How to renew inside of a cedar chest?

Brenda Smith
by Brenda Smith
I'm inheriting a large cedar chest. The outside is painted but the inside is plain cedar . However the cedar smell is gone. Would sanding help revive the moth-repelling cedar properties of this chest?
  16 answers
  • Carol Carol on Dec 19, 2014
    I believe a light sanding is all you would need to do for the cedar smell to come back.
  • Cindy Cindy on Dec 19, 2014
    As Carol said, the best way to renew the scent of the cedar is to sand it lightly with fine sandpaper. Sometimes the chest can have a musty smell. For that, sprinkle generously with baking soda and fill the chest with crumpled newspaper. Leave it for a few day. Remove the paper and vacuum. Now sand and vacuum again. You should be good to go.
  • Linda Linda on Dec 19, 2014
    I'm with Carol and Cindy! Light sanding will do it!
  • Valerie Binninger Valerie Binninger on Dec 19, 2014
    I agree with everyone here. I did find cedar balls and planks for shelving that you put your shoes on etc. at home depot. perhaps adding those in there would help after the sanding is done. sometimes the moth ball scent permeates the wood and is hard to get out. I have an ancient seaman's chest with the same issue. but i let it be because of how old it is, nearly 300 yrs old
    • JESS JESS on Dec 21, 2014
      @Valerie Binninger agreed with the scent of the moth balls, YUK! cost a lot to take to dry clearers to get that smell out! Plus, moth balls a very dangerous around children or pets. Read the label!!! Poisonous!
  • Irish53 Irish53 on Dec 19, 2014
    Be sure not to keep it where it will continue to dry out.
  • Pat Nolan Pat Nolan on Dec 20, 2014
    How about adding a very small amount of cedar oil? Its sold at Home Depot and Amazon.
  • Wanda.ll Wanda.ll on Dec 20, 2014
    try looking here. he tells you how.
  • Cynthia Riley Cynthia Riley on Dec 20, 2014
    If sanding please wear a mask. It is dangerous to breathe in cedar shavings.
  • Terry Altstatt Terry Altstatt on Dec 20, 2014
    you might try rubbing down the inside with cedar oil. it would also help the wood. don't use so much that when you put things in it that the oil gets all over it.
    • JESS JESS on Dec 21, 2014
      @Terry Altstatt problem with the cedar oil might possibly be, the oil getting on the fabric????? Just a thought.
  • Pauliegirl1 Pauliegirl1 on Dec 20, 2014
    I would do a combination of all above....lightly sand (w/a mask) rub w/cedar oil..close it and let it sit....rub w/ oil again..let it sit until you get that wonderful smell!!
  • Linda T Linda T on Dec 20, 2014
    I worked in a dry cleaner and people were always shocked when their good clothes were eaten by moth larvae. They had never been told to sand their chests or closets! We told them to do that, then spray with a non toxic insect spray, leave closed for a day or two, then leave open to air out. If you like strong perfume (I do) find some high quality lavender bath soap and put one or two in a few layers of clothes. (Coast works too, but lavender is more feminine) I buy any French or Italian bars, especially now, before Christmas, in the good outlet stores, like TJMaxx. They are ½ the original price, around $4-5.00 apiece and well worth the price to save your precious 'woolies', and you can always use them after a year or so.
  • Leslieb127 Leslieb127 on Dec 20, 2014
    The cedar oil is the trick. I have a large master closet that is lined with cedar planks and once a year I refresh it with oil. I think there's also a product that is specifically designed for "refreshing" the wood, but sorry - I can't remember the name.
  • JESS JESS on Dec 20, 2014
    Personally, I would have it done professionally.
    • See 2 previous
    • JESS JESS on Dec 21, 2014
      @Linda T agreed, but if a piece is especially valuable, messing it up could be heartbreaking.
  • JESS JESS on Dec 21, 2014
    Maybe go to a very fine high end lumber place and see if they have cedar veneer and have them cut to your measurements and use tiny finish tacks long enough to go through the veneer and into the existing cedar, and just apply right on top of existing lining? At least the larger pieces. Are you happy with the outside paint job? I bet underneath the paint is a very pretty wood! Maybe some liquid sandpaper on some inconspicuous place to see what is under the paint? If nice, strip the paint, and extra super fine sandpaper then clear Shellac for a natural look. Maybe somewhere like Sherwin Williams for super fast drying polyurethane. Do this will excellent ventilation, out side would be best.
  • Adrian Adrian on Dec 22, 2014
    Yes, sanding will fix your problem. If you do it your self be sure to do it outside and wear a mask. Any local hardware store should have someone who can help you find the items you'll need for this project.
  • Brenda Juris Brenda Juris on May 01, 2015
    Take fine sand paper and sand the cedar lightly. Itvwill bring the smell back. My grandfather taught me that trick.