No matter where smoke smell comes from -- cigarettes, the fireplace or a fire-- the stale odor permeates wood paneling. The natural porousness of wood causes heavy or continuous exposure to smoke to build up on wood paneling in the form of stains and odors. The greasy residue traps smoke smell and creates a lingering odor. To clean smoke smell from wood-paneled walls, you must get rid of the smoke stains, too. You can clean and deodorize your wood paneling with supplies that safely clean the surface without leaving the paneling looking dull.
Moisten a clean sponge with water. Wring out the sponge to remove moisture.
Sprinkle baking soda over the sponge. Wipe the walls, one 2-foot section at a time, with the baking soda to deodorize the wood surface. Rinse the baking soda residue off the walls by wiping them with a damp cloth.
Fill a bucket with 1 gallon of warm water. Add 1/2 cup of dishwashing detergent and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to remove remaining smoke odor as well as stains.
Wet a clean cloth with the detergent and oil solution. Wring out excess solution. Wipe one 2-foot section at a time. Rinse the cloth as needed, apply more of the detergent and oil solution and continue to scrub.
Dry the wood paneling with a clean cloth. Buff the paneling to a shine.