HealthTipsSource writes in Natural Ways to Put an End to Moles, Warts, Blackheads, Skin Tags and Age Spots:

This is a scientifically proven method of warts removal. In one study, 61 patients with warts received either duct tape treatment or cryotherapy. After a period of two months, 85 percent of those people treated with duct tape had no warts at all, whereas only 60 percent of those with cryotherapy.

You apply a small piece of duct tape over the entire wart for 6 days, by replacing the tape as needed. After 6 days, the wart should be washed with water and then rubbed off with a pumice stone or an emery board. In the morning, you apply a new duct tape for another 6 days, and continue to do so for two months, or as long as the wart does not go away.

Is the claim that duct tape is an effective treatment for warts true?

  • ... a number of warts "go away within months" anyways. The benefit of cryotherapy is usually that it goes away quickly - it doesn't take 2 months to fall off. In many cases, that 60% will be where the wart has re-grown, and not the original wart. Neither treatment is likely to address the underlying cause of the wart - viral infection. Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 6:39
  • Utterly anecdotal case: three rebel warts in my fingers disappeared after several months of being covered with band-aids. Important: no rubbing or exfoliation. Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 7:47
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    The title of the referenced article is a little baffling. Since when is duct tape natural?
    – Mark
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 13:32
  • 1
    @Mark 1) Marketing: saying "natural" in the headline is more applealing to receive a lick. 2) Maybe they meant natural as non-invasive 3) Maybe if the site was called CuteHealthTips, the headline would learn "Cute ways to put end to moles (...)" and cite Hello-Kitty themed tape. Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 15:32

2 Answers 2


According to Are salicylic formulations, liquid nitrogen or duct tape more effective than placebo for the treatment of warts in paediatric patients who present to ambulatory clinics? Paediatr Child Health. 2014 Mar; 19(3): 126–127. :

Duct tape has not been shown to be superior to placebo and side effects, including redness, itching, eczema and bleeding, are possible.


Applying duct tape over warts is a less invasive treatment that gained support after a single trial of silver duct tape showed favourable outcomes compared with cryotherapy (RR 1.52 [95% CI 0.99 to 2.31]) (1).

However, two additional trials (198 participants) in the updated review comparing clear duct tape occlusive treatment with placebo indicated no significant effect (RR 1.43 [95% CI 0.51 to 4.05]), with one trial reporting adverse events in the intervention group (redness, itching, eczema and bleeding) (1).

Reference (1) above is Topical treatments for cutaneous warts Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;(9):CD001781

  • 2
    This study has been criticised for not using the same type of tape as the 2002 study did, with one notable difference being, reportedly, the type of glue. Can we draw such a definitive conclusion from the subsequent study that failed to replicate the results while performing, essentially, a study of a different tape?
    – RomanSt
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 17:47

Evidence is unclear, but this is the kind of low-risk treatment that may be worth a try if the alternative is to do nothing.

The studies cited in the other answer suggest that perhaps silver duct tape works, but clear does not. The clear duct tape uses significantly different materials. It is a rush to judgment to dismiss regular duct tape altogether.

Wikipedia has a bit more background: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duct_tape_occlusion_therapy. In short, the skeptical studies found that moleskin was about the same as regular duct tape, and that clear duct tape was about the same as nothing. I see no study that compares regular duct tape to nothing.

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    Welcome to Skeptics! On what basis do you conclude "it is worth a try"? It isn't a rush to judgement to dismiss regular duct tape, but a lack of sufficient testing to conclude it does work; the onus remains on the proponents of duct tape.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 14:18
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    "kind of no-risk treatment" -- "Duct tape has not been shown to be superior to placebo and side effects, including redness, itching, eczema and bleeding, are possible."
    – Kijewski
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 14:56
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    You've moved the problem down one level. On what basis do you conclude it is a no-risk treatment? Does its effectiveness justify delaying alternative, proven, treatments?
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 15:04
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    Do you consider the risk of bleeding and eczema "no-risk"?
    – Christian
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 15:06
  • 3
    It isn't "dismiss everything", just "dismiss things that have no evidence for their efficacy and some evidence that they may cause damage"
    – Kevin
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 0:09

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