Ways to Treat Warts at Home or with a Doctor

Warts can take time to go away and may be uncomfortable, painful and even embarrassing to some. This is why many people want to treat warts right away. So, here, we’ll run down some common wart removal treatments and tell you how to treat warts so they go away more quickly.

Wart Removal Home Remedies

Duct Tape

We’re guessing you may have heard of one popular home remedy—duct tape. While, yes, it sometimes works, it can also be pretty painful. Have you ever noticed how hard it can be just to pull duct tape off its own roll? Now imagine what it can do to you or your child’s delicate skin. Using duct tape for warts can irritate your skin, pull healthy layers off, and cause redness and bleeding.

While there are many theories on how effective duct tape is in removing warts, it is advisable to trust a doctor or over-the-counter method that is proven effective and created specifically for use to remove warts.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a common go-to for many types of home remedies; however, you may want to reconsider using it on a wart. Because vinegar is acidic, apple cider vinegar can cause chemical burns, contact dermatitis, and damage to healthy skin. While vinegar can be used to kill some types of bacteria, warts are caused by a virus and there is currently no scientific research to suggest apple cider vinegar is an effective wart removal treatment.

Over-the-Counter Wart Removal Treatments

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid slowly and painlessly absorbs into the skin. It works by peeling away layers of skin on the wart until the wart is gone. Using it may also trigger an immune response that helps build healthy skin in the wart area. Salicylic acid is effective for removing warts, you should follow the instructions on the package and never use it on the face, neck or genital area.

Anytime you have to apply medication yourself, there’s always the concern that the application will be messy, and with any type of acid, you want to be able to protect surrounding skin. The great thing about today’s over-the-counter wart removal medicine is that the salicylic acid treatment comes in different, convenient forms.

For example, Compound W® wart treatments come in topical liquids and gels as well as easy-to-use medicated bandages, and many can be used on kids or adults. Just follow the simple directions on the package and the wart should fall off within weeks, sometimes sooner depending on how early you start treatment and which treatment you select.


Freezing (cryotherapy)uses dimethyl ether and propane or nitrous oxide to remove a wart in as little as one treatment. This particular type of wart removal treatment used to only be available through a doctor’s office but  now, you can buy freeze-off wart treatments with the same technology for use at home

Compound W NitroFreeze™ was the first non-prescription nitrous oxide wart treatment. Its maximum-strength freezing power penetrates deep to kill the wart-causing virus, and it is safe to use in most people ages 4 and up. Of all our wart removal products, the NitroFreeze™ delivers the highest cure rate in one treatment.

Seeing a Doctor for Wart Treatment

Freezing Warts with Liquid Nitrogen

Similar to the cryotherapy/freeze-off wart removal method found in over-the-counter products, doctors can also freeze warts off in their office. Most doctors use liquid nitrogen, a very cold gas, to remove your wart. The direct application can be an intense process that can hurt as the frozen tissue thaws. With this treatment, a blister forms under and around the wart. The resulting dead tissue then falls off within a week or so. Similar to over-the-counter freeze treatments, some warts require multiple treatments over a number of weeks to fully remove them.

Cutting Off a Wart

Never try to cut a wart off yourself. This can cause damage to healthy layers of skin as well as infection and scarring. Your doctor, however, may choose to cut some of the wart off with a surgical instrument before using another treatment method. This technique can make it easier for the medication to penetrate the entire wart. The doctor may also be able to remove the entire wart at once, though this may leave a scar.

Know When Not to Treat at Home

You should see your doctor for treatment if you are unsure if the lump you see is a wart, if the wart is in an area that gets frequent contact (like the tip of a finger), or if the wart is red, painful or bleeding. Over-the-counter wart treatment products are meant to treat warts on the hands, fingers and foot. You should see a doctor if you have a wart on other parts of the body. Even if you’re just unsure of what treatment to choose, call your doctor for advice. It’s better to be safe, especially if you have another health condition.

An important caution when deciding how to treat a wart: If you have warts in or near your pelvic area or genitals, call your doctor as soon as possible. Do not try and treat genital warts yourself. These are caused by a different form of HPV than warts that appear on your hands, fingers or feet, and cannot be treated with a home remedy or by Compound W or any other over-the-counter wart treatment.