foot bath at a day spa in a bowl, hydrogen peroxide, cure your plantar warts

Plantar warts are those that appear on the soles of the feet. You might catch the human papillomavirus that causes plantar warts if you go barefoot in a shared locker room or swimming pool area. Likewise, if you have such a wart, you can shed virus that would transmit it to someone else if you traverse a common area without shoes. These warts may eventually make it painful to run or walk. Consequently, you may want information on a simple, old-fashioned way to cure your plantar warts.

How Can You Cure Your Plantar Warts?

Q. You have sometimes had questions about plantar warts. I want to share my family’s experience.

In the 1960s my teen-aged daughter got a severe case of plantar warts from the showers at school. She has a high pain tolerance and didn’t show them to us until she could hardly walk. The doctor she saw advised her to soak her feet in water as hot as she could stand 20 minutes a day for two weeks.

In less than two weeks, most of the warts fell off or disappeared. She soaked her feet while watching TV or doing homework.

Hot Water Soaks to Cure Your Plantar Warts:

A. This was a hot new treatment for plantar warts at that time. (Pardon the pun.) Dermatologists published their success with a small case series in the Cleveland Clinic Quarterly in October, 1962. More than half of the patients they treated with water between 113 and 118 degrees F (45 to 48 C) had the warts on the soles of their feet disappear. Notably, these patients soaked their feet just once or twice a week instead of 20 minutes a day like your daughter did.

Preventing Plantar Warts from Recurring:

After you cure your plantar warts, you may want advice on how to keep them from coming back. Here’s what another reader asked:

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 Cure Your Plantar Warts and Keep Them 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.

No one seems to know exactly why some people are more susceptible than others to the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes plantar warts. (By the way, these are different strains of HPV from those that cause genital warts.) Probably, genetics and immune function play key roles in determining resistance.

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 have had success soaking the foot in hot salty water for 30 to 90 minutes a week, similar to the remedy we discussed just above. 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 help cure your plantar warts 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. Thanks for sharing the Listerine idea. 

Using Duct Tape to Cure Your Plantar Warts:

Patty in Texas gave a very thorough report on using duct tape to cure your plantar warts:

“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.

What Duct Tape to Use:

“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.

Don’t Buy Used Shoes:

“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.”

Terry in New York reported this experience:

“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.”

Vee from North Carolina used electrical tape instead:

“I had my first plantar wart a few months ago. My pharmacist suggested tape over it continuously. My doctor 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.”

We’re not sure about that explanation, but nobody really knows how and why duct tape may work. 

A reader from Indiana went to a different, very old-fashioned wart remedy:

“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!”

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  1. Gail
    Virginia
    Reply

    I’ve had a cluster of small warts on the middle finger of my right hand for a long time. I tried duct tape but couldn’t keep it on. Are plantar warts caused by a different virus than warts on hands and elsewhere? What remedies work on this type?

  2. Kath
    Halifax. Canada
    Reply

    My son and I both applied vitamin E oil and covered with a bandaid, and the warts disappeared within a short time. Within a short time they went away.

  3. Jessie F.
    Texas
    Reply

    Are these warts different from the callus that appears on the bottom of your foot? Also, what help can you offer for Hammer Toes?

  4. Darrell
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Reply

    I had developed a small plantar wart on the outside edge of my foot (just under the distal end of the outermost metatarsal) which, when I first noticed it, was quite painful to stand or walk on barefooted. I had originally suspected that it might be a bone spur and was thinking I might need to visit a podiatrist. Once I realized that it could be a plantar wart, I tried the duct tape cure and, to my complete amazement, it worked like a charm. The pain was relieved almost immediately! I kept duct tape over the wart for the next week or so, and the wart completely resolved! I’ve spent months removing plantar warts by the salicylic acid method previously, so I’m truly amazed that something so quick and easy actually works! I’ve found Peoples Pharmacy to be hugely helpful on many health issues. Joe and Terry have hit the ball way out of the park by creating this invaluable resource!

  5. terry
    NY
    Reply

    My dermatologist said the duct tape works because of the moisture, so the hot soaks make sense. I think the wart virus can live in the shoes, so if you have slippers that you wear without socks, that could reinfect you. I think that is what happened to me. I duct taped over the bottom of the slipper where I had warts, but I did not realize the duct tape came off in one area and I got another wart. This time, I am just throwing the slippers away.

  6. m
    London
    Reply

    Human papillomavirus wart virus only lives about 8 hours outside the human body.

  7. Brigid
    MI
    Reply

    A wart on my thumb. And I also used apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball covered by a Band-Aid every night for a little while and that took care of it.

  8. Cherie'
    NY, USA
    Reply

    I used the first Listerine that came out years ago to get rid of three planters warts I had. Can’t remember how many times or how long it took because that was over 40 years ago. I never had a problem with planters warts again.

  9. Sheila
    AL
    Reply

    I struggled with a plantar wart for over a year. Finally, I applied castor oil to it daily, kept covered, and in just a week or so, it was disappearing. I used cold pressed, cold processed castor oil from a local health food store. I was also successful in using the castor oil to dissolve a few skin tags! Dabbed it on with a cotton swab and did not cover the skin tags.

  10. Anita
    KY
    Reply

    I had a very large wart on my finger that I had frozen off several times over a ten year period that kept coming back. I finally got rid of it permanently after beginning a garlic pill supplement.

  11. Mary
    Reply

    Had a plantar wart on my foot. Dr. removed the wart and told me to put duct tape on foot before I go to bed. I did. Took the tape off the next morning. When taking the tape off, it was OUCH!. But it did work.

  12. Liz
    Durham NC
    Reply

    I had 3 plantar’s warts for over a year. I am a female in my 60’s and had never had plantar warts before.

    Tried these treatments, in roughly this order:
    * Duct tape
    * Commerical salicylic acid ointment–applied to each wart nightly for several weeks. Helped a little.
    * Slice of garlic soaked in castor oil and then taped to each wart. Tried this for about 3 weeks; it reduced the warts, but didn’t eliminate them.
    * Soaked feet in hot white vinegar/water mix (about 1/4 vinegar) for 10 minutes each night. Used water as hot as I could tolerate. Tried this for 2-3 weeks; it also helped, but didn’t eliminate the warts.
    * Soaked small cotton balls in undiluted apple cidar vinegar and taped one to each wart for 24 hours after my daily evening shower. Took about 2-3 weeks, but THIS WORKED!

    So far, so good. After about 6 months, have had no recurrences.

  13. SHERRI
    NC
    Reply

    My son had some warts when he was a teen. Our remedy was 500 mg. Vitamin C two times a day. They were gone in about a month, never returned! Happy boy!

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