Restoring Aged Cedar
This column was SO GOOD that I shared with the 31,000 subscribers who read my opens in a new windowSeptember 6, 2020 newsletter.
Renew Cedar Closet Smell - Sand & Saturate with Cedar Oil
Guess what? My mother gave me her cedar chest last week! I was thrilled. It is the same cedar chest that I used to open to get a quick cedar high as a child. I opened it up and sure enough, the magic was still there. The cedar needs to be rejuvenated however, but what would you expect after 40 years! It was very interesting opening the chest for the first time in 30 years. My eye was immediately drawn to a beautiful brass flexible strip. Should it be a surprise that the craftsmen who built that chest knew that air infiltration robbed the aromatic cedar of its fragrance? I guess not!
The Magical Wood
All cedar trees are not created equal. There are approximately eight trees in the USA that are commonly referred to as cedar. One that is very popular is Western Red Cedar. However, of the eight trees, only one, the Eastern Red Cedar, is known for its true aromatic qualities.
This species has great rot and decay resistance. Native Americans called the Eastern Red Cedar the Tree of Life. Farmers like to use the tree for fence posts. Mother Nature once again has given us a multiple-use gift.
Insects and Clothes ...Yummy!
Adult moths do not damage your fabrics. Blame the kids! Certain insect larvae - moths, fleas, crickets, silverfish, and carpet beetles - like to munch on clothing fabric. Most people seem to think they have a limited diet, that being woolen clothes. This is not true. The insect larvae have large appetites as they are growing. It is not uncommon for them to eat holes in cotton, linen, blended fabrics, and even some synthetic fibers. Hundreds of dollars worth of damage can be inflicted by a single season of infestation.
Think in terms of wool suits. What did you pay for that last one? Was it $350, $500 or more? What would happen if you got it out after summer storage and a small hole was present? Do you think a $500 to $750 investment in aromatic cedar is worthwhile? Especially if the aromatic cedar will last a lifetime? I thought so.
Methods of Protection
You have many alternatives to protect clothing. You can construct a full-size cedar closet. You can line the inside of a chest or armoire. You can even line the inside of a drawer or a complete chest of drawers.
If these options are too much of a challenge, you can protect individual articles of clothing by inserting a piece of aromatic cedar as you pack the clothing in a tightly sealed plastic bag or box. Your clothing investment can be protected using 100 percent natural products. There is no reason to use chemical products that are toxic if ingested. A little work and effort on your part will enable you to protect your favorite or most expensive garments.
Restoring Aged Cedar Closets
Do you have an old cedar closet or chest that has lost its aroma? Do you think it has to be trashed? Wrong-o! That is the beauty of Eastern Red Cedar. It can easily be restored. Air and sunlight work together to clog the tiny pores of the cedar. This stops the natural evaporation process of the cedar oil. It is this oil in the air that acts as a natural appetite suppressant to the insect larvae.
The restoration process is simple. You merely have to sand the cedar wood with coarse sandpaper. Sand until the aroma returns or the wood turns red again (sunlight and air turn it brown.) Never seal cedar with anything! The only restoration liquid you should ever apply is natural cedar oil extract. It will soak into the wood and give off an intoxicating aroma!
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