24 Home Remedies for Warts


©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Rubbing garlic on warts is one home remedy treatment. Garlic capsules are a better smelling one.

Witches are usually depicted with a wart at the end of their nose, and you've certainly heard the old wives tale that claims you can catch a wart by touching a frog or toad. But witches didn't get their warts from toads, and toads' bumps aren't actually warts. How, then, do people get warts?

Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), and there are more than 60 varieties of it. You get a wart from coming into contact with the virus through skin-to-skin contact. You can get the virus from another person, via a handshake for example, or you can actually give one to yourself if you already have a wart. You can spread the wart virus to other parts of your body by scratching, touching, shaving, or even biting your nails. All it takes is a little break in the skin for the virus to enter the system.

In this article, we'll discuss 24 home remedies for dealing with warts -- from avoiding them to treating them. Some are as simple as making small diet changes; some involve seeing a doctor. But first: How do you know if you have a wart? Identification is the first step in treating a wart.

Culprit Categories   

Before you can attempt to get rid of your wart, you have to be sure that little bump actually is one. There are three common varieties -- common, plantar, and flat -- according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Common warts are found in areas where the skin has been broken: where fingernails are bitten down to the quick or hangnails are picked until they bleed. Often, they look like they have little dots or seeds in them, which is why they're frequently called "seed warts." But what you see aren't seeds; they're merely dots produced by the blood vessel supplying the infected area. Common warts are:

  • Small
  • Flesh-colored
  • Hard
  • "Seedy" and rough to the touch
  • Raised
  • Usually found on kids, because they always have some kind of sore on their fingers, and people with immune system deficiencies, since they are more susceptible to all types of viral infections.

Plantar warts do not stick above the surface the way common warts do. That's because the pressure from walking pushes them back into the skin. Plantar warts are:

  • Usually found on the weight-bearing areas of the foot (plantar means bottom of the foot)
  • Usually gray or brown
  • "Seedy" and rough to the touch
  • Hard
  • Flat
  • Painful. At the very least, a plantar wart can feel like a stone in the shoe. It can also cause a sharp, burning pain. At worst, the repetitive pounding of simple footsteps can irritate these nuisances, sometimes so badly they bleed.
  • Able to grow to an inch in circumference or more and spread out into clusters called mosaic warts.

Flat warts are the smallest of the warts. Flat warts are:

  • Found in clumps of 20 to 100, usually on the face and neck, but also on the chest, knees, hands, wrists, and forearms. In men they're common in the bearded area, most likely picked up from shaving irritations and nicks. In women, they're common on shaved legs.
  • Tiny
  • Flat
  • Smooth
  • Flesh-colored, gray, or brown

There are dozens of other kinds of warts, as well as other problems that may look like warts. If you have any concerns, consult your physician. What looks warty to you could be something much more serious, such as a skin cancer.

A medical mystery also surrounds the fact that researchers have yet to find a way to get rid of warts for good. The solution may lie in developing a wart vaccine, but an approved, safe vaccine has yet to be developed. That leaves the wart sufferer with two options: Having a dermatologist treat the warts or trying a few methods on his or her own. As for home remedies, some people swear by certain tactics, while others never have any success with them. And it seems that in some cases, prevention may be the best medicine. In the next section, we'll discuss home remedies to leave you wart-free.

For more information about skin issues, visit the following:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Home Remedy Treatments for Warts

You might want to keep your wart covered so you won't be tempted to touch it -- thereby potentially causing it to spread.

Warts aren't the end of the world, but they can be an annoyance. Luckily, a number of home remedies exist, as well as minor medical care options, to take care of warts. In addition, there are a number of things you can do to prevent getting warts (or spreading them). The following are some popular options:

Make sure it's a wart. First and foremost, before you try any type of treatment, know whether your skin eruption is a wart or another condition. Warts (except the small, smooth flat wart) commonly have a broken surface filled with tiny red dots. (Some people mistakenly call these dots seeds, when in reality they are the blood vessels that are supplying the wart.)

Moles, on the other hand, are usually smooth, regularly shaped bumps that are not flesh-colored (as flat warts can be). A rough and tough patch that has the lines of the skin running through it may be a corn or a callus.

There is also a chance that the lesion could be skin cancer. You may be able to recognize skin cancer by its irregular borders and colors. When in doubt, see your doctor. In addition, if you have diabetes, circulation problems, or impaired immunity, do not try any home therapy for wart removal; see your doctor.

Wait them out. Warts can take a long time to go away, but most will, if you wait long enough. Unfortunately, they also have a tendency to recur. Doctors aren't sure why, but some speculate that the "mother" wart sheds "babies" into the surrounding skin. And some people seem to have a susceptibility to warts. Adults get warts less frequently than children do, but warts in adults take longer to go away.

Talk to your doctor. Doctors can zap warts with a laser, burn or freeze them, or give you topical medications that might do the trick. You can pay a pretty penny for these medical treatments, but if your warts are painful or multiplying rapidly, you may want to go the medical route.

Don't touch. The wart virus can spread from you to others, and you can also keep reinfecting yourself. The virus develops into a wart by first finding its way into a scratch in the skin's surface -- a cut or a hangnail or other wound, for instance. Even the everyday task of shaving can spread the flat warts on a man's face. Inadvertently cutting a wart as you trim your cuticles can cause an infection.

So keep the virus's travels to a minimum by not touching your warts at all, if possible. If you do come in contact with the lesions, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water. Children should also be told that picking or chewing their warts can cause them to spread.

Stick to it. Doctors have known for years that adhesive tape is an effective treatment for warts that's cheap and doesn't leave scars. In fact, a 2002 study found that tape therapy eliminated warts about 85 percent of the time, compared to a standard medical treatment using liquid nitrogen, which was only successful on 60 percent of warts. Researchers in this study used duct tape, but plain old adhesive tape seems to work, too.

Try this: Wrap the wart completely with four layers of tape. Be sure the wrap is snug, but not too tight. Leave the tape on for six and a half days. Then remove the tape for half a day. You may need to repeat the procedure for about three to four

weeks before the wart disappears. You can try the procedure on a plantar wart, but be sure to use strips of tape that are long enough to properly secure the adhesive.

Take precautions with over-the-counter (OTC) preparations. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved wart-removal medications made with 60 percent salicylic acid, but most common OTC remedies contain 17 percent. While the stronger formulas may work well for adults (except for those who have sensitive skin), they are not recommended for children. Salicylic acid works because it's an irritant, so no matter which strength of solution you use, try to keep it from irritating the surrounding skin. If you're using a liquid medication, do this by smearing a ring of petroleum jelly around the wart before using the medication. If you're applying a medicated wart pad or patch, cut it to the exact size and shape of the wart. Apply OTC medications before bed and leave the area uncovered.

Consider using the power of suggestion. Some physicians use this technique on children, who are still highly impressionable. The doctor tells the child that if the doctor rubs chalk on the child's wart, it will disappear. There are variations on this, including coloring the wart with a crayon or drawing a picture of a child's hand with the wart crossed out and then throwing the picture in the garbage (see "Can You Wish Warts Away?").

Don't go barefoot. Warts leak virus particles by the millions, so going shoeless puts you at risk for acquiring a plantar, or foot, wart. The best protection: footwear. Locker rooms, pools, public or shared showers, even the carpets in hotel rooms harbor a host of viruses -- not just wart viruses. You can catch any of a number of infections, from scabies to herpes simplex. Never go barefoot; at the very least, wear a pair of flip-flops, or thongs.

Keep dry. Warts tend to flourish more readily in an environment that's damp, especially in the case of plantar warts. That's why people who walk or exercise extensively may be more prone to foot warts, says the American Academy of Dermatology. So change your socks any time your feet get sweaty, and use a medicated foot powder to help keep them dry.

Cover your cuts and scrapes. The wart virus loves finding a good scratch so it can make its way under your skin. By keeping your cuts and scrapes covered, you'll be helping keep out the wart virus.

From duct tape to the power of suggestion, there are quite a few home remedies that are proven to work well against warts. However, there are a number of simple home remedies -- some using kitchen items and others just common sense -- that can help you treat warts if they do occur. In the next section, we'll discuss some home remedy options.

For more information about skin issues, visit the following:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Natural Home Remedies for Warts

If a wart has appeared, don't panic: You may have a magical elixir somewhere within your home. Garlic, vitamin C and other common kitchen items can be used as home remedies to treat warts -- some suggestions are below.

Home Remedies from the Kitchen

Mix up baking powder. Mix baking powder and castor oil into a paste, then apply it to the wart at night, covering it with a bandage. Remove bandage the next morning. Repeat as necessary.

Soak in baking soda. Dissolve baking soda in water, then wash your wart-plagued hand or foot in it. Let your hand dry naturally, with the baking soda still on it. Repeat often, until the wart is gone.

Get strong with good foods. Eat foods that strengthen the immune system, such as garlic, sweet potatoes, whole-grain breads, sunflower seeds, and rice.

Get garlic. Rub crushed garlic or onion on your wart. Or, eat fresh garlic. If you don't want to smell like an Italian cookery, try swallowing 3 garlic capsules three times a day -- or munch on some breath-freshening parsley afterward.

Heat it up. One study found that having patients soak their plantar warts in very hot water was helpful because it softens the wart and may kill the virus. Make sure the water is not hot enough to cause burns, however.

the Supplement Shelf

Cover it in vitamin C. Crush 1 vitamin C tablet, and add water to make a thick paste. Apply it to the wart, then cover. Vitamin C is mildly acidic, so it may irritate the wart enough to make it go away. Apply a paste made of crushed vitamin C tablets and water.

Wrap it in vitamin E. Break a vitamin E or A capsule, rub a little of the oil on the wart, and cover it with an adhesive bandage. Repeat three times a day. Remove the bandage at night to let it breathe, then start over with the oil in the morning.

Try castor oil. The acid in castor oil probably does the trick by irritating the wart. The oil treatment works best on small, flat warts on the face and on the back of the hands. Apply castor oil to the wart with a cotton swab twice a day.

Home Remedies from the Refrigerator

Cut up carrots. Finely grate a carrot and add enough olive oil to it to make a paste. Dab the paste on your wart twice daily for 30 minutes for two to three weeks.

Make a fig mask. Mash up a fresh fig and place some on your wart for 30 minutes. Do this daily for two to three weeks.

Fight it with foods. Eat foods that strengthen the immune system: broccoli, red meats, oranges, onions, scallions.

Use lemon juice. Squeeze a little lemon juice on your wart, then cover it with fresh, chopped onions for 30 minutes once a day for two to three weeks.

Put it in pineapple juice. Soak your wart in pineapple juice. It has a dissolving enzyme.

Home Remedies from the Windowsill

All kinds of aloe. Break open an aloe leaf, and soak up the clear juice from the inner leaf on a cotton ball. Apply the cotton ball to the wart, and cover with a bandage. Repeat daily until the wart is gone.

Hopefully one of these home remedies will help alleviate your wart. If not, there is a chance it will go away on its own -- or you can always seek medical attention.

For more information about skin issues, visit the following:

Ivan Oransky, M.D., is the deputy editor of The Scientist. He is author or co-author of four books, including The Common Symptom Answer Guide, and has written for publications including the Boston Globe, The Lancet, and USA Today. He holds appointments as a clinical assistant professor of medicine and as adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.

David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.