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.