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What kids should know about how to get rid of warts

A lot of times, the warts will go away without any help. It can take a long time, though. And the warts might spread. So you might want to try to get rid of them. 

Here are some treatments your mom or dad can buy at the store:

  • Acid (liquid or patch): The most common wart treatment is a special kind of acid, called salicylic acid, to put on the wart. Don't worry. Acid sounds scary but it doesn't really hurt, although it might sting just a bit. You can paint it on the wart like polish, or your parents can buy a patch that looks like a bandage and has the acid in it. Before your parents put on the acid, you should soak the wart in warm water for about 10 minutes. Then your parents should buff the wart with something that has a rough surface, like a cardboard nail file, called an emery board, or a special rough stone called a pumice stone. That softens up the wart so the acid works better. The acid peels away the skin. Eventually, the wart will peel away, too. 


  • Freezing: You can freeze the wart with a really cold spray treatment you can buy at the store. The spray makes a blister around the wart. The blister and wart will eventually fall off. Don't try to freeze your warts with ice cubes! 


  • Taping: As weird as it sounds, some people treat warts with duct tape! Yep, that really sticky silver tape your parents use for odd jobs around the house might make your warts go away. Doctors don't really know why this works. In fact, some people think it really doesn't work. But if it's OK with your doctor, give it a try. Stick a piece of duct tape on the wart and then change it every few days to peel away layers of the wart.


While you're trying to get rid of the warts, don't scratch or pick at them. This makes them worse and also spreads them to other parts of your body. You don't want that! 

It will take time to get rid of the warts. You will have to use the treatment over and over; sometimes every day. Even then, it can take weeks, or sometimes, months.

If your warts aren't going away fast enough, or are spreading, ask your mom or dad to take you to a skin doctor (dermatologist). The skin doctor can try other treatments that might work better than stuff you can buy at the store. The treatments can include:

  • Acids to peel away the skin and take warts with it.

  • Medicine in a cream to smooth on the warts or in a pill to take by mouth.

  • Ice-cold liquid nitrogen to freeze the warts.

  • Shot in the wart to stimulate the immune system.

  • Lasers and other equipment to burn off the warts.

  • Special surgery to take off the warts.

Molluscum bumps will go away on their own. But it can take months, and maybe even years. Also, there are no treatments you can use at home. So, if you don't want to wait for them to go away, or they are spreading, see a skin doctor.