How to Clean Knotty Pine Paneling

A room paneled in knotty pine looks cozy and comfortable, but not if you can hardly bear to touch the grimy walls. Elbow grease and a little time will restore sheen and cleanliness to a knotty pine wall or room. It's a good project for times you need to think, can't sleep or when weather confines you indoors.

Aged knotty pine, no stain

Step 1

Limit the work. Don't undertake an entire great room in a single session.

Step 2

Move the furniture away from the wall you've chosen. Put away miscellaneous items, so you don't have to step over them. Ignore the dusty floor beneath furniture.

Step 3

Arrange your materials conveniently, perhaps by tucking the spare rag in your waistband, setting up the stepladder and placing the cleaner on a sheet of newspaper (to protect the surface you set it on).

Step 4

Wear gloves, if you don't want your hands to smell of the product you use. On the other hand, it doubles the benefit and deep-softens to work bare-handed.

Knotty pine paneling stained "fruitwood"

Start in a corner at the top of a wall so that any drips run down the wall. Spray cleaner directly onto the paneling or pour a little on the first rag and wipe at ceiling level.

Step 6

Work from top to bottom in a comfortably confined area, perhaps 2 feet wide. Rub longer in areas of concentrated grime, such as where fingerprints have accumulated.

Step 7

Move onward and clean swatches from ceiling to floor until you reach the end of the wall.

Step 8

When one wall is finished, lightly wipe excess cleaning product with second rag (the one in your waistband).

Lani Johnson

Lani Johnson is a hiking, writing musician. Recent published work includes journalism, poetry and research. See her online writing at or at