You can find home remedies for warts by the dozens with a quick internet search but, as with much of the info found on the ‘net, effectiveness may vary. I love to stock my medicine cabinet with natural remedies, but not when they waste my time and money.
Here are my tried and true ways to remove warts naturally plus the three-step process that has gotten me the most bang for my buck over time.
I noticed hot pink duct tape covering the fingertips of a little girl recently, and it turned out it was a home remedy for warts.
I’m sure the preschooler (and her mom) were thankful for the fancy fashion line of duct tape (so cute!), and really, the duct tape thing is a great way to get rid of warts, for some people.
But what about more stubborn warts or even warts on the face? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to put up with duct tape on my face for many weeks, up to a year, even if it is leopard print.
What are Warts?
Warts, in a nutshell, are small, fleshy bumps that form on the skin. The general appearance of the wart varies based on the type of wart in question, but the cause of all warts is various strains of human papillomaviruses (HPV).
Please note: HPV comes in hundreds of varieties with many virus strands causing generally harmless, somewhat annoying warts on the body. However, certain strains of HPV also cause genital warts. I will not be discussing genital warts or their treatment in this post. If you believe you have genital warts, please see your doctor. Left untreated, genital warts can lead to cervical cancer in women.
Warts most commonly appear on the hands and feet but can make an appearance anywhere on the body.
I happen to know this from experience as pregnancy turned me into a wart growing machine. Lovely, right?
Apparently, it’s sort of normal, in that abnormal-feeling weird sort of way, because pregnancy depresses your immune system a bit, and warts, being a virus, see that as an open door.
I have a vivid memory of nursing my oldest while getting my first wart burned off my foot, and my second was in utero when I evicted a virtual condo association of plantar warts off my heel.
Fast forward to baby # 3’s first trimester. Something was growing on my chin, and after a week or two, I realized it was not merely the most indestructible zit ever created.
This spot on my face didn’t just look like your run-of-the-mill bump. It had fingers.
I’m not kidding.
Eventually, this bump led me to the dermatologist who promptly pronounced, “It’s a wart,” and started preparing to freeze it off.
At this point, I realized these little bumps came in all different varieties, and when I got another one in the exact same spot during pregnancy #4, I decided to do a little more research.
What are the Different Types of Warts?
There are several different categories of warts. The different types of warts are distinguished by their appearance and their location on the body. Below are several of the most common types.1
Common warts are small and rough and will sometimes have tiny black dots, which are actually clotted blood vessels. Common warts are typically found on the fingers and hands.
Small, smooth, and flat-topped (hence the name), these flesh-colored warts are most commonly found on the back of the hands, face, arms, or thighs.
Due to their small size and fleshy color, it may take a while to notice these ones.
Plantar warts are found on the bottom of the feet and are unique in that they grow into the skin instead of outside of it.
These warts look almost like a callus on the bottom of the foot. You may notice what looks like a small hole surrounded by callused or hardened skin.
Applying pressure to plantar warts in the form of walking or any other upright activity ranges from uncomfortable to downright painful. This may drive you to seek treatment for these sooner rather than later.
These painful, cauliflower-resembling warts are found near the fingernails or toenails and will often form in clusters. Periungual warts are most commonly found in children and young adults – especially among nail biters.
If left untreated, these warts can affect nail growth.
Filiform warts are also known as facial warts since they tend to form around your eyes or mouth. Filiform warts have long projections, or ‘fingers’, that extend 1-2mm from the base of wart. They are very quick growing, and the ‘fingers’ give them a somewhat spiky appearance.
Filiform warts are what I was dealing with on my chin during pregnancies 3 and 4, and even though I let the dermatologist take care of it the first time around, I was eager to find a natural wart remedy when it made a reappearance.
Time to Find a Way to Remove Warts Naturally
With every year that passes, I seem to take more steps into living naturally. Finding a natural home remedy to get rid of warts was an obvious next step, so I did what I tend to do best – self-experimentation!
Bentonite Clay for Warts
We use bentonite clay a lot in our house and have it in every bathroom, vehicle, and travel bag. It’s seriously that good and has become my first response for any skin issue.
So naturally, I thought, “what about bentonite clay for warts?”. I applied some Redmond Clay on it and allowed it to dry overnight and picked it off in the morning.
I kept this up for a while and felt like this strategy was keeping the wart from taking over my face, but I didn’t feel like I was gaining any ground.
If I had given it more time, the bentonite clay might have eventually conquered the wart on its own, but since I was dealing with my face, I didn’t feel much like waiting around.
Remove Warts with Essential Oils
My naturopath explained that a wart surrounds the virus with a protein coating, rendering it invisible to the immune system, which is why our own immune system can’t fight it.
Weakening that protein using essential oils was her line of attack to get rid of a wart, to allow my immune system to attack the wart and do its job properly.
If I were to do it over again, I would dilute with a carrier oil, but I had been in the care of a trained naturopath – so don’t take my word for it. Essential oils are too powerful to just use without much knowledge…in fact, here’s my post on the potential dangers of EOs.
Do you know how to properly dilute essential oils?
Katie here, popping in to tell you how important it is to be sure you’re diluting those essential oils properly.
Sure, you know not to use EOs straight (neat). But do you know the 1-2-3 math so it’s not too strong or weak?
Print this chart to keep with your oils so you never have to do math in the middle of the night when your LO is congested:
I was cautiously optimistic at this point. Rather than getting bigger, the wart on my face was either staying the same size, or sometimes a piece would come off with the clay, and it would be beaten back – but it always grew again.
Bringing in the Big Guns – Using Propolis for Warts
It was not until I started using propolis in conjunction with the clay that I started winning the battle instead of just holding my ground.
What is Propolis?
Bees collect resins from the buds of various botanicals. These include poplars, pine and birches. The honeybees chew on the resin, adding their saliva to the substance. This combination is called propolis, and is vitally important to bee survival. It is fundamental in building their hives, protects them against disease, and strengthens the hive walls to shield the honeybees from harsh weather.
Bee propolis contains many flavonoids, which have healing and antibiotic effects. Propolis is a rich source of flavonoids, minerals, vitamins C, E, provitamin A, and B-complex. There is also a selection of amino acids, fats, trace minerals and bioflavonoids.
In the congested beehive, propolis and royal jelly employ their antibiotic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties to inhibit undesirable bacteria and promote helpful bacteria.
I had purchased some propolis for two reasons:
1. It seemed like an incredibly versatile natural remedy. Check out all the conditions propolis can work with:
- bleeding gums
- the common cold
- flu symptoms
- hay fever
- hair loss
- joint stiffness
- any type of inflammation
- sore throats
The amazing thing about propolis is that it has so many healing properties. It is anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibiotic.
2. Propolis is used in tiny amounts, so it’s awesomely inexpensive. A 1-ounce spray bottle could easily last a year, and I’ve used it internally and externally for all sorts of things.
When I decided to really get rid of the wart once and for all, I focused on using propolis at least once a day. I would just put it on when I took my other supplements for the day.
I used propolis in conjunction with the bentonite clay on the facial wart overnight, and it seemed as though the wart was getting smaller.
Then one day, when I took off the clay, the whole thing came off.
I was excited but skeptical, so I kept up with the treatment a few more days. It was like a miracle the day I realized it was gone for good – that my skin was flat and clear. I assumed it would come back, but that one was gone for once and for all!
I have not personally tried colloidal silver for wart treatment, but it looks like a very promising option.
Silver nanoparticles have been shown in studies to “be active against several types of viruses.”
3rd Rock’s Silver Excelsior Serum and Silver Infusion Tonic have their patented Chelated Silver Oxide. It’s different and unique in the silver world compared to common, run-of-the-mill ‘colloidal silver’ (source).
This silver is of high quality with many health benefits. Containing amino acids, citrates, and kosher vegetable USP grade glycerin, 3rd Rock silver sticks to and penetrates cell walls—delivering silver oxide straight to cells to bolster their fight against infections in and on the body.
Apple Cider Vinegar + Duct Tape for Warts
To use apple cider vinegar to get rid of warts at home, you apply the apple cider vinegar (ACV) to a cotton ball and then tape the cotton ball into place with the duct tape.
The acidic nature of the apple cider vinegar works to burn the wart slightly, and the duct tape seals it in place. You could also use a bandaid.
Duct tape is also sometimes used alone as a natural treatment for warts though the exact way this works isn’t clear. It may simply be the exfoliation from applying and removing the duct tape.
Apparently, duct tape really can fix everything.
Do Home Remedies for Warts Work for Everyone?
No one can say that a remedy of any kind works for everybody, right, because we’re such diverse and complex organisms, but we had the opportunity to test the propolis again, this time by itself.
We found a little wart on my then 4-year-old’s forehead and applied a drop once or twice a day as we remembered. Again, I felt for the first few weeks as though we were gaining ground but not yet winning.
Sometimes I could hardly find the thing, it was so small, so I had a lot of confidence that we’d beat it – and we did! Eventually, it disappeared (although like mine, it came back in the same place a few years later).
Then when the poor dear was 6, we battled a quite ugly and quite large wart on her thumb, right near the nail, for quite some time. We used propolis, clay at night, and some essential oils, but it’s tough to remember to do something daily on someone else’s body when it’s hard enough to remember for your own face!
So we weren’t incredibly consistent about doing anything on a daily basis. We’d see little black spots and say, “We’re winning!” and it would decrease in size, and then we’d get lazy and miss a lot of days, and it would seem to get bigger again. 🙁
At her well-check, I was very pleased that the doctor said it was “dead,” and we could file it down and try to get it to fall off. The doc also confirmed that warts are notoriously hard to get rid of and that even a dermatologist might not be able to get it in one try.
We used a nail file from time to time and continued a very scattered regimen of clay, mostly, when we thought of it.
And one day I said, “Where’s your wart???” and we realized it was gone entirely.
I love it when a natural living plan comes together (and when I don’t have to subject my sensitive little girl to a dermatologist freezing her wart off, which probably would have traumatized her for all doctor’s visits for the next five years).
A couple of years later, my son had a large wart on his little toe, and we tackled his with Plant Therapy’s Kid-safe roll-on. Although it took about three months of (almost) nightly applications of the roll-on, it eventually fell off and didn’t come back! Had we been more consistent or used the remedy twice a day, I think it would have been quicker.
You CAN kill a wart naturally, but it takes patience.
Traditional Treatment for Warts
Conventional treatments of warts range from various topical applications to cryotherapy and even surgical removal – each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Here are a few of the most frequently used traditional wart treatments. 2
Salicylic Acid is one of the most common wart treatments due to it’s over the counter availability. The acid works on the external layer of the wart in much the same way as essential oils and apple cider vinegar does, irritating the wart and promoting an immune response.
This method is reasonably effective but can require months of treatment, and the treatment instructions must be followed precisely. There is a risk of skin irritation from the acid and even systemic toxicity in children.
Cantharidin, sometimes known as ‘beetle juice’, is derived from the blister beetle and is used to treat viral warts topically. Cantharidin can be toxic and should never be ingested. It is only available in a professional office setting applied by a doctor.
Cantharidin fell out of favor and lost FDA approval in the 1960s, but has recently come back under evaluation for the treatment of viral warts for its non-scarring, but seemingly effective treatment.
Cryotherapy, or freezing warts, can be done in the office of primary care doctors or dermatologists. Freezing the wart does not kill the virus and therefore is not a guarantee of removing the wart or of preventing the wart from returning.
Several freezing treatments are sometimes needed to remove the wart altogether.
In the surgical removal of warts, warts are either cut out or cauterized (or sometimes both). Success rates are relatively high at 65-85%, but recurrence and/or scarring are known to recur up to 30% of the time.
Scarring, in particular, is problematic as it can be very painful and difficult to treat down the road.
Combining Traditional Treatments and Home Remedies for Warts
Life continues to give me opportunities to test out my own strategies and teach you more!
My little guy, Gabe, got a wart on his finger at age four that just wouldn’t go away and kept growing like a mutant!
During the school year, we were very intermittent about treatment, putting some essential oils on here and there before bed and hoping it would affect the wart, but to no avail.
In the summer, we were traveling for six weeks, which meant a lot of family time, and we were much more consistent about applying the easy wart roll-on every single day at least once, if not twice. I always figure that I need to give it a really proper effort before I can say that a remedy is working or not.
I knew we had done the best we possibly could with that simple remedy, and it wasn’t even making a dent. When Gabe had his well-child checkup, we asked the pediatrician to freeze it off.
Gabe and his brother John, luckily, were fascinated to watch the process rather than crying in fear. The doctor was open about the fact that it may take multiple sessions to get rid of the wart fully.
As the wart was starting to die, we used a dedicated nail file to file it down, and I do believe that removing the dead portions made all the difference! I continued to use natural remedies after the freezing, and we upped our game by adding propolis regularly and duct tape at night as much as possible, and then the filing.
I could see that the top surface was dying, and it didn’t hurt Gabe, but as we filed deeper, he would cringe in pain, and sometimes it would bleed if I went too deep.
Everything we did may have played a role, and then one day, ta-da! The whole thing just fell right off!
We didn’t need another freeze session, and it lasted because we are now six months out and no sign of ominous wart return!
Summary: The Three-Step Process to Remove Warts Naturally
After extensive research and self-experimentation, I arrived at a process that will take care of most warts naturally with no need for expensive dermatologist appointments, pain, chemicals, or even duct tape (if you don’t want it!).
Here’s the short three-step combo to remove warts naturally:
- Apply an essential oil like tea tree, clove, or Frankincense two times a day to begin to weaken the protein around the wart or use this pre-diluted roll-on bottle of a Kid-Safe blend.
- Apply a drop of propolis to the wart once or twice a day. (vital to success!)
- Smear a bit of hydrated bentonite clay on the wart before going to bed; allow to dry overnight. Peel off in the morning.
What I love about this home remedy for warts is that it’s such an easy application, and painless, and natural – and relatively inexpensive, especially since you can use every component of the regimen for numerous other purposes, not just warts.
Plus, I don’t have to wear duct tape on my face.
I was pretty excited to find a real, effective, natural way to get rid of warts that didn’t cause undue embarrassment in public.
The only fashion hazard of this method comes in if you forget to wash the clay off your face before you walk your child to the bus in the morning…
Here are some more ideas from readers (see comments for details):
- plain white chalk
- banana peel
- spit on it first thing in the morning…
- lysine supplements
- oregano oil (dilute! Not kid-safe)
- coconut oil + garlic
- turmeric + water paste
- straight garlic clove held on with a band-aid
- lemon essential oil
- probiotics supplements; healthy diets
- breastmilk topically
Other Natural Health Posts:
- How to Get Rid of an Infection without Antibiotics Naturally
- Are Hand Sanitizers Safe?
- Natural Remedies for Ear Infections
- Food to Bind Diarrhea (BRATY)
- How We Kicked Whooping Cough
- You Probably Need a Parasite Cleanse
- At-Home Remedies for Pneumonia (in Toddlers)
- Natural Remedies for Croup
- 10 Reasons I Drink Bone Broth
- Warts. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/w/warts.html
- Lipke M. M. (2006). An armamentarium of wart treatments. Clinical medicine & research, 4(4), 273–293. https://doi.org/10.3121/cmr.4.4.273