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
- Cotton balls or cotton pads
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
- apple cider vinegar
- coconut oil
- cotton balls
- 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.
can I use whie vinegar to really attack larger warts that I have had for way too long? can i skip the coconut oil?
Lovely ! Thanks for sharing valuable information !
can I use whie vinegar to really attack larger warts that I have had for way too long? can i skip the coconut oil?
THANK YOU!!! I cannot possibly fully express my gratitude to you for writing this post. I have been on a 2 year journey trying to kill a wart on my thumb which eventually spread and gave me 5 more. I was absolutely desperate. I waged a war against this wart and lost with an arsenal of the following : 3 different dermatologists, several freezing treatments (totaling close to $600 over the 2 years), a roll of duct tape, bandaids, salicylic acid, Tagamet, pumice stones, metal files, bandaids, retinoids, the works. I got them down to raw skin several times, only to have them return and ultimately was always left with the last 2 remaining warts…seemingly unkillable. Finally my most recent dermatologist said the only next step she could try would be creams used to treat cancer. I was all in. I didn’t care if she cut my finger off at this point. Then I found your post!! I diligently followed your directions and did the treatment every night with the addition of a finger cot to keep from dripping vinegar, which I highly recommend. ONE WEEK LATER I WAS COMPLETELY WART FREE!!!!!!! That was a few weeks ago and they have not returned. ONE WEEK!!! VINEGAR!!! I was becoming desperate and cannot possibly thank you enough for taking the time to help others with this small but incredibly annoying problem. I am going to forward this post to my doctor in the hopes that other people can get rid of their unkillable warts. Also, I was terrified that someone in my family would catch it and the cycle would continue. I now have no fear as I am armed with the ultimate wart remedy!!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!
Your comment made my day! I am so happy it worked for you. I hadn’t tried as much as you, but I had tried a lot so I know how absolutely frustrating it is. It’s now been years and mine has never come back.
Can you explain how you worked the finger cot?
Hi!!! Sorry this response took so long!! Absolutely! I placed the vinegar soaked cotton pad on my finger first. Then I held it in place with a cloth bandaid. Finally I rolled a finger cot down over my finger, covering everything. If you would like to send me your e mail address, I would be happy to e mail you photos of what I did.
Wonderful article!!!! I have been troubled and irritated by the wart on my hands and feet and have been looking for the best treatment for wart removal. Thanks for writing this article. I will surely try this at home.
What does the coconut oil do? I have the acv on now and it’s burnkng for sure! I had filed it down before and had duct tape on for several days. When should I put the oil on?
It heals the skin while giving you a break from the ACV.
I have tried this technique a few times and it works. Once on a small wart on my finger. I found that the burning on the healthy skin surrounding the wart was too intense, but a great solution was to put Vaseline on the skin just around the wart. Then i was able to leave the acv cotton ball on all night. During the day I rubbed coconut oil on it a few times. It took a few weeks to completely disappear. This was a few years ago and it never returned.
Also got rid of a plantar wart this way though it took longer, like just over a month, and again, this was a few years ago and it has not returned.
Good luck to all
My wart is at the side of my head above the ear so it is surrounded by hair. So using band aid will get the hair sticking to the band aid and I will have a tough time pulling the band aid out. Please Andrea, please advise what I can do? Also how long should I apply each of the apple cider vinegar and coconut oil on the wart and how many times a day?
I started the acv cotton ball on my right hand middle finger last night and this morning my finger is blistered around the wart. Should I be worried? How long do you leave in the coconut oil before you start again with the acv? And yes, this is painful, but I’ve got nothing to lose other than this wart. (Sigh)
Andrea, I’m going to try this as well if the salicytic acid method doesn’t work.
As far as you know, is there any danger to leaving the ACV on your skin overnight? Assuming you can bare the pain.
Also, did you use a pumice stone etc. to file back the wart a bit between each ACV application?
hello! The ACV should be fine to leave overnight. I did! I didn’t file it down. I just kept at it until i could pull it off easily.
I started this process 3 days ago and when I Take the Band-Aid off they look bigger and blown up do I leave it with apple cider vinegar all day and night?
It’s normal for them to look bigger and puffy… about how your hand looks after being in water for a while.
This is my third day it’s black around the area is also black with blisters around and yes it hurts like hell do I stop or continue ..is the dis colouration normal
Once it gets painful, I’d switch to just coconut oil until you’re ready to go back to the vinegar. Good luck!
Is the process normal for the want to blow up with the vinegar
hubby used a purchased Tag away product for a skin tag.. it worked somewhat.
but just never all the way, I put acv on it & he wore it 8 hours / all-night.. & it is gone completely !
I used it on a mole that has been in the way when I shave my legs for 40 yrs & it is almost gone.
so just brave it out & it will work.. ( Make sure you shake the ACV bottle to mix the ‘mother’ through out the vinegar )
Thank you for making this post, I have a single flat wart on my pinky finger and although it’s small it brings great anxiety with it. My son has a wart also on his arm so I can guess where I got it from. We are trying your ACV method together and praying for results. Thank you!!!
My warts aren’t burning at all. Does that mean it isn’t working? I have had my two warts for at least a year and a half, so they may have just been on me for too long.
Did you have any luck? I’d say if it’s not burning you haven’t left it on long enough, but maybe it won’t burn for some people. I had my wart for several years so that shouldn’t be a problem.
Did it ever start burning? I just started it on a very stubborn one and it isn’t burning?
I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, it isn’t burning.
Did you have any luck? I’d say if it’s not burning you haven’t left it on long enough, but maybe it won’t burn for some people.
Did it ever start burning? I just started it on a very stubborn one and it isn’t burning?
I really want to try this remedy! I have had cluster plantar’s warts for over 20 years. They have been surgerically removed…returned. Then frozen, then burned, still returned. Please advise on wearing the bandaid during the day when up walking around while working. It sounds like maybe just the coconut oil then, but want to make sure I do what it takes to get this to work!
Ideally the vinegar would be on even while out and about. The more it’s applied the faster it works! Good luck!
I tried the W Compound bandaids for a month (7 boxes because they wouldn’t stay on long) and the wart looked exactly the same. I started this ACV treatment 3 days ago and within one day it had turned completely black. Yay! Last night I started noticing it was starting to kind of blister around the edges. Today I took off the bandaid and there is…stuff?…oozing out from under. Is that normal? It’s not green or anything.
I’m pretty sure mine oozed a bit, but I’m not sure how long or how much it oozed. I’d use your best judgment. If too much of the skin surrounding the wart is blistering up, I’d cut the cotton balls down smaller.
It’s hardly any skin blistering; I’m pressing on! Embracing the burn. Boy does it burn. Thanks for your quick reply. 🙂
I’d love to hear back on how it works for you!
Crystal, How did it work for you? I just started last night and one of mine is black already. Fingers crossed!!!
Hey! So I started using the apple cider vinegar soaked cotton balls 3 nights ago. This morning when I woke up and took off the cotton, a lot of my good skin surrounding my wart had been sort of eaten away. Did you have anything like this happen? Suggestions on what I’m doing wrong?
Hi Grace! Your cotton ball may be too big and covering too much area. It is normal and good for some the surrounding skin to go though. That ensures the whole virus goes away.
Giving this a shot. I am day 2 with ACV cottonball, it is turning black so I hope that’s a good sign!? I am getting married in about 4 months and when my soon to be husband puts my ring on my finger, I do not want him staring at my pointer finger thinking what the hell is that nasty thing! Lol Definitely hurts. But embracing this pain! Thank you for posting this!!
Turning black is a good sign! Please let me know how it works for you… and happy engagement!
Woo-hoo! Thank you! We tried this with our 13 y.o. Daughter – she had a cluster at the base of her thumbnail. The first night (second cotton ball with vinegar) they turned black and stung. It was definitely painful, but we told her to endure as best as she could. Today is day 8 and they are attached by a thread of skin only! We couldn’t be more excited as we have tried other things and they have not worked, either. On our son we tried freezing, just duct tape, food-grade hydrogen peroxide – I wish we had known about this with him! With our daughter we also tried an essential oil blend made for warts but that didn’t do anything, either. So yay!!! We have found our remedy of choice!!!
KIM! I am so glad to hear this! YAY!!!!!!
I am like you. I have tried everything. I have tried the ACV but not along with the coconut oil. I am going to give this a try. Have nothing to lose except the wart.
Hopefully this works for you! I definitely understand the struggle. Maybe give the ACV/coconut oil treatment more time than you have in the past? Good luck! I feel for you!
Would you recommend this procedure for kids? My four year old daughter has a wart on the side of one of her fingers and it would be nice to see it disappear.
Jamie, YES! I highly recommend it. It could prevent a lot of pain and unecessary treatments. I just suggest being upfront about it – that it may hurt a little and that she can tell you when it does.