Whenever I get a splinter, I have trouble getting it out. I pinch and pull at it. I bite it. I usually can't get it out for a while. When I can't get it out, it hurts to put pressure on the spot where the splinter is.

I'm looking for a quick and safe way to remove it from my finger (or toe). I want the method to only involve things I can easily find around my house. I also want it to be able to get out in no more than 30 minutes (the faster, the better). Bonus points for reducing pain, but speed is my top priority.

9 Answers 9


General considerations

General measures for successfully removing splinters are:

  • Take it easy - in a hectic rush the splinter may break and will then be much harder to remove.
  • Do not put pressure on it as it only will push it deeper into your skin, or even it may break.
  • Try to find out what material the splinter is.
  • In case the splinter is not easily accessible (foot, right hand in case you're right-handed) get help from another person.
  • Seek a doctor if the skin around a splinter shows inflammation.
  • Always seek a doctor in case you can't remember your last tetanus shot.


Don't worry much about pain. It will only hurt when you push the splinter (which you shouldn't do) but only little if at all when you pull it. As soon as the splinter was removed the pain will stop immediately.

If pain persists or gets worse you may have a broken splinter remnant in your skin. In case it also swells or the skin gets red you will have an infection which should be treated. See a doctor then.

Case wooden splinter or metal splinter sticking out

In the usual case where you can see the splinter base still sticking our of the skin, you may grab it and remove it gently, taking care it does not break. Use any tool you find to securely hold it while pulling it along its entry angle. Consider disinfecting (e.g with alcohol or a lighter flame).

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  • Special splinter tweezers (in my experience a "Feilchenfeld" design forceps is best)

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  • Eyebrow hair tweezers are great too.

  • Fine tweezers from your toolbox may work in case its tip is not deformed.

In case the splinter does not come out very easily: do not pull harder - it may break. Put your skin in warm soapy water.

Wooden or metal splinter not sticking out or broken

In this case, we still may be able to grab it by making the opening it entered the skin a bit wider. In this case, we must disinfect our tools. Softening the skin by holding it for 10 minutes in warm soapy water considerably helps.

  • Use two tweezers, one to widen the hole in your skin, a second one to grab the splinter.
  • Use a sharp needle or blade to go underneath the splinter and lift it a bit. Then grab it with a tweezer.

Cactus spine or plant thorn

These "splinters" are much harder to remove as they may break very easily, or they may have barbed spines designed by nature to not come out.

To remove these we always have to soften the skin by immersing in soap water before we start pulling with methods above.

Many small superficial spines or thorns may be removed using tape and pulling them out.

Glass splinters

Glass splinters are tricky as glass breaks very (very!) easily on grabbing. Once it was broken it will produce many tiny glass fragments that then may be so hard to remove to require surgery.

Therefore removing a glass splinter may better be done by a professional.

In case we try by ourselves we need to be very careful to not hold it too firm and to prevent it from breaking.


Usually the fastest ways to remove a splinter hurt more and the slower ways hurt less. If speed is the top priority, then I have a few good methods.

Use tape

Wrap a piece of Scotch tape (can be other kinds, too) gently around your finger. Now pull the tape off and it should come off. This method might not work on the first try. It also might be more painful than other methods.


Works best if you can see the splinter

Sterilize the tip of the tweezers with rubbing alcohol (optional). Grab the splinter, but don't squeeze too hard. Now pull the splinter out at the same angle it went in.


This is a slow method and probably won't work within 30 minutes, but it is painless. Simply, pour glue on the splinter, let it dry, and pull it off. The speed of this all depends on how quickly you can get the glue to dry.

Source: WikiHow

  • 1
    wearing good enough gloves when doing things that have better chances of getting splinters is certainly advised too
    Feb 25, 2015 at 1:06

I know this contravenes the original question as it does require a purchase, but that aside, I recommend buying a jewelers loupe (about 20x magnification).

I am a carpenter (splinters huh!) and my splinter removing skills were revolutionised with this simple and very cheap tool. Splinters almost too small to see with the naked eye become tree trunks embedded in a mass of skin.....

It even makes the tip of the sewing needle look like a knitting needle!

20x magnifier


Needles are good. The point can be used to pull or scrape away skin until the splinter is finally exposed. Once enough of the splinter is exposed, the needle tip may stick and slide it out or flick it away. Apply alcohol to the site after digging a splinter out.

Toenail clippers are what I usually use; the type that look like small wire cutters. Tweezers are not sharp enough to penetrate the skin and grab, mashing down, instead. The clippers can gently cut away skin until the splinter is exposed then easily grab it. Sometimes only the point of one of the blades can be used to flick it away.

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There is another way to remove splinter.

  1. Fill a wide mouthed bottle with hot water about 80% to the top.

  2. Press tightly against the perimeter of the splinter for a few minutes. The suction will pull down your skin and the splinter will pop out.



Tweezers is always good, but sometimes they can be difficult to grab the splinter if it is small. At work we have splinter removers, and it is a flat piece of metal with a very sharp point on one tip. You can use a needle the same way. You put the sharp part under the splinter and above the skin, angle the sharp point into the splinter and then pull out the splinter. A needle doesn't work as well because the point is not as sharp, but it still works, and either one may need a few tries.


This worked so well: a deep splinter, I couldn't grab it with a tweezer. I used a kids tylenol "syringe" to suck it out. That worked like magic, it required a good seal of course.

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A pair of fingernail clippers usually works well too: use the clipper's corners to clip away any skin above the splinter, then gently grab the splinter with the clippers and pull it out.


Find some baking soda and make a paste by mixing baking soda with water then put it on the splinter part then put a bandage on it and tooit about a week or too and check it and hopefully it comes out.

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