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Warts are skin lesions that develop due to the human papillomavirus (HPV). There is currently no cure for HPV, but certain treatments and home remedies for warts can speed up healing.

In children and adolescents, most warts will clear up on their own within 1–2 years.

This article looks at home remedies for warts and how to use them. It also discusses things that people should not do for warts, some options for medical treatment, and when to speak with a doctor.

Warts are skin bumps and lesions that develop due to HPV. They are common in children and teenagers, but anyone can get them.

There are several types of warts, including:

  • common warts, which often occur on the hands
  • plantar warts, which often grow on the soles of the feet
  • flat warts, which can appear anywhere and often occur in large numbers
  • filiform warts, which resemble thin threads

Warts are contagious. Anyone with warts should try to avoid touching them unnecessarily. If they need to touch the warts to apply a treatment, they should wash their hands immediately after doing so.

Warts develop due to an HPV infection, and different strains of the HPV virus cause different types of warts.

Warts on hands and feet are typically caused by the HPV subtypes 1, 2, 4, 27, or 57. Genital warts can be caused by the HPV subtypes 6 or 11. Subtypes 16 and 18 can cause warts on male and female genitals.

People can contract this virus after coming into contact with a person with a wart or by touching a surface this person has also touched.

It is also possible for warts to spread from one area of the body to another.

A person is more likely to contract HPV if they have cuts or scrapes on their skin, if they bite their nails, or if they have a weakened immune system.

Wart remedies will work in different ways, but typically they will destroy the wart to prevent it from spreading or getting bigger. Common treatments will freeze, burn, or cut off a wart.

Treatments for warts that are hard to get rid of can include laser treatments, chemical peels, injections, and therapy to create an immune response in the warts.

A person can see a dermatologist to get warts removed or they can try home remedies.

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Below are some home remedies that people may find helpful for warts.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is a peeling agent that people use for general skin care, acne treatment, and other dermatological conditions. However, it can also help with treating warts.

People can use salicylic acid patches or gels to speed up wart healing and destroy any cells affected by HPV. For salicylic acid to be effective, a person needs to continue using it for 2–3 months.

Best salicylic acid treatment: Compound W Maximum Strength Gel

  • Price: around $8
  • Pro: affordable
  • Con: can take up to 12 weeks to work

This product is a salicylic acid gel. It comes in a tube with an applicator so a person can apply the gel accurately to the wart.

The product packaging states it is a maximum strength formula and a person can use it for up to 12 weeks.

The company recommends that a person use it once or twice a day until the wart is gone.

However, it is not suitable for people under the age of 3.

This treatment may be best suited to people with a low number of warts who want an easy-to-apply daily treatment.

A person can consider the following advantages and disadvantages:

Pros

  • affordable
  • easy to apply
  • typically effective

Cons

  • may take 12 weeks to work
  • unsuitable for children younger than 3

The product is available for around $8 for a 0.25 ounce (oz) tube.

Best aspirin: CVS Health Low Dose Aspirin

  • Price: around $3
  • Pro: widely available
  • Con: off-label treatment

Salicylic acid is also in aspirin. A person can crush and mix aspirin tablets with a few drops of water. This will make a paste that a person can apply directly to the wart.

However, aspirin is usually used as a pain reliever. Using it as a wart treatment would classify it as an off-label treatment. This means it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use to treat warts.

This treatment may be best suited to people who wish to try a very cheap, widely available product. However, they should speak with a doctor before trying aspirin for warts.

The advantages and disadvantages a person may wish to consider include:

Pros

  • very affordable
  • widely available
  • a person can mix their own strength paste

Cons

  • off-label treatment
  • limited evidence of effectiveness

CVS Pharmacy sells a pack of 32 aspirin tablets for around $3.

Freezing

Cryotherapy is a standard medical treatment for warts. However, people can also purchase over-the-counter (OTC) kits and products to freeze off warts at home.

Many pharmacies stock sprays that can freeze warts. A pharmacist can help someone choose the best option and tell them how to use it.

Some people should not use these products. This includes people with warts on their hands or feet who also have health conditions that affect those areas, such as diabetes.

In these cases, freezing the skin could cause harm or potentially lead to nerve damage. If a person has an underlying condition, they should speak with a doctor before attempting to treat warts at home.

Best home cryotherapy: Equate Quick Freeze Wart Remover

  • Price: around $10
  • Pro: can work within 10–14 days
  • Con: only recommended for warts on the feet

This product is for freezing common and plantar warts on the feet. A person applies the tip of the applicator to the wart and holds it in place for several seconds.

The manufacturers claim that the wart should then fall off within 10–14 days after one application. However, if a person has more than one wart or the wart does not fall off after the first try, they can reapply. Each pack comes with seven applicators.

A person can use their flexible spending account (FSA) or their health savings account (HSA) for this purchase.

Freezing treatment may be best suited to people who want a faster treatment for warts.

The potential advantages and disadvantages of this treatment may include:

Pros

  • pack contains seven treatments
  • affordable
  • HSA and FSA eligible

Cons

  • freezing can be painful
  • can cause skin reactions
  • only recommended for common and plantar warts on the feet

This product is available for around $10 for seven treatments.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a popular home remedy for a number of conditions, including warts.

Some people claim that the acid in the vinegar works in a similar way to salicylic acid. However, there is no firm evidence to suggest that ACV works for this purpose.

To try the ACV method:

  1. Mix two parts ACV with one part water.
  2. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture and apply it to the wart to soak for 20 minutes before rinsing off.
  3. Repeat these steps on a daily basis. Stop using ACV if it causes burning or irritation.

Best apple cider vinegar: Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Price: around $15
  • Pro: natural product
  • Con: may be difficult to apply accurately

This brand of apple cider vinegar is available in a range of sizes.

The company claims it is a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic certified formula, non-GMO, and gluten-free. It is also raw, unfiltered, and unpasteurized.

This product may be best suited to people who want to use a natural product to treat warts.

A person can consider the following advantages and disadvantages:

Pros

  • affordable prices
  • available in various sizes
  • USDA organic
  • natural product

Cons

  • limited scientific research to suggest this remedy works
  • may be difficult to apply accurately
  • chemical burns are possible if not used correctly

A person can order a pack of two 16 fluid-ounce bottles for around $15.

There are other remedies a person can try at home, but there is limited evidence for their effectiveness.

Duct tape

Duct tape is a popular home remedy for warts. However, according to a 2019 article, there is limited evidence to suggest that it helps.

Still, if a person wants to try it, there are no known side effects associated with it.

To try using the duct tape method:

  1. Apply a piece of duct tape to the wart.
  2. After 4–7 days, remove the tape and clean the wart.
  3. Remove any dead skin by gently exfoliating the area, and reapply another piece of duct tape 12 hours later.
  4. Repeat these steps for 4–6 weeks.

The table below compares each of the home remedies in this article.

Compound W Maximum Strength GelCVS Health Low Dose AspirinEquate Quick Freeze Wart RemoverBragg Apple Cider Vinegar
Typesalicylic acid gelaspirin tabletcryotherapytopical astringent
Proaffordablewidely availablecan work within 10–14 daysnatural product
Concan take up to 12 weeks to workoff-label treatmentonly recommended for warts on feetmay be difficult to apply accurately
Pricearound $8around $3around $10around $15

The dosage varies depending on the remedy.

A person may need to use salicylic acid 1–2 times daily for 2–3 months.

According to some manufacturers, one cryotherapy application can kill a wart within 10–14 days. However, plantar warts can be difficult to treat because they grow inward. Treatments like freezing require the wart to be exposed.

Several treatments may be needed to remove warts with cryotherapy.

There are no standard dosages for alternative treatments such as ACV, aspirin, or duct tape. A person should speak with a doctor before trying these treatments and work with them if these treatments do not work or if they cause side effects.

When treating warts, it is important to avoid the following:

Physical removal

People should never try to remove warts by cutting them off. This approach carries a significant risk of worsened infections and scarring.

Additionally, doing this does not prevent warts from coming back.

Shaving and scratching

Shaving areas of skin where warts are present causes tiny tears that allow HPV to infiltrate. This can cause more warts to develop. For example, if a person shaves an area with warts and then shaves the area around their genitals, they may develop warts there as well.

The same is true for other habits that cause small injuries to the skin, including:

  • nail or cuticle biting
  • skin picking
  • picking hangnails

Any of these habits can cause HPV to spread to other areas of the body. As a result, it is best to avoid unnecessarily touching warts. People can cover them with patches to help prevent HPV transmission.

Unproven home remedies

People should also be wary of home remedies that they find online for warts. Many home remedies are unproven, and not all of them will be safe.

Some examples of unproven home remedies for warts include using:

There is a possibility that some of these substances could help, but there is no scientific evidence to suggest that they work for this purpose.

In general, it is best to stick with proven remedies and treatments, as these will have the highest chance of success.

Learn more about how to know if a wart treatment has been successful.

There are a number of effective treatments for warts that a doctor can prescribe, including:

  • Cantharidin: This substance causes a blister to develop underneath the wart, killing the cells. After a week, a doctor can remove the wart.
  • Cryotherapy: This approach involves using a special solution to freeze the wart and kill the affected cells. It is the most common treatment for common warts, though it can cause dark spots in people with dark skin tones.
  • Electrosurgery and curettage: Curettage involves cutting or scraping the wart away, while electrosurgery involves burning it off. Doctors may use a combination of these methods for some types of warts.
  • Excision: This involves a doctor cutting off the wart.
  • Chemical peels: If someone has flat warts, which often occur in clusters, doctors may use chemical peels to treat a larger area of the skin. The peeling solution will contain exfoliants, including salicylic acid, at a stronger concentration than a person can buy over the counter.
  • Laser treatment: Lasers can burn off the wart tissue. However, dermatologists usually reserve this approach for warts that do not respond to other treatments.
  • Immunotherapy: People with severe warts or a compromised immune system may benefit from immunotherapy, which boosts the body’s immune response to HPV.

The treatments a person benefits from can depend on the severity and location of their warts, their age, and their individual response.

Learn more about the strongest wart removal options.

A person should seek medical advice if they have:

  • a wart on the face or genitals
  • a large number of warts
  • warts that hurt, burn, itch, or bleed
  • a wart that changes color
  • warts and a compromised immune system

A person should also speak with a doctor if they have not received an official diagnosis for their warts. Many other skin conditions can resemble warts, so a person should make sure that they are choosing the right treatment for their condition.

In children, warts will usually go away on their own within 1–2 years. During that time, warts are usually a cosmetic concern rather than a health risk. A person can speak with a doctor if they want to discuss ways of speeding up healing for this reason.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), a person can attempt to prevent warts by:

  • not touching other people’s warts
  • using their own towels and other personal items
  • covering grazes and cuts to prevent an infection from entering through the wound
  • frequently washing hands
  • trying to avoid cracked or dry skin
  • avoiding nail biting
  • wearing flip-flops in pool areas and other communal areas where people may have bare feet
  • getting the HPV vaccine
  • treating hyperhidrosis, as this can increase a person’s risk of acquiring HPV

Below are answers to the top frequently asked questions about remedies for warts.

What can I put on warts at home?

Some home remedies people can apply to a wart include duct tape, homemade aspirin paste, and ACV. However, there is little evidence that these treatments work.

A person can also purchase OTC treatments that freeze the wart or gradually degrade it with salicylic acid.

How do you get rid of warts ASAP?

OTC cryotherapy products can work within 10–14 days, according to some manufacturers.

However, a person should speak with a dermatologist to discuss the best way to get rid of warts quickly, as the best treatment may depend on the type of wart and its location.

How do you get rid of a wart in 24 hours?

It is generally not possible to get rid of a wart in 24 hours. Many treatments take at least 2 weeks to work, and a person may find that their wart takes longer than this to heal.

A person should not cut or shave off a wart, as this can make it worse and cause injury.

A person should speak with a doctor to discuss how best to treat their warts quickly.

Learn more about apple cider vinegar to treat warts.

Warts are not usually harmful, but a person may wish to speed up their healing due to pain or cosmetic concerns.

Home remedies for warts — such as salicylic acid, duct tape, or ACV — may help. People can also purchase OTC wart remedies or speak with a doctor for advice and treatment.