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How to Clean Wood Paneling and Make It Beautiful Again

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Wood paneling has received a bad rap for decades. Its fall from design grace was surprising as it was such a staple during the 1960s and 1970s. It was so popular that almost every home had a paneled living room or basement. That could have played a part. Wood rot and deformation could’ve caused homeowners to disregard it as well.

The disdain over wood panels appears to be over though. Many homeowners are embracing wood panels again. After all, wood is always beautiful. The earthy tones can also fit any design style, even modern and minimalist.

It’s easy to include the maintenance of wood panels in your house cleaning schedule. You only need to do a few simple steps. Here’s how to clean wood paneling and make it shine again.

Dust It Down

You should start by dusting off the paneling. You want to get rid of the dirt, grime, and cobwebs that cover it. Any old dust cloth will do the job, although a microfiber cloth is ideal. You can also vacuum it to make the job go faster. Use your vacuum’s brush attachment so it can reach the space between panels.

Ready Your Cleaning Solution

You don’t need to buy expensive cleaners for this task. You can make your own by mixing half a cup of liquid soap with a gallon of warm water. Swish the solution around to create soap suds.

You can also invest in a special soap that was only created for wood. Murphy’s Oil Soap is always known for getting even old panels clean and looking new again. It also reportedly conditions the wood so it remains durable. You need to add some of this soap to hot water before you can use it.

Dip and Scrub

Get a sponge or a clean rag. Dip it into your soap solution and wipe one section of the wall down. Use a circular motion when scrubbing the wall. Experienced cleaners recommend working on 3’ x 3’ sections at a time. This will ensure a thorough scrubbing. Move to the next section once you’re done with one area. You have to finish wiping all the walls in one session. Cleaning one wall and leaving the rest for another day will make the room look uneven.

Dry each section as you finish cleaning it. This will prevent a film of soap from building on the wood panel. You also don’t want drips or water runs drying out. It will leave a streak or smudge. It’s also not a good idea to leave wood panels wet for a long time.

You can also wash the panels a second time. Many old panels will need more than one scrubbing to remove the years of dirt buildup. You can use more of Murphy’s Oil Soap. Another option is to use a vinegar and water solution. It will remove any remaining residue. You can also use it to spot clean any stain.

Start Buffing

Your final act should be to buff the panels until they shine. Put some mineral oil on a different cleaning cloth. Rub it on the walls in a circular motion. This will bring back the panels to their shining glory.

Bring Your Favorite Room Back to Life

Deep cleaning will do wonders for any room. Let Helping Hands Cleaning Services take on that job for you. We’re one of the top cleaning companies in the Illinois area. We service homes and commercial establishments in 33 cities and towns. Our team of well-trained cleaners ensures every space is clean and sanitized. We do residential and office cleaning. We also offer commercial cleaning and Covid 19 corona virus sanitizing services. Why not give us a buzz at (630) 530-1324? You can also send us a message or schedule a cleaning service at

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