Termites Don't Stand A Chance Against One Ingredient Everyone Has In Their Kitchen

Termites are the type of pests that can strike fear into any homeowner's heart. They can create major structural damage that will cost an arm and a leg to fix, including buckling floors, swelling ceilings, or burrowing mazes inside walls. If the damage is severe enough, it can cause floors and ceilings to crumble, leaving you with a dilapidated house. On the flip side, even if you catch your termite problem early enough, it can still cost you a pretty penny to fix. If you want to treat your house for termites, on average, you will need to spend $3,000 to reverse any damage the pests have done. They're also super common nuisances — these hungry bugs annually damage 600,000 homes in the U.S., causing over $5 billion worth of repairs. However, you may prevent much of this with one simple item from your kitchen: salt.

While you can use all sorts of poisons and sprays, thtey might not be your best bet if you have children or pets. As long as you've noticed your termite problem quickly and it's still quite small, it's worth trying a salt spray to keep these critters at bay. Here's how to do it.

How to use salt to treat termites

To create your termite-busting spray, mix one part salt with one part warm water and pour it into a spray bottle — you need the solution to be extremely saline. Once combined, mix until the salt dissolves. Then, take a walk around your house and find the areas they're coming through. Look for holes, gaps, or any other noticeable entry point. If you find discarded wings in some areas, that's a safe bet that's a spot where the termites are congregating. However, salt spray can only kill termites if it comes into physical contact with the insect. So, you shouldn't assume that all of them will be dead after your first application. Insects hiding within the walls will likely not be effected by this method. Those dealing with large infestations should call an exterminator. 

If you're hoping to prevent termites from re-entering your home after they've been exterminated, you can block off common entry points with caulk, cement, and grout.

Why it works

Salt is able to harm termites because it has chloride and sodium. When the pests ingest these two elements, they become severely dehydrated, immediately shutting down their bodies and quickly dying. Depending on where they are burrowing, you can use different kinds of salts. Epsom and table salt can be used around the house, but rock salt is best if you want to sprinkle it outside to keep them from entering the house in the first place. 

If your pest problem is inside the house — and in wood specifically — then it's best to use borate salt. Eco-conscious pest control businesses have already begun experimenting with salt-based pesticides. By treating the wood with borate salt, the insects ingest it and pass away. When the termites go to eat the tainted wood, the borate destroys the gut bacteria that help to break down their food, making them starve.