my hand would infect and I could lose my hand! Also Tinactin the fungus powder would help soothe my splinter filled hand and give it a rest. Then I would continue to treat my hand again. My hand is finally back to normal! I will never do yard work without gloves ever again!


Posted by Mmsg (Somewhere, Europe) on 08/13/2016

This is the second time a vinegar soak (10 or 20 minutes) caused an embedded, not-even-seeable splinter to pop out of the skin making it easy to remove.

One time wine vinegar was used and the second: plain white distilled vinegar.

Both times, the splinter "appeared" (1/2 popped out of the skin) only a while later, when I had given up staring at it!

White Vinegar

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

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!!