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Wood paneling

Wood paneling, despite being a vertical surface, needs periodic dusting. Regardless of the finish, vacuum paneling a few times a year using a brush attachment, or use a dusting wand to remove dust. Microfiber dusting cloths are well suited to removing dust without sending it airborne to be inhaled or settle on surfaces. If the wood is a bit rough and tends to snag the microfiber cloth, use a woolly dusting wand or even a broom wrapped with a damp towel.


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Smudges and fingerprints are easily removed from permanently sealed paneling, whether it’s painted, finished at the factory or protected after installation with polyurethane or polyacrylic sealer. Mix a teaspoon (5 ml) of hand dishwashing liquid into a quart (945 ml) of tepid water, slightly dampen a soft cloth in the solution and clean up the spots. The entire panel may also be cleaned using this solution. Either way, follow up by wiping the wall with a cloth slightly dampened in clean water, and then drying the surface with a clean towel.

Don’t clean waxed or unfinished surfaces with water, which may darken or stain the wood permanently. Be sure to dust these surfaces often, however, since wax, oil and commercial preparations tend to attract dust.

Wood wax should be re-applied at least once a year. When wax buildup becomes evident, strip the wax with turpentine and re-apply a fresh coat. Surface smears generally indicate excessive wax buildup.

Unfinished wood should be either oiled or treated with a commercial product, such as Scott’s Liquid Gold, at least twice a year. Use a soft, clean cloth to apply oil or product, and then use a second cloth to wipe up any remaining liquid.


Consumer Reports editors in How to Clean and Care for Practically Anything.


Wood paneling:  Created on November 3rd, 2009.  Last Modified on December 24th, 2009


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