Guest post by Andrea Vandiver
We all hate warts. We don’t even like to talk about them.
But could there be a more unifying topic? We hate them and want them to die. For our sake, we wish not a slow and painful death but a quick and easy one. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case.
Growing up, I thought warts were for children who played with frogs. Turns out that’s some sort of weird myth we all believe. Warts actually come from certain strands of HPV, human papillomavirus. I know HPV sounds scary but relax a bit. We come into contact with it all the time, and thankfully – most forms are completely harmless.
The fact that most warts are harmless skin lesions doesn’t diminish the irritation or embarrassment they cause. Although some warts go away on their own after a few months, some linger for years. Sometimes they are a sign of a weakened immune system.
When I Got a Wart on My Finger…
And that’s what happened to me. I got a common wart. Yes. Me. A grown woman. I don’t know how I got it. I don’t know where I picked up the virus. But I did. On the pad of my middle finger. Right hand.
I hated it.
It embarrassed me. It grossed me out. I mean – I eat with that hand! (Please tell me you understand. I’m feeling a little vulnerable right now.) I tried everything.
First, I waited. Dr. Google told me that most of them go away on their own. So, the minimalist that I am, I waited. A while. No dice.
***Before I go further, let me tell you that this was before my come-to-the-natural-side light bulb moment. I was all about those toxic chemicals and didn’t think much about it.***
I Tried Over-the-Counter + Even Prescription Medication For My Wart…
Next, I bought about every over-the-counter treatment I could find. I tried each of them several times. Fail. Feeling even more desperate, I went to see my primary care doctor. After multiple painful treatments of liquid nitrogen I still had a wart. And sometimes I even thought it looked a little bigger.
You might be thinking – what’s the big deal? But if you’ve dealt with warts before, you know how frustrating they can be.
This is the part that still makes me shudder. After realizing the nitrogen wasn’t working, my doctor prescribed Tagamet. Why would he give me something meant for stomach ulcer treatment? Apparently this is somewhat common. But the studies I’ve read have shown conflicting results, it not a great idea to take it if you can avoid it. Mostly it didn’t help.
And me? I ended up in the emergency room because of a “rare” side effect – urine retention. Kidney issues. Imagine kidney stones (I’ve had them) but a little worse. Yeah, to get rid of a wart. Lovely.
Except, you guessed it, I still had the wart. I tell you my long, dramatic story to express how absolutely fed up I was. Honestly, it was this experience that started my journey to natural living. Because the chemicals were legitimately hurting me. And they didn’t work.
I have good news for you. The story ends well. I found a home remedy that healed like a charm. It’s simple, quick, and natural. And you can try this at home.
The secret? Apple cider vinegar. I am all about home remedies. I use ACV as part of a natural remedy for strep throat, so is it any surprise that I would have a simple hack like using it for warts too?
Apple Cider Vinegar for Warts: Safe, Effective, and Affordable
The use of apple cider vinegar for warts is a safe, affordable, and effective treatment. You might be thinking, ACV for warts on warts – really?!
Yes, really. The apple cider vinegar method typically offers timely results in a couple of weeks compared to months of treatment.
Why not at least give it a try before spending money on expensive treatment? There has not been a lot of scientific research done on natural wart removal (like most simple home remedies, due to lack of profitability for the drug companies) but first-hand experience has shown me how well it works.
Why Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Get Rid of Warts?
- Safe and non-toxic
- Simple to use
- Uses inexpensive ingredients
- Avoid expensive treatment
- Save you a trip to the doctor’s office
Different Types of Warts
Warts can occur on all areas of the body. They may be harmless raised bumps but you still don’t want them sticking around. Warts occur when access human papilloma virus takes over skin cells causing them to produce more HPVS, resulting in warts.
The type of wart is in part, going to depend on how you treat it. Apple cider vinegar is may not be the best option for genital warts. If you have a wart on your face you will want to use extreme caution. It might not be a good idea to use full-strength vinegar on areas with such sensitive skin.
Most often we seem to encounter common, plantar, and genital warts. Listed below are just some of the types of warts people get. I’m focusing on using apple cider vinegar for common warts since that it what my personal experience was.
- common warts
- plantar warts
- genital warts
- flat warts
- filiform warts
- periungual warts
- mosaic warts
Wart Removal at Home is Easy When you Make your Own Wart Bandaids…
A wart bandaid is simply a bandaid with the wart medicine already applied – usually with a thicker pad area to hold a good amount of the medicine so that it’s effective.
You can buy wart bandaids from the store, or you can make your own with a few simple items you might already have around your house. Why buy something when the DIY version is so simple and inexpensive?
How to Make DIY Wart Bandaids
That’s it. No harsh chemicals. And better yet, it works. Natural home remedies for the win!
DIY Wart Bandaid Instructions:
- Cut your cotton ball into fourths or smaller. The goal is to completely cover the wart and the skin around it. You also want to cut the cotton ball small enough so it’s not completely obvious and annoying. Keep the leftover small pieces for your next treatment.
- Soak your sized-down cotton ball in apple cider vinegar. You’ll want it wet enough to stay damp for a while but not so wet it drips. If you feel like the vinegar is strong you can mix it with a little water.
- Place the piece of the cotton ball over the wart and secure it with a bandage. The tighter the better. Eventually, it will start to burn. This is good. Feel the burn. Embrace the burn. Leave it on as long as you can. Rapid results rely on this.
- When you need a break, remove the cotton ball and bandage. Apply coconut oil to the wart and treated area and cover it with a new bandage.
- As soon as the burning sensation leaves and you feel comfortable, start the process over again. I ended up alternating between coconut oil and vinegar 2-3 times a day. Toward the end, when the wart is down to its root, it will be more sensitive. At that point, you may want to switch more often.
Essential oils for warts
If you want to double up the healing power of your homemade wart remover, try adding an essential oil. Here are a few that can be beneficial to add to the AVC:
- Tea Tree (Read my post on 13 Practical Ways to Use Tea Tree Oil)
- Oregano (not child safe)
If the wart is on the face or another more inconvenient area, obviously use your best judgment as to when and how often to do this. Don’t use oregano on your face or other sensitive areas.
SAFETY NOTE – please never use essential oils without diluting. They’re incredibly potent, and desensitization or harmful reactions can occur with overuse or misuse.
Related: How I Healed My Infected Finger Without Antibiotics (with one of the essential oils listed above!)
10 Days Later
After about ten days, there was a tiny bit of the wart still hanging on. I took some tweezers and pulled it off. I highly recommend keeping a close eye on the area for the next month or so. If you see any signs of return, immediately begin the remedy again.
Note – if for any reason you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, immediately cease trying to remove the wart. Just because apple cider vinegar is safe for most people doesn’t mean that some won’t be allergic. Allergic reactions are fairly rare.
It’s been almost three years since I did this myself and I’m still wart free! I have no scarring at all.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Warts: FAQs + Tips & Tricks
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Get Rid of Warts for Real?
Yes, despite the fact that there’s not a ton of modern research on this simple home remedy, thousands of personal stories as well as my own experience give me confidence is using apple cider vinegar as a safe and effective method for home wart removal.
Isn’t it awesome when a natural product can be just as effective as its over-the-counter counterpart? Home remedies often work just as well, and they often have far fewer side effects. Natural wart removal is a no-brainer option to try!
Why Apple Cider Vinegar is Effective
Apple cider vinegar is made up of acetic acid, as well as malic, citric, and lactic acid. It has been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of different ailments from stomach aches to sore throats. It is a weak acid that slowly destroys the skin around the affected area, causing the wart to fall off. Using vinegar for a short period of time on a daily basis is gentler on your body than some modern treatments.
Some modern wart treatments call for surgical removal of a wart, unfortunately, they can come back. It may also necessitate the use of a local anesthetic. In some cases, you are prescribed strong drugs like I was that can have adverse effects and cause unnecessary medical conditions.
Topical salicylic acid treatment is a more natural method but can be on the more expensive side. It acts similar to apple cider vinegar, so why not simply use vinegar that costs pennies instead?
Apple cider vinegar can save you a trip to the doctor’s office and quite a bit of money. It slowly breaks the wart tissue down. There is some evidence that treating a wart can stimulate an immune response, aiding the body in eliminating the wart. (Our bodies are so cool!)
What Type of Apple Cider Vinegar is Best for Warts?
Organic apple cider vinegar with the mother is the best type of vinegar to use for warts. Apples are a highly sprayed crop, so avoid the extra toxins is a good idea. When the vinegar has “the mother”, more health benefits will be retained.
Can I Use White Vinegar Instead?
Apple cider vinegar has a low acidy of 4-6%. It also has numerous health properties. White vinegar is the strongest of all vinegar with an acidity of 5-10%. It’s not harmful, but if you have it available apple cider vinegar would be the best acid to start with, followed by lemon juice before turning to white vinegar. Natural acids are a good choice instead of over-the-counter options.
How Long Does This Process Take?
Depending on the wart’s location and your motivation to get rid of it, removing a wart with apple cider vinegar can be complete within a week or two. Your pain tolerance will play a role. Wart removal is not for the faint at heart.
Change your homemade wart band-aid at least twice a day. Listen to your body. If the pain from the vinegar is too great, back off a bit. You can also dilute the vinegar, or leave it on for a shorter time.
Does This Method Hurt?
There is a little bit of pain involved. But it is nothing – NOTHING – compared to traditional treatments. The vinegar does cause skin irritation, which is the point. Mild irritation is to be expected. The apple cider vinegar is eating away at the wart.
My Finger is Blistered Around the Wart, Should I Be Worried?
A blister forming on or around the wart is completely normal. Vinegar burns, but in a good way. If you are experiencing a lot of pain, you may need to leave the vinegar on for less time and apply coconut oil more frequently.
Minor chemical burns are a natural result of wart treatment. If at any point you think you have infected skin, cease treating the wart with vinegar. Once the wart falls off you should have healthy skin within a couple of weeks. When I treated the warts on my hands, I had no scarring.
Of course, if you’re really concerned by any blistering that seems excessive – it’s always wise to consult with a trusted healthcare practitioner.
My Warts Aren’t Burning at All. Does That Mean it Isn’t Working?
No, you might just need to leave vinegar soaked cotton ball on longer or change it more frequently. Apple cider vinegar wart removal is going to look different for each individual. You may also have a high pain tolerance.
Does a Wart Have a Root?
Contrary to popular belief warts do not have roots. They form in the top layer of skin – the epidermis. Over time they can grow down into the dermis, the second layer of skin. The bottom of a wart is smooth.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good for Genital Warts? Plantar Warts?
I have no experience with these types, but according to most sources, you can use apple cider vinegar to treat genital warts but extreme caution needs to be used. Several people have reported it being effective for plantar warts (foot warts) as well.
As these are more complex wart types, I recommend checking with your doctor before trying. If you have experience, please comment below.
Considerations for How to Use ACV for Face Warts
Your face is a very sensitive area. You have to decide which is worse, the short-term self-consciousness of having a bandaid on your face, vs. having a wart on your face… you decide.
If you decide to try this remedy on your face, ,make sure the piece of cotton ball is so small that the surrounding skin does not get too affected. It might be a good idea to apply coconut oil to the surrounding skin to lessen the possibility of skin irritation.
You might want to use a very small, circular bandaid, so that it is less noticeable and less irritating to the skin.
Other Possible Natural Methods for Removing Warts:
Apple cider vinegar while my preferred method, it is not the only possible treatment. Listed below are some other natural remedies that some people have found effective.
There are different ways to get rid of warts naturally. I love the apple cider vinegar method but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other natural solutions out there.
Please note that I have no personal experience with these. Be smart when considering these alternative treatments by researching them first, and don’t apply any of them to open wounds. If you have tried one of these home remedies for warts please let us know in the comments.
Other Home Remedies You Might Hear About
- Inside of a banana peel. Remove a few strings from the inside of the peel and arrange them on the wart. Cover with a bandaid.
- Pumice stone and an emery board. Some people gently sand their warts down. (This does not remove the root, so potentially the wart can grow back.)
- Duct tape method. The basic thought is that a piece of duct tape covering the wart will suffocate it, causing it to die and fall off.
- Raw garlic. Raw garlic can be used to effectively treat warts. Unlike apple cider vinegar, garlic can only be left on for about an hour at a time. Otherwise, severe blistering can occur. Garlic contains antiviral and antibacterial properties which may be one of the reasons it works. Garlic extract is another option that many see positive results with. Place a small amount of crushed raw garlic directly on the wart. Cover with a bandaid, leaving on for about an hour. Remove the garlic and cover the wart in coconut oil to soothe the skin.
- Lemon juice. Similar to apple cider vinegar, lemon juice is a mild acid that can aid in helping break down the wart.
- Essential oils. There are essential like tea tree oil, oregano, and frankincense that can be added to the apple cider vinegar or carrier oil such as coconut oil. They will aid in the healing process.
- Castor oil. Apply it to a cotton ball and cover it with a bandaid.
- Soaking in warm water and vinegar. Soaking the affected areas in warm water and AVC can soften the wart and speed up the process.
- Aloe vera. Full of malic acid, aloe vera also has antibiotic properties. It helps heal and dry out the wart. It can be applied at least once a day. It’s best straight from the plant.
- Vitamin C tablet. Crush a tablet and make a thick paste with water apply it to the wart.
These are just some of the wart removal home remedies you can find when you look around the internet – feel free to comment below if you’ve tried any of these methods, or if you have another home remedy to add to the list!
I couldn’t have guessed this would be the thing that sparked my interest in natural medicine, but I’m so glad it did. Our cabinets, right now, hold powerful, medicinal tools that are full of natural remedies.
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. – Hippocrates (attributed)
You may also enjoy these other home remedies:
- Using bentonite clay water internally
- How I Healed my Infected Finger
- Debloating Tea Remedy (How to Debloat)
- How to Stop a Cold in its Tracks
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Wart Removal Naturally at Home
- Cut your cotton ball into fourths or smaller. You want to completely cover the wart and the skin around it.
- Soak the sized-down cotton ball in apple cider vinegar. It needs to be wet enough to stay damp for a while but not so wet it drips.
- Place the piece of cotton ball over the wart and secure it with a bandage. You will start to feel a burning sensation, this is normal.
- After a few hours or when you need a break, remove the cotton ball and bandage. Apply coconut oil to the wart and treated area and cover it with a new bandage.
- As soon as the burning sensation leaves and you feel comfortable, start the process over again. Do this 2-3 times a day until the wart falls off. You can incease freqency if desired.
Andrea Vandiver is a work-at-home mom and freelance writer in Oklahoma. She spends her days imitating animals and blowing bubbles. Her favorite things are those that taste, smell, feel, sound and look wonderful. The stuff that romance is made of.
This post was originally written by Andrea Vandiver and published in November 2016, and has been updated and expanded in 2021 by Beth @ Red & Honey.