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How to remove sawdust from your eye

Updated February 14, 2019

Sawdust or other small, foreign particles can be irritating to the eyes. Even if the sawdust is very small and not visible, it can cause a lot of eye discomfort. The body's own tears sometimes wash sawdust or other small particles out of the eye, but if tears alone don't work, simply lifting the eyelid and removing the particle gently with a clean finger will often do the trick.

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  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Look in the mirror and try to locate the sawdust particle in your eye. Blink several times in an attempt to remove the sawdust with little effort. Allow your eyes to tear up, as the tears may wash the sawdust out. Do not rub your eyes; instead, gently dab the tears with a tissue.

  2. Gently pull your lower eyelid away from the irritated eye while looking in the mirror. Look closely to search for the sawdust. It's possible for the irritant to move farther into corner of your eye. Repeat the process with your upper eyelid if you still haven't found the sawdust.

  3. Allow your eye to rest for a moment and blink some more. Allow your eyes to tear up, then repeat Step 2.

  4. Fill an eye cup or shot glass with lukewarm water or eye wash. Lean over a sink and place the cup over the irritated eye, making sure the cup fits snugly against the eye socket. Quickly tilt your head back and open the irritated eye so it's looking into the liquid. Look all around so the liquid reaches as many areas of the eye as possible.

  5. Lean forward over the sink again and remove the cup. Carefully pat your face and eye dry with a towel. Repeat Steps 2 through 4, if necessary, until the irritant has been washed away.

  6. Tip

    Always wash your hands thoroughly before attempting to rid your eye of a foreign substance. If you are afraid that regular tap water will be uncomfortable to your eye, mix in a pinch of salt before washing out your eye. The fluid and tears around the eye are naturally salty, so your eye will readily accept a mild salty solution.


    Never rub your eye when you feel something is irritating it; this could the problem worse or cause scratching to your cornea if the foreign object is abrasive. If you are unable to remove the irritant from your eye after multiple attempts, go to an urgent care centre or other health facility for professional help.

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Things You'll Need

  • Mirror
  • Tissue
  • Soap and water
  • Eye cup or shotglass
  • Lukewarm water
  • Towel

About the Author

Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer who traveled the world handling numerous duties for music artists. She writes travel and budgeting tips and destination guides for USA Today, Travelocity and ForRent, among others. She enjoys exploring foreign locales and hiking off the beaten path stateside, snapping pics of wildlife and nature instead of selfies.

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