We provide extraordinary care for fine
garments & household textiles
a client dropped off an armful of sweaters and knits that had
She was perplexed. How, she wondered, could her wools and knits
develop moth holes when they had been faithfully stored over the
summer in her 15 year old cedar chest?
When I ask her "why cedar?", she told me that she had always
been told that cedar chests were the ideal place to store her fine
wools and knits for the summer, thereby protecting them against the
possibility of moth damage.
So I asked her the obvious question: why had her fine wools and
knits developed moth holes when they had been carefully stored over
the summer in her 15 year old cedar chest?
When she couldn't answer that question, I provided her with the
Many believe that cedar is the ideal moth repellant. But
that's only true in certain circumstances.
That's because cedar itself does not kill insects. It's the
aroma of the oils in the wood that's highly irritating to insects
and it's the aroma in the oils that makes those insects less likely
to stay in that vicinity for a prolonged period of time.
But the cedar looses it's positive attributes when it dries out,
leaving the cedar chest functionally useless.
Not only is dried out cedar wood functionally useless, but
dried out cedar wood offers negative
Because cedar wood (and all wood products for that matter) is
highly acidic. As the wood ages, it off gasses acids. And when
those acids come into physical contact with your garments, the
acids could possibly yellow your
garments and deteriorate the fibers.
So what to do?
1. Make sure to sand the interior of your cedar chests and
closets every few years. Sanding the wood will bring out the aroma
of the oils below the surface of the wood. If the wood is really
dry, consider sanding and a coat of cedar oil.
2. Line the inside of your cedar chest or the outside of your
cedar closets with an archival, chemically insert barrier film
(such as DuPont's Mylar D or Mellinex 516). You can use thumb tacks
to attach the barrier film to the wood. This will provide a barrier
between your garments and the wood. You get the positive protection
of the aroma of the oils in the cedar and avoid any physical
contact between the wood and your fine garments.
3. Never allow any of your garments to come into physical
contact with cedar blocks or cedar rings. I would avoid cedar
hangers entirely. If you have them, toss them!
And you thought that your New Year's weekend would be task
How can I help you?
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