Wood paneling was one of the most popular and widely used materials throughout the 1970s and 1980s. If you bought an older house, chances are that you’ll come across wood paneling; the odds that these panels are very dirty are also quite high.
Cleaning wood paneling can seem quite daunting—but, with a little help, you can get your wood panels looking as good as new in no time.
Before you start the cleaning process, you need to figure out what kind of wood finish you’re dealing with. After you find out what type of finish and coating is on your wood, choose the appropriate wood cleaner for your wooden panel. Cleaning veneer wall panels is different from cleaning unfinished ones. You need to know the difference if you want them to look brand new and sharp.
What You Need to Clean Wood Panel Walls
To clean your wood panels, you’ll need a few materials, including:
- Step ladder
- Soft sponges
- Microfiber cloth or feather duster
- Mild dish soap
- Spray bottle
- Olive oil
- Lemon oil
Different Ways to Clean Wood Paneling
When cleaning wood panels, there are usually two approaches you can take: dusting or wiping the panels with a wood-cleaning solution. The best approach is using both methods, but you can use one or the other separately, too. Fortunately, both methods are straightforward. With just a few steps, your paneling will look as good as new.
Dusting Wood Panel Walls
Before doing anything else, clean the dust off your panels. You need to pay extra attention to the bottom section of the panels as the lower area tends to collect dust more easily than other sections of the wall. This is also why you must dust the wooden panels regularly, especially before starting the deep clean.
While any dusting tool will work, using a feather duster or a microfiber duster is highly recommended. This makes the cleaning process a lot easier. You can use a telescopic handle to reach areas of the wall that are out of arm's reach and to make dusting much easier.
Wipe Down Panels With the Appropriate Cleaner
After dusting your wooden panel, it’s time for a deep clean. You have several options for cleaning your wooden panels; cleaners designed specifically for cleaning wood panels are usually oil infused to keep the wood moist.
The most popular and widely used household wood cleaner is Murphy’s Oil Soap. There’s a reason why it’s so popular—it’s incredibly easy to use and offers the best results. Mix it with warm water and make a soapy solution to clean your wood panels. After cleaning the panels with Murphy’s, you’ll be greeted with a fresh scent and a great look.
Murphy’s also comes in a spray bottle, making it perfect for cleaning wall panels. After applying the cleaner, wipe it down with a wet rag to remove all residue from the soapy solution. You can also make your own cleaner with a tablespoon of dish soap and a quart of water. This mixture will work just fine, although dedicated wood paneling cleaners are recommended because they’re infused with oils to provide moisture for the wood.
Most will say Murphy’s is the best cleaner because it’s strong enough to remove stains and mild enough that it doesn’t damage fifty-year-old panels. If you’re dealing with old woods, Murphy’s is probably the best bet. You’ll clean and moisturize your wood panels, all with a pleasant smell.
When Should Wood Paneling Be Cleaned?
More important than knowing how to clean wood panels is knowing when to clean them. Unsurprisingly, wood panels require more maintenance than most other types of walls, at least in terms of cleaning. Usually, wooden panel walls should be cleaned every two weeks. If you have panels in your kitchen, they need more cleaning than other parts of the house because they can accumulate grease from cooking.
Cleaning your wood paneling is crucial to maintaining its appearance. It can seem like an overwhelming project, but you can clean your wood paneling walls without breaking a sweat. You might also consider painting wood panels to give them a fresh look or, if you’re ready to move on, it may be time to think about what to do after removing your wood paneling.