Splinter Remedies

| Modified: Dec 17, 2020
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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.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Posted by Mike (Kent, UK) on 12/17/2020 21 posts
5 out of 5 stars

Apple Cider Vinegar for Splinter

It seemed to work for me too! It's hard to know what did the bulk of the work - the ACV, the needle I dug it a bit with or the tweezers that I eventually used to pull it out (much to my very high level of relief! ).

The splinter was in a knuckle on my left hand. The ACV did seem to make the skin very pale and a bit numb I guess. It was only on it for about 3 minutes. And then the tweezers yanked the splinter right out!

So yeah, seemed to work well!

Posted by John (Ontario) on 01/01/2017
5 out of 5 stars

I soaked my finger for around 40 minutes or more, since the sliver was a bit deep, I had to peel back some skin. The vinegar is good for killing the surface layers of skin so that I could more easily peel off the skin with as little hassle and pain as possible. Be patient and this should work great!

Posted by Alison (Ca) on 12/24/2016
5 out of 5 stars

Read up on others experiences. I was looking up how to pull wood splinters out from under nails for my husband. Came across the baking soda and ACV as the top two suggestions. Figured couldn't hurt anymore than to try one. He soaked his finger in ACV and within 5 minutes, I was able to pull out big chunk with tweezers. So cool.

Posted by Mike (Abington, Pennsylvania) on 06/19/2016
5 out of 5 stars

Got a hairline splinter on the bottom of my big toe. Read up on ACV cures here, and decided to give it a try.

Filled a dish with ACV, soaked the toe for about 2 mins, then used a swiss-army knife to scrape away some skin, so the splinter had an exit. It was delicate and required a bit of patience, as the splinter was deeply seeded. After three soaks for 2mins each, piece by piece, I was able to remove the splinter completely with the knife and tweezers. ACV is a wonderful home remedy!

Posted by Danielle (Saint Louis, Mo) on 07/07/2015
5 out of 5 stars

I got a metal splinter in the crook of my thumb from the hangers at Macy's. Soaked it in the apple cider vinegar for 2 minutes and was able to pluck it out with a needle and tweezers with no pain. Thanks a lot!

Posted by Corin ( Hanburg Ny) on 05/03/2015
5 out of 5 stars

ACV helped me remove a long splinter lodged under my finger nail- I soaked it in AVC for about 5-10 min and then used pointed tweezers to grab the tip and it slid right out!

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
5 out of 5 stars

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
5 out of 5 stars

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
5 out of 5 stars

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

Posted by Scott (Hanston, Ks, Usa) on 07/02/2010
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Replied by Ricky
Clayton, Nc

I have a splinter deep in my finger. Will this help?

Replied by Mmsg
Somewhere, Europe

Ricky, you can try. But what helped me was a 10 minute vinegar soak. Any vinegar.

Charcoal Poultice

Posted by Mama to Many (Tennessee, US) on 09/11/2014
5 out of 5 stars

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

Posted by Greenllll (Kingstree, SC) on 09/11/2014
1 out of 5 stars

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

Posted by Adstradamous (Cincinnati, Oh) on 07/15/2014
5 out of 5 stars

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
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Epsom Salt, Calamine, Castor Oil

Posted by Diane (Southern Ca.) on 09/07/2016
5 out of 5 stars

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!

Replied by Tiffiany
Wasilla, Alaska

ACV splashed on and left on for at least 10 minutes, really get your skin wet with the vinegar, yeah it's going to sting (don't splash it into your eyes or put it up into your nose or private parts). Then rinse off with cool water. If area still itches soak a washcloth in ACV and leave on for 10-20 minutes then rinse in cool water. Husband has worked in commercial construction for over 25 years and this is what we use.

Replied by Diane
Southern Ca.


As for my particular situation with loads of fiber-glass splinters in my palm and fingers, using vinegar on the condition of my hand would have been too painful for my situation as most of my palm was red. I could see that working on a few splinters though. For me the calamine lotion stopped the itch as did the Tinacin. I have had wood splinters before and PRID worked well to get wood splinters out very well. But PRID did not work on the Fiber-glass splinters. The most painful part was in the webbing of my hand between the thumb and forefinger. Working the fiberglass splinters in that area was murder!


Posted by Caca (Orangeburg, South Carolina Usa) on 04/25/2012
5 out of 5 stars

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.