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Duct Tape: An Effective Treatment for Warts

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Duct Tape: An Effective Treatment for Warts

Sep 14, 2018

Warts are raised, round, rough growths on the surface of the skin. They are very common and most people have dealt with one at some point. Warts usually go away without treatment in two to three years, but what if you, or your child, don’t want to wait that long? It’s time to pull out that wonderful silver tape that seems to fix just about anything. Dr. Cindy Gellner shares how duct tape can be used as an effective home remedy for your child’s warts.

Episode Transcript

Dr. Gellner: You look at your child's hand and see a bump and you know it is a wart. Do you rush to the doctor or can you treat it at home?

Announcer: Keep your kids healthy and happy. You are now entering The Healthy Kids Zone with Dr. Cindy Gellner on The Scope.

What Are Warts?

Dr. Gellner: So warts are raised, round, rough surface growths on the skin. They occur most often on the hands and they're not painful unless they're on the bottom of the foot and that's called a plantar wart. They can also hurt if you child keeps picking at them and they get infected. Unlike a callus, a wart has brown dots in it and has a clear boundary with normal skin around it.

Warts are caused by papillomavirus and are harmless actually. Most warts disappear without treatment in two or three years and with treatment they're gone in two to three months. So how can you take care of these unsightly warts?

How to Treat Warts with Duct Tape

First it sounds strange but cover the wart with duct tape. I know, doesn't it just seem like duct tape fixes everything? You should:


  • Cover the wart with a small piece of duct tape just like you would use a band-aid. Warts deprived of air and sun exposure sometimes die without the need for topical treatments.
  • Remove the tape once a week, wash the skin, and rub off any dead wart tissue. After it has dried thoroughly overnight, re-apply the duct tape.


The tape treatment may be needed for eight weeks. So find some cool duct tape that your child will like wearing.

Use Duct Tape & Wart Medication for Faster Results

To get faster results with duct tape, use an over-the-counter wart medicine. The best ones contain 17% salicylic acid.


  • Put the medicine on the wart once a day enough to cover the entire wart. Be aware, do this in a well ventilated area, because the acid stinks.
  • Cover the wart with duct tape after you put the medicine on the wart and the medicine has dried.
  • Make sure you don't get any of this medicine near the eyes or the mouth. The medicine will turn the top of the wart into dead skin and it will all turn white.
  • Once or twice a week, remove the dead wart material by rubbing the dead skin off with a pumice stone or washcloth. The dead wart will be softer and easier to remove if you soak the area first in warm water for 10 minutes.


Are Warts Contagious? How to Keep Them from Spreading

Warts are contagious but mainly to the child that has the warts. They aren't very contagious to other people.

If your child chews or sucks on the wart, cover the area with duct tape and change it as often as necessary. Encourage your child to give up this habit, because chewing on the warts can cause warts on the lips and or the face. If that happens, your child needs a trip to a dermatologist.

Warts can look ugly but we pretty much all have them at some point in our lives. By knowing how to treat them fast and right away, you can make these ugly bumps go away quickly.

Announcer: Have a question about a medical procedure? Want to learn more about a health condition? With over 2,000 interviews with our physicians and specialists, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find what you want to know. Check it out at

updated: September 14, 2018
originally published: May 13, 2016