How to Recharge the Smell of a Cedar Chest

A cedar chest may gradually lose its aroma over time.
A cedar chest may gradually lose its aroma over time. (Image: treasure chest image by .shock from

Cedar naturally repels moths and other insects. For this reason, and the fact that cedar has a scent well-liked by many, it’s been commonly used to make chests for many years. In time, however cedar’s scent gradually fades. You don’t have to give up on using your chest to keep things fresh and insect-free; it’s easy to restore the scent to a cedar chest, even if the chest is many years old.

Things You'll Need

  • Work gloves
  • 60- to 220-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Pure cedar oil spray
  • Cloth

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Put on a pair of work gloves to protect your hands. Open the cedar chest and begin sanding it, going with the grain. recommends using 60-grit sandpaper, but suggests 220 grit. Both are fine--you can also start with the coarser paper and end with the finer grit.

Keep sanding until the natural red color becomes more vibrant and you can smell the cedar aroma again. Wipe the chest with a tack cloth to remove the sanding dust.

Spray the chest, inside and out, with pure cedar oil. You can buy this concentrated oil at some hardware stores and many home improvement stores. You can also order it online.

Wipe the chest with a clean cloth. This spreads the oil more evenly over the wood’s surface and helps the oil penetrate the pores. Let the chest air-dry for a few days before using it again.


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