How to Make a Poultice for Removal of Splinters, Boils, and Abscesses

Updated on November 12, 2017
Susana S profile image

Susana is about healthy living and eating and DIY home remedies.

Make a Poultice at Home

Knowing how to make an effective poultice from basic store and cupboard ingredients is a handy piece of home remedy knowledge to possess and can also save you many trips to the doctor or emergency room. Here, we're going to look at a very simple poultice that I've been using successfully for many years to remove splinters or to bring a boil or abscess to a head, and it works a treat.

What's a Poultice Used For?

There are various types of poultices that can be used to treat a wide variety of complaints, from acne and arthritis to bruises and sprains. Some people advocate the use of porridge, carrot, bread, clay, cabbage, or herbal poultices, and many use poultices as a home remedy for their horse's ailments.

So, poultices can have many uses. Here, we'll be focusing on bringing something such as a splinter or boil to the surface for easy removal.

Essentially, a poultice will help ease out anything that's embedded under the skin such as wood or metal splinters and can also bring boils or abscesses to the surface. It's one of the best methods for an easy removal of splinters and will save you the pain of digging around with a needle trying to get the splinter out. It's an easy home remedy that everyone should know about.

Use a poultice to remove splinters
Use a poultice to remove splinters

The Poultice Recipe and Process

There are only a few ingredients needed to make this simple homemade poultice and, luckily, they are things that nearly everyone should have at home:

  • Bar soap
  • Sugar
  • Large band-aid or bandage

Instructions:

  1. Use equal amounts of soap and sugar and mash them together in a clean container with a small spoon or clean finger. For a splinter, you'll only need small amounts of each substance, but you may need to make more poultice to cover a large boil or abscess. Just ensure you make enough poultice to cover the affected area.
  2. With clean hands, spread your sugar and soap poultice onto the affected area and cover securely with a band-aid or bandage.
  3. Leave the poultice on for 24 hours and don't allow it to get wet.
  4. Hopefully, when you remove your band-aid or bandage, the splinter or boil will have risen to the surface enabling you to either tweezer out the offending splinter or squeeze the boil.
  5. Clean the area thoroughly using water, removing any poultice mixture that remains.
  6. Clean the wound further with an antibacterial solution or cream and leave uncovered to heal.

If after 24 hours the boil or splinter hasn't come completely to the surface, wash away the old poultice mixture, make some more sugar and soap poultice, add to the affected area, cover, and leave for a further 24 hours.

This will, in most cases, do the trick. If not, you may want to try a specially prepared drawing salve.

A poultice for boils and abscesses
A poultice for boils and abscesses

First Aid Store Cupboard

While it's good to know a range of basic home remedies for common ailments, it's always wise to have a good first aid kit at home so that you're prepared for any accidents and home-treatable conditions that arise.

Some essential additions to your first aid kit and your home remedy knowledge include a good antiseptic ointment or cream, as well as an antibiotic cream.

These are a wonderful complement to your home remedies to ensure that yours or your families' cuts, grazes, splinters, burns, or boils do not get infected and have the opportunity to heal properly after you've used your home remedy.

Legal Disclaimer

Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician or healthcare professional. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, nor to prescribe any medication. If you have or suspect that you have a medical condition, promptly consult your healthcare provider. Information and statements regarding home remedies have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Questions & Answers

  • How do you remove a foreign body if a wound around it has healed over?

    If it is close to the surface, I would use a sterilized needle to break open the skin.

    If it's deeper, you'll need to see a doctor to get it out.

  • I have a large abscess/carbuncle on the outer labia. It is slowly leaking fluid, but hasn't opened or drained even after warm moist compresses. It's painful to walk or sit. How can I get it drained?

    It definitely sounds like one for your doctor to look at. They may lance it, plus give you a course of antibiotics. Once it's cleared, have a look for an ingrowing hair. Abscesses in this region are often caused by one.

Comments

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    • Susana S profile imageAUTHOR

      Susana Serer 

      2 months ago from UK

      It's amazing isn't it! So glad the poultice got that nasty thorn out quickly.

    • profile image

      Ian Mansfield 

      3 months ago

      I found this site after a Google search for a method of removing a long thin rose thorn that was deeply buried in the top of my hand.

      Previously I had tried to remove it with a needle with no success and after reading this article I applied the poultice in the manner described and the next morning I noticed that the pain had gone from the area where the splinter was. I then removed the bandage and found the splinter sitting in the soap mixture and completely removed from my skin.

      Yes it does work brilliantly and a good thing to know.

    • profile image

      indra 

      5 months ago

      worked amazingly well...in less than 24 hrs. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Iris 

      11 months ago

      Will any type soap work ?

      My husband has a boil under his arm and we're hoping this will work.

    • profile image

      Chris Harvey 

      14 months ago

      Would this poiltice work on a planter type of thing under my foot?

    • profile image

      Alison 

      18 months ago

      My husband has an abscess.I'm trying this poultice for the first time...fingers crossed

    • profile image

      Kathy 

      20 months ago

      I had painful boils one summer when I was a kid, and my mother used a soap and sugar poultice on each of them, covered with a gauze bandage. The lye in the soap generates heat which dries and pulls at the infection beneath the skin, and the sugar keeps the soap from burning the skin surface. These poultices will draw the contents of a boil to a head in a relatively short time, and as the treatment is repeated, the poultice will actually cause the boil to pop and the contents of it to be sucked out into the bandage without ANY pain, Amazing!

    • Susana S profile imageAUTHOR

      Susana Serer 

      2 years ago from UK

      Geoff - sounds very painful. Yes just white sugar, but any sugar will work. Try putting it on before bed and see if it brings the boil to the surface by the morning.

    • profile image

      Geoff 

      2 years ago

      I have a boil at center of my nose? Could i use that poultice? And what sugar is that? Is that the white one? Well its very swollen and i cant endure the pain cause its sensitive :( i really badly need help :( cause it really hurta a lot ;(

    • Susana S profile imageAUTHOR

      Susana Serer 

      2 years ago from UK

      Yes overnight might do it. Let us know if the poultice helped.

    • profile image

      ouchie 

      2 years ago

      Can you just do overnight? 24 hours would be a bit difficult. ( I have a splinter in my foot an d have to walk on it....)

    • profile image

      kate hannah 

      2 years ago

      interesting. have always used poultices of milk on bread that has yeast in it or mustard on bread....both a tad messy but disposable gloves or a long bread bag tied over the bandaged area works. used to have a black licorice poultice product on emerg vehicles that was amazing....heard it is no longer available. going to try yours today on my finger & toe. happy gardening/yard cleanup everyone.

    • the rawspirit profile image

      Robert Morgan 

      3 years ago from Hutchinson Island, FL - Myrtle Beach, SC - Scottsdale AZ

      I liked your article. I use, recommend, and teach poultices.

    • Susana S profile imageAUTHOR

      Susana Serer 

      3 years ago from UK

      Sounds like it got infected peachpurple. Definitely painful!

    • Susana S profile imageAUTHOR

      Susana Serer 

      3 years ago from UK

      Colleen - Sure you could do grate a bit of soap off if that's easiest. Depends how hard the soap is. If it's soft it's should be easy to dig a finger in and scoop a little out. If it's hard then grating is a good idea!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 

      3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      your pictures reminded me of the splinter that i didn't remove and cause oozing liquid, very painful indeed

    • Colleen Gower profile image

      Colleen Gower 

      3 years ago from Waikanae, New Zealand

      Du you grate the soap

    • Susana S profile imageAUTHOR

      Susana Serer 

      4 years ago from UK

      Thanks so much for the feedback KEMcB. Very glad to hear that the poultice worked for your wife's splinter. It does in most cases even on those that are skeptical! Sounds too simple right?

    • profile image

      KEMcB 

      4 years ago

      This works perfectly, and saved a visit to the medics. My wife had a suspected splinter deep in her toe, and it had become infected. We could relieve the pressure but could not remove the splinter, so I looked for a home remedy online and found this hub.

      We tried the suggested poultice overnight. Removed the covering after 24 hours, and found several splinters had already worked their way out. I also used tweezers to check for any more, and removed a large glass sliver which had been causing the problem.

      Many thanks for an easy and very successful solution.

    • Susana S profile imageAUTHOR

      Susana Serer 

      4 years ago from UK

      It's not for burns.

    • profile image

      Ade bash 

      4 years ago

      If sm1 is having cream burns on d face can dis mixture work 4 it

    • profile image

      Eva 

      5 years ago

      I have a large breast abscess so I'm going to give it a go. I will post in a couple of days if it works. Thanks for the info

    • profile image

      Cisco 

      5 years ago

      This splinter is underneath my fingernail will this method still work?

    • profile image

      Marion 

      6 years ago

      I am living proof that the sugar and soap poultice works! I was born and raised in the Pacific Islands and my mother was a New Zealand nurse. During the "wet season" (monsoon), people developed tropical boils, especially on the legs. My mother would grate Lifebouy soap (the biggest selling toilet soap in the world) and mix it with raw sugar in a pot on the stove. This paste was cooled to be hot enough not to burn and then applied to the boil, then covered with a bandage and left overnight. In the morning, gentle pressure around the boil would release the infection and white "core". The wound would then heal. Another remedy from the islands is Hydrogen Peroxide. This was used as a topical wash for wounds as well as a gargle for throat infections. Look out for 3% strength peroxide at your pharmacist, and use it, you are unlikely to need antibotics again.

    • profile image

      rich 

      6 years ago

      Cant see how using something containing sugar would be good on an abscess, coonsidering that it is an infection, and bacteria like sugar as they feed on it ??? Old wives tale if you ask me.

    • profile image

      ihanvoe 

      6 years ago

      Audrey, I too have such a delicate spot, am gonna try this will post if it works, K?

    • profile image

      kenny m. 

      6 years ago

      Great hub! This is what I was looking for!

    • profile image

      audrey 

      7 years ago

      will this poultice be good to use for folliculitis? I have it on a very private place. Also, the soap used, is just your normal every day bath soap?

      I am desperate as no one can help me. Doctors just keep lancing and draining the ****** things. Frankly I am tired of been in pain 24/7. thanks

    • profile image

      Hailee 

      7 years ago

      I'm hopeing this works on my sons rash, he has a pimpley rash that needs to come out to get rid of it! Fingers crossed

    • profile image

      Rosemary 

      7 years ago

      Just what I needed to know. going to try it. If it doesn't work I'll be back

    • Susana S profile imageAUTHOR

      Susana Serer 

      7 years ago from UK

      You're welcome Chantal, I hope you get your hubby's ailment sorted out!

    • profile image

      Chantal 

      7 years ago

      Ive never looked on a "hubs site" However I found this posting after googling "homemade poultice" and how very glad I have... the advice is perfect for treating my hubbys "ailment" thank you very much!!! (",)

    • AngelaKaelin profile image

      AngelaKaelin 

      7 years ago from New York

      Excellent!

    • profile image

      Chrissy 

      7 years ago

      My Mother used to use this recepies for boils & splinters. I couldn't remember how to make it so it made me very happy to find it so quickly. Wlhat a relief that it is also so simple.

      Keep the good work up.

      Chrissy

    • profile image

      Jude 

      7 years ago

      I have used this many times myself over the years and recommended to several people who didn't believe me when I told them about it. They were however willing to give it a try and how soon they changed there minds. It has always worked on splinters and boils.

    • Susana S profile imageAUTHOR

      Susana Serer 

      7 years ago from UK

      Hi Wendy - Ouch! Whenever I've made this poultice I've used the soap bar out of the bathroom, so I guess it was slightly moist, but I've never added water to the mix. It should be a putty consistency. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Wendy 

      7 years ago

      Do you moisten the soap/sugar mixture or put it on dry?

      My husband has a fish bone in his finger!!

    • profile image

      Ross  

      7 years ago

      It works ...I did it just the other day..my old mother told me to try it on a splinter I got in my foot (no shoes tsk tsk) while gardening .Next day it was sitting up and easily removed with tweezers

    • Susana S profile imageAUTHOR

      Susana Serer 

      8 years ago from UK

      Hi Jen - it's a great poultice and so easy to make :)

    • JenDobson27 profile image

      JenDobson27 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for the great information Susana. I will have to give it a try.

    • Susana S profile imageAUTHOR

      Susana Serer 

      8 years ago from UK

      Thanks for your comments guys and gals - I wish I'd managed to publish it at the right time for the competition though, lol. Anyhow, it's a home remedy that I do use and does work, so hopefully it will help some other people with their splinters and boils!

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 

      8 years ago

      Fantastic Hub Susana. What a simple way to take care of a splinter or abscess. I may try it next time, if I don't have the homeopathic silica or hepar sulph remedies handy. It would certainly be helpful to campers. Great hub.

    • hypnodude profile image

      Andrew 

      8 years ago from Italy

      I'm trying to write a hub but every five minutes a new hub appears and I must try to read it. This is very good Susana, concise, to the point, very explicative. Rated, bookmarked and stumbled. :)

    • a2z50 profile image

      a2z50 

      8 years ago

      Good stuff. Very quick and to the point . most people just don't take the time to research this niche. Great Hub

      Ron

      As always also Rprcarz50 Keep on Hubbing

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for a lovely hub with great tips.

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