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Removing Splinters

Overview

Before using tweezers or a needle to remove a splinter, try using cellophane tape to remove it. Simply put the tape over the splinter, then pull the tape off. The tape will stick to the splinter and remove it painlessly.

If tape doesn't work, try these steps.

  1. Wash your hands well with soap and water.

    Do not wet or soak the splinter because it will be harder to remove in one piece.

  2. Grasp the end of the splinter with clean tweezers.

    If the splinter is embedded in the skin:

    1. Clean a needle with alcohol and make a small hole in the skin over the end of the splinter.
    2. Lift the splinter with the tip of the needle until it can be grasped with the tweezers.
  3. Gently pull the splinter out.
  4. Clean the wound.
  5. Watch for any signs of infection.

You may need medical care if the splinter:

  • Cannot be easily removed.
  • Broke off and part of it remains in the wound or if you are uncertain that the splinter has been removed.
  • Is very large.
  • Is deeply embedded in the skin.
  • Is in the eye.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: November 15, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine

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