How To Remove A Needle From A Syringe

Removing a used needle from a syringe is an important step to help prevent accidental needle stick injuries. Used, unprotected needles can transmit bloodborne pathogens like HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C if they accidentally puncture the skin.

That’s why it’s crucial to know how to safely detach a used needle after giving an injection or drawing fluids.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Grasp the hub of the needle firmly with one hand. With your other hand, grip the syringe barrel and unscrew the syringe counter-clockwise away from the needle until it detaches. Then, dispose of the needle safely in a sharps container.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn the step-by-step process for removing needles from syringes. We’ll cover the supplies you need, precautions to take, and instructions for different syringe types. Read on to learn the proper technique to help you stay safe when detaching used needles.

Gather the Necessary Supplies

When removing a needle from a syringe, it is important to have the right supplies on hand to ensure a safe and effective process. Here are the essential items you will need:

Alcohol swabs

  • Alcohol swabs are used to clean the injection site before and after needle removal. They help to prevent infection and ensure a sterile environment.
  • It is recommended to use a fresh alcohol swab for each step of the process to maintain cleanliness.


  • Wearing gloves is crucial to protect yourself from any potential contamination or exposure to bodily fluids.
  • Disposable gloves made of latex or nitrile are commonly used in healthcare settings and can be easily obtained from medical supply stores or online.

Sharps container

  • A sharps container is a specially designed container that is used to dispose of used needles and other sharp medical instruments.
  • It is important to have a designated sharps container to ensure proper disposal and prevent accidental needlestick injuries.
  • Many pharmacies and healthcare facilities offer sharps containers for safe disposal or you can purchase one online.

Paper towels

  • Having a few paper towels nearby can be useful for cleaning any spills or excess fluid that may occur during the needle removal process.
  • They can also be used to create a clean and dry surface for preparing the syringe and needle.

By gathering these necessary supplies, you will be well-prepared to safely remove a needle from a syringe. Remember to always follow proper safety precautions and dispose of used needles appropriately.

Take Safety Precautions

When it comes to removing a needle from a syringe, safety should be your top priority. Following the proper safety precautions can help protect you and others from potential harm or injury. Here are some important steps to take:

Wash hands thoroughly

Before you begin the needle removal process, it is crucial to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. This helps eliminate any potential bacteria or contaminants on your hands that could enter the syringe or cause an infection.

Remember to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, ensuring that you clean all areas, including between your fingers and under your nails.

Put on gloves

Wearing gloves is an essential step in ensuring your safety and preventing the spread of any infectious materials. Disposable gloves provide a barrier between your skin and any potential contaminants. Put on a pair of gloves before handling the syringe and needle to minimize the risk of accidental needle sticks or exposure to bodily fluids.

Have sharps container ready

A sharps container is specifically designed to safely dispose of used needles and other sharp medical instruments. It is important to have a sharps container readily available before removing the needle from the syringe.

This ensures that you can immediately and safely dispose of the needle without the risk of injury or contamination. Make sure the sharps container is puncture-resistant and properly labeled.

Clear workspace

Before proceeding with needle removal, clear your workspace of any unnecessary items or clutter. This helps minimize the risk of accidental needle sticks or injuries. Create a clean and organized area where you can safely handle the syringe and needle.

Make sure you have enough space to maneuver without any obstructions.

Taking these safety precautions is vital to protect yourself and others from potential harm. Always remember to follow proper guidelines and procedures to ensure the safe removal and disposal of needles from syringes.

Remove the Needle for Standard Syringes

Grasp needle hub firmly

To remove the needle from a standard syringe, start by firmly grasping the needle hub. The hub is the plastic part that connects the needle to the syringe. It is important to hold the hub securely to avoid any accidental needle sticks. Remember to never touch the sharp end of the needle.

Unscrew syringe counter-clockwise

Next, carefully unscrew the syringe in a counter-clockwise direction. This will detach the needle from the syringe. Take your time and ensure that the needle is fully disengaged from the syringe before proceeding.

Be cautious not to apply too much force, as it may cause the needle to break or become damaged.

Place needle in sharps container

Once the needle is detached from the syringe, it is important to dispose of it properly. Place the needle directly into a sharps container. A sharps container is a puncture-resistant container specifically designed to safely dispose of used needles.

This helps to prevent accidental needle sticks and protects both you and others from potential harm.

Wipe syringe with alcohol swab

After removing the needle, it is a good practice to wipe the syringe with an alcohol swab. This helps to disinfect the syringe and remove any potential contaminants. Simply take an alcohol swab and gently wipe the entire surface of the syringe, including the hub and plunger.

Allow the syringe to air dry or use a clean, lint-free cloth to dry it before reuse or proper disposal.

Remember, proper needle removal is crucial for the safe and effective use of syringes. Always follow these steps to minimize the risk of injury and ensure proper disposal of needles.

Detach Needles from Safety Syringes

Removing a needle from a syringe is a delicate process that requires caution to prevent accidental needlestick injuries. Safety syringes are designed with built-in safety mechanisms to protect healthcare workers and patients. Here are the steps to properly detach needles from safety syringes:

1. Engage safety mechanism on syringe

Before attempting to remove the needle, ensure that the safety mechanism on the syringe is engaged. This may involve sliding or twisting a shield or cap over the needle. The safety mechanism varies depending on the type of safety syringe being used.

Read the manufacturer’s instructions or consult the product manual for guidance on engaging the safety mechanism.

2. Grip sides of safety shield

Once the safety mechanism is engaged, firmly grip the sides of the safety shield or cap. Ensure that your fingers are positioned away from the needle to avoid accidental punctures. Take a moment to visually inspect the needle to ensure it is securely covered by the shield.

3. Pull shield firmly over needle

With a steady and controlled motion, pull the safety shield or cap firmly over the needle. This action should cover the entire length of the needle and lock it securely in place. Take a moment to confirm that the needle is fully covered and cannot be exposed accidentally.

4. Unscrew syringe counter-clockwise

With the needle safely covered, hold the syringe barrel and unscrew it in a counter-clockwise direction. Be careful not to grip the needle or touch the exposed end. Ensure that the syringe is fully detached from the needle before proceeding to the next step.

5. Discard syringe and covered needle

Once the syringe and needle are separated, immediately dispose of them in a designated sharps container. Do not attempt to recap or manipulate the needle in any way. Follow the proper disposal guidelines established by your healthcare facility or local regulations to ensure safe disposal of the used syringe and covered needle.

It’s important to note that the above steps provide a general guideline for removing needles from safety syringes. Different safety syringes may have unique features and instructions, so always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific details.

Additionally, healthcare professionals should receive proper training on safe needle handling and disposal practices to minimize the risk of needlestick injuries.

Remove Needles from Prefilled Syringes

Hold needle cap using forceps

When removing a needle from a prefilled syringe, it is important to take precautions to avoid any accidental needlestick injuries. One way to do this is by using forceps to hold the needle cap firmly. Forceps provide a firm grip and minimize the risk of slipping or dropping the needle during the removal process.

By using forceps, you can ensure a safe and controlled removal of the needle cap.

Carefully slip needle cap over needle tip

Once you have a firm grip on the needle cap using forceps, carefully slip the cap over the needle tip. It is important to do this step slowly and steadily to ensure that the cap does not accidentally come off or get stuck halfway.

By taking your time and being cautious, you can successfully remove the needle cap without any mishaps.

Grip needle hub and unscrew syringe

After removing the needle cap, the next step is to grip the needle hub and unscrew the syringe. The needle hub is the part of the syringe where the needle attaches. By firmly gripping the hub, you can easily unscrew the syringe from the needle.

This step is crucial in separating the needle from the syringe, allowing for proper disposal.

Place needle in sharps container

Once the needle has been successfully removed from the syringe, it is important to dispose of it properly. Place the needle in a sharps container, which is specifically designed to safely contain used needles. Sharps containers can be obtained from pharmacies or healthcare facilities.

By disposing of the needle in a sharps container, you are ensuring the safety of yourself and others, as well as following proper medical waste disposal guidelines.

For more detailed instructions and visual demonstrations on how to remove a needle from a syringe, you can visit CDC’s Injection Safety website. They provide comprehensive information and guidelines on safe needle removal techniques.


Detaching used needles from syringes properly is a crucial skill for anyone who administers injections or draws up medications. Following the step-by-step instructions outlined above will help you remove needles safely every time.

The most important points to remember are grasping the hub firmly, unscrewing the syringe counter-clockwise, and immediately discarding needles in approved sharps containers.

With practice, you’ll be able to detach needles swiftly while keeping your hands safely away from the sharp tip. Be sure to wear gloves, have a sharps container ready, and dispose of the needle and syringe immediately after disconnecting them.

Using proper needle removal technique will protect you and prevent needlestick injuries.

Similar Posts