How to Remove Warts at Home: Painless, Easy and Cheap Remedies
There's no need to go to the dermatologist to get warts removed from your skin. Although that's the fastest way, it can be painful and traumatic, especially for children or phobics who are scared of even the smallest medical procedures.
If you'd rather not have the dermatologist remove your warts—whether it's because you don't have insurance, don't have transportation, are fearful of the freezing or laser process, can't find a free moment to get to an appointment, or would just like to save a few dollars—you can remove your warts yourself, at home. It's cheap, easy and painless. It does takes some time and patience while you wait for the wart to die and fall off, but these methods require only a few moments a day from you.
It seems that everyone has heard of the duct tape method for removing warts. Apparently it works, but it's not the only method. In this article I'll cover several others. Read on to learn how to remove warts with:
- Nail Polish
- Castor Oil
- Duct Tape
- and More
Although these methods are cheap, easy and painless, they are not instant or quick. They take time, usually several weeks. They are carried out in basically the same manner: put the removal substance directly on the wart, every day or several times a day, and wait for the wart to fall off.
How Do They Work?
The duct tape method is aid to work simply by alerting your immune system to the fact that there is a wart on your skin. Once the reminder is there, your immune system will kick in and kill it.
I'm listing the iodine method first, simply because I have used it many times, and it has always worked for me. So, I have never needed to try the other methods in this article. Nevertheless, they have been recommended by friends and family, whose advice I am passing on to you.
Removal With Iodine
I have used this method many times on myself, and a couple of times on my kids. I learned it many years ago from a coworker who grew up in a small, country Texas town.
When a wart first popped up on my hand, I got some Compound W from the drugstore, and applied it as directed. My wart turned into an ugly, peeling mess, and eventually came off, but it grew right back.
Then my coworker told me her family always used iodine to get rid of warts. I went back to the drugstore and purchased a small, inexpensive bottle of "Iodine Tincture." (Although no prescription is needed to purchase iodine tincture, most pharmacies keep it behind the prescription counter, so you'll have to ask for it.)
What to Do:
- Small bottles of iodine tincture usually have a self-storing plastic dabber inside, attached to the inside of the lid. Several times a day, use the dabber to place a drop of iodine on your wart and let it sink in.
- Warts are porous, so the iodine will sink in quickly. It does not burn or hurt in any way, but iodine has that brownish-red color, and it will stain warts, which makes them more noticeable. If you're going somewhere special, cover it with a BandAid. Otherwise, keep it uncovered because that makes it easier to dab the iodine on. Also, seeing your little brownish-red bump serves as a reminder to put iodine on it now and then throughout the day.
- Eventually, the wart will fall off and never grow back. At least that's how it has always gone for me—every time. Sometimes it takes ten days, and sometimes it takes a couple of months. I am no doctor, but I think that iodine gets rid of warts permanently because it actually kills the human papilloma virus, whereas some other methods do not. I would love for someone knowledgeable on the virus to chime in on this theory in the comments section.
Using Nail Polish
To use this method, you may not even have to buy anything. All it requires is nail polish—preferably clear—and BandAids or medical tape.
- Thoroughly but gently wash and dry your wart.
- Cover it with clear nail polish. Allow the polish to dry.
- Cover the wart with a BandAid or medical tape.
- The next night, remove the BandAid and reapply another coat of nail polish right over the previous night's polish. Let it dry and apply a new BandAid.
- Repeat this every night until the wart begins to separate from your skin. It may separate in pieces or layers, or it may fall off all at once. Be patient, as this process can take several weeks.
For this home remedy, you can use straight castor oil, or mix it with a fragrant essential oil such as lavender oil or lemongrass oil. You can also make a paste of castor oil and baking soda.
Here's What to Do:
- Apply a drop of castor oil, or castor oil mixed with essential oil, directly to your wart several times a day.
- Allow the oil to soak into the wart for as long as possible, then clean up the excess oil with a tissue or Q-Tip.
- If using castor oil/baking soda paste, apply the paste directly to the wart, covering it completely with paste. Cover it with medical tape or a BandAid to hold the paste in place. Repeat several times throughout the day.
- Repeat every day for several days or weeks until the wart falls off.
Some say online to take garlic pills to get rid of warts, but the method that people recommended to me is to apply garlic directly to your warts. Garlic is said to have virus-killing properties which will get rid of the warts and prevent them from returning.
What to Do:
- Using a knife or the back of a fork, crush a garlic clove, working it until it forms a paste.
- At night before you go to bed, place a little glob of garlic paste directly on your wart, and cover it with a BandAid to hold it on. Sleep with the paste covering the wart.
- If you're worried about the garlic leaking onto your sheets or pajamas, cover it; for example, place a sock over garlic-covered warts on your foot, or a loose glove over warts on your hand, or use a stretchy fabric bandage to cover warts on other places.
- Repeat this procedure every night for several weeks, or until the wart falls off.
This method has gotten lots of press over the last several years, I think mainly because it is rather funny and unusual that duct tape (of all things!) can get rid of warts. Although doctors are not sure exactly why it works, it has been proven effective again and again.
Some say a duct-tape-covered wart becomes starved for oxygen and dies, while others believe the duct tape simply alerts the body's immune system to the wart, so that the body can kill it off.
What to Do:
- Thoroughly wash and dry the body area with the wart.
- Cover it securely with a piece of duct tape. Leave the tape in place for 6 days.
- Remove the tape and soak the area in warm water for about 5 minutes.
- Use a clean file or pumice to abrade the wart, gently scraping its surface. Dedicate this file or pumice to one person and use it only for this purpose, so that you do not spread the virus to other people or other areas of your body.
- On the day that you remove the duct tape and soak the wart, leave the wart uncovered overnight.
- Apply a clean piece of duct tape the next morning, and repeat the process until the wart is completely gone. The number of repetitions it takes to get rid of the wart varies from individual to individual and wart to wart.
Other Home Remedies to Remove Warts
There are quite a few home remedies for removing warts, and all involve putting some sort of substance on the wart until it falls off. My friends, family and myself can't vouch for these methods, but they are said to work:
- Apple cider vinegar: Apply several drops a day directly to the wart.
- Vinegar and baking powder: Make a paste with white vinegar and baking powder. Apply it to your wart several times throughout the day.
- Tea tree oil: Apply several drops a day directly to the wart.
- Flax seed oil: Apply several drops a day directly to the wart.
- Onions: Use medical tape or a BandAid to hold a small slice of onion on your wart.
- Potatoes: Use medical tape or a BandAid to hold a small slice of potato on your wart.
- Fresh pineapple: Use medical tape or a BandAid to hold a small slice of pineapple on your wart.
- Dandelion "milk": Apply the milky juice from a dandelion stem directly to the wart several times a day.
- Lemon juice: Soak one side of a cotton ball in lemon juice, then attach it over your wart with a BandAid or medical tape. Change several times a day.
- Banana peel: Use medical tape or a BandAid to hold a small slice of banana peel on your wart, with the inside of the peel touching it.
Tips for Staying Wart-Free
As mentioned before, warts are caused by a virus. This means they are contagious, and not just to other people but also to other parts of your body. Hygiene is important to stop warts from spreading. Take these steps to help avoid catching or spreading the human papilloma virus.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with hot water and soap several times throughout the day.
- Do not touch other people's warts. Wash your hands after interacting with someone who has warts, after visiting their home or office, and after touching your own warts.
- Be aware of any cuts or other skin openings you may have, as they allow the virus to enter your body more easily.
- If you clip, shave or cut your warts, clean the implement thoroughly with hot water and alcohol. Better yet, use a wart removal remedy and allow your warts to fall off, rather than infecting your grooming tools by using them on warts.
- Keep your skin clean and dry as much as possible, as the human papilloma virus flourishes in a warm, moist environment.
- Do not put your fingers in your mouth if you have warts on your fingers.
- Wear shower sandals in school, fitness center or community shower rooms, public pools and locker rooms. Wear them in hotel bathrooms as well.
- Always use a clean, unused Q-Tip to dip into your solution. If you apply any of the home remedies to your warts using a Q-Tip, do not dip the Q-tip back into the wart-removal solution once it has touched a wart.