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How do I Use Duct Tape for Warts?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Using duct tape for warts can be a cost-effective alternative to other types of wart removal. It typically involves covering the wart for long periods of time with duct tape, and may take a month or more to complete. The heavy-duty tape serves to remove the top layer of skin contained in the wart each time it is removed, and may also help to trigger a natural immunological response. Since warts are caused by a virus, this can potentially help in the process of removal. An emery board can also used to file down the wart in between applications of duct tape, and salicylic acid may also be applied.

Though using duct tape for warts can be a long process, some studies have suggested it may be slightly more effective than expensive freezing, chemical, or surgical methods. The procedure usually begins with simply applying duct tape over the wart and then leaving it there for about a week. Once this time has passed, the tape should be removed and the wart soaked in water. Then, it is usually filed down to some degree, after which new tape is reapplied. This process can be repeated until the wart is gone.

Salicylic acid can also be used in conjunction with duct tape for warts. This product is usually available as an over-the-counter wart remover, though it may be more effective when used with duct tape and emery board filing. The process is similar, though the acid is applied to the wart and allowed to dry before applying the tape. These steps are then repeated after the tape has been removed and the wart filed down. Salicylic acid can potentially speed up this process, as it tends to cause skin to shed more rapidly than it would otherwise.

The main drawbacks of using duct tape for warts include it taking a long time to complete, duct tape being unpleasant to wear on the skin, and the skin potentially becoming damp and inflamed under the tape. The latter can usually be solved by simply taking a break from the process, and allowing the skin to breathe for a few days. The cosmetic issue can be helped a little by choosing a color of duct tape other than the standard gray, or by wearing it only at night.

When using duct tape for warts, it may be a good idea not to touch the wart itself. If the wart is touched, it may be wise to thoroughly wash the hands or any other skin that contacted the infected area. The same caution extends to the filing process. This is due to the fact that warts are caused by a virus that may be passed by skin contact. If precautions aren't taken, it is possible for more warts to appear on the hands or elsewhere.

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Discussion Comments

By anon359352 — On Dec 17, 2013

Warts don't breathe. What is happening is that the adhesive is causing a skin irritation which triggers an immune response, and your immune system attacks the virus. The same thing happens when vinegar is used. It causes irritation which triggers an immune response.

The duct tape is probably removing some layers of skin/wart every time you remove and change it, but it's your body that's killing the wart virus. A virus is nothing but genetic material in a protein coating. It is a structure that interacts with living things and only exists to replicate itself, and it uses the host's cells to do all the work. Viruses can remain viable in a vacuum.

By stoneMason — On Nov 07, 2013

Wart treatment with duct tape takes too long when additional remedies are not used. I used duct tape to remove a wart on my hand, but I also used vinegar at the same time. Everyday, I treated the wart with vinegar before putting another piece of duct tape on it. Vinegar helps kill viruses, so it made the duct tape remedy work faster.

It takes at least a month to get rid of warts with duct tape. For some people, it takes longer. I got rid of mine in about three weeks with both duct tape and vinegar.

By ysmina — On Nov 07, 2013

@burcinc-- It's probably a bit of both. But I think that duct tape works on warts because it cuts off oxygen supply to the wart.

I'm sure that it helps the immune system respond to the virus causing the wart. But duct tape also causes the wart to slowly die because it can't get enough air. Every day, when I remove the duct tape and scrape some of the wart off, the top of the wart looks dead.

By burcinc — On Nov 06, 2013

So in the duct tape wart removal method, is it the duct tape removing the wart or is it the body? Are we simply telling the immune system that there is a wart here and you need to take care of it?

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