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Cedar Chest Care: How to Refresh the Smell of an Old Cedar Chest

It is Easy to Bring Back the Aroma

One of the best features of a cedar chest is the aroma. Newer chests have the typical cedar smell that is unmistakable, but when the chests become old they sometimes lose some of the odor that once filled the room when opened. You can refresh the aroma of an old chest in a number of easy ways. Consider the following ways to refresh the smell of an old cedar chest, and with one or more of the following steps you can make your old aromatic wooden chest smell as good as it did when it was new.

Light Sanding

One of the least expensive and easiest ways to refresh the smell of an old cedar chest is to lightly sand the interior. Using fine-grit sandpaper, sand along the grain of the wood, and vacuum out the dust. More often than not this is all it takes to bring out the naturally fragrant oil in the wood and refresh the smell of old cedar. Close the lid after cleaning, and next time you open the chest it should smell fragrant once again.

Pure Oil

Did you know you can buy 100% pure oil of cedar? The oil is distilled from aromatic red cedar, and if sanding is not enough to bring back the smell, the oil certainly will. Simply apply the oil to a clean cloth, and rub it over the unfinished wood. Besides bringing back the smell of fresh aromatic red cedar to an old lined chest, it will also deter insects, and it can be applied to any type of unfinished wood.

You will find the oil in woodworking stores, or shop online to obtain the lowest price. Eight-ounces of pure cedar oil generally costs less than twenty dollars, and it is well worth the investment, especially since it can be applied to other types of unfinished wood for the same aromatic effect.

Blocks and Discs

Aromatic cedar blocks and discs can be found in most discount stores in the storage solution aisle, and they can be found online. They are quite aromatic, and work well to refresh the smell of an old chest. If you do not want to invest in oil, after lightly sanding and cleaning the interior, place a few blocks or discs inside. Close the lid and before long the chest will smell like new. Each time it is opened the smell of aromatic red cedar will waft through the room and keep your stored fabrics free from insects for many years to come.

The Author:

Jessica Ackerman



  1. Do you have a old trunk that smells musty? The best remedy I have used is to sprinkle 4 cups of kitty litter with 1 cup of my favorite potpourri on a sheet of newspaper placed on the bottom. Leave the litter there for several days. A good 3 days at least. Works great!


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