How to Get Rid of Molluscum Contagiosum

How to Get Rid of Molluscum ContagiosumI am writing this blog in the hopes that some desperate mother out there whose child has caught this awful virus will read this. That she will know there are safe options to get rid of Molluscum Contagiosum, a frustrating, annoying sometimes painful rash her child has contracted. How do I know this? My daughter fell victim to this awful viral rash and now my son has caught it as well, but I do have peace of mind knowing I have found something that works.

My daughter is 4 years old now but I noticed her first ‘bump’ when she was about 2 ½ years old.  She was around several children who had Molluscum Contagiosum so I figured she may end up with it. But what can you do? Kids are bound to catch whatever is going around right? And from what I had seen the virus caused a bump or two that eventually went away..so how bad could it be? Little did I know the difficulty it would cause, not only to my daughter’s skin, but to my confidence as being a mother who only wants to help her child.

In my efforts to get rid of this rash, I did a lot of my own research to learn about what I was up against.  There are several details to know about this virus.

What to Know About Molluscum Contagiosum

1)   It takes a long time to get rid of. Some articles I read cited 6-18 months. I realize this is probably not what you want to hear and I will admit my daughter was closer to the 18 month estimate. But that was only because I was going about it all wrong in the beginning.

2)   The virus is contagious among children but usually does not spread to adults. The fact that it had a small incidence of spreading to adults made it less ‘scary’ to me. Having a feeling of immunity made this enemy, smaller and easier to go up against.

3)   Molluscum Contagiosum thrives in water. If you do nothing else, stop bathing your child every day. There is a lot of research that says only to bathe your child 1-2 times a week unless they are visibly soiled. And when you’re dealing with Molluscum Contagiosum, this will be to your child’s benefit in that respect as well.  This mostly applies to children who have the virus in several areas of the body. One or two spots can be covered with minimal effects from a bath. Showers or even a good old fashioned wipe down with a rag for the little ones is what you’ll want to do.

Just knowing some of the basics can help you on your way to getting rid of the virus. So your next question is probably…what did you try? I will outline my methods but first I want to tell you about my daughter’s case in a bit more detail so you know the range of how extreme it can get. I would estimate she had moderate to severe case compared to other children I’ve seen with it.

How it All Started

She started with one bump on one of her legs. At first I just let it go because it was small and insignificant. After a few months it never went away and she had a few more. It was then that I started looking for natural remedies to make them go away. In my online research and talking to other parents of children with Molluscum Contagiosum I found several natural options that were worth a shot: coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, essential oils (specifically tea tree and lemon), and iodine.

Trying to Find a Cure

I wanted to hit it hard in the beginning so I started with a mixture of olive oil as a base and a few drops of Tea Tree essential oil and Lemon essential oil. It is always important to dilute essential oils when you are using them. I applied this to each bump with a cotton swab once to twice daily for a few weeks. Then I tried both applying and letting it air dry and covering it with a bandage. I gave it some time but didn’t notice much of a difference. At this point she had the virus for 3-4 months, almost no improvement and a few bumps on each leg and one or two on her arms.

My next attempt was apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil. Although they were diluted I must not have diluted them enough. She has sensitive skin to begin with but to three particular areas on her legs that were about the size of a quarter this mixture caused redness and burning. So not only did it not help rid her of the Molluscum Contagiosum but it would be awhile before I would want to try anything again for fear of irritating her sensitive skin.

The Virus Continues to Spread

About 4-6 months later she had about 8-10 bumps on each leg, and still a few on her arms. Some had swelled to the size of a pencil eraser and caused her pain, itching and irritation. It would be hard for her to sleep or even relax sometimes. Although I still had this feeling of defeat when I thought about this virus, looking at the pain it caused my little girl motivated me once again to try to figure out a solution.

I wanted to go with a less harsh option this time around so we tried coconut oil. I have heard this works for some people, but for her I guess the virus was just too stubborn. We would apply this to both legs, sometimes covering it and sometimes not to see if one method worked better. After 2-3 months of that off and on, it seemed like maybe one or two bumps had gone away but for the most part they were largely unaffected.

Now more than a year into this virus I thought, surely it would have run its course. We tried several natural ways to get rid of it and if anything it was getting worse. It was then that I decided to take her to her pediatrician to get a diagnosis and find out if there was any other options we could try. I didn’t have high hopes but I was desperate for answers.

Seeking Medical Advice

When I got her in to see the pediatrician she confirmed my suspected diagnosis and said there wasn’t much we could do. There were a few antiviral creams out there but for such a small child they could do more harm than good. The last resort option was surgery but that was only in extreme cases. She basically said to keep them covered and wait until they go away. It was everything I already knew but I was reaching for anything at this point. Once again, I felt helpless as a mother trying to help my daughter.  I decided to follow the doctor’s advice and went on a break.

Desperately Trying Again

It would only take a few months of watching my daughter cry in pain with some of these bumps that hurt to touch, would get irritated and sometimes burst open and ooze to make me want to try again. We tried a very dilute mixture of iodine and tea tree oil applied with a cotton swab which did seem to dry out the Molluscum Contagiosum a bit. I applied it faithfully morning and night for a few weeks. It seemed to dry them out a little but it wasn’t quite the result I hoped for. So I wanted to try apple cider vinegar again since she was a little older and I heard from one parent I spoke with that it worked. Thinking I wanted to dilute it and dry out the skin I thought of putting it in her bath water.

For a few months she would soak in an apple cider vinegar bath every day. We finally saw some results with this, although the bumps were increasing in numbers. They were drying out and I thought I had found the cure! I fell into the routine of doing apple cider vinegar baths every day, not really paying attention to the big picture.

Our Last Ditch Effort

It was then that one of my cousins asked me how the treatment was going for her. I told her I was doing apple cider vinegar baths and it seemed to be drying them out. She said she read baths helped them spread. When thinking about it, although they were drying out, the numbers had increased dramatically around the same time we started doing baths and had now spread to her torso and trunk. How did I not put two and two together?

Finding Our Natural Cure

We decided we would try apple cider vinegar by itself every day for a month and see if it worked. I bought several boxes of small square bandages and would apply a dot of apple cider vinegar to each bandage and then put one on each and every bump of Molluscum Contagiosum. After 7 days of apple cider vinegar and keeping the bumps covered I had found my miracle! Almost half of the Molluscum Contagiosum scabbed over. By week two more than half were now just small faint marks. At the end of week three more than half were faint marks and the large bumps were finally scabbed over.

Since then we have let them alone. It has been almost 3 months and she doesn’t have any new bumps. The bumps that scabbed over and turned into faint scars are almost unnoticeable. I remain firmly convinced in the natural healing elements of apple cider vinegar. Although my son who is almost a year old has a few bumps, I have already started with the apple cider vinegar and I know there is no reason to fear this virus…because I found its ‘kryptonite’!

30 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Molluscum Contagiosum”

  1. How much Apple cider do you put I the bath? Is it mixed with water or just Apple cider only? My son is 8 and has had this virus for about 1 year. No real improvements. Trying g to find something to get rid of the bumps. Thank you!

    1. Hi Jenni. So for my kids, putting apple cider vinegar in the bath dried them out but helped them spread as well. My most effective regimen was to put apple cider vinegar on small bandages, then cover each bump individually. Literally, a bandage on each bump. The small circle ones worked best. I changed the bandages twice a day for several weeks and finally saw some relief for my daughter. They key is keeping them covered the whole time. Hope that helps! I know it can be really frustrating.

  2. Hi!! Thank you for this info! How often do you switch all the bandaids with he ACV out? My toddler is flipping out over having to wear bandaids.

    1. Hey Jessa! I switch them twice a day for at least a week or two. In my experience it takes that long of continuous ACV/band aid coverage to get the bumps to scab over. I totally get kids not wanting to keep them on though! My son takes them off almost immediately. If that is the case I would try to do it at least at night. They won’t go away as fast because air helps keep the virus alive, so coverage is key.

      For my daughter, she was a little older and explaining to her that it would make the bumps go away helped her keep them on. In her case they were itchy and painful so she was ok with us making “ACV and band aid time” part of her routine. I hope this helps and you can get rid of them soon!

      1. It does help! Thanks! This all makes me so anxious! I had some that scanned over right away, but then should I still keep them covered? I’m just not sure if they’re contagious when they get to that point. The hard part is that the ones on his belly touch his legs and then are making their way over to his private parts. Ugh! If I get this scabbed over, are they more likely to spread to threat most unwanted place!? I’m so nervous lol.

        1. If they are scabbed over already you can still keep them covered. I would keep using the bandages until the scab falls off. They could still be contagious if the scabs break open. The fluid that is contained in the scab could release the virus. It is a very difficult virus to control and they did still spread some in the beginning. But the more consistent I was with keeping the ACV bandages applied at all times and changed twice daily, the quicker the bumps were to dry up and fall off.

        2. Jessy-we just discovered my son has molluscum and he has one on his private part too. How did you treat those? I would think a band aid might be pretty painful 😢

          1. Hi Alicia,
            Hopefully Jessy can provide some insight if she had this experience. If not, I would probably just apply the ACV either straight or diluted directly to the bump. But this is a very sensitive area so caution is key here. You’ll just have to let your son lead the way in this situation. As long as it’s not painful, keep treating. This area is usually covered up for the most part anyway so I wouldn’t worry about band aids. Hoping that helps! You’ll be in my prayers.

  3. Also, I wanted to thank you. This is the only place I’ve found that actually makes me feel like we can overcome this! I really appreciate your info!

    1. You are so welcome! I remember how helpless I felt for so long with this pesky virus! It was so frustrating as a mom not being able to help my child. So when I found something that actually worked, I had to share it!

  4. Okay! I will keep up with it and hope that he starts to cooperate more! Poor guy is only 2, so he’s definitely not on board with this process!
    And I don’t know how I sent that second last post with all of those typos!
    Hope I can come back and tell you how great it’s working!!
    Thanks again!

  5. I’ve been keeping them on him at night, but some of his skin is getting irritated by constant adhesive. Do you ever let the bumps breath? Like at bedtime when he is covered neck to toe in jammies?

    1. My son has the same issues with the adhesive. When his skin would get irritated I would have to forego the bandages to let that skin heal. We could only apply them once or twice a week at that point. It slows the process of getting rid of the bumps but you have to take care of the skin around them too. It’s always an uphill battle!
      In the intermittent times when the skin is irritated, you could apply coconut oil to it and the bump. It doesn’t work near as well as ACV but it may dry it out a little, while protecting and helping the irritated skin heal.

      1. My son is 4yrs old and had had this for the past year. Not server but now I am seeing it spread further onto his legs and abdominal. The molloscum on his abdominal has opened and is painful for him. You ever experienced this and what did you do in that case?
        Also did you try anything to boost his immune system?

        1. Hi Haydee,
          Both of my children have had a few of them burst open and they were painful. But usually that was when the ‘bumps’ were close to healing. If any of them did burst, they would scab over and start to disappear. If they were open, I would avoid the Apple Cider Vinegar, because it would burn sensitive skin like that. If anything, you could just cover them with a bandage to keep them clean and encourage the skin to heal. I did not try to give either of my children something for their immune system during this time. But I’m sure a good probiotic couldn’t hurt!
          In my experience, the best thing you can do to keep them from spreading is switch from baths to showers. And the best thing to do for the current bumps is cover with a bandage and Apple Cider Vinegar, as long as they aren’t open. Let me know if you have any other questions. Hopefully he will find healing soon! I will keep you both in my prayers.

  6. Hi my 3-yr old son has them too for about 4 months already, i have no idea where he got it but it is something that is really frustrating and I am just afraid that it may be a hindrance when he starts to go to school for his bumps are mostly on his face and neck. Coconut oil does not work, i tried applying zinc oxide ( diaper rash ointment), they get drier faster and wont leave any marks… i wanna try this and see if it works better. So When you apply ACV on the bandage before putting it on the bump, do you dilute it? I know ACV would be a cure but I was just afraid of the burning feeling when applied to kids sensitive skin… thank you soooo much for this blog. Hope to hear from you.

    1. Hi JoAnn,
      I totally understand your concern with ACV undiluted! That was mine in the beginning as well. My son has had some on his face and neck too. But I found that if I applied a single drop (undiluted) to the bandage, then covered the bump, neither my son or daughter (both had this virus in the past couple years), complained of burning pain. My son has sensitive skin and would get irritation from the bandage adhesive after a day or so, but he didn’t seem to mind the ACV undiluted. Now, if the bumps are open, that might be a situation where burning could occur on application. If you’re worried, I would just try it on one bump to see how your son does with it. So much of this is trial and error! Praying you get good results!

  7. A dermatologist can apply beetle oil to them. They will swell and burst within hours, which is a little painful. However, it gets rid of them within days. My son had this done when he was 2 or 3 years old.

  8. Hi thank you so much for this info!
    My daughter had 2 bumps on her neck around Christmas I noticed them. I just thought they were skin tags. So no big deal. Then they were getting bigger, so I took her to the pediatrician and the PA said it was Molluscum Contagiousum and referring us to dermatology for “beetle juice” treatment.
    Well my daughter is a Bath girl. And after reading your blog looking back hers spread like wild fire over the next 3/4 months. ☹️ So her neck especially looks like a polyp factor and I feel so bad for her. The dermatologist treated very cautiously on her neck because they were so severe. They are still spreading
    Her neck, back, legs, under her arm pits, arms, and I’ve noticed most recently little tiny bumps starting on her hands. 😭 I have stopped giving her baths. And not sure how to cover all of these on her neck it’s like a large garden of them. Not it’s summer and kids are
    Swimming and the dermatologist says she can swim to but cover them. …..umm not sure how to cover her garden of bumps on her neck with bandages I’m just so sick and feel defeated 😕. So I’m gonna try your apple cider vinegar and pray this helps her.
    Thanks you for writing this blog about yours experience I really appreciate it and don’t feel like I’m alone. I never heard of this until she got them.

    1. Hi Melissa,
      I agree that this virus is so frustrating! And when my daughter was going through her bout with it, I felt all those same feelings! As a Mom you don’t want to see your children go through pain if you can help it. Thank you for writing about your experience…and you are not alone.
      I will say when it comes to swimming, do your best to cover them up. I still let my kids swim because it seemed near impossible to try and keep them out of a pool all summer. When your daughter gets out of the water keep the bumps covered with an Apple Cider Vinegar bandage. And you don’t have to treat all of them at the same time. That approach can be overwhelming at first, especially for the little ones who don’t understand. But as her Mom, you know best, and I’m sure she can trust you to move at her pace. I am praying for you and your daughter that this helps her! Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

  9. I can’t wait to try this on my 3 1/2 yr old she has them on her leg and the back of her neck!! Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Angel,
      I hope this works for your daughter. It takes patience to treat this virus, that’s for sure! I will be praying for healing for her.Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

  10. Hello, I came across this post while desperately trying to find a cure for my 6 year old son’s molluscum contagiosum. He had them all over his back and they were spreading fast. As soon as I read your post, I bought a spray bottle and added the organic apple cider (diluted with water) and sprayed it on my son’s back every night. Following your recommendation, He was only allowed to take showers, no baths. Within 1 week I started to see the bumps drying out. At week 3 the bumps were dried and I applied fresh cut natural aloe vera. Week 4- His molluscum contagiosum cleared out!!!!
    I just wanted to thank you for sharing this post and and helping desperate moms find natural cures for their little ones.

    1. Hi Gabrielle,
      Wow, what a great success story! I have never tried it in a spray bottle but I think it’s a genius idea. Thank you for sharing and so glad your son is doing better.

  11. Did your LOs bumps get red and leave what appears a spot of blood as they were drying out and crusting over? My daughter has a pretty large one on her back that after seems to be more red/dark in color but has what looked like pinpoint of blood on the band aid which gives me hopes it’s drying out.

    1. Hi Alyssa,
      Yes, that did happen to a few of them that were particularly irritated. That was usually an indication of the bump drying up and scabbing. From there it usually healed quickly. At this point, I usually left them uncovered without ACV to just let it dry up and fall off. Hope they are healing for your daughter! She will be in my prayers.

  12. Wow I’m so thankful I came across this article! My three year old daughter has been having this horrible virus for over a year now and it has spread so much over the last couple of months. Ive been adding ACV to her bath but now I’ll stop the baths immediately to only a few a week. The only problem is she absolutely hates bandaids 😬. I’ll try just applying it to the bumps without the bandaids and pray it works! Thank you so much for posting this article, it’s an answered prayer!

    1. Hi Morgan,

      I always used bandages but you have to tailor it to what your daughter will tolerate. So if she hates them, then just apply the vinegar more frequently. Maybe even three times a day. Just monitor the skin for irritation. And replacing baths with showers should keep them from spreading. Once they’re dried up you can go back to baths.
      I am so glad this article was helpful! Let me know if you have any other questions. I will keep your daughter in my prayers for healing! 🙂

  13. Hello. I felt at ease after reading this blog post. My 4 yr old son got this over the summer and I’ve been trying to treat it using all kinds of remedies. So I was excited to try this method. I wanted to know while treating your children if you ever got MC too? I get paranoid that I will end up with MC. Also, what brand or type of bandaids and other materials did you use that worked best for you when you applied the ACV? Thank you!!

    1. Hi Christina,
      Interesting question! I thought that I had one once on my elbow but I never got it looked at. And it didn’t look like the MC that was on my kids. It never swelled and burst like they typically do. So not sure, but other than that, nothing else over the 2 or so years I was treating my kids. If I did ever get MC it was when I was still trying other methods and rubbing coconut oil with my hands on the bumps. I believe I am older and wiser now…you would never catch me doing that anymore! Once I started using ACV I would apply with a cotton swab directly to the bandage so I had no direct skin contact.
      When it comes to bandages, I found that the smaller bandages that kept the bumps completely cut off from air to be the most effective. I would buy the boxes of small, round ones that were the size of a quarter. Then apply to each bump or small cluster of bumps individually. We did go through a lot at first because my daughter had upwards of 20-30 bumps all over her body. But once they scabbed over I stopped covering them and left them alone. They were usually gone within a few days after scabbing over. My daughter does have a few small scars from where they use to be but they continue to fade.
      Let me know if you have any other questions! Your son will be in my prayers for healing.

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