Remove gel ant poison from wood...?
May 25, 2012 7:45 AM   Subscribe

How to clean-up spilled gel ant poison from a wood drawer?

We scavenged a much-needed wood dresser and were getting ready to put it to use when my ex realised one of the drawers had spilled gel ant poison in it. He wiped up most of it, but we're worried about residue and seepage contamination because one of the primary uses is clothes storage for my toddler.

In searching for solutions, I found a few references to simply wiping it up thoroughly with wet paper towels, but is this truly sufficient? Are there better methods? Is there something we should do to draw out the leaked poison from the wood? Is there a common/easily found/cheap product that will nullify the toxicity?

Thank you!
posted by batmonkey to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Honestly, I'd wipe it up best I could, then line it with Contact paper and finally put a basket or other liner in there as a secondary barrier.
posted by tilde at 7:50 AM on May 25, 2012

Standard cleaning methods, followed by a light sanding, and finished with drawer lining paper.
posted by fairmettle at 7:52 AM on May 25, 2012

Maybe use Kilz primer after the light sanding
posted by vitabellosi at 8:34 AM on May 25, 2012

Apart from cleaning and lining, can you swap the drawer with one that's *not* used for clothing, just for your peace of mind?
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:36 AM on May 25, 2012

What brand is it?

Soap and water as a first step---most of these types of pesticides are water soluble. Flushing the residual with a mild solution of hydrogen peroxide or bleach will help mineralize the pesticide.

Finally, seal with a shellac primer/sealer product, such as this. Look for one for stains or fire/smoke restoration. These products are the best choices for minimizing chemical offgassing, odors or whatnot from going out of (or into) the wood. This coating makes the surface as inert as possible.

Most ant poisons are mild for humans, but of course you do want to minimize exposure. For a mild pesticide such as this, I think washing, oxidizing, followed by sealing is more than sufficient.
posted by bonehead at 8:53 AM on May 25, 2012

What sort of ant gel is it? If it is the borax kind, I wouldn't worry about it besides wiping it with the paper towels.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:04 AM on May 25, 2012

Seconding oneirodynia - acute toxicity for borax is about the same as for table salt. The main risk with borax comes with repeated ingestion, because it's much much slower to eliminate than table salt which makes it easier to accumulate a toxic dose.

The strongest borax-based ant killer I'm aware of is about 5% borax. There wouldn't be enough of that stuff left to hurt any mammal after a thorough wet wiping of a spill.
posted by flabdablet at 10:21 AM on May 25, 2012

ditto flabdablet. I would wipe it up, and put a drawer liner in, mostly just cuz I line all my drawers.
posted by purpletangerine at 11:02 AM on May 25, 2012

Response by poster: Don't know the brand, unfortunately - the package was tossed too quickly to note.

Thanks for the ideas thus far. I'll go over them with the ex and we'll see what we end up with!

If there are other ideas out there, though, I remain interested.
posted by batmonkey at 1:22 PM on May 25, 2012

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