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How Can You Keep Plantar Warts from Recurring?

Many remedies can help you get rid of warts on the soles of your feet. Which ones can prevent those plantar warts from recurring? Listerine?

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.

Liquid Bandage Got Rid of Plantar Wart:

Q. I was able to get rid of a plantar wart using liquid bandage. First, I soaked the foot with the wart and allowed it to air dry. Then I roughed it up with a pumice stone and put the liquid bandage on it. This was my procedure about every three or four days, and now the wart is gone! This liquid bandage is not expensive.

A. Thanks for sharing your experience. People have tried many different approaches on plantar warts (those on the soles of the feet). These can sometimes be difficult to eradicate.

Some individuals have used a banana skin “plaster” on the wart. Other soak their feet in hot water (113 to 118 F) twice a week. Instant glue is another approach that can sometimes be helpful. It resembles your liquid bandage remedy in some respects. Both contain cyanoacrylate adhesives.

Other Nonstandard Uses for Liquid Bandage:

Readers report using liquid bandage to seal painful fingertip cracks and allow them to heal. They have also used liquid bandage to get rid of skin tags.

A Testimonial To Keep Plantar Warts from Recurring:

Q. This is not a question but a testimonial. I had persistent toenail fungus. I also had a plantar wart on the bottom of my foot for years. Nothing had gotten rid of the wart.

After reading that vinegar and Listerine could clear up nail fungus, I started soaking my toes in the solution. Before long, I noticed that the wart was completely gone.

A. At first, we were surprised by your story. We had forgotten about this use for Listerine. When we checked our archive in the Wayback Machine, we discovered this report:

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.

Can we explain the mechanism? In a word, no. But, the herbal ingredients in Listerine include:

  • Menthol
  • Eucalyptol
  • Thymol
  • Methyl salicylate

Let’s not forget the “inactive” ingredient: alcohol (26.9%).

Could any of these ingredients alone or together have antiviral activity? Could they penetrate the tough skin of the soles of the feet and exert wart-killing action?

It is unlikely that dermatologists will perform an experiment to test the hypothesis. It is always conceivable that warts disappear on their own, though plantar warts are notoriously challenging.

Share Your Story Please:

Have you ever managed to rid yourself of a plantar wart on the bottom of your foot? If so, please share your success story. Were you able to keep plantar warts from recurring?

If you love home remedies, please check out our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies from National Geographic at this link.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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