plantar warts from recurring

Plantar warts occur on the soles of the feet. At first, you might not notice a plantar wart. Most of us don’t inspect our soles regularly unless they hurt. Plantar warts often become painful to walk on, which is why you may be looking for a home remedy to keep plantar warts from recurring.

Preventing Plantar Warts from Recurring:

Q. I’ve been plagued with plantar warts most of my adult life. I got rid of the most recent one by treating it persistently with salicylic acid.

Now I want to prevent re-infection. This is a virus, isn’t it? How long will it live in my slippers and shoes and cause recurrence? Should I buy a box of bandages and apply them on the soles of my feet for a month to protect myself?

Home Remedies to Keep Plantar Warts from Recurring:

A. Instead of bandages, try clean socks every day. That’s the advice the Mayo Clinic offers, and it makes sense to us.

Plantar warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Why some people are more susceptible than others remains a medical mystery. Genetics and immune function probably play key roles. Recommendations for preventing recurrences include not going barefoot in locker rooms and around swimming pools. No one has suggested wearing flip flops in your own home after a successful treatment, but you might consider that for a few weeks. Wash your hands after you touch a wart.

We have collected many home remedies for plantar warts. They include applications of tincture of iodine, castor oil, lemon juice, tea tree oil or turmeric in olive oil to the wart. Some people report success taping a banana peel (fleshy side on the skin) to the wart overnight. Others say that soaking the foot in hot salty water for 30 to 90 minutes a week is also helpful. You can read more details about these and other simple approaches in our book, Quick and Handy Home Remedies.

Listerine for Warts:

Another home remedy that may be helpful is Listerine. (The old-fashioned amber kind probably works best and won’t stain skin.) Here is one reader’s story:

Q. My daughter had several plantar warts on her sole. We treated them with duct tape for several months with limited success.

Listerine has been used for eliminating fungus, so I thought it might also kill wart viruses. I put undiluted Listerine in a zipper-top plastic bag and had her soak her feet for 10 minutes.

She only repeated the treatment a couple of times. The warts disappeared in about three weeks and haven’t returned. It might be a coincidence, but she is happy to be wart free!

A. Warts are susceptible to a surprising range of home remedies. Readers have reported success with duct tape, a few drops of fresh lemon juice, iodine or castor oil. Thanks for sharing the Listerine idea. We’re glad it worked.

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  1. Vee

    I had my first plantar’s wart a few months ago. My pharmacist suggested tape over it continously. My Dr said she would freeze it if it came back. I used electrical tape and it worked! She said the wart is deprived of oxygen and it dies. Can adults get the HPV vaccine?

  2. Terry

    I got warts on my foot for the first time. But there were several and two were very big. I put duct tape on them. Fresh tape every day. The smaller warts went away quickly. The larger warts took about 6 months. Also, I duct taped the inside of my slipper on the foot with the warts, assuming that was where I got them from. It’s been over 6 months clear now and all is fine.

  3. Patty

    I have found the original style of very sticky gray duct tape to be the best cure for me. Years ago, I bought used shoes at a thrift store. It took me a while to realize where the plantar’s warts had come from. I was plagued with them for over a year, and tried a paste of salicylic acid compounded by a pharmacy per my doctor’s instructions. I peeled and peeled the skin that was killed by the acid, and finally solved the problem, but it was very time consuming and painful. Years later, I got another wart. I tried the duct tape method, and the wart came out of my skin whole, into the tape within two weeks. My best guess is that the duct tape somehow causes the body to reject the wart, and when you are changing the tape at some point, it just comes out, roots and all. I did not have a recurrence.

    To use duct tape, you must buy the right tape. I use the gray, not shiny, not colorful, old style, still sold in home improvement stores. The adhesive has a particular odor that you can come to recognize, not terribly unpleasant, just distinct.

    Wash the foot bottom thoroughly with soap, rinse, and dry well. Let it air dry further for a few minutes. Make a patch of tape that you have not stuck your fingers all over repeatedly (fingers leave oil that will cause the tape to not stick as well). Put over the spot and gently rub a few seconds to make sure it adheres well. I usually use at least a half inch square of tape, so has enough surface area in contact with skin and it sticks well. If you need a larger piece to keep it in place, use it. The idea is to keep the tape stuck well on the spot 24/7. Check it a few times daily to make sure it is still in place. Keep more squares ready to use if needed when away from home. Replace every night before bed, or after showering, or immediately whenever the tape comes off. The wart will come off into the tape when you pull it off during changing within two weeks. You must follow the directions exactly.

    Though I have bought used sandals since then, I am buying waterproof hiking sandals that are no longer made, so I can’t buy them new. I run them through the delicate or “hand wash” cycle with detergent and a small amount of bleach to kill anything left behind before wearing. If you are buying shoes that are not washable, I’d find a way to swab them with disinfectant, and rinse and dry before wearing.

    Don’t wear other people’s shoes. If you try on shoes, new or used, use at least a nylon footlet or sock to protect yourself and others.

  4. IndyGirl

    My husband had some plantar warts on both feet. My grandma said:
    Grate a small potato and add 1 teaspoon of glycerine, mix both together, put this on a cottage cheese lid. Place the wart on the potato mixture and leave 1/2 hour. Wash it off and dry the foot. Do this every night, watch as the wart turns black, and shrinks down to the size of a pinhole, and then disappears! I think it’s the raw potato, which contains belladonna, which kills the virus permanently!

  5. Brent
    NW IL

    I had these back in junior high and my podiatrist threw just about everything at them, from gentian purple to electrodes! So my advice would be “first do no harm” and try tea tree oil and the other home remedies — and if they are really bothering you after that (probably not!) you might want to try looking into something a little stronger. At least I did get an “A” in P.E. out of my ordeal!

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