Why Is Cedar Good for Closets?

Cedar is used to build trunks because of its low warping factor.
Cedar is used to build trunks because of its low warping factor. (Image: Jupiterimages/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Once you walk into a closet you will know immediately if it is a cedar closet because of its light, slightly sweet scent. Cedar is a durable softwood with excellent insulation properties due to its low density. It has long been used to preserve more fragile objects such as clothes whose materials may not be resistant to insects or decay. This wood produces no sticky pitch or resin, making it ideal as a liner for clothes closets.

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Insect and Fungus Repellent

Western red cedar produces toxins in its heartwood, or wood center, and in its sapwood, where the tree has conduits to move sap through the plant. These toxins made cedar wood resistant to fungal infections and insect infestations. The cedar tree has more resistance to fungus and insects as it ages, with the outer layers of the heartwood being the most resistant. Cedar can keep insects and fungus from ruining the clothes in your closet.


Cedar in a closet maintains a good atmospheric moisture balance, keeping the humidity in the closet fairly constant. The interior of a cedar closet will remain relatively cool on a hot summer day, and this helps preserve clothing and furs, as well as leather goods such as shoes and boots that can dry out and crack in a hot climate. Cedar also absorbs vibration and sound, making a cedar closet a functional sound insulation barrier between rooms.

Straight Grain

The grain of cedar wood is very straight and smooth, making it easy to use in finishing an interior such as a closet. The wood does not warp, twist or split very much, and it will only shrink minimally over the years. The smooth surface of the cedar will not catch on any clothes stored in a cedar closet and ruin them. The shelves and wood joints will stay in place without pulling apart, creating a durable closet.


Cedar has a lower flame spread and smoke rating than many other woods and will protect clothing and other objects stored in a cedar closet up to a point. While no wood is invincible to flames, finished cedar may protect valuable clothing and objects until you can remove them or until the fire is put out. Cedar produces no volatile pitch or resin, which can make wood more flammable and likely to split under great heat.


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