Duct Tape! Is there anything it can’t do?

Ugh, warts. If you’ve had a problem with them before, you understand why people are so desperate to try any cure. They’re unsightly, occasionally painful, and generally embarrassing.

For years, I’ve had a fairly large wart on my palm, right near the heart line. I’d gotten pretty used to it, but eventually I decided to make a quick visit to the doctor and have it dealt with. I had some plantar warts on my heel as well.

The process of having the warts burned off wasn’t too bad. The plantar warts stung for half a second, then stopped. The doctor said it was unlikely that they would be affected. Plantar warts are stubborn things. She assured me that they would go away on their own, but considering it had been at least three years since they appeared, I doubted that.

The wart on my palm was not as easy. The sensation isn’t easy to recognize unless you’ve had liquid nitrogen make contact with your skin before. First it just hurts, then it burns, followed by a sort of pulsing pain. But if it would get rid of the wart, it’d be worth it, right?

Unfortunately, this method did not work for me in the slightest. It produced a dime-sized blood blister that throbbed with pain for days, to the extent that I couldn’t sleep properly. Okay, so I might just be a wimp, but still. When the blood blister finally healed, it left a strange island-shaped cluster of warts where before there had just been a round one. Afterwards, more warts began to appear on my thumb, forefinger and middle finger. It could be a coincidence, but I doubt it.

In all likeliness, I probably just a unlucky experience, but I wasn’t desperate to repeat the event, so when I stumbled upon PhasedWeasel’s wu I figured I’d the duct tape method a try. It's simple. Cover the wart with duct tape. After a week, remove the duct tape, soak the wart and scrub off the dead skin. Let it dry for the night, then repeat the process until the warts disappear. It worked pretty effectively, so if you’re going to attempt it, I’d like to offer some tips.

  1. This isn’t a very expensive or demanding method, but you do need a few things: a roll of duct tape (it’s best to get a new one so no one will steal it for duct tape’s many other purposes), a pumice stone (a nail file is fine to use on small warts, but if you’re attacking plantar warts you’ll want something a little more heavy duty), and a good pair of scissors. You’d be surprised how many scissors can’t handle duct tape. :)
  2. I think this method must work a lot better in the winter. When you sweat, the duct tape slips off.
  3. Think it through when you’re attempting this! It’ll take a couple weeks, so don’t plan this so you have to walk down the aisle with duct tape on your neck, or, as my case was, while you’re handing out résumés.
  4. If you only have a small wart you can cover it up with a band-aid and people will ask less questions.
  5. Don’t make the mistake I did and attempt to wrap your whole hand in duct tape to make it stay. Cut a square just big enough to cover the area. Not only does it not look as weird, but it seems to be more effective. You only want to irritate the wart, not your entire epidermis.
  6. Expect to use a lot of duct tape! You obviously won’t use the entire roll, but it’s deceiving to say “If at any time it falls off, another piece is applied.” I read that and thought, “Okay, it might fall off every couple days or something, that’s okay.” No. The duct tape will come off often. Not because it isn’t sticky, but because when it gets wet, as I mentioned, it slips off. Every time you sweat, you have to replace it. Every time you wash your hands, you have to replace it. Every time you go swimming- well, you get the idea. You have to replace the tape multiple times in a day. You will be peeling duct tape off your sheets. Accept it.
  7. To soak the wart before you scrub it off, just take a long bath and tackle the warts afterwards. It’s less awkward than dipping the offending body part in a bucket until it prunes.

Warts can take as long as two months (those would be the plantar warts) to disappear completely. If you don’t see any change after the first month, however, it’s probably not worth it to continue, because it's unlikely it'll work.

The best part about the duct tape method is that it’s entirely painless. It worked pretty well for me; the wart on my palm is just barely visible and my other warts have improved a lot. They would probably have been cured completely if I hadn’t given up after a couple weeks (The constant re-applying gets irritating).

Interestingly, about a week after I had stopped using the duct tape method, the areas I had applied it to began to peel, so be prepared for that, too. I'm not sure why that happens, but it means even longer before that area is flawless.

My experience seems to correlate with Madigan Army Medical Center's study*, which indicated that using duct tape is 25% more likely to cure warts than freezing them off.

Overall opinion of this method: if you want effective, pain-free wart removal, this is the way to go. If you want instant results, it’s probably not for you. If you try it yourself, please, msg me and let me know about your results. :)