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Some claim that bacon can help to remove splinters. Is there any good evidence that this makes sense?

For example, these splinter remedy lists both suggest that bandaging a piece of bacon (or bacon fat) over the splinter overnight will effectively remove the splinter (or facilitate its removal):

COUNTRY_OF_REMEDY: USA
NAME_OF_REMEDY: Splinters, small shards of glass hard to remove, etc
INGREDIENTS: 1 small piece of raw fatty meat (bacon, salt pork, etc)
Salt
white piece of cloth
INSTRUCTIONS: Take the piece of raw fatty meat, salt it REALLY well, place it directly on the place that needs the splinter, glass, etc drawn out. Cover with a WHITE cloth and leave overnight. If the splinter or glass has not been drawn to the surface, repeat the next night.

I had a sliver of glass in my foot and couldn't get it out. I researched home remedies on line and only found remedies for wood splinters however I was desperate so I tried one which really sounds absurd but it worked! I put a piece of bacon fat on the spot,adhere it with a band aid and wrapped the area so it wouldn't slip out. I don't eat pork but it sounded crazy enough to work. The next day the glass was gone!! Sounds crazy but it works!

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Surely eating bacon makes the experience more pleasurable ;-) –  Ebenezer Sklivvze Mar 23 '11 at 20:50
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Seriously? Did anyone read that link? One suggests a piece of bacon, one suggests a piece of pork or ham, one suggests using bread, and one actually suggests using a fried egg! By the end, you've made a nice breakfast just to put on the splinter. –  Monkey Tuesday Mar 29 '11 at 15:47
    
Am I the only thinking that it isn't the bacon, but the leaving it alone for a night or two? A lot of splinters will work their own way out given time. How can I prove that is what is happening? –  Oddthinking Jan 19 '12 at 10:07
    
@Odd: Sounds like we need a clinical trial (my business) :-) –  Mike Dunlavey Jan 20 '12 at 17:15
    
thought I might have a honey locus thorn in my leg. yep after a month, brown puss. neighbor said bacon. no way! bandaided small piece o'bacon to leg at 5 pm. next morning w/ just little pressure 3/8 inch thorn point pops out! –  user12086 Mar 25 '13 at 1:08

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Whether or not this works seems secondary to the fact that this is likely to complicate the problem. Having raw bacon on an open wound (granted, a small one) overnight, is a recipe for infection. While it doesn't seem that there is an additional risk of trichinosis by this (the worms need to be introduced through the digestive system), there is plenty of bacteria and viri that will thrive in that environment. Baking soda, Hydrogen-Peroxide, and Elmer's glue are better solutions.

Thanks, BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft, for the Elmer's glue suggestion.

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2  
Elmer's glue also works well (let it dry, then just peel it off) –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Mar 23 '11 at 21:44
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Step 4 of the hydrogen peroxide instructions: "Grasp the body part firmly and thrust it under a lamp or other strong light source." Interesting word choice :) –  Jason Plank Mar 23 '11 at 22:23
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"Whether or not this works seems secondary"?? This doesn't really make sense to me. Whether a not a solution works is secondary to solving the problem? That seems rather primary to me...Also, I'm not a stickler for these things, but do you have a cite for "a recipe for infection"? I doubt bacon would help the recovery of a wound, but "recipe" seems rather strong term to me, I'd have predicted little to no effect. Thanks. –  Uticensis Mar 24 '11 at 10:52
    
@Billare I could not find conclusive evidence that this method works, and it is unlikely to be something that has truly been studied, given the other methods that work well, and don't encourage infection. As for a recipe for infection, bacon at room or body temperature is a perfect environment for bacterial growth, and placing that bacteria-laden piece of uncooked meat directly on an open puncture wound for several hours increases the likelihood of infection. A simple search of "meat bacteria" and "puncture wound infection" will give thousands of sources. View images at your own risk. –  Ustice Mar 24 '11 at 12:56
    
A little topical antibiotic should ward off the possible infection. –  Mike Dunlavey Jan 20 '12 at 17:12

Looks like a myth based in fact.

There is evidence that Salicylic acid can be used to chemically extract splinters (Patent here). Salycilic acid is extracted from Willow bark and is usually then combined with an organic base to enable it to be applied. One of these organic bases is pig fat (as it is cheap and easy to obtain) which would probably explain where the rumour came from.

Pork fat on its own does not contain Salicylic acid and there is no evidence that pork fat would work if applied to a splinter. Splinters can naturally work thier own way out which would probably account for various anecdotal evidence of "it worked for me"

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If you're going to downvote please at least leave a comment to explain why. –  Ardesco Apr 12 '13 at 13:39

protected by Community Sep 25 '13 at 12:42

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