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HOME IMPROVEMENT : Cedar-Lined Closets Spoil Feast for Fabric-Eating Moths

March 07, 1992|From Associated Press

Closets can collect more than clothes: They can collect mustiness, silverfish and moths. Rather than shutting the door on the problem, consider taking action by lining closets with aromatic cedar, suggests Remodeling Ideas magazine.

The tart scent of cedar may smell fresh and natural to humans, but it smells like trouble to insects, especially moths. They will usually steer clear of cedar closets but can be attracted to the clothing in an unprotected closet, where they will lay eggs. When larvae hatch, they may eat very small holes in fabrics.

Most hardware centers sell cedar planks and cedar flakeboard panels. Most planks are three-eighths of an inch thick, 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 inches wide and up to eight feet long. They are more difficult than panels to install but provide an attractive, smooth, solid-wood look.

Flakeboard panels are created with light and dark cedar chips. They are usually one-quarter of an inch thick and 4 feet by 8 feet, although smaller sizes are sometimes available. The finish is rough, and the panels should not be painted or sealed.

In general, cedar panels cost half as much as planks. To cover 50 square feet with planks would cost about $54. The same area could be covered with panels for about $28.

If adding a new closet or stripping an existing closet to the studs, consider closing it in with cedar. Cedar planks or panels can also be placed over existing drywall.

Ideally, all of the closet should be lined, including the door, ceiling and floor. The door should also be weatherstripped to better hold the cedar scent. (If the aroma becomes faint, it can be restored with a light sanding.)

How much cedar is needed?

Here's a simple formula: Figure the square footage of the closet surface. Then divide by 32, which is the area of one panel. For planks, divide the square footage by the number of square feet cited on the package.

Shelves, racks and storage units can be created from the panels and planks. Cedar use isn't limited to closets either. Use it in the attic or basement, or under the kitchen sink.

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