On top of the serious damage termites can leave behind in a home, they also leave large stains.
Light damage from infestations can look like water damage on wood and walls.
Once an infestation is eliminated, it’s time to clean up the mess they’ve left behind.
Mud tunnels can be wiped up with a wet cloth pretty easily. You’ll also want to use a solution of soap and warm water to clean up any leftover feces, after vacuuming up discarded wings and bodies. Finally, you need to use an ammonia mixture to clean insecticide stains before disinfecting the surface.
Steps To Clean Messes From Termites
Termites leave behind plenty for you to clean up but thankfully there are fairly simple solutions to stains on your walls, flooring, and surfaces.
Mud tunnels are tunnels made of mud that termites make and use to travel around without being exposed. You’ll frequently find them leading away from their nest and on vertical surfaces.
You can simply knock off most of the mud with a scraper or a rag to get started. Vacuum up the dust and then start on whatever is left on the surface.
A wet rag is all you need to get the rest of the mud walls off A little dish soap and warm water will return the dirt to mud and make it easy to wipe away.
Remember to disinfect the surface once the mud is gone.
Stains From The Termites And Insecticides
The stains termites leave behind look a lot like water stains. They’re mostly made from termite poop and other excretions from the bugs.
The best way to remove the stains depends on the surface or material you’re cleaning, but you’ll usually want to use the same cleaners.
Mix some bleach and warm water to create a diluted solution. You can spray or apply the solution to the stains and give it a little time to soak.
If you’re cleaning carpet or upholstery, use dish detergent instead of bleach. Two teaspoons of detergent and two cups of warm water will do the trick.
On hard surfaces, you’ll want to come back and wipe away the stains. For wood and other hard spots like brick or concrete, you can use a sponge or soft-bristled brush to scrub away the stain.
On carpet, you’ll want to use a soft rag and blot the area instead of scrubbing. Scrubbing or pressing hard will only push the stain deeper into the material.
Another unfortunate side effect of an eliminated infestation is insecticide stains. While they do quickly kill off bugs in your home, they can damage and stain surfaces as well.
The good news is that you can follow the same steps and solutions to remove insecticide stains.
Here’s a simplified, step-by-step guide for eliminating termite and insecticide stains on upholstery and hard surfaces.
Carpet and Upholstery:
- Mix two teaspoons of dish detergent with two cups of warm water. For older stains, use bleach instead of dish detergent.
- Spray or sponge the solution onto the stain.
- Allow thirty minutes for the solution to work its way into the stain and fabric.
- Use short, light strokes to help lift the stain. Work front the center outwards.
- Take a clean cloth and water and rinse the stain by blotting it.
- Give the spot time to dry, then vacuum over it.
- Repeat steps until the stain is no longer visible, or try dry stain lifters if the process fails.
- Disinfect the area if needed.
Hard Surfaces (Wood, Tile, Brick, Concrete):
- Use soap, detergent, or baking soda mixed with warm water to clean the affected area.
- A soft-bristled brush, cloth, or sponge will typically work well, but firmer bristles can be used on brick and concrete.
- Wet the brush or sponge in the suds and then wipe the stain.
- Give the spot a vigorous scrub to get more difficult spots.
- Work on the spot until the stain is no longer visible.
- For outdoor surfaces, a pressure washer may be used to knock off the stain, but remember to disinfect it to remove pheromones.
Cleaning Up After A Termite Infestation
The hard work may seem over once victory is claimed over a termite colony, but there is still plenty of cleanups to do that will ensure they don’t come back.
We’ve gone over cleaning up mud walls, as well as stains from termites and pesticides, but that isn’t all that’s left behind.
Termite corpses, molts, wings, and eggs all need to be cleaned up after an infestation. You’ll find the majority of them in their nest where they are easily swept up.
Around the nest, you should expect to see plenty of wood bits, sawdust-like piles, and tunnels. This can also be swept up fairly easily.
Once the debris is removed from the area and the stains are gone, you should disinfect any surfaces in your home the termites have been in contact with.
Ammonia solutions are effective, but you can get much better-smelling cleaners commercially.
Any damage done by the termites needs to be repaired. Licensed contractors are your safest option if the damage is extensive, but minor repairs can be handled on your own.
You’ll want to replace or brace any damaged wood. Use pressure-treated timbers, since termites won’t eat these.
If you can’t replace a beam in the framing, bracing it is the next best option. Ensure you prop up the damaged area with multiple pressure-treated timbers to keep structural integrity intact.
Finally, you’ll want to make some changes to deter termites from coming back into the home.
Clean up wood debris around the yard and keep a twelve to eighteen-inch space between your foundation and any wood. This is where you will want to install bait stations if you’re at risk of a re-infestation.
Seal up any points of entry you find to your home. Cracks in the foundation, old termite boreholes, and any gaps around doors or windows are what you’re looking for.
A layer of caulk should do the job in most of these situations.
Get rid of old piles of paper like newspapers or magazines. This helps remove any food sources for new termite colonies.
Also, fix any leaks or places where there is consistent standing water in your home to remove water sources for insects.
If the siding of your home touches the ground, you should remove the lower portion of it. You want at least six inches of clearance between the ground and any siding to deter termites.
Most stains from termites and insecticides can be easily removed with a detergent or bleach solution. Use soft sponges and cloths on carpet and upholstery, and brushes and sponges on harder surfaces like concrete or brick.
Always disinfect the area and repeat cleanup steps until the stain is no longer visible.