How to Clean Wood Paneling

Painting is one of several interior design tasks people often love doing themselves. But get in the know first, and find out how to clean wood paneling before you tackle the project. Homeowners shouldn't assume they have to remove this wood paneling to check the walls underneath, and then painstakingly restore these walls just to clean up the room. With these tricks, you can remove years' worth of grime and dirt from the wood paneling and get it ready for the new color.


According to Better Homes And Gardens, wall preparation goes a long way toward ensuring that the paint will adhere to the paneling. Using a wet rag, wipe them down starting at the top of each panel and working your way to the bottom. Use large, sweeping motions to shore up the dust that would otherwise create bubbles beneath your paint. If your room has high ceilings or you want to conserve energy, use a wet mop with a long handle.


Once you've completed the initial cleaning process to gather up dust, take another pass around the room to remove deeper buildups of grime. Mix a solution of warm water and Murphy® Oil Soap, or another natural cleaner. Wash down the walls again, this time using a little more elbow grease to remove stubborn dirt that survived your first pass. Consider using a long mop to conserve your energy so that you're able to pass over the walls multiple times.


As you wipe down each wall, keep an eye out for any damage, stains or holes that need filled. If you find holes, fill them with putty. Apply caulking to any cracks in the walls, as well; wood paneling may separate over time and leave large cracks in between the sheets of paneling. For a smooth finish, caulking will fill in these gaps. If you notice stains, be sure to apply a stain-blocking primer before you paint the walls.

Knowing how to clean wood paneling ensures your room is clean, prepped and ready to take on a few coats of paint. Expect to be satisfied with the time and effort you put into the process, and surprised by how the paint transforms the space itself.

This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Murphy® Oil Soap. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.