Ugly warts have suddenly appeared on your skin. For now, they’re on your feet. You don’t want them anywhere else on your body, especially your genitals. All you want is to get rid of them as quickly and safely as you can. A friend mentioned using duct tape, but that sounds like an old wives’ tale to you. Despite the humorous expression that duct tape is good for everything, it’s an effective remedy for warts. We’ve collected the facts here so you can learn how to use duct tape on warts to remove them.
Table of Contents
Using Duct Tape On Warts
Warts often go away on their own, but that can take a couple of years. That’s longer than most people want to wait. Not only are warts unsightly, they are contagious. There’s more than one way to get rid of them. Some are expensive, some are painful, and some are both painful and expensive. Using duct tape on warts doesn’t cost much, doesn’t hurt, and many individuals have found it to be effective. Duct tape is also easy to use at home.
Over time, individuals have experimented with several ways of removing warts with duct tape. The most successful procedure involves a series of steps to follow that take some time.
There are as follows:
- Thoroughly clean and completely dry the skin around the wart.
- Cut a piece of duct tape that’s slightly larger than the wart.
- Place it over the wart and press into place so that it adheres tightly.
- Leave the tape in place for 6 days.
- At the end of the sixth day, pull the tape off.
- Debride the wart.
- Let the wart rest uncovered overnight.
- Repeat as necessary.
These steps are explained in greater detail below.
Preparing Your Skin
Soak your wart in warm water first. That will soften your skin so that you can remove any callus that might have formed around the wart. Some warts develop a blister-like cover which you might be able to remove. You need to take off any loose dead skin, but be careful to not damage healthy skin. Use tweezers to gently pull away what skin you can. Do not irritate the wart. If the dead tissue doesn’t come away easily, leave it alone.
You will be sealing off your wart and the skin around it with tape. It’s important to make sure that the area under the tape is impeccably clean. Any dirt or debris can potentially lead to a bacterial infection. Your skin must also completely dry. Sealing any moisture under the tape can keep the tape from sticking to your skin. Even worse, it can lead to a fungal infection.
Applying Duct Tape
There is lots of advice about what kind of duct tape to use and how to apply it. There is a variety of brands and colors available. Some individuals maintain that it doesn’t matter what kind of duct tape you use. Others swear by the silvery-gray tape that was originally meant for sealing ducts. If you can, try to purchase it rather than colors or an off-brand.
Any new test or procedure must consistently pass tests by several researchers. If it can’t, then it’s regarded as a failure. Several studies have shown that duct tape is effective on warts, but other researchers have not been able to consistently duplicate those results.
Individuals have continued to use duct tape to successfully remove their warts, despite the lack of standard scientific proof.
It is unknown exactly what it is about duct tape that kills warts.
The tape is made with three layers, which are:
- A bottom layer of adhesive.
- A middle layer of mesh.
- A top layer of polyethylene plastic.
It’s possible that duct tape on warts is effective because of the way the three layers are put together, although many think it could be the adhesive. This uncertainty is why you want to use what most regard as the “original” kind of duct tape.
An exception is made when you’re applying duct tape to a wart on your child. Apply tape in a color they like or that has characters on it. You can emphasize that the tape will make the wart go away. If they’re convinced that the tape will work, their trust will compensate for the less than ideal kind of tape.
There are also different opinions on the best way to apply tape to a wart. Some people cover a large area, and others prefer to cut a circle that covers only the wart. To a certain extent, what you choose to do will depend on where the wart is and if you have more than one. For example, if you have a wart on the side of your finger, it makes sense to wrap the tape all around your finger.
The important thing is to press the duct tape firmly over the wart. It must adhere tightly to the wart. Leave the tape in place for six full days. If it comes off before then, simply replace it as soon as you can. The key is to have the wart covered by tape for six days. At the end of the sixth day, pull the tape off. Do this very carefully, especially if your skin is fragile or thin. Sometimes the tape will actually pull the wart out. If so, you’re done.
Debriding Your Wart
If the wart remains after you’ve removed the tape, you will need to debride it. Debride is a medical term that means removing dead tissue. Start with softening the wart. If it’s on your hands or feet, immerse them in warm water. Otherwise, place a wet cloth over the wart and hold it in place for several minutes. Then dry your skin.
You debride the wart with a pumice stone, an emery file, or other gentle abrasive. All you’re doing is removing a layer of dead tissue from the top of the wart. Do this carefully. Do not file hard enough to irritate your wart or the surrounding skin.
Be sure to sterilize whatever you use for debriding afterward. Any tissue from the wart that remains on your abrasive is potentially contagious and can cause more warts.
Resting and Repeating
After debriding, you need to let your skin rest. Although the reason is unclear, the period of rest is essential to success. It also gives your skin a break from the tape so that it doesn’t become irritated. Leave the wart uncovered for at least overnight, but no more than 24 hours.
Repeat the six-day cycle until your wart is completely gone. It’s important to resist stopping if your wart is almost gone. Many individuals only have to repeat the six-day cycle twice. Others have to repeat for up to two months before their wart disappears. The chance of success drops dramatically after two months.
Placing duct tape on warts is known as DTOT, which is Duct Tape Occlusion Therapy. Occluding something means blocking it from nutrients or anything that might help it to grow. Waterproof duct tape effectively keeps everything away from warts. However, no one has determined exactly how placing duct tape on warts can kill them.
There’s some thought that duct tape stimulates the immune system, which then kills the virus that causes warts. Some researchers think it’s due to the adhesive. Duct tape made with rubber adhesive is more effective than duct tape made with an acrylic adhesive in some studies. Others believe that depriving warts of air and sunshine can cause them to dry up and die. It’s possible that successive applications of the tape pulls dead tissue off the wart until there’s nothing left.
Duct Tape for Plantar and Genital Warts
Plantar warts are painful warts that can impair your ability to walk. Duct tape has proven effective for plantar warts. It’s more convenient to first soften them than it is for other warts. It’s also easier to keep the tape in place for the six-day cycle.
However, because of pain and the time it takes for duct tape to work, you may prefer other treatments. Some wart removal creams used in conjunction with duct tape can speed up the process. This article explains how to use garlic for warts.
The procedure for using duct tape on external genital warts as basically the same as using it for warts anywhere else on your body. The main difficulty is that genital skin is extremely sensitive. It’s best to apply the smallest piece of tape that will cover the wart. You may also want to shave off any nearby hair.
A potential issue with duct tape for genital warts is hygiene. You absolutely don’t want feces, urine, or other body fluids to get under the tape. It’s probably best if you remove the tape every night. Clean and dry your skin and reapply the tape nightly during the six-day cycle. If your skin becomes irritated, stop and let it rest.
Duct Tape Versus Cryotherapy
Health care professionals often look to cryotherapy as their first choice for removing warts. Cryotherapy is freezing off a wart with liquid nitrogen. A blister often forms afterward, which usually heals within a few days. Cryotherapy can be painful, and it can take more than one treatment. It’s effective for all but the most stubborn of warts.
You may prefer to try duct tape first on your wart. If the wart doesn’t disappear, then it’s probably time for cryotherapy.
Whether you remove your warts with duct tape or choose treatments such as cryotherapy from a professional, the warts can return. A major study showed that warts can recur just as often with cryotherapy as they do with using duct tape or any other method to remove them.
Although there isn’t acceptable proof to many health care practitioners that duct tape kills warts, using it on warts isn’t a superstition or fallacy. Applying duct tape on warts is an effective and safe treatment for many individuals. You have nothing to lose by trying it. Using duct tape on your warts first doesn’t mean you can’t seek other treatment later.