Duct Tape for Warts

Wart Basics

Duct Tape Bandage

Kathleen Tyler Conklin/Creative Commons / Flickr

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Parents and pediatricians often get frustrated with common wart treatments, especially since they can be painful, take time, and don't always work.

Although most warts do typically go away on their own and may not require treatment, some do become painful, bothersome, rapidly spread, or don't go away, even after several years, and do need to be treated.

Wart Treatments

The most common treatments that your pediatrician will likely try include freezing warts with liquid nitrogen, which is called cryotherapy, or applying cantharidin to warts. Both treatments should cause some blistering of the wart, causing it to come off, although multiple treatments are often necessary. The cantharidin treatments, which are not FDA approved in the US, have the benefit of usually being painless, although they can trigger a large, painful blister later that day.

Your dermatologist might try a prescription-strength salicylic acid paste.

Many parents also try to treat their children's warts at home, which has become much easier now that home wart freezing kits are now available, such as Compound W Freeze Off, Dr. Scholl's Freeze Away Wart Remover, or Wartner Wart Removal System. In addition to home cryotherapy, another home remedy that many parents use involves applying salicylic acid to warts, using OTC products such as Compound W Liquid Wart Remover or Dr. Scholl's Clear Away One Step Salicylic Acid Wart Remover.

Duct Tape for Warts

An increasingly popular home wart remedy involves applying duct tape to warts.

Using this duct tape treatment, you:

  1. cover the wart with duct tape for six days (if the duct tape comes off early, simply reapply it to the wart)
  2. next, remove the duct tape, soak the wart, and use an emery board or pumice stone to remove the skin on top of the wart if possible
  3. reapply the duct tape after twenty-four hours and repeat the steps 1 and 2

Using the duct tape method for one or two months, some experts report that over 80% of people will find that their warts are gone, with many seeing signs of improvement in just 2 weeks.

Although a newer study reported results that were not as impressive for duct tape, there may have been problems with this study, and many people still recommend giving duct a try.

Duct Tape Method Treatment Tip

Many kids don't want to walk around with a gray piece of duct tape on their skin, especially if their wart is on their finger or some other part of their body that is easily visible.

Using duct tape in their favorite color, such as red, pink, or blue, can make the duct tape method for treating warts a lot easier for your kids to handle, especially since they may need to keep the duct tape on for a month or two.

Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • de Haen M. Efficacy of Duct Tape vs Placebo in the Treatment of Verruca Vulgaris (Warts) in Primary School Children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med - 01-NOV-2006; 160(11): 1121-5

  • Focht DR 3rd. The Efficacy of Duct Tape vs Cryotherapy in the Treatment of Verruca Vulgaris (The Common Wart).  Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med - 01-OCT-2002; 156(10): 971-4

  • Summers JB. Is Duct Tape Occlusion Therapy an Effective Treatment of Warts? Am Fam Physician - 15-NOV-2003; 68(10): 1912, 1915-6

  • Van Cleave et al. Interpreting Negative Results From an Underpowered Clinical Trial: Warts and All. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2006;160:1126-1129.

By Vincent Iannelli, MD
Vincent Iannelli, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Iannelli has cared for children for more than 20 years.