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How to Clean an Unfinished Cedar Closet

Naima Manal

Natural moth control, aromatic refreshed air and warm, glowing hues are a few characteristics of natural cedar wood that makes it a choice selection in closet design. Cedar closets are the natural alternative to using insecticides just to have fresh smelling garments and linens unaffected by bugs. Since the natural surface of an unfinished cedar closet can be a magnet to dust over time, cleaning it effectively requires using solutions that maintain the integrity of the cedar wood.

Cedar closets can repel moths.
  1. Empty the contents of the closet to give easy access to the walls, corners and crevices within the cedar closet. This protects your garments and items from damage during the cleaning process.

  2. Dust the closet first. Swipe the duster over the ceiling of the closet, along its corners and down the walls, working from top to bottom.

  3. Give the cedar surfaces a light sanding. Camouflage the sanding strokes by sanding the wood in the direction of the wood grain. This sanding smooths out any rough spots on the cedar wood and awakens the wood's cedar scent.

  4. Vacuum the walls and corners of the closet using the vacuum hose attachments. Start at the top and work your way down the wall. Vacuuming removes sawdust left from sanding the wood.

  5. Wipe the walls from top to bottom with a dry cloth to catch any remaining wood particles, residues or dust.

  6. Make a mild soap and warm water solution, and wash the walls with a semi-dampened cloth. Use a mild liquid soap detergent or an oil soap formulated for wood.

  7. Ventilate the cedar closet, and allow it time to completely dry. Cleaning with a damp cloth shortens the wait time for this step.

  8. Protect the cedar. Apply a natural sealant or wax to seal in the surface of the cedar wood once it is dry. If you however prefer to leave it natural, wipe a cloth lightly dampened with an equal mixture of olive oil and lemon, with a few drops of cedar oil, over the wall. Apply the natural protectant with long, even strokes in the direction of the wood grain to leave the cedar wood with a uniform look.

    Although cedar wood generally does not need protective coatings, the olive oil and lemon makes a natural cleaner that also protects the wood, but by adding cedar oil, this cleaning combination also adds more cedar scents to the wood.

  9. Use the closet. Harness the refreshment of your cedar closet by restocking it with your clothes, linens and other items that you want to infuse with the scent of cedar while protecting them from insects.