Its really a worst situation when you rub your eyes just because something get into your eyes. It makes me struggle a lot when something goes into my eyes and I really have no idea what to do at that situation. I used to rub for at least 10 sec and it makes me feel comfortable for short period of time but many of them says that rubbing eyes at that situation is not good. Sometimes rubbing it remove dust from my eyes but sometimes I am forced to keep my eyes close for half an hour to relax. So what do I do to make myself feel comfortable and remove those dust particles from my eyes ?


7 Answers 7


Hold your head on its side and wash with water.

Your tear ducts are at the side of the eye, by your nose. With your head tilted the tears flow across the eye taking the dust to the corner. Particles are more easily removed from the eye's corner than if they just go under your lower eyelid.

Sprinkling water on your eye helps wash the particles to the corner.

Try not to blink too much while you're doing it. That reduces the risk of scratching the sclera.

If you have the dust in both eyes, do one at a time. Washing away from the nose.

  • Tilted in which direction? "Hold your head on its side" meaning?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 23:59
  • Tilted such that the flow of tears runs from the tear gland by the nose to the side of the head.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 7:48
  • I'd tilt to the other side and have the water flow toward your nose. At the outside corner, a particle can get trapped between the eye and eyelid. At the tear duct, the eye is attached to the eyelid and less chance a particle will get trapped.
    – Hobbes
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 10:57

Grab the lashes of your upper eyelid, pull your eyelid out and down over your lower eyelid and release. This is slightly painful, but that's the intent. It will get your eye tearing and more quickly wash out whatever got into your eye.

  • Are you sure this is safe?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 0:04
  • I've been doing it for decades. My parents have done it for decades before that. My wife and kids do it. I've done it with and without contact lenses. Am I sure, no, I have no scientific proof that it's "safe", but I've never had anything happen beyond the thing washing out of my eye.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 1:13

Put your face with eyes open in a bowl or sink having room temperature water, shake your head leaving eyes open to flush out dirt that is in. After that, try blinking many times under the water. You can repeat this often to make sure all the dirt particles are out. Make sure you don't rub.

  1. Try to wash out the particle using water.
  2. If that fails, try to find the particle visually (using a mirror). Gently pull your eyelids back and check those too, the particle may be trapped between eyelid and eyeball. Again, apply water while holding the eyelid.
  3. If all else fails, gently place a fingertip on the particle and hope the particle sticks to the fingertip. (this works well for eyelashes, for example)
  • Are you sure this is safe?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 0:05
  • Yes. Like Freeman, I've been doing this for decades without bad effects. The most important thing is to remove the dust quickly without moving it around.
    – Hobbes
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 7:53

This is how I wash red/irritated eyes:

  1. Go to somewhere with good, strong, clean, running water. (Do not use unclean water to wash your eye as it may give you serious long-term damage.)
  2. Wash your hands clean properly.
  3. Stick all your fingers (Left hand for left eye; for right, right.) together and curve your palm such that it operates like a good spoon.
  4. Do not close your eye; Put water in that spoon and direct the water into your eye. Aim properly so you get as much water in as possible.
  5. Release all excess water by opening your palm and repeat steps 3 to 5 for as many times as you need to. Sometimes I do about 40 times or more. You can try blinking while doing that if the stuff doesn't get out.

Know that you are using this at your own risk. I've not verified with docs if this is medically safe. It's just what has worked for me.

(Would be good if someone shows an eye doc this page and ask for his comment.)


I've had good success rinsing my eyes out with saline. Because saline doesn't sting like water does, I'm able to keep my eye open and look directly at the water stream as I pour. Water is much less effective, as I need to struggle to hold my eye open, and tend to roll my eye back, away from the water. With saline, it's much easier to tilt your head back and slowly pour into your eye. Using a cup with a spout helps.

Preferably, use a scale to make saline. Add 1% salt to the clean water in a clean cup. So if you have 100 mL (or grams) of water, add 1 gram of salt. If you have no scale, it's safer to use too little salt than too much, so add a big pinch of salt to a cup of water. Or you can do a volumetric measurement and add 0.8 parts granulated salt per 100 parts water, which is 0.4 tsp per cup.


Many good suggestions here, and some comments indicating some insecurity on the safety of the recommendations. I'm a doctor, so I'll try to clarify.

The question was what to do when dust particles get into the eye. Loose eyelashes and small insects may also be annoying, and although same principles apply, this answer is focused on removing dust particles. Metal particles are more serious, and if you are uncertain about for example if iron particles have been successfully removed from the eye, then you must contact a doctor (if you still have a sensation of debris in the eye although you have tried to rinse your eye).

Here's my (doctor's) advice for what to do to clear dust particles from the eye:

First of all, until you reach a place where you have access to clean water, it is perfectly safe to blink reflectively, and most particles will flush and disappear with the natural tears and blinking of the eyes. But don't rub your eyes, that shouldn't be necessary and would certainly not be a good idea if you by rubbing your eye rubbed this particle on the surface of your cornea.

[Tip: Remember to always bring with you a drinking bottle with fresh water if you are outdoor hiking or biking, and wear protective glasses if there's a risk of getting dust or insects in your eyes!]

So, here's what to do if you have dust in your eyes, as soon as you have access to water:

  1. Rinse your eye with clean water.

    If you have clean, running water, for example tap water or a shower, that's excellent. You can use your hand as a 'cup' for collecting some tap water and then splash your eye repeatedly with the water that you collect in this 'cup'. Saline water is a little more comfortable, if you have this available. But it's not necessary. Perfectly safe to rinse with fresh water.

    If you feel the particle is still stuck on the eye when blinking, there are three possibilities: (1) the particle is stuck on the surface of the eye, (2) the particle is stuck on the inside of the upper eyelid, or (3) the glands of the upper eyelid are irritated and cause a sensation of "particle" although no particle actually exists there.

  2. If the particle is trapped under your upper eyelid, then pull the eyelashes to get water under the eyelid. It may sometimes be necessary to invert the upper eyelid, see how to do this here: https://www.wikihow.com/Flip-Eyelids-Inside-Out.

  3. Also, there's nothing wrong with submersing your entire face (or even the entire head) into a sink (or lake/river) with clean water, opening and closing your eyes under water.

    Fresh water is a little more uncomfortable for the eye than saline water (different osmotic pressure), but perfectly harmless. Saline water is more comfortable, so submersing your face into a bowl filled with saline water would be more pleasant.

    Prepare physiologic saline water (or isotonic saline water, having the same osmotic pressure as the fluids in your body) using half a teaspoon of salt with half a litre of water. You can boil the water, add salt, and cool down, if you want to prepare this in advance (for example to rinse your eyes more regularly for example if you wear contact lenses or need the isotonic water to clear your nose from allergens or crusts).

What's important is to rinse your eye immediately. If you have clean tap water, then time is more critical than waiting for boiling water, mixing in some salt, cooling the water ... probably the dust particles will have cleared by then anyway, by the running of tears and inevitable blinking of your eyes while waiting for the water to boil and cool. You don't need to think you have to do it perfect, by boiling water etc, fresh water will most often do!

But of course, don't rinse your eyes in contaminated water. If that's the case, then try to blink your eyes until you have boiled some water, and then added some salt and cooled the water, and then rinse your eyes in the clean, saline water to make sure everything's ok. And if it doesn't feel ok, contact a doctor. Especially if something's still stuck on the eye.

Remember: Iron particles can get really stuck to the surface of your eye (cornea), and give a large zone of rust ring around and potentially leading to serious sight problems if not treated adequately, so beware to use protective glasses if you work with something that gives a risk of getting metal particles in your eyes.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.