How to Maintain Pine Paneling

  • 2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 70
What You'll Need
Wood sealant or light stain or varnish
Oil soap
Olive oil and vinegar
Mild dish soap and warm water
Soft cloths, dustmop or vacuum cleaner
Soft brush attachment for vacuum cleaner
Tung oil
Goof Off commercial stain remover
Superfine textured steel wool (#000)

The true beauty of pine paneling lies in its warmth, color, and natural texture. Its beauty is enhanced by how easy it is to keep pine paneling looking its best. Follow these steps to keep your pine paneling clean and stain-free for years.

Step 1: Seal the Pine Paneling

If you have put up raw, unfinished pine paneling, seal it quickly with a clear or light varnish, or a suitable wood sealant. This will help prevent most stains from penetrating the pine. Brush on the sealant or varnish with a fine-bristled brush so it penetrates the wood grain well.

Step 2: Vacuum and Dust Regularly

Once every 3 months, go over your pine paneling from the ceiling down to the floor with soft buffing cloths, a dustmop with super-soft cotton loops, or use the soft bristle brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner. This will keep dust out of the fine crevices of the grain and between the panels.

Step 3: Wash the Pine Paneling Once a Year

Every spring, add washing your pine paneling to your cleaning schedule. Use mild dish soap and warm water to remove any stain buildup, around door frames or light switch covers. If your paneling has no obvious staining, use Murphy's Oil Soap on a cloth to wipe down the walls and restore some of the wood's natural moisture, which can be lost over the winter to dry interior heat. Leave the oil soap on for no more than 2 minutes and rinse it off cleanly. The paneling will glow softly and will attract fewer dust particles. You can make a natural-based cleaner for wood paneling by mixing 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/2 cup of white vinegar, and 2 cups of warm water in a large steel bowl. Dip a soft cloth in the mixture and wipe over the paneling. Let the mixture work for 2 minutes, then dry it off with a soft clean cloth.

Step 4: Lift Off Stains

If grease has spattered on the pine paneling, apply ice to it and lift it off with a spatula or putty knife.

For crayon marks, rub the spots with a damp cloth, then rub in some toothpaste to lift off the color and waxy texture. Rinse off the toothpaste residue with a clean wet cloth and dry the wall panel with a soft towel.

If permanent marker streaks get on your pine paneling, apply the commercial solvent Goof Off to dissolve them.

Step 5: Fix Scratches in Pine Paneling

To fix unsightly scratches on your pine paneling, clean the area thoroughly and then sand lightly with superfine 000-grade steel wool. Apply tung oil to the scratched spot and allow the scratches to dry completely. If the area looks noticeably lighter, refinish with clear varnish, a light stain, or sealant.