How To Remove a Splinter

First I would like to stress the importance of wearing gloves, safety glasses and proper safety equipment at all times.  This will greatly reduce your exposure to injuries, and splinters.  But even with proper safety precausions, everyone from my 5 year old son to my grandfather working in his shop will probably have to remove a splinter.   

Tom has compiled some great tips on how to remove a splinter.  Feel free to leave your own suggestion in the comments field if there are any great techniques for splinter removal that we didn’t mention.

*First, Wash your hands before trying to remove the splinter.  This will not only make it easier to see and remove the splinter, but probably help prevent any infection.

Soak it in hot water.  Fully submerge the body part with the splinter in as hot of water as you can stand and soak it.  Repeat this until the skin is softens enough to massage the splinter out with a needle, razor, or tweezers.  Sometimes, after doing this the splinter will work its way out on its own.  If you cannot soak the splintered area try using a few drops of antiseptic cream or spray.  This will also soften the skin and will help prevent infection.

If the sliver is on the surface you may be able to remove it by using a little Elmers Glue or Duct Tape.  You can put a little Elmers glue on the splintered area and wait for Glue to Dry.  Once dry, pull the glue off.  You can try this same method with Duct Tape, Electral tape, or anything else that may stick to the splinter.

Here are a few methods for removing splinters that are in a little deeper.

1.  Try using a lancet sold in drug stores in the diabetic testing supply department. They are better than sewing needles because the tip is faceted so it will cut sideways to get under the chip and tease it out. You will want a good magnifier. A stereo microscope with LED ringlight is the ultimate, but you must use something that leaves your hand free to work the lancet.

 2.  A 10A scalpel blade and good magnification.

 3.  Get some small insulin needles at the pharmacy, pennies each and they’re awesome to get splinters out, nice fine razor blade works great too.

 4.  A pair of 3C tweezers are handy to dig in and pluck out slivers  Wiha makes some Fine Tipped Tweezers that are tapered at the end and can keep a good grip.

5.  A sharp razor

 6.  Side cutters that rated for smd type electronics.  The jaws have very sharp edges. As long as the splinter is above the surface the side cutters grip it and remove it. They have a grip superior to tweezers. 

 7.  A pair of nail clippers. You can use them to pick away the top layer of skin at the sliver.  If that doesn’t pull it out, you can use them as tweezers to pull out the shard. The great thing is that nail clippers don’t have enough cutting power to cut the shard, so you can squeeze as hard as you like.

Here are some suggestions on how to prevent getting a splinter: 

What you need to do is make your chips as big and thick as possible so you don’t have to worry about getting stabbed with them. The right amount of feed and depth of cut will prevent you from making slivers that will stab your fingers. Sometimes you can’t avoid it though.  For those times you cannot prevent making sharp little shears of wood that may potentially work their way in to a finger, try using a small paint brush to brush them away from your work space.  You can get a dozen or so “chip brushes” that look like small paint brushes, and are very cheap. They are great for clearing chips away from the work area until you can vaccuum them up.

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