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My grandmother told me that the best way to keep costumes and textiles from moth damage is to store them in cedar chests and using lavender sachets in closets. I have been doing this for years but now question the validity.

Private collector of 1940's swing dresses, Pasadena, California

You are indeed very lucky to have avoided moths using these techniques! The moths probably have not gotten into the chests because they have a tight fitting lid rather than lined with cedar. Many conservators advise against storing items in cedar chests because the wood is so acidic with no air flow.

My best advice to you is to line the chest with archival materials so the costume or textile does not come in contact with the wood. My grandmother use to line her blanket chest with an old sheet. Although I love the smell of lavender sachets, I do not trust them for moth protection (or lavender soap either) ever since I found a lavender sachet that had been eaten by moths!


Michelle "AskMisty" Oberly has worked for many years in the education and museum fields. For nine years, she was a senior faculty member at Ray College of Design (now the Illinois Institute of Art) teaching fashion history and textiles. She also worked as executive director for the Mt. Prospect Historical Society, Mt. Prospect, Illinois; curator of costumes at Germantown Historical Society, Germantown, PA.; and guest curator at numerous exhibits at local history museums. She has lectured and organized workshops on the preservation of historic clothing and textiles for a number of historical organizations. Oberly currrently lives in Yardley, Pennsylvania and is writing a "help" guide for collectors of historic clothing.

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