How To Care for Western Red Cedar

Western Red cedar is used for many different types of furniture. Most Western Red cedar used to produce furniture come from managed forests in the United States and Canada. This is a popular choice specifically for outdoor furniture because of its ability to withstand the elements. It is also less prone to insect attacks. In fact, some prefer not to apply any finish to this type of cedar to allow it to age naturally. In time, untreated Western Red cedar furniture turns silvery-gray. The grain also appears raised as it ages.

Learn how you can care for Western Red cedar furniture.

  • Clean the furniture with mild detergent and water. When your cedar furniture appears dirty, simply wash it with water and a mild detergent. Never use pressurized water that can damage the wood. Western Red cedar is a soft type of wood that may not withstand high pressure water.
  • Use furniture covers. If the cedar furniture is not used often, you can cover it to shield it from the elements. Furniture covers are available in furniture stores and online.
  • Store the Western Red cedar furniture. If you don't plan to use the cedar furniture for an extended period of time, you can keep it in storage. Cover it with a furniture cover so that dust and dirt will not settle on the furniture.
  • Prevent moisture from entering the pores of the wood. With a good quality wood sealer, you can prevent moisture and dust from getting into the wood. This will still allow the cedar to turn silvery-gray but it impedes the grain from getting that raised look. You can select wood sealers with ultra violet (UV) inhibitors to preserve the natural tones of the Western Red cedar.
  • Keep the cedar furniture smooth and preserve the color using a stain. There are many wood penetrating stain colors available. Some even contain mildew inhibitors and water-repellent additives. Stain gives the furniture a more uniform color. After applying a good sealer, place two coats of good quality semi-transparent stain on the furniture. Sanding is not necessary before applying the stain. Every two years, reapply the stain.
  • Use wood oil as a color and texture preservative. This is usually not recommended for outdoor furniture, since dust particles tend to stick to furniture applied with wood oil. If used at all, it is mainly applied on indoor furniture.
  • Remove the stain to restore the cedar's natural beauty. Untreated wood may discolor after many years. You may find yourself wanting to bring out the cedar's natural color. For this, you need to apply a solution of water and household bleach on the furniture. After applying, wash the furniture with water and mild detergent to remove the stain. Never allow the bleach solution to dry. Rinse the wood well and allow the wood to air dry in a well ventilated place.

Western Red cedar is used for various types of furniture not only because of its beauty but also because it very stable and resistant to warping. It stays cool during hot summer months, does not rot, smells great and resists bacterial and fungal growth. It is the ideal wood to use for patio, garden and other outdoor furniture. With the proper care, you can enjoy your Western Red cedar furniture for a very long time.


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