If you are a fan of wooden furniture, you must know that termites are natural enemies of your furniture. These little critters like to gnaw on wood, leaving them with holes that run deep and break the structure from within. So, if you want to grow old with your furniture, consider these six methods to protect them from termites.
1. Expose Them to Sunlight
Wait, wouldn’t sun exposure deteriorate the surface? Yes, if the light is direct and you put it there for, say, weeks. Otherwise, sunlight is beneficial in the appropriate amount. First of all, sunlight will keep the surface dry, eliminating possibilities of not just termites but also molds.
Second, the light can also get rid of termites if they infested already – just leave them in direct sunlight for two to three days and the termites will run out of their own. Overall, sunlight is a free treatment for your furniture.
For the best exposure, put them in well lit room to make sure the wooden furniture receives enough sun exposure without moving them around every time. If you haven’t finished building your house or currently renovating, consider skylights for the necessary light exposure.
2. Keep Away from Moisture
This thing is no brainer – moist wood is a free real estate for all sorts of problems. If your furniture had been left moist and untreated for a few days, expect it to hold a whole ecosystem of termites, flies, molds, and various types of fungus. This is why it’s best to put your wooden furniture somewhere dry at all times.
Even if you want to take the risk to put them somewhere that can easily get wet (verandas, terraces, kitchens, or gardens), then make sure they are treated with waterproof coatings at all sides. Sometimes, humid weather can moisten the wood especially in a prolonged period of time. Beware of roof leaks within the house as they may affect the furniture as well.
3. Oil the Surface
If your furniture is yet to be ‘visited’ by termites, it’s best to put some protection before it happens especially if you are living in areas that are usually humid (coastal or near water sources in general.) One way to do it is by oiling the surface. Oiling is a known way to preserve wooden furniture, as they can even replace varnish to a certain degree.
However, by spreading a layer of oil on the furniture, you are creating a barrier that protects the wood from termites. Following this logic, thicker oil will give more protection – though it also means that the surface will be extra greasy.
If you want to try this method, use neem and/or orange oil, as they are proven to bee most effective for both repelling and eliminating termites. To oil furniture, spray the oil onto the surface or simply spread it with the help of some unused cloth.
4. Use Vinegar
Vinegar has been known as a pantry solution for cleaning practically anything. What fewer people know, however, is that they can be used to repel pest as well. In gardening, a spray of water-vinegar solution can repel snails and insects from harming your plants. Well, if it can repel insects from plants, of course it can repel them from anywhere else including your furniture.
If you are planning to get rid of existing termites, simply spraying white vinegar on your furniture might do the trick. However, if you are planning to protect the furniture as well, mix white vinegar with some cooking oil (olive oil, for example) before spraying onto the furniture.
The oil will give the necessary coating to protect the wood, while the vinegar will repel termites – this is a perfect solution for those who want to try the oil method but don’t have or can’t purchase orange and/or neem oil.
5. Smear Aloe Vera
For some people, oiling may be messy and the end result feels greasy even after leaving the oil coat to soak. Plus, not all oil and vinegar smell good – the smell will go away with time, but it needs to be considered especially if your house is not ventilated well. In such cases, it’s easier to use neutral-smelling alternatives such as aloe vera gel.
Simply crush the gelatinous inside until it forms a smooth gel and apply it onto the furniture surface. After the layer dries, you should be left with a clear, smooth, and odorless finish. Given how thick aloe vera gel can be, they are as effective as oiling when it comes to repelling termites.
For the best (and cheapest) result, use fresh homemade aloe vera gel. If you are using premade gels, use one without alcohol as it can ruin the wood, paint, or varnish on the surface of the furniture.
6. Apply Good Varnish
Oils, vinegar, and gels aside, varnish is still the best commonly-known method to protect furniture. So, don’t skip it when you make your own furniture or buy uncoated ones. Depending on the ingredients, varnish can get expensive, but that doesn’t mean all quality varnish is expensive – look for reviews and recommendations for the best bran in your budget.
While you are at it, pick the varnish color to your preferences. Clear ones are perfect if you like the original wood color and texture. Otherwise, darker varnish always looks good and classy.
If you are living in a humid area or have roof leak issues, you may want to consider waterproof varnish. This type of varnish is also perfect for outdoor furniture. However, whatever varnish you choose to use, make sure to apply the coat evenly on all surface areas. If possible, don’t forget the bottom of furniture legs – this may sound wasteful, but termites can creep in from the spot. Better safe than sorry, right?
Usually, furniture with good-quality varnish is protected from termites. However, after years of damp or even wet conditions and the lack of sunlight exposure can easily invite termites to gnaw on your beloved furniture. The six methods above can protect your furniture from termites and preserve its quality.