My 3yo daughter has water warts (Molluscum contagiosum). This causes spots but has no other effects that I know of. We've already been to the doctor. I'm not seeking medical advice here. We have a diagnosis already. It's a very minor childhood ailment which the NHS describes as "generally a harmless condition".

Her elder sister had it as well and for her we got some Salicylic acid on prescription from the doctor, which we had to paint onto the spots morning and night. And that was ok at first but after a while painting on the stuff became very painful. She was very brave and we did get rid of the spots, but in retrospect it wasn't really worth doing.

So with child 2 we're just leaving them untreated.

What are other parents' experience of leaving water warts untreated?

  • 4
    This came up in the reopen queue, and I thought your response @AE posed a good question, so I posted a question in meta. If you do want home remedies, then I'd suggest at least placing that in the question. Nov 6, 2014 at 1:27

4 Answers 4


Home remedies for this condition are all based on eliciting an inflammatory (therefore painful) reaction. For example. One remedy uses the secretions of blister beetles, which raises a blister under the wart (lifting wart and all). Blisters are pretty widely recognized to be painful.*

Whether in prescription medicine or home remedy form, there are three ways to treat water warts: destruction, immunomodulation, and antiviral treatment. By far, the home remedies focus on destruction, which is painful.

Treatment of mulluscum contagiosum seems to involve a lot of tradeoffs: money vs. time vs. pain vs. efficacy vs. expedience vs. other. Even though it's a common pediatric viral infection, there is still no solid agreement on the best way to treat it.

Here is a link to a lengthy discussion of home remedies. I hope it helps.

* I once handled a blister beetle in my garden, before knowing what it was. It was worse than getting stung by a yellow-jacket wasp. From that time on, I never forgot to wear gardening gloves around them.

  • You should clarify that it's home remedies for this specific condition that you're talking about. Your answer sounds like you think all home remedies for all conditions are based on eliciting an inflammatory response, which is not true.
    – Warren Dew
    Jan 13, 2017 at 4:47
  • @WarrenDew - "Home remedies for this condition are all based on..." How do you generalize that to "all conditions"? Feb 21, 2018 at 18:45

We just got through a treatment course with my 5 year old daughter. My experience was that the bumps spread like crazy while they were left untreated.

Now, I have two caveats:

  • My daughter has eczema and the bumps were causing local itching, which creates more spots through autoinoculation
  • I told her to be careful not to scratch them about the same time we went to the doctor

So if they aren't causing discomfort and itching, I suspect they may go away. That was the first advice of the doctor. She did become more careful about scratching them and that may also have helped.

As far as home remedies, we did try a few things, including tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar, but both of those were painful.

There is an dermatology research paper suggesting tea tree oil, combined with iodine can be an effective treatment, but around me, I couldn't find the combination.

In the end, my daughter seemed to tolerate the prescription gel (condylox) better than any of the home remedies.


These are very contagious, and can last anywhere from 6 months to a year, but will spread both locally and to other children if left untreated. Water warts are in a different family from normal warts and need to be treated differently; both because of their pathology and their contagiousness. I would recommend you find a dermatologist who is more familiar with the condition.


We had the same experience when our little boy caught molluscum at pre-school. We thought it was just a rash but it got worse and worse. After many months we took him to a medical specialist who suggested either minor surgery or just leave it and do nothing! ... and we paid her good money for the advice.

The problem with the advice from doctors to just leave it is that it is contagious. So then his little sister caught it followed by our new born. It wasn't long until my husband and I also caught it.

  • 2
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I removed the part about the treatment. See the meta discussion about this question for more information. Nov 13, 2014 at 16:58

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