Removing Splinters

Topic Overview

Before using tweezers or a needle, try using cellophane tape to remove a splinter. 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:

  • Wash your hands well with soap and water.
  • Grasp the end of the splinter with clean tweezers, and gently pull it out.
  • If the splinter is embedded in the skin, clean a needle with alcohol and make a small hole in the skin over the end of the splinter.
  • Lift the splinter with the tip of the needle until it can be grasped with the tweezers and pulled out.
  • Do not wet or soak the splinter because it will be harder to remove in one piece.
  • After the splinter has been removed, clean the wound and watch for any signs of infection.

You may need medical care if the splinter:

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

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised June 6, 2012

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