Splinter injuries are common, especially among children, so it’s important to know how to remove them safely. Small pieces of wood, glass and metal are the most common culprits and are often superficial enough to be easily removed from home.
That being said, if you or your child has a large or deep splinter, it may be too difficult to safely remove without medical help. This can also be true if the foreign object has broken apart under the skin as a result of removal attempts. Your best bet is to visit your nearest urgent care to have the foreign object or objects removed and avoid infection.
How to safely remove foreign objects from your skin at home
Here are three ways to remove foreign objects from your skin at home:
Try this method if there is a visible splinter sticking outside the skin. First, disinfect tweezers with rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball. Next, grab the part of the splinter that is sticking above the skin and gently pull it out in the same direction it went in.
- Small needle and tweezers
Try this method if the entire splinter is under the skin. First, disinfect the needle and tweezers with rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball. Next, gently lift or break the skin using the needle in the area of the injury. This will give you access to the splinter. Once part of the splinter is exposed, use tweezers to gently pull the splinter out in the same direction it went in.
Try this method for tiny splinters or plant stickers that protrude from the skin. You will need very sticky tape, like duct tape. First, touch the affected area very slowly and gently with tape to try to capture the splinter or sticker. Once the splinter is stuck to the tape, gently pull tape from the skin to remove it. Repeat if necessary.
For any at-home splinter removal method, it is important to wash the injured area with warm water and soap, pat dry and cover with a bandage to avoid infection.
If these methods are not effective in removing foreign objects from the skin, or you think a splinter injury has become infected, visit your local urgent care for treatment. State Urgent Care is open for walk-ins between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. daily.