Protect Your Textiles with a Cedar Chest

By HomeAdvisor

Updated August 10, 2018

Cedar chest
The traditional cedar chest is a classic piece of furniture that also serves a valuable function. From an aesthetic standpoint, few rooms feel complete without these timeless pieces incorporated somewhere into the overall design. Whether you buy your chest from a furniture warehouse, or have it custom built by a fine furniture builder, the air of tradition and down home warmth they add to any space is hard to beat. Looks aren’t the main reason these chests have become a fixture in the American home, however. Storing natural-based fabrics in a cedar chest is one of the most sure-fire ways to protect them from insect infestation and other damage.

It’s All about the Oil

The reason cedar chests are so effective at keeping your blankets, clothes and other fabrics insect free is a direct result of the oil in the wood. The oil in cedar naturally repels insects that feast on organic based fabrics such as cotton and wool. That same oil also repels water and moisture, keeping your clothes free of fungus and other decay that can work to break down the integrity of cloth materials. To top it off, cedar oil also smells great, making it a much more pleasant solution to fending off insect infestation than chemically based repellants. Who wouldn’t rather have their sweaters and blankets smell of cedar than the acrid and irritating aroma of mothballs?

Better for Those with Chemical Sensitivities

Finally, because cedar is essentially an organic insect repellant, it also is an excellent choice for those with chemical sensitivities. The ingredients in mothballs and other insect repellants can wreak havoc with people who have severe reactions to the chemical components that make these solutions effective. Cedar, on the other hand, rarely fosters a negative reaction, making it hands down the better choice.

Think outside the Box with Your Cedar Chest

About the only complaint homeowners have with these chests is where to keep them. In cramped quarters they can easily take up valuable space. The key is to think unconventionally. Place your cedar chest near your entryway and use it as a convenient seat for putting on and taking off shoes. If placed in the proper spot in the bedroom it can serve a similar, and equally utilitarian, purpose. And a cedar chest in the living room can double as a comfortable bench when covered with a soft blanket and backed with a few tasteful pillows propped up against the wall.

Ready to start your cedar chest?
Find Pros

Cedar Chest Maintenance

The key to getting the most out of your cedar built chest is proper maintenance. That cedar oil we mentioned earlier also makes cedar one of the longest lasting and most durable woods for building any type of cedar furniture. That makes your responsibilities minimal. Just make sure to dust it regularly, never wax or seal your cedar furniture, and keep it away from high humidity areas such as bathrooms to prevent warping and other disfiguration. By following these simple steps, your cedar wood chest will be a piece of furniture that future generations can enjoy for years to come.


  1. Judy Murphy, October 14:

    I have a Lane cedar chest and it comes with the mothball smell. How would I store sheets and throws in it? Could I put them in plastic bags?

Are You Familiar With This Topic? Share Your Experience.

Compare quotes from local pros Compare Quotes
Return to Top