Warts can be painful and kind of embarrassing, but they happen, so try not to sweat them too much. There are a variety of over-the-counter wart-removing compounds and home remedies to choose from. One of the most effective natural treatments is apple cider vinegar, although there may be some minor side effects.

Treatment With Apple Cider Vinegar

The active ingredient in over-the-counter wart removers is salicylic acid. If you go to a dermatologist for treatment, they sometimes burn warts off with liquid nitrogen. If you’d rather use an easy, inexpensive, all-natural alternative, apple cider vinegar might be the way to go.

Simply soak a cotton ball in ACV, apply to the wart, and secure the cotton ball in place with an adhesive bandage. You can leave it on 24 hours a day but should change it daily. The wart should heal within 10 days to two weeks. Continue treatment for a few days after the wart falls off to ensure it doesn’t grow back.

How ACV Works

Warts are benign skin tumors that can occur on just about any part of the body. They’re created when the human papilloma virus (also known as HPV) enters the body through cuts or cracks in the skin, most commonly on the fingers or on the soles of the feet. After two to three days of treatment with apple cider vinegar, the wart typically turns black and eventually falls off, leaving a fresh pink scar. Anecdotal evidence supports ACV’s effectiveness in removing warts, but there have been no medical studies to back up the claims.

Genital Warts

Genital warts are also caused by an HPV infection but are typically spread through sexual contact. Apple cider vinegar may treat these types of warts, too. The method also involves soaking a cotton ball in ACV and applying it directly to the wart. However, this area of the body is far more sensitive than hands and feet, so the treatment might be a little painful. Unlike warts on the hands or feet, genital warts should only be treated with apple cider vinegar for short periods—generally under one hour daily until the warts blacken and fall off.

Negative Side Effects

The acid in ACV causes every type of wart to swell and throb. This could be painful, and the degree of pain seems to vary from person to person depending on the severity of the wart. The initial pain can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Although some individuals report minimal discomfort, others experience pain so intense it interrupts sleep. In this case, opt for an over-the-counter pain reliever.