How To Clean Rough Wood Ceiling Beams [A Complete Guide]

If you've ever tried to clean any rough surface in your home, you know the frustration involved. Rough wood ceiling beams are no exception. Any attempt at cleaning seems to actually make the situation worse. Well, that's why we have done extensive research to bring you the best, most effective way to clean those rough wood beams in your home.

Follow the steps below to give your rough wood ceiling beams a good cleaning, 

  1. Use a lint roller to remove any loose dust and cobwebs
  2. Dust the corners and edges with a soft-bristled, nylon paintbrush
  3. Using a quality degreaser, clean any heavy grime and grease with a brush 
  4. Rinse with clean, warm water and a microfiber towel
  5. Pat dry with a microfiber towel

Cleaning rough wood beams can be a challenge, but where there is a will, there is a way. With a little elbow grease and these simple directions, you will have your beams looking as good as new in no time. Keep reading as we delve more thoroughly into each step and provide tips to make your job easier.

Wood Beam Ceiling, How To Clean Rough Wood Ceiling Beams [A Complete Guide]

Materials Needed

  • Lint roller
  • Paint roller
  • Paint roller extension pole
  • Soft-bristled, nylon paintbrush
  • Degreaser
  • Upholstery brush
  • Microfiber towels
  • Ladder

Cleaning Rough Wood Beams

Before you begin, gather the materials that you will need for each step of the process. Protect any furniture with a sheet, as dust and water will inevitably drop from the beams as you clean them. 

1. Remove Dust And Cobwebs

The first step that you will need to take is to carefully remove cobwebs and loose dust from your wooden beams. Unfortunately, traditional dusting methods will not work on rough wood. Dusting rags and dusters will merely redistribute the dust across your beams and push the grime further into the wood grain. A lint roller seems to be the most effective method of dusting this type of wood. It picks up cobwebs and dust rather than wiping it across the beam.

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Click here to get these lint rollers on Amazon.

You can use a hand-held lint roller and a ladder to do this, or you can use a paint roller and extension rod. Purchase a lint roller refill and slide it onto a paint roller.

You will want to cushion the end of your paint roller with a paper towel and tape to protect the wall and ceiling as you work. Attach an extension pole to provide easy access to the beams. Simply roll it across the beams, removing layers from the lint roller as they become saturated with dirt.

2. Dust Corners And Edges

Two wooden supporting beams intersecting on ceiling of house

Unfortunately, you will have a difficult time reaching the edges and corners of your beams using the lint roller. However, a soft-bristled paintbrush can be just what you need. Carefully brush any dust or cobwebs away with the paintbrush, taking care to move with the grain as much as possible.

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3. Clean Heavy Grime and Grease

Ceilings do not typically accumulate the same type of dirt as walls and floors, but they can get quite dirty. Often, grease from cooking can mix with dust and create a nightmare on your ceiling beams. If this is the case, you will need a good degreaser in order to cut through the grime and finish cleaning your beams.

Using an upholstery brush and degreaser, scrub your beams in the direction of the grain. Periodically, take a break to clean the brush in order to avoid redistributing dust and hair across your beam.

Click here to find this degreaser on Amazon.

4. Rinse With Clean Water 

Wooden boards ceiling made of natural wood beams

 After you clean the beams using a degreaser and brush, you will want to rinse them with clean, warm water. Use a wet microfiber cloth and wipe your beams down being sure to run with the grain of the wood. Running against the grain can cause fibers from the towel to catch, and could also push dirt into the wood.

5. Pat Dry

The last step is to pat the beams dry using another microfiber towel. No scrubbing, just gently pat them as dry as possible. If the beams still seem wet, you may want to turn on a fan in the room to hasten the drying process.

Click here to buy this microfiber 12 pack on Amazon.

How to remove stain from wood ceiling beams

Rough wood ceiling, How To Clean Rough Wood Ceiling Beams [A Complete Guide]

If you are wanting to remove the wood stain from your ceiling beams, it can be done. However, this process is not for the faint at heart and is sure to take a lot of time and effort in order to gain satisfactory results.

Additionally, if your ceiling beams are made of rough-cut lumber, your task will be even more difficult. It may not be possible to remove all of the stain and maintain the rough cut look. That being said, let's look into the process for removing wood stain.


  • Painter's tape
  • Paintbrush
  • Rubber gloves
  • Respirator/protective mask
  • Drop cloths
  • Wood stain stripper
  • Mineral spirits
  • Paint scraper
  • Sander and sandpaper
  • Ladder

Clean The Beams

Cleaning a wooden ceiling with lye. To protect against the aggressive liquid rubber gloves are worn. Cleaning is the first step to a complete renovation of the wooden ceiling.

The first step in the process of removing stain from your wood beams is to make sure your beams are clean. Using the method indicated in this article, thoroughly clean each beam that you plan to strip.

Cover Surrounding Areas

The process of removing wood stain involves the use of some caustic chemicals. You will want to protect anything underneath the beams that you will be treating. Thick plastic or canvas drop cloths should be used to cover the floors and furniture. Apply painter's tape along the edge of the wall or ceiling to protect it from the stripper.

Protect yourself

You will need to protect yourself from the chemical fumes of the stripper you are using. Open all doors and windows, turn on a fan and use a protective mask to limit your exposure to dangerous fumes. You should also wear rubber gloves to prevent your skin from coming into contact with the stripper.

Apply Stripper

Use a paintbrush to apply a thick layer of stain stripper to your beams. If you have a lot of wood to do, you may want to break it up into smaller sections and work on one area at a time.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions in applying the stripper, and follow recommended wait times. Typically, you will wait 15 to 20 minutes before moving on to the next step. During this time, you may need to reapply the stripper if it begins to dry out.

Scrape The Wood

Ceiling made of old wooden beams as a background.

Using a paint scraper, scrape the paint stripper residue from your beam, taking care to dispose of it properly. If your wood is rough-cut, the use of a hard-bristled brush may be useful in getting into crevices and removing the stripper and stain. Be sure that you are always working in the direction of the grain, never against the grain. In stubborn cases, you will need to repeat the entire process a second time.


When you have finished removing as much of the stain as possible, you will need to rinse it. Wipe the beams down with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue. Some experts recommend using a product such as oxalic acid to further neutralize any stain stripper that is left.


Stain is made to soak into the wood that it is applied to. Sometimes, it is not possible to entirely remove the wood stain with stripper alone. You may need to sand the beam in order to remove the remaining stain. This presents a difficulty with rough-cut wood beams, and you will have to decide if you want to sand them or not.

If you're planning on refinishing your wood ceiling beams, you may find this article helpful: What Color Should Ceiling Beams Be?

How do I clean old wood ceiling beams?

Old wood can accumulate a lot of dirt over the years, even if they're on the ceiling. However, cleaning old wood ceiling beams is a fairly simple process that will primarily take time and effort. Old wood can be somewhat delicate, so take care that you do not damage it during cleaning.

  1. Remove loose dust, dirt, and cobwebs using a lint roller or vacuum cleaner
  2. Dust corners, crevices, and edges with a paintbrush
  3. Clean the beams using a degreaser and a microfiber cloth or a brush
  4. Rinse with fresh water and dry

How do you get cobwebs out of rough wood?

Grunge rough wooden ceiling in a perspective view with colorful stains of fungus and moist and jars in wood

Cobwebs are a nuisance wherever they are found, but they present a special dilemma with rough wood. There are several methods that can be used, alone or in combination, to get cobwebs out of rough rood.

  • Lint roller
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Upholstery brush

Lint Roller

A lint roller can be very helpful in removing the initial layer of cobwebs, as it removes the dust without pushing it into the wood at all. However, if there are already cobwebs deep in the grain, it will not penetrate the crevices to remove them.

Vacuum Cleaner

The upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner can help to brush out and pick up cobwebs in rough wood. However, you will need to take care that the bristles are clean, or they will only make matters worse.

Upholstery Brush

One wooden cleaning brush. Synthetic nylon, polyester bristles isolated white background. Cleaning service company. Appliance for hand washing, scouring, scrubbing, disinfection. Household cleanup.

If there are still cobwebs hanging out in your rough-cut wood, try using an upholstery brush to get in all the crevices and brush them out. If all else fails, use a little bit of soapy water and the upholstery brush to scrub your wood down. Proceed to rinse and pat it dry with a microfiber towel.

In closing

Rough wood ceiling beams add so much character to a home. Keeping them clean can be challenging, but the end result is rewarding and well worth it. 

Before you navigate away, you may be interested in one of these articles!

17 Wood Ceiling Beam Ideas

Should Ceiling Beams Match The Floor?

Rough wood ceiling, How To Clean Rough Wood Ceiling Beams [A Complete Guide]

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