The purpose of the duct tape is to starve the wart of both oxygen and sunlight. It’s the same effect when a plaster for a minor wound gets wet and turns your skin into a soft old prune. The skin (or in this case, the wart) that is moist and has little oxygen around it will soften enough to be able to file a small amount away each time.
Clean and dry the area thoroughly to ensure the duct tape will stick properly to your skin.
OPTIONAL: Try covering the wart with a very small amount of salicylic acid and avoid the surrounding skin if possible. Salicylic acid can be extracted from the list of plants below with either alcohol or castor oil (other carrier oils won’t work in this situation since they don’t have the right molecular structure to make them somewhat ‘polar’).
- White willow bark (Salix alba)
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
- Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
- Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla Vulgaris)
- Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa)
- Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)
- Granny Smith apples
Use a strong duct tape that is not transparent. Cut a small piece that is slightly bigger than the wart, making sure it sticks to your skin properly and completely covers the wart – remember you need to starve it of both oxygen and sunlight.
The duct tape should be left on for 5 – 6 days, depending on where it is located and how well it has been kept covered. If the duct tape starts to fall off, clean the area and replace the duct tape straight away. The tape usually needs to be replaced straight after showering. The wart will start to turn white during these 5 – 6 days and the skin immediately around it will wrinkle like a prune.
Removing the Wart
Carefully remove the duct tape and soak the wart in warm water for 5 – 10 minutes.
Use an old emery board, nail file or fine sand paper to scrap away the softened layers of the wart. Be sure not to use the board or file on your nails again, as it will spread the virus. Only file or sand away the soft dead skin of the wart, which may only take less than a minute.
Leave the wart uncovered overnight and then repeat the whole process again the next morning; applying duct tape (and possibly salicylic acid) and filing away the dead, white tissue after 5 – 6 days. It’s important to allow the wart to dry out for 6 – 8 hours between treatments, but try to avoid exposing the wart to sunlight during these few hours of drying.
When only using duct tape, it can take approximately 8 weeks to remove a wart, bearing in mind that warts on the foot take longer.
When combined with plant-based salicylic acid, the duct tape method can take approximately 4 – 6 weeks to remove a wart.
Some Limitations Using Duct Tape to Remove Warts
This method doesn’t actually treat the virus that causes warts, since it’s only an aesthetic solution.
It shouldn’t be used on genital warts or near the nose or mouth. Warts located on the feet can take longer to soften and remove due to the tougher skin.