Introduction: The Wart Freezing Gun

Picture of The Wart Freezing Gun

Got warts? Dodge the hassle of a doctor's visit, the expense of over the counter remedies and freeze them off yourself! In minutes you can build a wart "freezing gun" from household items.

I made it easy for you, skip all this reading nonsense and watch the video-

A doctor visit means sitting in the waiting room for a half hour and having to pay a hefty bill for something you could easily do yourself. Doctors use either
Liquid Nitrogen~ -320 F or
Dry Ice~ -110F
to remove warts.

We're going to use the liquid from dust remover cans which is anywhere between -25 and -160F

Before commenting, I know, I know there are many ways to remove your own warts. Duct tape, onions, vinegar, k'nex, banana peels, etc. But why do those when you can be awesome instead and do it like the pros?

On that note, if you've got any other original wart removing ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Step 1: Get the Materials-

Picture of Get the Materials-

You'll need-
One can of airduster/ spray dust/ dust off/ compressed air duster etc.
One plastic hollow Q-tip (or "cotton bud")
A wart

If you don't have hollow q-tips, you can use the straw from the airduster, a square of toilet paper and a twist tie to improvise.

Step 2: Prepare the Q-tip Based Remover

Picture of Prepare the Q-tip Based Remover

This step is pretty simple-
1. Cut one end of the Q-tip off, leaving as much of the tube as possible.
2. Stick the cut end in the nozzle of the air duster.
2. Take a break.

Step 3: If You Don't Have a Hollow Q-tip...

Picture of If You Don't Have a Hollow Q-tip...

If you couldn't find one of those Q-tips, you can still make it!

1. Get the red straw from the air duster, a piece of toilet paper and a twist tie.
2. Fold the toilet paper in half and push that over one end of the straw from the middle of the toilet paper.
3. Twist the toilet paper around the straw tightly so that the end is about the same shape and size as a Q-tip bud.
4. Wrap a twist tie around the toilet paper about 1/4" from the "bud" of the toilet paper. It should be firmly in place when you're done.
5. Insert the straw in the nozzle of the air duster as far as it will go.
6. Relax

Step 4: Practice and Preparation

Picture of Practice and Preparation

Before trying to remove your wart, make sure you'll be able to do it properly.

Turn the can upside down and grip the trigger with your index finger. Pretend it's a gun and say "pow... POW" for some extra entertainment before continuing.

Now, very gently pull the trigger and practice holding it steady at a rate that won't drip freezing liquid everywhere. You want the liquid to evaporate just before it drips out.

If you can do that competently enough, you're ready to kill some warts.

This part is highly unnecessary, but it's good to be safe-
Clean the wart and surrounding area and also the Q-tip with some rubbing alcohol. Although many dusters are made from alcohols and gases that will naturally sanitize, it can't hurt to play it safe.

Step 5: Shoot That Freakin' Wart Already!

Picture of Shoot That Freakin' Wart Already!

Now you'll have to muster your wits and remove that wart.

1. Using the same technique as before, start releasing the liquid at a very slow rate until you fell you've got it perfect.
2. Continue to squeeze at that rate and place the end of the Q-tip on the war so the straw is perpendicular to your skin in every direction.
3. Hold your wart remover there for about 20-30 seconds, the wart should turn white while you freeze it.

Note: I did mine for just over a minute because I've "removed" it at least 6 times, twice professionally and it keeps coming back.

4. After you've stopped, your wart should scab up in a few days and fall off. Don't forget to put neosporin on it to prevent scarring.

The pictures of my finger are from four days after removal. It looks pretty bad because I did it for over a minute and I didn't hold the can perpendicular to the wart. The wart is just now turning into a scab and about to fall off.

To the left of the wart, you can see a faint pinkish circle, that's a scar from a wart I successfully removed 3 weeks ago using this method. I forgot to put neosporin on that one.

Good Luck!


BrianS480 (author)2017-08-04

I have had some success with freeze spray but it isn't the same as liquid nitrogen. Freeze spray freezes down to -40 to -60 degrees, liquid nitrogen is -300 degrees. So, freeze spray freezes slower and penetrates less than liquid nitrogen. The trick that I found to make freeze spray more effective is to pre chill the area before applying. Hold an ice cube to the wart, mole, etc... for at least 5 minutes. If it's on a finger, even better to dunk in ice water. The point is to get the area as close to the freezing point as possible before applying the freeze spray. This cools down the skin and reduces blood flow as well which allows the freeze spray to freeze harder and deeper.

taetakacs (author)2016-10-01

I just went to the doctor. He took a can of liquid nitrogen that came with a straw. The kit had translucent white mini funnels in it with different sized holes for different sized warts. You can buy liquid nitrogen in a can online. Same with a set of plastic mini funnels. Stick the funnel on the wart. Apply pressure. This isolates the area. Spray on liquid nitrogen for a few seconds. Let it bubble and evaporate for a few secs. Apply again. Then at most a third time. Lift off the funnel. You just freeze dried your wart. Your body thinks the small area got frostbite. If the wart has a raised surface use flat toenail clippers to clip it flat. The skin will turn grayish white in a day (this was on Caucasian completion skin). It is dead skin. It will possibly blister and redden. It may peel or flake off or come off in a clump. Underneath it will be pink and ooze. Once the raw skin is exposed underneath, keep it out in the open and dry. Don't cover it with sweaty plastic bandages. Let it scab up and reheal. Before the dead skin falls off, you can facilitate exfoliation with over the counter wart removal kits. I love the ones with the little skin shaped discs that go right on top of the wart, and you cover it with a round disc shaped band aid. The discs contain salycilic acid which dries out the skin and makes the dead stuff fall off quicker. At night I take off the disc, let it air out and dry. Reapply in am and wear all day long. If you work with your hands, cook food, wash dishes, etc just wear disposable powdered latex gloves to keep it dry. My doc said to use the little discs then after it heals for a while to promote regeneration of that area. If it doesn't work then do the freeze drying again after it heals. Maybe apply liquid nitrogen four or five times if it's deep and aggressive. Doc said warts are caused by a virus that tricks the immune system and hides from it. Freeze drying is man made frostbite he said, and it stimulates the immune system to regenerate tissue and repair the area down at a deep level. For bad deep warts surgery may be needed. This was for a wart on my hand and not a nasty plantar wart like you guys have talked about here.

nandar5 (author)2015-10-28

Removing Our Moles, Warts, and Skin Tags Safely and Naturally.

Colonel88 (author)2010-08-11

I removed my wart using some plant. I don't know what it is called in English but when you break open the stem yellow juice comes out. My wart was gone in a week.

ReeRee2510 (author)Colonel882014-08-25

Maybe Aloe Vera??

chuckr44 (author)2007-09-27

If they are on your feet they are likely plantar's warts. You have to get them removed as soon as you see them. My sister had big surgery to get a 3 inch blob of them removed from her foot because she ignored them. When I found one on my foot, I cut it out myself with a pocket knife. Be sure to get all of the black core which goes wayyyy down into the skin.

ReeRee2510 (author)chuckr442014-08-25

How far would you say they go into the skin? I am scared because I have had some on my right foot for years.... I scared myself by looking up images of Plantars warts.... And some of the images, half of the toe or foot layer is gone...

firemanfu (author)chuckr442008-03-18

I had 7 one both feet for a bout a year and i finally dremeled them off, it only bled for like an hour

reeding (author)firemanfu2008-06-03

dremel?!?!?!? isn't that over kill? I used a small utility knife.

firemanfu (author)reeding2008-06-03

more fun with the dremel

trackzero (author)firemanfu2011-03-04

+1. I almost wish you were my doctor.

yerjoking (author)chuckr442008-06-09

i ripped one out with my bare hands, lots of blood from my toe, i also stuck a screwdriver into on, causeing it to mutate, but it died, but i now have about 6 on my toe, because i ripped one out with nothing to treat it lol, bazuka does not work for me, it melts the skin on my affected area =/

ReeRee2510 (author)2014-08-25

I have had a minor Plantars warts on my right foot, big toe and I have recently been doing this treatment... They have stopped growing but I notice that I get blisters sometimes after the treatments... Is that safe? Is it supposed to happen? Please Reply if you have an answer!

joecast40 (author)2010-12-09

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habiat23 (author)2010-11-11

Great Instructable!

I actually just came here to get the information about the temp. of liquid nitrogen vs. CO2 vs. Dust Off, but ended up reading the Instructable anyways. I had a wart removed by the dermatologist with liquid N2 and it worked wonders! Great to see you've managed to find a way to do this for cheap.

To everyone: be careful! That stuff will freeze anything else just as well as it will freeze your wart!

bugmenot! (author)2010-09-16

Does anyone have experience whether canned air freezing applications work on actinic keratosis skin blems as well as on warts? I have a bunch of little bumps which the last time I saw a doctor, he told be were the keratosis things, that he in the past has burned off with liquid nitrogen.
I went to Walmart and bought a Dr Scholl's Freeze Away kit and tried it, but so far it hasn't worked too well.

bustedit (author)2010-08-20

she said "k'nex". hah.

LightSpeed1 (author)2008-02-11

Further tests: 1,1 difluoroethane went down to -65 F Chlorofluorocarbon went down to -67 F 1,1,1,2 Tetrafluoroethane went down to -68 F All in the same range. I tested my copper wire idea: the tissue paper acts like an insulator with air layers between multiple layers preventing the transfer of heat. I tried it without the paper and just sprayed the copper wire directly with the propellent and it cooled down well to at least -61 F. So skip the tissue on that one. I think this can be applied directly to a wart once it is cooled down with excellent control since no further spraying needs to go on during the application--just press the wire onto the skin target. I tried spraying the propellent directly on a freckle but the problem is control--the liquid comes out too fast and runs where you don't want it. The best method tried so far seems to be to cover the end of the straw with several layers of tissue to keep the outflow under control and applying the liquid directly to the skin. Note that the skin turns white with frost immediately, and dimples inward (shrinkage) until the skin warms again. Then it follows the normal process observed after liquid nitrogen application: turns pink, swells, and then local inflamation of tissue as the skin regenerates. I expect it will blister as well, if it continues to follow the pattern, followed by a scab which reveals new pink skin when it falls off. I also tried the concept of a reservoir filled with propellent with metal conducting the heat away, but it never got below -16 F. The use of brass instead of copper may account for some of the temperature limit, since brass is not as good a conductor, but the reservoir needed to be refilled constantly, so it was not a benefit in terms of ease of use. I think spraying directly on external copper wire was better in terms of cooling down. (See above.) But ultimately, I suspect that the liquid must be applied directly to the skin (with some tissue to control where it flows) to most effectively transfer heat away from the skin (which freezes the cells). Your original concept seems to be the best approach. Thank you for this very useful how-to-do (instructable)!

zebedi (author)LightSpeed12008-03-07

Has anyone pointed out that all these refrigerants that you are using are CFC's, and therefore highly damaging to the environment? They are mostly banned as propellants in forward thinking countries.

codongolev (author)zebedi2009-08-22

those are illegal nowadays, and are therefore not in anything.

LightSpeed1 (author)zebedi2008-03-07

These are propellants. The Chlorofluorocarbon I tested was the only CFC and that was an old can from before they banned such things. Most of these use 1,1,1,2 tetrafluoroethane which has no chlorine in it. I trust that if these propellants were bad for the environment, they would already have been banned. I believe the scientific community has finally come around to the realization that the real culprit in ozone depletion was the chlorine, not the fluorine. Chlorine is an extremely active element. Thanks for your comment.

cgel1015 (author)LightSpeed12008-08-25

LightSpeed1: I think you are forgetting the fact that it is neither fluorine nor chlorine (nor carbon for that matter) that is the culprit for the environment, but rather the CFC as a whole. Also you are missing the point about reactivity. It is not reactivity, but rather lack thereof that makes these chemicals dangerous. CFCs' lack of reactivity gives them a lifespan which can exceed 100 years in some cases. This gives them time to diffuse into the upper stratosphere. Here, the sun's ultraviolet radiation is strong enough to break off the chlorine atom, which on its own is a highly reactive free radical. This catalyzes the break up of ozone into oxygen by means of a variety of mechanisms, of which the simplest is:

Cl· + O3 → ClO· + O2

ClO· + O3 → Cl· + 2 O2

Source: Wikipedia

LightSpeed1 (author)cgel10152008-08-26

I am not a chemist, but I appreciate what you are saying here. I have a chemist friend who says it is the Chlorine that is the culprit rather than the Flourine element since the Fl is too heavy to get high into the atmosphere, even by brownian motion and diffusion: heavier molecules tend to lay lower in the atmosphere. We certainly are in agreement about Cl. Doesn't O2 become O3 again rather easily through the action of lightning? Isn't there enough lightning to undo the damage of free radicals like Cl? Just wondering. Source: Trivial Knowledge in the back of my brain. ;-)

Prometheus (author)LightSpeed12008-07-19

This is why I only use -anes like butane and propane for this, without any chloro- or fluoro- in them. Simply use butane (not so cold, longer application), propane (far colder), or nitrogen (superb but expensive and/or inconvenient to obtain). Butane will suffice, but you gotta be a man about it and be patient as well. Some warts will take multiple applications to remove. For the record, fluorine may not have been assessed as much a danger as chlorinated products to the environment, but is not entirely so far removed from chlorine. The real depletion of the ozone layer is hydrocarbons that bond to oxygen on contact, which is especially why Halon was banned as a fire-suppressant...but then again, Halon was a fluorinated-methane: Halon 1311 (bromotrifluoromethane, CBrF3), or Halon 1211 (bromochlorodifluoromethane, CF2ClBr). Just dropping an FYI, if this information is helpful.

M F (author)2008-10-13

Elmers Glue 3 times a day. works every time

dannapaola27 (author)M F2009-05-22

really would that really work do i have to moist it and cover it or just put glue and tape it up

Bob K (author)M F2009-04-10

Thermodynamic heat transfer rates for evaporating liquids range from about 10 X to 15 TIMES more than any heat transfer by any metal including gold. The "latent heat of evaporation" ( look it up in the physics books) is what you are using here NOT conduction. So whatever means you use to keep the liquid gas on the skin ( cotton,Kleenex etc.)so it can evaporate ON THE SKIN is the proper technique. Cutting a hole in a piece of tape so only the blemish is exposed to the liquid is a good way to keep the surronding skin from being damaged. ( duct tape will work...) Good info on this subject by the way....

dannapaola27 (author)2009-05-21

omg i have a big wart would dat work?

codongolev (author)2008-08-02

I got a wart, but I just used that acid stuff and duct tape. but I think you're only sposed to use that on plantar (foot) warts.

LightSpeed1 (author)2008-07-19

Some additional experiences with freezing off skin problems: Hair growth was not affected (on my arm). Palm side of my thumb initially had a slightly numb zone, but after the (no liquid) blister peeled off 26 days later, full sensation returned as well. Treated areas have tanned along with untreated skin, and become invisible over time, commencing with the healing of the scab when there has been one following a wet blister. I have not had any adverse affects as a result of applications, only success. I must continue to wholly recommend this method.

Prometheus (author)2008-06-16

I will add some odd remedies that have worked before for some people, regardless of where the wart was: It sounds silly, but duct-tape....Duct-tape the wart for at least a month, and this may make the skin more inhospitable to the wart's viral infection (yes warts are caused by a virus, but not one that spreads, it incubates for 1-20 months and then a wart spawns at the site of infection). This will change the skin enough to possibly make the skin less hospitable to the virus, and will drive it to extinction. Aloe (pronounced a-lo-ey) direct from the cactus plant of the same name applied at least once (but perhaps better applied twice) daily has been shown to kill a wart with persistent and consistent treatment. "Acupuncture" of the wart may also kill it. Repeated puncturing of the wart with a fine needle may destroy the vascular structure of the wart and hence kill it. Warts are benign tumors that feed on a blood flow. By destroying the method of blood flow they employ may kill them by starving the rogue cells of their supply to replicate and sustain the growth. A wart goes about as deep as it is high, and they bleed excessively due to the blood flow they create for themselves. Only special coagulants will stop the blood flow during a professional excision.

Prometheus (author)Prometheus2008-07-19

I want to update with a link on the growing popularity of what is now called verruca vulgaris: Duct-Tape Occlusion Therapy.

Verucca Vulgaris is warts that commonly appear ont he hands, Verucca Plantaris usually occur on the feet (plantar warts), and are usually the infection of HPV-2 (a non-genital version of the papilloma virus; you cannot get genital warts from contact with it).

Verucca Vulgaris typically occurs between the teens and the twenties, I had one and I'm an exception because I'm in my thirties, and getting small sites of excema and this wart after being seemingly immune all this time. The wart (that I've affectionately named "Kuato" (from the movie Total Recall) has been treated with cryogenic exposure and is presumed dead. From someone with experience, and coming from a few other debates, warts DO have roots, contrary to what anyone will tell you. This is why simply cutting them off does not cure the problem.

A person's susceptibility to HPV's many strains varies widely. Some warts are resolved in a year, others stagnate, and others expand grossly out of control (thriving). Cryotherapy is usually worth it because you not only destroy it's vascular structure, but the real method is apparent a few days later: A blister forms beneath it and separates it from the normal dermal layer. When that happens, you can simply pull it off your skin, roots and all. All that is left to heal is the same as a 3rd-degree burn.

Don't be fooled, it will scar, but the scar is very superficial and will likely be hardly-noticeable after a few years, but will never truly disappear. The cryotherapy method is causing intentional and controlled frostbite, which actually causes your own body heat to cause a burn on your skin. Cauterization therapy (burning it off) does not destroy the maligned cells as well without a deeper scar, which is why cryotherapy works better.

"Cryo-burns" are instant and destroy tissue on contact. Use the above provided link for the less-painful method using duct-tape. This chokes the skin of oxygen, and can work in as little as a month. If you've ever had a band-aid on your foot and worn shoes over that for a day, you know the sight of the white, asphyxiated skin around that wound.

jabbathegut1 (author)2008-03-23

mmmmmm..... blooooooooood ( looks painfull )

Matt D655 (author)jabbathegut12008-07-18

and gross

twenglish1 (author)2008-03-07

y not try freezing that lol

LightSpeed1 (author)2008-03-05

Results of first tests: [My tests were on small moles. In both cases, the moles have disappeared completely.] The copper wire cooled by the propellant worked pretty well. The scab peeled off in 17 days and left nice new pink skin there. Theoretically it would permit greater pinpoint control. But I am not sure it would get as cold as with the direct propellant on the skin did, which may be better for deeper things like warts. The zone hit by the propellant through the folded tissue was larger and took 21 days to heal (3 weeks) completely. But I held it on longer too: 60 seconds rather than the 30 seconds used on the wire test. After the scab fell off it's just fresh new pink skin there, and it didn't affect the hairs on the site on my wrist. This works as well as liquid Nitrogen, but saved me $35 per application at the dermatologist! (That's after the first one which cost me $350 what with a biopsy, etc. which he insisted upon.) This DIY trick costs just pennies. Highly recommended. Effective and cheap as hell.

Dr_Stupid (author)2008-02-21

confirmed. severely retards the wart's growth. I've had one on my knuckle for nearly 20 years, and using this method, I've got it to not only stop growing, but it's starting to recede. Repeated treatments are necessary for deep warts, but bear in mind, if it's a DEEP wart, you'll want to seek a dermatologist and have it surgically removed.

LightSpeed1 (author)2008-02-09

Why give only dermatologists the power to remove skin defects? But first be sure it isn't melanoma! If you are not sure, go to a dermatologist for a biopsy. I measured the actual temperature of the evaporation of 1,1,1,2- Tetrafluoroethane by spraying it directly on a probe: I got it down to - 68 F. Note that it only reached its maximum coldness about ten seconds after spraying had ceased--so spraying the room temperature liquid on the cold zone moderates the coldness while it is going on. I presume that this will work to remove warts due to cellular disruption while not damaging deeper or surrounding skin tissue thanks to the fact that its intense cold can overwhelm the body's efforts to warm the zone, and quickly enough to prevent the cold from spreading into surrounding areas. Liquid nitrogen is so intensely cold it instantly freezes the skin cells it contacts; dry ice is still cold enough to do this, and presumably so is the propellent in the dusters. If you tried to do this with a piece of (water) ice, it isn't low enough in temperature to counteract the effects of blood circulation, so holding ice against your skin wouldn't work because it either just numbs the skin, or if prolonged can freeze the skin by causing frostbite in the whole area surrounding the target, which is of course not desirable because it leaves no deeper skin cells to regenerate the dead cells, which of course leads to necrosis and gangrene. So to keep the frost effective and beneficial, it must be kept localized and intense. I have an idea of a variation on the "soldering iron" adaptation: Take a length of heavy, bare copper wire (which is a good conductor), and shape it to exactly cover the area you want to treat plus a handle zone; make it a loop, and the midpoint will be the "tip" while the two ends are anchored into an insulated handle. Twist the new middle zone in a double spiral (helix). Wrap the mid-zone with tissue paper. Saturate the paper with the propellent and apply the tip to the target (wart or lentigo) for one minute after cleaning all with alcohol before starting. The metal will conduct the heat from the skin effectively, while having a precise tip. Note, don't make the tip a thin point: that would not have enough surface area too transfer much heat: think of a flat zone that can touch the skin squarely. I haven't tested the above yet. Let us know if it works if you do.

DeLorean4905 (author)2008-01-27

wow. the hollow q-tip is a good idea

DeLorean4905 (author)2008-01-27

I use 2 matches. First, if the wart's a big one, I trim it down to level with the surrounding normal skin (or until just before it bleeds) to get close to the root. Then light the first match, wait for the tip to get red/white hot, then blow it out and hold it so that it is just barely touching the wart. Ater the tip goes cold, you won't feel a thing . The second one is the same light and hold process to get the root for sure, and is hardly felt.

Tamaresque (author)2007-10-12

Some questions: Dusters around my home are rags. What sort of shop sells 'dusters' in a can and what do they 'dust'? What is neosporin (to stop scarring) and where do I get it from? I have heaps of sun damage, mainly solar ketosis's, but sometimes they go hard so I get them frozen off. I've often thought that there should be a home treatment, so I'd like to give this a go. Judanne

DeLorean4905 (author)Tamaresque2008-01-27

it's an air duster. basically just a compressed gas in liquid form due to high pressure inside the can. When you spray it upright, the contents come out through the proper channels, and as a gas. Upside-down, the nozzle is blowing out the liquid instead of the gas at the top. I considered this when I had a wart of my palm, but the fluid seemed to spread too much before evaporating -it looked like it would freeze a wide area instead of just the wart.

ccrook (author)2007-07-23

Wow, my instructable got ripped off and metacafe'd. I'm ok with it solely because the chick in the video is reasonably attractive. You're welcome for the content!

pyrobot (author)ccrook2007-07-23

Haha are you the one with the 12oz dust can? I actually thought I was the original innovator of this idea, but I guess great minds think alike! I wrote this instructable then saw yours in the related column about an hour later and was like "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" I'm glad somebody else was creative enough to put two and two together though. Good thinking.

Polymorph (author)pyrobot2007-10-19

Friend of mine told me he'd done this only using freeze spray for electronics. He told me about it in the late '80s, he probably did this in the mid '70s. Easier to find Air In A Can, though.

HamO (author)ccrook2007-07-23

reasonably attractive? You should have seen her before the the warts were removed!

James (pseudo-geek) (author)2007-09-13

oh my word, can you walk?

Could I walk?
I had to walk on the front of my foot for a week : /
They're still getting treated.

Knex Rules (author)2007-07-30

i got this when i typed knex in...

he says the word "knex" in the instructable.

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