Removing Splinters, Abscesses and Boils Using a DIY Poultice

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Poultice is a type of moist medicated mass used to treat skin abrasion or injuries. Different herbs are mixed together and spread on the affected area to soothe achy, inflamed or painful skin. As far as ingredients go, everyday items in the kitchen will do. Some use clay or carrots, others use porridge or bread to make a poultice.

Poultice was first used by the Native Americans. They usually reserve poultice to treat injured horses. The Native Americans used all types of absorbent ingredients to treat minor ailments. These ingredients range from bran to pumpkins.

Apart from the usual cuts and scrapes, poultice is traditionally used to treat an abscess, boil or even remove splinters.  According to those who swear by it, poultice could ease any foreign material embedded in the surface of the skin. Usually, you remove splinters with a needle. With a poultice, you don’t have to prick your finger several times to get the splinter out.

Homemade Poultice

Because most poultices require everyday kitchen items, you don’t need to buy special ingredients to create your own treatment. You will need:

Any bar of soap
Gauze or bandage
a clean container
Antiseptic solution


With an equal amount of soap and sugar, mash the two ingredients together in a clean container. You can use your fingers or a small spoon to mash them together. With your clean hands, start spreading the mixture on the affected area.

If you are treating a splinter, you will only need a small amount. But for abscesses or boils, use more. The affected area has to be covered with the poultice completely. After spreading the poultice, secure the whole thing with a bandage or gauze. Leave it on for at least 24 hours. Make sure the area is dry.

After 24 hours, remove the bandage or gauze. The splinter should’ve risen to the surface of the skin for easy removal. Just get a tweezer and remove it. If it’s a boil, the eye should’ve risen to the surface of the skin as well. You can also use a tweezer to remove its eye. After removing the offending material, clean the area with water. Make sure the skin is free from poultice remains. You can use an antiseptic solution to disinfect the wound. Leave the affected area uncovered for faster healing.

On the other hand, if the splinter or boil eye hasn’t come completely to the surface after 24 hours, clean the affected area again. Make a fresh batch of poultice and apply on the affected area. Leave it on for another 24 hours after securing it with a bandage. Usually, a second application of poultice will do the trick.

Factors to Consider

Have a First Aid Kit Ready

While you can use different home remedies to treat minor wounds or scrapes, it’s best to keep a first aid kit in your home at all times. You want a kit complete with antiseptic solution, antibiotics, bandages, alcohol, Band-Aids, and cotton. You can also add medical scissors, tweezers, and other tools.

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