How to Remove a Splinter

Growing up, we had hardwood floors. I bet you can see where this is going: I ended up with a lot of splinters thanks to those floors! Many a tortured hour were spent under the bright lights in the kitchen while my dad dug splinters out of my feet and I squirmed and complained. Okay, maybe it wasn’t actually HOURS, but it sure felt that way!

Something so small as a sliver of wood (or glass, or metal) can be a huge pain when it gets stuck under the skin. There are different things you can try to get a splinter out.

My dad’s tried and true method was to grab the end of the splinter with tweezers and yank. If the end of the splinter wasn’t sticking up above the skin, he’d dig for it with a pin first. That was my least favorite part! But it worked — the man never left a splinter behind.

A friend suggested using tape: put a piece of tape over the skin where the splinter is, then peel the tape away. Shallow splinters may get stuck and come right out of your skin! That sounds nice and easy compared to my dad’s method.

But if you don’t have tape or tweezers handy, what else can you do? If you can feel the end of the splinter sticking up out of the skin, you can try sliding something stiff underneath it — like a business card or credit card. For a shallow splinter, that may be enough to flick the splinter out. For a deeper splinter, the card may give you a little lift so you can grab the splinter with your fingernails.

Don’t forget to wash the wound after the splinter is removed — even a tiny puncture wound can get infected. Watch for redness, swelling, and tenderness at the site (all signs of infection).