How To Remove Termites From Wooden Furniture: A Comprehensive Guide

Termites are voracious wood-destroying insects that can wreak havoc on wooden furniture. Early detection and swift action are crucial to prevent further damage and save your prized possessions. 

In this comprehensive article, we will walk you through the steps of identifying, treating, and preventing its infestations in wooden furniture.

What Do Termites Eat?

A complex carbohydrate found in plant materials known as cellulose, termite fed on them. Their diet includes various sources of cellulose, and some common food sources for these pests include:

  1. Wooden area: Termites are commonly known for their ability to eat wood. They feed on dead and decaying wood from trees and timber structures, making them significant pests for homes and buildings with wooden components.
  2. Decaying Leaves and Plants: Termites play an essential role in the ecosystem by breaking down decaying plant matter, such as fallen leaves, branches, and dead plant material on the ground.
  3. Grass and Plant Roots: Certain species of them may also feed on living grass and plant roots, particularly those found in their foraging areas.
  4. Paper and Cardboard: Termites are attracted to paper and cardboard materials due to their cellulose content. They can cause damage to books, documents, and cardboard boxes in homes and offices.
  5. Cotton and Fabrics: Termites may target clothing and fabrics that contain cellulose, damaging storage areas.
  6. Mulch: Termites are drawn to mulch used in landscaping, as it provides a cellulose-rich food source and retains moisture.
  7. Furniture and Other Cellulose-Rich Items: In some cases, termites can infest wooden furniture, frames, and other cellulose-containing objects within a home.

It’s important to note that different termite species may have slightly varied preferences in their diet. For example, subterranean termites primarily feed on wood and may require soil contact for moisture, while dry wood termites can survive without direct contact with soil and infest dry, sound wood. 

Regardless of the species, these pests play a vital role in breaking down cellulose, aiding in recycling organic materials in the environment. However, when they infest human-made structures like homes and buildings, they become destructive pests that require effective pest control measures.

How To Get Them From Your Furniture

Step 1: Identifying Termite Infestation

Before proceeding with treatment, it’s essential to confirm whether termites are indeed present in your wooden furniture. Look for the following signs:

  • Small Holes: They create tiny holes in the wood’s surface as they burrow inside.
  • Mud Tubes: They build mud tubes or tunnels to move between their nests and food sources.
  • Wood Damage: Infested wood may appear hollowed out or have a maze-like pattern on the surface.
  • Discarded Wings: They shed their wings after swarming, leaving them scattered near infestation sites.

Step 2: Isolating the Furniture

If you have identified an infested piece of furniture, remove it from the vicinity of other wooden items to prevent them from spreading. 

Step 3: Surface Treatment

For minor infestations or early detection, surface treatments can be effective:

  • Vinegar Solution: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and apply it to the infested areas with a spray bottle. The acidic nature of vinegar can deter termites.
  • Borax Paste: Create a paste by mixing the borax powder with water and applying it to the affected wood. Borax is toxic to these pests but less harmful to humans and pets.

Step 4: Freezing the Furniture

Termites are sensitive to extreme temperatures, and freezing can be used to eliminate them:

  • Bagging and Freezing: Seal the infested furniture in plastic bags and place it in a deep freezer for a few days. This kills them effectively.
  • Cold Treatment: In colder climates, leaving the furniture outside during freezing temperatures can also be effective.

Step 5: Heat Treatment

Similarly to freezing, high temperatures can also eradicate termites:

  • Sunlight Exposure: Place the infested furniture in direct sunlight for several days. The heat will kill the termites and their eggs.
  • Professional Heat Treatment: Seek assistance from a professional termite removal service that can use specialized equipment to heat-treat the furniture to a temperature lethal for termites.

Step 6: Chemical Treatment

Chemical treatment should be handled with caution and is best left to professionals like Blue Star Pest Removal in Manassas:

  • Insecticides: Certain insecticides can be effective against termites. Consult a pest control expert to select the appropriate one and apply it safely.
  • Fumigation: For severe infestations, fumigation may be necessary. This involves enclosing the furniture in a sealed area and releasing a fumigant to eliminate termites.

Step 7: Prevention

It is recommended to take measures to prevent future infestations even after successfully removing the termites from your wooden furniture.

  • Regular Inspections: Routinely inspect all wooden furniture for signs of termites or other pests.
  • Moisture Control: These pests are attracted to moisture. Fix any leaks or damp areas in your home promptly.
  • Termite-Resistant Finish: Apply a termite-resistant finish to your wooden furniture to create a barrier against future attacks.
  • Elevate Furniture: Avoid direct contact between wooden furniture and the floor by placing them on stands or using rubber pads.


Dealing with termite infestations in wooden furniture requires diligence, swift action, and sometimes professional help. By identifying the signs of infestation early and employing the appropriate treatment methods, you can protect your precious wooden furniture from these destructive insects and ensure their longevity for years to come. Prevention is key, so regular inspections and moisture control are essential to keep your wooden furniture termite-free.