How to Remove a Stubborn Splinter with no Pain or Needles

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist July 22, 2013

bandage and epsom salts (magnesium sulfate)

A splinter is a fragment of any foreign object that penetrates and becomes lodged inside one’s body. While splinters can come from a variety of materials such as glass, plastic, metal or even the spines of animals, for most people, splinters commonly occur on the fingers and hands from handling some type of plant matter such as a piece of wood.

When one experiences a splinter, pain as the sharp object initially penetrates the skin is usually felt. This is because the object has cut through the cutaneous layer of skin, settling into the subcutaneous layer below. While some splinters stay put at that point, most others will continue to move around, damaging additional tissue in the process.

Splinters that become lodged in the fingers or hand as would happen while doing yard work are usually very easy to remove with a simple needle that has been properly cleaned with alcohol first.

The problem with this approach is that children don’t like it as picking at a splinter with a pointy object can sometimes hurt until part of the splinter is exposed and the rest pulled out with a pair of tweezers.

The second problem with the needle approach is that it doesn’t always work.

This happened to my husband recently when he got a thorn that was about an inch long deeply lodged in his left index finger while doing some yard work.

No matter how hard he tried to dig that thorn out with the traditional needle approach, he could not even find it let alone remove it.

It was just too deep.

At first, he figured the splinter would naturally work its way out.  Splinters sometimes do this – the skin “pushes” them to the surface of the skin where they are easily removed a short time later with tweezers or your fingers.

That didn’t happen with this splinter.  Waiting a few days made the situation much worse as the finger got very sore and began to swell.

I became very concerned at that point because the finger was obviously infected.  I suggested a trip to the doctor, but my husband wasn’t keen on that idea as the (out of network) holistic family doctor we called said it would cost $500 for the office required consultation and subsequent removal of the splinter.

$500 to remove a splinter?  What has happened to healthcare in the USA?  Unbelievable.

I then suggested the walk-in clinic, but my husband didn’t want to go that route unless absolutely necessary as the staff there would no doubt harass him to get a tetanus shot (which he wouldn’t get) and then open the finger with a scalpel and cut away until the thorn was removed.  With the finger already infected, antibiotics would probably be required for recovery.

My husband then had the bright idea to ask his friend who is a veterinarian about the situation.

The vet said that removing a deep splinter is easy with magnesium sulfate, better known as epsom salts.

He said you could either soak the finger a few times a day in a cup of warm water and epsom salts or make a poultice with it.

Sounded easy enough.

My husband decided to go the poultice route.  He took a small pinch of epsom salts, placed it on the bandage section of a regular, large band-aid and wrapped the finger with it. He changed the bandage once a day or after it got wet in the shower.

magnesium sulfate pasteAnother option would have been to put a bit of magnesium sulfate paste (which costs just a few dollars) on the area and cover with a bandage (see picture right). Since we didn’t have the paste on hand but did have epsom salt crystals for bathing, we chose to go that route.

Within 2 days, it was apparent that the epsom salts poultice had worked!  The end of that thorn was ever so slightly sticking through the skin!

My husband pulled about 1/3″ of thorn out, but he could tell there was still more in there.

He continued to apply the epsom salts poultice for one more day which caused the rest of the thorn to come to the surface of the skin as well.  He used tweezers to pull the rest of the thorn out, which turned out to be about another 1/2″ in length.

Best of all, the swelling and soreness of the finger quickly resolved with the removal of the thorn.  It has been a couple of months since this happened and the finger is perfectly fine.

I will be using the epsom salts or magnesium sulfate paste on a bandage approach to remove all splinters that occur in our household from now on. I’ve purchased a small bottle of the magnesium sulfate paste, and it is now a permanent part of my medicine cabinet.  This approach suggested by our vet friend is far easier than using needles or enduring the drama of a doctor’s visit and there is surprisingly no pain at all involved.

 

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

 

Comments (157)

  1. Becky Nicklas via Facebook July 25, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    I had a very deep one a few months back…tried it all. Was starting to get infected so I put some of my Bentonite Clay on it at night before bed, and wrapped it up (it was on my finger). Washed it off in the a.m. and applied some more paste for a few hours…you could see how much closer it came to the surface, and I was able to get it out. The swelling and redness had even gone down quite a bit the next morning, before I was able to get it out. I swear by this technique now! Try it

    Reply
  2. Jennifer Burke via Facebook July 25, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    I wonder if this would work on a piece of pencil lead that’s been stuck in my son’s finger for about 6 months now?

    Reply
  3. Cindy Ellis Bauman via Facebook July 24, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Tried this on hubby’s foot recently when he got a couple of metal splinters in his foot….we couldn’t get this to work. :-(

    Reply
  4. Amanda Norman- Campbell via Facebook July 24, 2014 at 6:43 am

    It does work, but not always the easiest to apply! I like to use Bag balm too, it works as well as the salt.

    Reply
  5. I have a splinter in my thumbs that’s been embedded for over 5 years. Flesh is covered over it. Please let me know if epsom salts would work or is there something else I should try

    Thanks

    Reply
  6. Epsom salt in amazing….! my father believed in homeopathic medicine when I was a child. Epsom salt is also used for constipation , relaxation, joint pain, body ache, toothaches, mouth sore, foot ulcer, achy feet, menstrual cramps, splinters, also four wound care and much more, It’s simply amazing….!!! I’ve been using it for a long time.. My family use’s it ! We have used it many different ways. my father was all natural no hospitals or doctors and no processed foods, He’s Indian he lived off the land..Thank you to everyone for all your favorite and useful home remedies. Please keep them coming. I’ll also write more remadies, and other amazing stuff to try out. Thanks, Nancylee G.

    Reply
  7. Many years ago I was foolishly walking around barefoot on a wooden floor at a day care center at a YMCA. A splinter broke off the floor and into my foot. I was sent to the emergency room where they removed a slice of wood maybe 1-1/2 inches long (don’t remember exactly). The foot still hurt, causing me to limp. I assumed the inner muscle had been hurt and was healing. At that time I regularly soaked in epsom salt baths. A few weeks later, while in the bath, another 1-1/2 to 2 inch sliver floated out of my foot! It had been left behind by the ER team! Taught me to believe (1) in Epsom salt, and (2) the power of the body to heal itself.

    Reply
  8. Barbie Frost Lindsey via Facebook April 11, 2014 at 8:04 am

    I’m starting this today. I have a tiny bothersome splinter in my finger that has been there for weeks.

    Reply
  9. Where have all the editors gone, budget cuts?? It takes 480 useless words before this article gets to the point (and far fewer to make it). A single short paragraph could have both done that job and your readers a great service by not wasting their time defining splinters (everyone knows) and describing your husband (nobody cares). What kind of attention span do you think people have for all this useless minutiae? Respect readers or lose them.

    Reply
    • Re: comment by ?????

      Many people prefer and enjoy reading a personal story, rather than “just the facts”. Also, this post provides information they might not have considered or been aware of, such as:

      - What actions others have tried in an attempt to remedy the issue

      - The potential cost of receiving treatment from various medical providers

      It is my opinion that the author has written a very helpful post.

      Reply
      • yes it was a good post i am a carpenter splinters are common but iknocked a jar of coffee off the bar today,while picking it up i got a peice of glass in my finger you cant get hold of it to pull it out, needles dont work on glass and tweezers wont grip it

        Reply
      • For the person in Question???? Learn how to skim the articles for facts which is a technique taught in secondary grades in school. Respect and manners; we learn from our parents parents and school. Your author critique is uncalled for and rude. Like all good foods; each has it’s own unique flavor. Experience it and if you don’t like it? Don’t buy again. You actually wasted more time writing a rude remark than skillfully skimming the article for the facts your were looking for. Hello!!!!!! Author? Thank you and have a blessed filled day.
        Yolanda

        Reply
  10. I recently had an infection starting in my index finger on my left hand. I used the homeopathic “drawing salve” on a bandage, changing it twice a day for two days. It pulled a huge blister of blood and pus (yeah, graphic, I know) and was so painful from the pressure that I stuck it with a sterilized needle to relieve it and had almost instant relief. The swelling and inflamation stopped and the finger healed in a few days. Saved: doctor office visit and a round of antibiotics. Simple stuff that God put here for us is the best!

    Reply
  11. hello i’d like to ask how do you make the poultice? do you mix it with just hot water or add something else? thanks! hoping for a quick response

    Reply
  12. We use this all the time for horses to help pull abscesses out of their hooves. I’ll have to try it on humans!

    Reply
  13. Pingback: Recomandarile saptamanii 26 ianuarie – 1 februarie, 2014 | Ligia Pop

  14. YES, it worked!!! I used the Epsom salt on my daughters finger and after three days the splinter was all the way out. Can’t tell you how happy she was! Thank you!!!

    Reply
  15. A small, very small, piece of raw bacon on a band-aid over the area where there is a wooden splinter will draw the wood out overnight. I have seen this happen with my own eyes!

    Reply
  16. Sure wish I’d seen this article on Monday, as I got a splinter of wood about 1/4″ long under a fingernail & was very painful. Then, got even more sore as I probed at it with a needle, then tried every pair of tweezers in the house on it, still, couldn’t get hold of it, so ended up going to the Dr. at a walk-in clinic. (I’m diabetic & was worried about infection.) She proceeded to give me a nerve block shot before working on it, as she said she might have to remove part of the nail, then shot me three times around the finger tip! I was almost in tears and felt like fainting! Think I’ll be sure to buy some epsom salts and that paste mentioned above & keep on hand.

    Reply
  17. About 2 months ago, a small barbed thorn became lodged in the heel of my right foot. I couldn’t immediately remove it, and went for a gym workout…jogging, etc. Later I couldn’t “dig” it out, and next day, more running. It did start to hurt, but never swelled up much…until after the minor surgery (4 stitches) to get it. Worst part was….the surgeon couldn’t find it (Ultrasound had showed a 3mm foreign object, about 1 cm deep). Since then things have gone downhill- stitches are out, but much swelling and pain as I continue to walk….kind of like walking with a marble taped to your heel…and forget running….way too painful. I had use Epsom salts infrequently, but now, after reading all this info, I’m soaking the foot extensively, to try and draw this sucker out. I may even try making a paste and with a guaze pad, draw it that way. Thanks for the information folks. I think I made a mountain out of this, by not talking the time right after it happened to go after it-it would have been no issue anywhere, but on my heel….instead I drove it deeper, by just walking/running, and likely the barb wouldn’t release it.

    Reply
  18. I have even drawn out blood poisoning with Epsom salts. I had an infection in my foot, and black started running up my leg past my knee. It demanded persistence, but it worked.

    Reply
  19. $500 for just a doctor consultation and splinter removal ??? wow, that’s so wrong on so many level. the cost of living in the U.S. is ridiculous . . in my country, the Philippines, a consultation would only cost around PHP300 – PHP500 , that would be just around $7 – $11 . . and mind you, $11 is already quite expensive, that’s already a dinner for two in a fancy restaurant . . and depending on which health care/insurance you have, it could even be free . . .

    Reply
    • Obviously having a bad day involving something far more serious than a splinter. Lighten up a bit; this is not a crisis center.

      Reply
  20. Here’s another home remedy my mother used to use (she was born in 1915, now deceased). Sounds strange, but it really works. Tape a piece of raw bacon on to the spot of the splinter, eg. tape around a finger or whatever. Sleep with it on. The next morning, the splinter will have risen to the surface and you can pluck it right out. Does anyone explain scientifically why this works? The Epson salts actually sound more pleasant, but the bacon does work.

    Reply
  21. Would this work for a 2 month old tiny glass shard embedded into the bottom of your foot? I’d really appreciate some feed back. Thanks.

    Reply
  22. This works so well. I had a splinter go under my nail recently. I had no way to get to it. I had no epsom salt at home so the next day after work i grabbed some. I wet my finger and stuck it in the salt and then put a band aid on it. Less than two hours later i took the band aid off to reapply and the splinter was already working its way out! I was able to push it out. Amazing how fast and easy this worked!

    Reply
  23. For the doctor(s) in the group my question is this:
    If you get a splinter and don’t yank it out right away and use this slow method or removing it over the course of 2-3-4 days, isn’t it likely to get infected and cause a more major problem? Isn’t it efficacious to get it out right away by digging it out with a sterilized needle or small sharp knife and then apply plenty of h2o2 and antibiotic salve?
    Just asking, as I am only guessing.

    Reply
    • I’m not a physician, but infections are widely misunderstood. The body has a mechanism for fighting infections, especially mild ones and the incidence of serious infections from foreign objects is rare, and there are numerous options to prevent them while waiting for the drawing agent to work.

      Reply
  24. Also Icythimol ointment will draw things out. I once had a small glass shard in the bottom of my foot. it was completely embedded and I used soaking in Epsom slats and applied the icythimol ointment to the site. After a few days the glass almost came flying out the bottom of my foot. My Father, God Bless him taught me these things. always soak in hot water with Epsom salts for drawing out infection, and about the icythymol.

    Reply
  25. Clifford J Barrar August 9, 2013 at 1:29 am

    This was a rather silly and misleading article. In the amount of days it took to soak it out with the Epsom salts, the area would have festered naturally and started to expel the splinter anyhow.

    Reply
    • Not silly or misleading at all. You obviously haven’t a clue as to how long a deep splinter can remain under the skin, or any foreign object for that matter. My sisters foot expelled a piece of glass from
      at least five years earlier, so I’ll choose the certainty of a few days using a drawing agent over the uncertainty of the natural process.

      Reply
  26. I am a doctor who takes care of the occasional splinter. I hate the expense to the patient. Glad when people take care of themselves. 4 years of med school and 5 years orthopedic residency is a little overqualified for splinter removal. Take care of yourself. Come to me when you can’t.

    Reply
  27. epsom salt is awesome! My son was playing slip and slide at a neighors and got a 1″ headless nail go into his foot. We got it out and cleaned the wound soaked the foot and applied antibiotic and bandaid. the next day the foot looked awful. With no medical insurance or money we were freakin. my father in law fixed a small bucket with warm water and lots of epsome salt. had my 6 yr old sit on a small stool and soak his foot. after a few minutes my son is laughing like crazy as cousins are screaming gross. the epsom salt was drawing out so much of the infection the kids said he had spaghetti coming out of his foot. We changed the water and repeated …till it stopped draining. It completely healed in a few days. About 3 months later he complained of foot pain…and it was really pink so I took him to the dr. Xray showed that what we had removed was 1″ of a 3 ” headless nail. the rest was still in his foot and resting on the bone. He had surgery and all went well….

    Reply
    • and then wonder why it was expensive and wonder what happened to Health-Care in the U.S.

      Most cities have clinics either in the hospital or off-site that would do this for less than a tenth of what was charged in the story, by a real doctor.

      Reply
    • $500 Holistic doctor and complains about healthcare in America…how about complaining about your crazy nut job talk?

      Reply
  28. Locomotive Breath August 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    What JJ said.

    I hope hubby doesn’t get tetanus or some other infection. Walking around with an unsterilized foreign object in your body for an extended period of time is just not smart.

    Your experiment doesn’t have a “control”. How do you know that the splinter didn’t just need that much time to work itself out without the application of epsom salts.

    Reply
    • Drawing agents have been around for much of human history, so the science is well-established and there’s no need for another study.

      Reply
    • seriously what’s the matter with you all! “Your experiment doesn’t have a control……….”
      Please! Why NOT apply Epsom salts. It clearly wasn’t going to work its way out! And you don’t get tetanus from a wood splinter anyway. So they should have sterilised the splinter before it went in? hahahaha. There are a million uses for Epsom Salts and this is just one of them.
      Really some of the questions and responses here are just idiotic.

      Reply
  29. For those those dealing with a small nearly invisible cactus thorn I use a drop of super glue. When it dries you peel off the glue and most of the time the thorn comes out. If not, a second try is a charm.

    Reply
  30. Pingback: News you can use: How to remove a splinter | Spec Bowers

  31. Why mess with poultices when with a scalpel, sharp knife or even a straight pin, you can dissect the skin above the splinter and have it out in a matter of seconds?

    A veterinarian, my father, taught me how to remove splinters. He didn’t mess around with folk remedies or poultices, he used his brains and a scalpel.

    Reply
    • Why so crabby ?
      Drawing salves are for more then splinters .
      & your Vet may want to dig around for a splinter , but I would rather get the last bit with salts or salves…… by digging you can also cause infection.
      my cousin had to go to the er to have a toothpick removed from between his toes.. guess it had stuck in the carpet & when he walked by, he shoved it between the toes!
      the nurse said they are the worst .. kept breaking off as they tried to remove it.. UGH !

      Reply
    • You obviously missed the point of choosing a drawing agent as a PAINLESS alternative, and as
      compared with a scalpel, bloodless.

      Reply
    • THE WHOLE POINT of this was NOT to use a knife, scalpel, needle or pin and NOT to pay $500 for a doctor’s visit. Anyway, no small child with a splinter like that would tolerate your method!
      READ the original post again – properly this time!

      Reply
  32. Moderated or deleted? I commented with a polite question about whether tolerating a one-inch splinter for a week was really a successful, painless treatment. What was so offensive or improper that warranted simply deleting the comment?

    Reply
    • what would you suggest instead – a $500 visit to the doctor??
      This is an age-old remedy that I’ve been using for years; nothing new about it at all. And the poultice and bandage gives relief while it’s on anyway. Clearly it was a very very deep splinter, but the moment it’s out the flesh can begin to heal. A small splinter comes out after less than five minutes in an Epsom salts dip.

      Reply
  33. Wait – so I’m walking around with a one-inch splinter in my finger for a week and this is hailed as a painless solution? No thanks.

    Reply
  34. Pingback: Instapundit » Blog Archive » NEWS YOU CAN USE: How To Remove A Stubborn Splinter With No Pain Or Needles….

  35. To answer your question — health insurance and government programs insulate doctors and patients from pricing decisions, while healthcare provision has became highly cartelized.

    For instance, your vet probably broke the law by giving unlicensed medical advice. While these laws are rarely enforced, they still create a chilling effect — as intended.

    Reply
  36. Pingback: Transterrestrial Musings - Removing A Splinter Non-Surgically

  37. Plants love magnesium so when you are all done with your soaking, dilute it further and share with your plants. Us nurses use epsom salts after those long 12 hour shifts for soaking the feet. It can really help take the soreness out..

    Reply
  38. Pingback: Favorite Posts for week ending 7/28 | Stepping It Down

    • Young Living essential oils have worked for us on warts. There are a lot of home remedies like banana peels and garlic that have worked for other people too. I would be happy to share what oils worked for us if you want to email me.

      Maris

      Reply
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  41. If you live in Australia, you can buy a paste called Magnoplasm. It says its for boils, carbuncles and whitlows, but you can use it on anything that needs drawing from the body. Its brilliant for squeamish kids (and husbands lol!)
    I’ve had my bottle for about 7 years and its still three quarters full!

    Reply
  42. For those of you who asked, Prid is a homeopathic drawing salve. Looks like you can get it on Amazon and some other websites.

    Reply
    • Thank You for posting .. I will ck it out.
      love all the hints & helps here.. Great to know we can do something other then running to the dr.
      I told my dr if I get something or other , I wait 2 weeks & if it’s still there or hurting I come in.. He said that was great plan.! :-) He’s super about not throwing meds at everything !
      gotta love that.

      Reply
  43. Jeez people, it works its way out with time. Notice anything in common with all the stories. I put “something” on my injury (anything to moisten and soften the skin works better) and then it came out. The activated charcoal one is the funniest comment. It took a couple of months but it was obviously working because it kept coming out. gullible, naiive. Alternative medicine is stupid. The doctor knows it will come out on its own if you let, it but cuts it out for you because you are there and seem to want it fixed then.

    Reply
  44. Totally works! I got glass in my foot and though we got most of it the very tip of the sliver broke off and stayed behind. I soaked my foot in hot water with Epsom Salt mixed in 2-3 times a day and after a few days the glass broke the surface and could be pulled out with tweezers! I highly recommend, I have medical anxiety and freaked at the thought of having to go to the doctor and get it cut out. My husband didn’t believe me and thought for sure in a week or so I’d have to visit the dr and it would be infected since I wouldn’t let him dig it out then and there!
    Sarah Lee\’s last post: Bronchitis, Sciatic Nerve and Grandma!

    Reply
  45. Thanks Sarah !
    Haven’t tried for splinters, but for drawing out an abscess or infected wound I use green clay. I used it on my cat who had a 2cm abscess which had healed on her neck. I mixed up a thick paste and stuck a glob on and tied a bandage round her neck, criss-crossed round her front legs.The wound opened up again and drained. I kept changing the clay and disinfected too. It healed perfectly. And saved me a lot of money at the vets ! Ever since I’ve used clay on us with great results. I’m sure clay masks would do a lot of good on teenage skin too. Different coloured clays have different properties.

    Reply
  46. I had a sliver a few weeks back that looked kind of nasty. I put some coconut oil with tea tree oil on it and the swelling was gone the next day and sliver popped right out.

    Reply
  47. Great advice! Thank you for sharing! Its so nice to be able to fix things our self, rather than having to go to the doctor. (although health care is (almost) for free here its nice not having to spend the time making the appointment and going to the doctor).

    Helen

    Reply
  48. Just curious about why he would not get a tetanus shot! There have been several cases written up recently where people have survived tetanus, albeit with hospitalization and lots of medication. A preventative injection for a life-threatening disease seems an easy choice.

    Reply
  49. Pingback: How to Remove a Stubborn Splinter | what we discovered

  50. This is interesting! My daughter thinks she’s got a bit of glass stuck in her hand (there is abut of a lump there but it’s very close to the wristbone so it’s hard to know if it’s normal or not) anyway she says it hurts if she rubs it. We asked a doctor about it but he didn’t think there could be glass there (he said it felt more like maybe a bit of bone!) and not to worry about it! I have some Epsom salts at home so hopefully we can get it out!

    Reply
  51. I used to work at a hospital with a very lively elderly volunteer group. One of my favorite ladies, Peggy, told me of the time somewhere in the 1960′s she helped her farmer husband with one of the large pieces of equipment in the field. She smashed her hand and refused to to go to the doctor. Her pinky and ring finger were mangled pretty badly but she sat with her hand in an Epsom salt tub FOR DAYS! She saved her two fingers with most of their mobility intact and never had an infection from it. The doctor told her after the fact that he would have removed them. Yeah for Peggy!

    Reply
    • I stepped on a spam can as a child. Cut my foot almost to the bone. No money for doctors. No car at home. Only vehicle as gone to work with my Dad. My foot pouring blood , my Mom stuck it in a pan of kerosene to stop the bleeding. Did the same thing with my hand when I feel and broke a glass of tea I was carrying. I know people will cringe hearing this but it worked. Scars are barely visible.

      Reply
  52. If there’s a little bit of the splinter sticking out but you just can’t pull it out because of the swelling, try icing the area where the splinter went in. Sometimes that reduces the swelling and inflammation enough to let you pull it out easily with tweezers.

    Reply
  53. Thank-you, Sarah. This is good to know. Plantain also pulls things out. My herbalist mentioned it, and, when I researched in my herbalism books, one stated it works so well that it can pull out infections from teeth and tooth roots, where even antibiotics can’t always reach. Plantain is a very useful “weed” growing in most people’s yards. I infuse it into oil and make tinctures with it. However, if I’m ever out of those here in the snowy northern winter, it’s good to know there’s another great alternative. :-)

    Reply
  54. when I was a kid a Doctor at Duke told my mom about using a bread poultice to draw out splinters & it always worked!

    Reply
  55. thanks for this valuable information. my children often have splinters and really don’t like me taking them out with a needle. i’ll be trying this out next time.

    Reply
  56. Pingback: Splinter? Get that thing out in no time! | Things your mother never told you

  57. Nathan B, what is PRID?
    I have a son that had 2 ingrown hangnails removed last year from his big toes. He now has another one ingrowing because he cut his nails wrong and too short. Would Mg Sulfate work on this? I have him soaking his toe, but it is turning red and looking infected.
    Thanks a bunch!

    Reply
    • What I’ve used for ingrown toenails in the past is tea tree oil. For me, it took the pain away almost immediately and the redness & swelling in a day or two.

      Reply
      • Soaking in warm epsom salts definately works. When I was in college I had a really bad infected ingrown toenail. The doctor sent me home and advised to soak it in the epsom salts. This did the trick within a few days. It totally eliminated the infection and thus eliminated the pain.

        Reply
    • Soaking the foot in warm Epsom salts water for 20 minutes will cure an infected toenail in 24 hours. No surgery, or antibiotics needed.

      Reply
    • I would soak any infected wound with hydrogen peroxide. Thirty minutes at a time, 2 or 3 times a day until the redness is gone. It will fizz when it’s working, and may sting, but it works like a charm.

      Reply
      • You must be careful using peroxide on open wounds because the peroxide can cause further tissue damage especially if used full strength.

        Reply
  58. Very good information. I’m going to keep this written down in my notes on Survival. I may need to know it then.
    I found a way to remove metal shavings in your skin. If you can’t see the little splinter then rub it with a piece of emory cloth (used for sanding or buffing metal). It works surprisingly well.

    Reply
  59. Sarah, where did you purchase your paste? Did you have to get it from the UK or did you find a local source? I have a rose thorn in my arm that I can’t get out and would love to try this today!

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist July 23, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      Amazon shipped in from the UK was the only place I could find (click link in post above).

      Reply
  60. Decades ago my Dad suffered a badly injured arm in a truck accident. After he returned home from the hospital he soaked his arm in a special-made tub filled with epsom salt water. Little chips/splinters of bone worked their way out of the skin.

    Reply
  61. We have used ichthammol ointment for splinters very successfully. Also, living on the Gulf Coast, we have had our share of staph infections (hands, legs and feet) and it works like a charm.

    Reply
  62. Duct tape works well also, so does baking soda made into a paste, bananas, potatoes, and white vinegar also do the trick. Epsom salt is good to know because I always have it on hand.

    Reply
    • Amazingly, if you split open a raisin, put the split side against the skin where the splinter is, apply a band aid and leave it on over night, the splinter will be drawn out overnight!

      Reply
  63. Very good. Advice. Speaking of Epsom salts, I have a tomato plant that bears lots of flowers that do not go on to develop into fruit. When I googled how to correct this problem one site mentioned to try mixing 2 to 3 tablespoons Epsom salts into the soil of the plant. I tried this and a few days later I began to see tomatoes developing. Tomatoes need magnesium!

    Reply
  64. My daughter had a piece of mesquite thorn in her finger, according to her because we couldn’t see it and no one witnessed it. However her finger started to swell a little and with mesquite thorns you can’t mess around. So I took her to the doctor and he looked at it and said no foreign material seemed to be present and prescribed us an antibiotic (which we didn’t take)..thanks doc. Of course she is a girly girl and at 7 years old she starts panicing at the mention of a needle, but I knew we had to do something. So we applied activated charcoal and lo and behold, it festered, and it festered at the side of her finger which was not the entry point. The tip became visible after she removed the bandage to take a hot shower, after the shower the tip showed itself. We were shocked to pull a 1/2 inch thorn out the side of her finger, it was instant relief! However it took a month for the thorn to show itself with the activated charcoal but it was obviously working because a bump formed and became bigger and bigger until the thorn showed itself. I am wondering if the magnesium works quicker? It also sounds a lot less messier than activated charcoal.

    Reply
  65. I have used a small piece of banana peel on splinter and then a bandaid wrapped around. After a few days, the splinter is attached to the banana peel and all is good again. Good to know about epsom salts too. Thanks!

    Reply
  66. This is wonderful. My husband has splinters every once in a while from working outside. We’ve usually gone the sterilized needle route which most oftentimes did not work. Will definitely make note of this. Thank you for this information.

    Reply
  67. I know it’s not as natural/holistic as epsom salts, but for a drawing agent like that I was raised on and still use PRID. Every now and then I’ll get an infected hangnail, and the pressure builds up under my fingernail, but nowhere to lance or otherwise get relief. I’ll apply a little PRID to a bandaid and keep it there for a few days (changing out as needed) and after 2-3 days I will usually remove the bandaid to find the pus drawn out into the bandaid and the pressure gone.

    Reply
  68. I’m a Naturopathic Physician and I have another painless fix. This one works for anything that needs to be pushed out of the body such as splinters and abscesses. I personally doubted it for awhile, but it works every single time. The typical progression is that the pain disappears on the first day, 2nd day nothing seems to happen, then on the 3rd day the offending matter painlessly exits the body.

    Get one bottle each of homeopathic Sulphur and Hepar Sulph. Take a dose of one, then two hours later take the other. It doesn’t matter which you start or end with. Repeat the progression every two hours while awake. I’ve had reports on this working on animals too.

    Reply
    • A better choice homeopathically is Silicea…it is known to expel foreign bodies from tissues. Take 6c several times a day, or 30c once or twice a day.

      Reply
        • hi jennifer , i have a splinter made of wood ( i install hardwood flooring) this splinter is in the bend of my ring finger and has been there so long i grew a callus of it. i have ripped the callus off and now have a open wound that wont heel cause its on the bend and also cause i have wood in there! very painful and i cant even bend my finger to touch my palm any longer!
          so before i drink the wrong thing what is it i’m actually wanting??
          i got homeopathic Sulphur and Hepar Sulph. wrote down , then sherri corrected you and you agreed but confused me with protocol is silicea and hepar sulph, not sulphur.
          so please correct me before i cause more of a problem!!! i’m a single male have no woman to take care of me!!
          also it say to take every 2 hours one then the other while awake, do i only do this 1st day or until i get wood out???
          i’m going to apply the salt now

          Reply
    • John C. Randolph August 9, 2013 at 2:27 pm

      What exactly do you mean when you say “homeopathic” sulphur? Homeopathy is a style of quackery that claims that extreme dilutions of a toxin can be used to cure ailments caused by that toxin. Are you talking about using sulphur, or plain water as homeopaths would?

      -jcr

      Reply
        • Go John C Randolph! August 9, 2013 at 10:27 pm

          Well Diane, tell us exactly how it works.

          Exactly how does a “solution” of 30 times diluted substance (diluted so much that there is no traceable amount of the the substance left) work?

          Tell us all about how the “memory” of the substance is left in the water and that’s what works. Tell us why drinking water from the tap isn’t a homeopathic remedy for everything because tap water sure has a lot of diluted substances in it. It should be the ultimate cure all.

          Tell us all about the peer reviewed science about how great homeopathy is and how it sure works better than the placebo effect.

          Homeopathy is bunkum, pure and simple. Wishful thinking by simpletons who have no idea about science.

          You know what they call alternative medicine that works? Medicine.

          Now go off and peddle your useless fixes to other poor sick naive people who want real help to get well, and tell me how well you sleep at night.

          Reply
          • Don’t bother. It’s religion, not science.

            I am curious about overdosing on homeopathic remedies. If it’s such powerful stuff, shouldn’t we have seen reports of deaths?

          • To: go john c randolph. Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t make it “fake.” “SCIENCE” doesn’t make it legit or not. Most science is funded by some corporation that stands to make oooodles of money, IF . . . . the outcome is the “right” one. Many of them even twist the results of the experiments to their favor. Don’t be an idiot; you’re talking like one.

          • You’re such an idiot. Do you know how dumb you sound? TAP WATER? Do you know how stupid you sound? I think your’re an idiot. You must be paid by some company that’s afraid of alternative remedies.

          • John Randolph is a member of a group known as Barrett’s Parrots (self-titled “Quackbusters”). Stephen Barrett, MD, a retired psychiatrist, who found it much more lucrative to work for Big Pharma and the chemical companies, is their “leader”. He is an intelligent guy. He gets people like Randolph to do all the work for him while Randolph makes nothing and Barrett rakes in all the money. Barrett’s Parrots have been trying for years to destroy homeopathy as well as chiropractors and any other alt med modality that cuts into the profits of CONventional medicine. Their goal online is to disrupt any conversation and try to convince newcomers that the alternative being discussed is “quackery”. You can always these people by the language they use. They will never listen to anyone, and is unable to be swayed by any evidence offered. The best way to deal with them is to completely ignore them as if they aren’t present.

            The Quackbusters and Stephen Barrett have been involved in some deceit when trying to sue companies and individuals involved in alternative medicine. In one instance they created their own fictitious medical journal in order to publish their own articles and fake research. They used this in a debate about the legitimacy of chemical sensitivity as a biological condition. The Quackbusters fictionalized data “proved this condition to be psychological in origin. This was done in service to the chemical companies who stood to lose quite a bit if chemical sensitivity was found to be chemically based. You an read more here. The web is full of interesting stories about Barrett and his Parrots. http://www.kospublishing.com/html/quack_busters.html

          • That’s very correct. Lots of homeopaths are getting rich selling plain water to their clients and laughing all the way to the bank. Science works, quackery doesn’t.

        • Diane, what I understand about homeopathy is that it DOESN’T work. If you believe in this form of quackery, then you’re the one whose education is sorely lacking.

          -jcr

          Reply
          • @ John C. Randolph
            Two of us had a triple bypass and where they took the Veins out of our legs for our hearts we both got infections. First they tried pills then antibiotics interveinusly. Spelling? After a couple of weeks they were talking about cutting my leg off. I got the hell out of there and went online and ordered three bottles of Silversol and a bottle of oil of Oregano. I drank three to four ounces of Silversol every day and took four drops of Oregano oil every 4 to 5 hours. In three days the infection stopped dripping and a couple of days later you could see it was healing. The other fellow put his faith in the doctors and he lost his leg. Now jcr. I’m sure there is a bunch of stuff out there that’s just plain BS but this actually worked for me. I let the doctors throw everything they had at this infection first and it kept getting worse. I could have saved a couple months of suffering if I had just done this to start with. Remember this just in case science fails you.

          • Did you try it to use it at all? Or did you try to use it correctly? It alway works for me and my family. I mean, kids 2 and 4 would not know anything, but that it taste good, so, you can’t say it is a placebo effect. I alway took care of their teething, colds, indigestion, flue, restlessness, and pain with it. It always worked. Couple of things did not work for me since I did not pick the right remedy. When I picked the right one, it worked like charm. My husband had a very scary autoimmune flare up and homeopathy helped very much.

            I am not going to argue with you, John. You are here to spread misinformation only. No one will change “your mind”, but I don’t believe you have one anyway. Anyway, go take your Medicine (“scientifically” based) and be happy for your bright decision.

      • I think that you know very well that the term “Homeopathic” has evolved to also mean (highly subjective) “Natural”. You simply couldn’t resist an opportunity to ridicule, and
        in the process, make yourself look foolish and ill-informed.

        Reply
  69. This is really amazing timing. I’ve been reading the blog for over a year.I have a little shard in my finger that just started becoming sensitive, even though it’s been in there for months. I’ve been hoping I wouldn’t have to have a scalpel taken to my finger. Eugh.

    Anyways, today I decided to search for a tomato sauce recipe on HHE, and low and behold, this article popped up. I’m not sure if this remedy will work for me, my “splinter” is a bit deep and seems to be of a round shape, so not as pointy and slim. But I’m for sure trying this! I’ll try my best to remember to post back with results.

    And now, tomatoes…
    (thanks Sarah)

    Reply
      • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

        Hi Amy, magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) draws toxins out of the skin. This is why it is cleansing as a bath. It also very effectively draws larger objects like splinters out too. I was amazed how well it worked! The magnesium sulfate paste will apparently draw the gunk out of boils and help clear pimples etc too.

        Reply
        • Thanks for sharing that Sarah. I have adult acne and I get boils a few times a year and acne weekly. I’m going to try using the magnesium sulfate paste like you suggested. I never thought to use it on pimples and boils. Maybe I should use it on my face once a week and see if it will clear up my complexion!

          Diane

          Reply
          • Diane, your complexion (acne/boils) problems are hormonally based. Magnesium will not solve that.

            – Halaluani

          • I don’t understand why no one has used peroxide. It and the Epsom Salts work great. For any type of infection. soak a cotton ball with peroxide and hold it to the area for a few minutes. Do this 2x per day and the infection will come to the top of the skin and will rupture. Use this, along with the Epsom Salts and it till cure your boils. Make certain you get the little white core out that caused

          • Boils are related to diet (processed foods and unhealthy fats).
            Try changing to Goatsmilk soap for your skin and hair to clear your skin problems.

          • Use proactive . I used to break out badly and rarely if ever break out since using proactive. I am an esthetician. If you can afford to get a facial from an esthetician school (beauty school) you should get one twice a month for three months then once a month. Do not let them do extractions. If you do this and use proactive.Buy it on amazon..its much cheaper. wash your face with a gel cleanser. I myself switch off between dermalogica gel cleanser and Murad. Make sure it is a gel cleanser. Proactive also has a clay mask. It works great. Use it once a week. If you can do this for 6 months then try to get a clarisonic brush and use it for 5 minutes a day…good luck!

      • It acts as a desiccant, drawing moisture out, shrinking the flesh. Thanks to your body’s natural reaction of pushing the object closer to the surface, the object is thus exposed to a pair of tweezers. Anyone who’s made or bought a country ham knows that meat cured with salt shrinks. Bacteria love moist, salt-free areas, so it may slow the spread of infection enough for the body to handle it easily.

        In an epsom bath, the salts transfer moisture from the bath into the skin, moisturizing and softening it. Great for rough patches.

        Reply
    • when i was a child i stepped on a needle and it broke off in my foot…i remember having to hobble around for days with a plastic bag wrapped around my foot and epsom salts…i wonder if stepped on 2 things cause the needle part is still in my foot …aparently doc. said too many small bones in foot to do surgery to remove it and said just leave it in there….

      Reply

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