The Ultimate Guide to Heat-Treatment of Wooden Pallets: Everything You Need to Know

Wooden pallets are essential for businesses that require efficient and reliable packaging and transportation solutions. Among the various types of wooden pallets available, heat-treated pallets have gained immense popularity.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of heat-treated wooden pallets, exploring their benefits, the heat treatment process, and their significance in supply chain management.

Understanding Heat Treatment of Wood

Heat treatment is a process that involves subjecting wooden pallets to non-flammable heat until their core temperature reaches 132 ˚F and is maintained for at least 30 minutes. This heat treatment effectively degrades the wood polymer, making it resistant to pest attacks and decay.

Heat treatment of wooden pallets is a process that involves subjecting the pallets to a specific temperature and maintaining it for a certain duration to achieve desired results.

The goal of heat treatment is to eliminate pests, increase the pallets’ resistance to decay, and comply with international standards for wood packaging materials. Here are the general procedure, steps, temperature, and heat treatment cycle involved in the heat treatment of wooden pallets:

Procedure for heat treatment of wooden pallets

  1. Preparation: Select the wooden pallets that need to undergo heat treatment. Ensure that the pallets are clean and free from any contaminants.
  2. Preheating: Place the wooden pallets in a specialized kiln or heat treatment chamber. The kiln should be inspected and meet safety and environmental standards.
  3. Heating: Gradually raise the temperature inside the kiln to the desired level. The temperature required for heat treatment is typically 132 ˚F (56 ˚C) or higher.
  4. Soaking: Maintain the elevated temperature inside the kiln for a specific duration. The recommended soaking time is usually 30 minutes or more. This duration is crucial to ensure the heat penetrates the core of the pallets.
  5. Cooling: After the soaking period, gradually decrease the temperature inside the kiln. Cooling the pallets effectively completes the heat treatment process.
  6. Inspection: Once the pallets have cooled down, inspect them for any signs of damage, pest infestation, or decay. Only pallets that meet the required standards should be considered heat-treated.
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Temperature and Heat Treatment Cycle

The core temperature of the wooden pallets during heat treatment should reach a minimum of 132 ˚F (56 ˚C). This temperature is considered effective in degrading the wood polymer and eliminating pests. However, specific temperature requirements may vary depending on local regulations and international standards like the ISPM-15.

The heat treatment cycle typically involves maintaining the core temperature of the pallets at 132 ˚F (56 ˚C) or higher for a minimum of 30 minutes. This duration ensures that the heat treatment is sufficient to kill pests and increase the pallets’ resistance to decay. The soaking time may vary depending on factors such as the thickness of the pallets and the specific regulations in place.

What are Heat-Treated Wooden Pallets?

Heat-treated wooden pallets are packaging and storage units that have undergone the heat treatment process to enhance their structural stability and safety for use and transport. These pallets are free from common pests such as termites, carpenter ants, and bed bugs, ensuring the longevity of the material.

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The ISPM-15 Standard

The International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM-15) is a global standard introduced in 2002 for wood packaging materials in international trade. It mandates that all wood products shipped overseas with a thickness exceeding 6 millimeters should undergo heat treatment. Compliance with ISPM-15 is crucial for businesses involved in international shipping.

Marking and Compliance

Heat-treated pallets that adhere to the ISPM-15 standard are marked with specific symbols for verification and differentiation from untreated wood. These markings include a trademark indicating the company, a wheat symbol for ISPM-15 compliance, and a combination of both symbols on the box of lumbers.

Heat-Treating Methodology

Heat treatment is typically carried out in specialized kilns, where the temperature can reach up to 392 ˚F to ensure the core of the wood reaches the desired temperature. The process aims to remove moisture from the wood, and advancements in technology have led to more efficient and environmentally friendly heat treatment methods.

Uses of Heat-Treated Wooden Pallets

Heat-treated pallets offer numerous advantages in various applications. They provide stability and protection to materials during handling, making them ideal for material handling in logistics.

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Additionally, these pallets are widely used in supply chain management, as they ensure the safe transport and storage of goods. Moreover, heat-treated pallets contribute to workplace health and safety by minimizing the risk of injuries during lifting, loading, and transportation.

Advantages of Using Heat-Treated Wooden Pallets

Heat-treated pallets offer several benefits for businesses. They protect both the pallet and the stored materials by eliminating pest infestations and mold growth. These pallets are also budget-friendly as they have a longer lifespan, reducing the need for frequent replacement.

Furthermore, heat-treated pallets open up growth opportunities for businesses in international markets and contribute to sustainability by utilizing renewable wood resources.

Sustainability with Heat-Treated Wooden Pallets

Wood, being a natural and renewable resource, contributes to sustainability when managed responsibly. Heat-treated pallets, with their increased durability and resistance to pests and microbial growth, can be recycled and reused multiple times, reducing waste and environmental impact.

Heat-Treated Wood vs. Plastic Pallets

Comparing heat-treated wood pallets with plastic pallets, both have their advantages. Wood pallets are readily available, customizable, and more affordable.

They excel in terms of functionality and can withstand various weather conditions. On the other hand, plastic pallets are lighter, more durable, and have a longer lifespan. The choice between the two depends on specific requirements and priorities.


Heat-treated wooden pallets offer numerous benefits in terms of durability, protection, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness. Understanding the heat treatment process and its significance in supply chain management is essential for businesses seeking reliable packaging and transportation solutions.

By opting for heat-treated pallets, companies can enhance their operations, streamline their supply chain, and contribute to a more sustainable future.