How-to's Woodworking Ideas

How To Remove Scratches From Wood Furniture

With time, household Furniture starts showing wear and tear. The once beautiful piece of art becomes marred with scratches, dents, and whatnot.

And while scratches are unavoidable, you don’t need to spend your hard-earned money on a professional finisher to get your Furniture looking new again.

So if you’re wondering ​​how to remove scratches from wood furniture, you can try these tried and tested DIY tricks before you refinish or, worse, get rid of your wood furniture.

How To Remove Scratches From Wood Furniture

To remove scratches from wood furniture, you can use car polish, white toothpaste, or baking soda. First, clean the area around the scratch with a soft cloth. Next, apply car polish or white toothpaste to the scratch and rub it in with a soft cloth. If the scratch is deep, you can try using baking soda.

Fixing Scratches On Furniture

Removing scratches from Furniture works in one of the following ways:

  • Swelling up the wood to fill up the gap.
  • Dyeing the scratched area to a color closest to the color of the furniture.

Several items, including stuff from your pantry, can achieve one or both of the above. However, the answer to ​​how to remove scratches from wood furniture will depend on several factors like how deep the scratch is, the color of the furniture, and so on. 

However, in most cases, the type of scratch is the main factor considered before deciding upon a fixing method.

How To Fix Surface Scratches 

Fixing surface scratches mainly involves staining the exposed area so that it blends in. These scratches are visible, but you cannot feel them when you run your hand over the surface. 

You can use one of several items like paint, polish, marker, or tea to fix the issue. 

However, the general procedure is as follows:

  • Clean the surface with a damp cloth. 
  • Apply the chosen solution, paste, or material.
  • Let the material sink in.
  • Wipe off the extra.
  • Give your furniture some time.

How To Fix Deep Scratches

When the furniture has deep scratches or dents, coloring or dyeing agents usually do not produce the desired effect. They may leave the furniture looking more worn out with different colored patches on it. 

Also, when treating deep scratches, choosing products that will help the wood swell up and fill in the gap is important. The oil in these ingredients often does the job. Some ingredients you can use to fix scratches include mayonnaise, walnut, and peanut butter. 

The general procedure is as follows:

  • Clean the surface.
  • Choose an ingredient, rub it over the surface, or fill in the gap.
  • Allow the ingredient to rest.
  • After the required waiting time, wipe off the extra.
  • Sand or buff extra filling if necessary.
  • Seal the area with varnish, sealer, polyurethane, or other material.
  • Do not touch the surface for the next 24 hours till the sealer is completely dried.

17 Ways To Remove Scratches From Wooden Surfaces

If you are looking to repair the scratches from your wood furniture yourself, here are 17 quick, easy, and effective ways to do it. 

1. Car Polish 

Supplies Needed: Car polish, rag. 

If you have a polished piece of furniture:

  • Put a little car polish on the rag.
  • Gently rub it on the scratched surface.

A car polish will effectively remove any scratches on your wood furniture, even the deeper ones, and dents if you have a French-polished tabletop. However, be gentle while applying so you do not remove any furniture finish.

2. Craft Paint

Supplies Needed: Oil-based craft paint or artist’s paint

If you want to fix scratches on a varnished surface, 

  • Apply watercolor on the area.
  • Let it dry for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Fill it with varnish

You can also use oil-based craft paint or artist’s paint. Use a slightly darker color, as the paint adopts a lighter shade on drying. Dab some color on the scratches, and you are good to go. 

However, the trick will not work on polyurethane-finished wood.

You can also use other paints such as chalk paints. Here’s more on how to keep chalk paint from scratching.

3. Crayon

Supplies Needed: Crayons, bowl, pan, water, butter knife

A wax crayon is an easy but temporary fix to scratches. Select a color that closely resembles the color of your furniture. 

If you do not have a crayon that closely matches your furniture’s shade, you can make one. Grate two or more wax crayons in a bowl to create the mix in your desired shade. 

Place the bowl in a pan with some water and bring it to a boil. The crayons will melt and give you the desired color. 

  • Color the scratched area with strokes in the direction of the scratch. 
  • When you are done, blend the area with your finger. The crayon will also fill in deep scratches and completely cover the area.
  • If you melted differently colored crayons to create a new color, drip the melted wax on the scratches and use a butter knife to smoothen the surface and remove extra B. 

4. Eyebrow Pencil

Supplies Needed: Eyebrow pencil

Steps:

  • Color the scratch with the pencil. 
  • Let it dry.

This cosmetic essential that is a part of every makeup kit can also effectively hide minor scratches on wood furniture. Eyebrow pencils, the oil-based ones that are soft and of the appropriate color, can cover up scratches.

5. Instant Coffee

Supplies Needed: Ground coffee, hot water

To cover a scratch on a dark-stained wood with coffee:

  • Mix ground coffee with hot water to form a paste.
  • Apply on the scratch.
  • Remove excess with a towel.

You can even brew a strong cup of coffee and dab the liquid on the scratches. 

6. Iodine

Supplies Needed: Iodine solution, cotton swab, towel.

To remove scratches with iodine:

  • Dab a little iodine on a cotton swab.
  • Pat the swab on the scratch.
  • Remove excess with a towel.

Iodine works by camouflaging scratches. So, if you have a dark wood finish, Iodine can work wonders, and no one will even know there was a scratch. The method is quick and easy but only works for dark-finished furniture.

Iodine is an antiseptic not only for a scratched knee but also for scratched furniture, so get iodine from a nearby pharmacy store. 

Apply it on a cotton swab and pat the swab on the scratched surface. Ensure you wipe away any access as it will stain the surrounding wood.

7. Lemon Juice

Supplies Needed: Lemon juice, vegetable oil, lint-free cloth.

Steps:

  • Mix equal parts of lemon juice and vegetable oil 
  • Pour 5-10 drops on a lint-free cloth
  • Apply it on the scratch and rub in the direction of the scratch till it disappears

This one works great for minor scratches on the finish, not the wood. 

8. Marker 

Supplies Needed: Brown-colored felt-tipped marker, varnish, or wax.

Steps 

  • Use a brown-colored felt-tipped marker on the scratched area.
  • Cover it with varnish or wax. 

9. Mayonnaise 

Supplies Needed: Mayonnaise, towel

Steps:

  • Apply mayonnaise over the surface.
  • Leave it on for 2 to 3 days.
  • Wipe it off. 

The oil in mayonnaise helps swell the wood. So, you can use it for deep scratches, dents, or cracks. However, it takes around two to three days for the effects to become apparent.

10. Mineral Oil And Pumice

Supplies Needed: Powdered pumice (easily available at paint and hardware stores), mineral oil, extra fine-grade wool, damp paper towel, dry cloth

Steps:

  • Make a paste of powdered pumice and mineral oil. 
  • Rub this paste on the scratched surface with extra fine-grade wool. 
  • When done, use a damp paper towel to wipe off the surface.
  • Buff it with a dry cloth or paper towel.

11. Peanut Butter

Supplies Needed: Peanut butter, wet rag, dry cloth

Steps:

  • Apply a reasonable amount on the scratched surface.
  • Leave it on for about an hour or so.
  • Wipe off the extra with a wet rag.
  • Buff off any extra around the scratch with a dry cloth or paper towel.

Peanut butter works amazingly to hide scratches. You can even use almond butter if that is what you have at hand. The oil in the butter will darken the exposed wood. For better results, press the area with your fingertip. The heat from your finger will help the oil sink into the wood.

12. Petroleum Jelly

Supplies Needed: Petroleum jelly, dry cloth, polish

Steps:

  • Cover the scratch with petroleum jelly and leave it on overnight.
  • Wipe the surface in the morning with a dry cloth.
  • Polish if necessary.

The jelly gets soaked in the wood and helps it plump up. This fills up the scratch, and it will be like the scratch never existed.

13. Sandpaper 

Supplies Needed: Low-grit sandpaper, paint

Steps:

  • Sand in the direction of the scratch with a low-grit sandpaper.
  • Color the area if necessary.

You can get rid of light scratches by sanding in the direction of the scratch with low-grit sandpaper. This will allow the scratches to blend in, and you can even use additional coloring methods if necessary.

14. Shoe Polish

Supplies Needed: Liquid or paste shoe polish, damp cloth

Steps:

  • Rub polish into the scratch.
  • Remove off extra with a damp cloth

You can color the scratch with a shoe polish of similar color. Fill the scratch by rubbing the polish into it. It works best if you have mahogany or cherry wood. The polish is a coloring agent, so only cover the scratches and ensure you do not stain the surrounding wood.

15. Tea

Supplies Needed: Tea bag, hot water, cotton swab or rag, dry cloth or paper towel.

Steps:

  • Boil a cup of water and dip a tea bag in it.
  • Let the bag remain till you get the desired shade.
  • Apply the liquid on the scratched surface with a cotton swab or a rag. 
  • Wipe off extra with a dry cloth.

If your furniture is a darker shade, you may need to keep the bag for 20 minutes or more. The hack works by staining the scratch, so ensure you wipe off extra around the scratch, or it may get stained too. You can even directly apply a used tea bag on the scratch. 

When you’re done with the hack, you’ll see the scratches are less noticeable. 

16. Vinegar And Oil

Supplies Needed: Vinegar, oil (olive oil or canola oil), microfiber cloth

Steps: 

Mix equal amounts of vinegar (both apple cider and white work fine) and oil (olive oil or canola oil). You can use the mix in two ways:

1. Apply on the affected surface and let it sit for an hour or so, or

2. With a microfiber cloth, rub the solution on the scratch till it goes away. 

This is the best method to get your furniture looking brand new. The oil swells the wood, so the crack is filled up, and vinegar stains the wood.

17. Walnut

Supplies Needed: Walnut, soft cloth.

Steps:

  • Crack the walnut in half and rub the flesh over the scratch.
  • Wait for a few minutes.
  • Wipe off with a soft cloth.

The oil in walnut performs a dual function. It swells up the wood to fill the scratch and stain it. The hack works pretty well, and the scratch becomes invisible. You can work similarly with Brazil nuts, peanuts, and pecan.   

If your furniture has too many scratches, try more than one of the above hacks and see which works best. You can apply the winner method for all the scratches. 

Generally, the oil and vinegar method is the best one. However, the result also depends on the type and color of the furniture, its finish, the depth of the scratch, and other factors. However, at least one of them is sure to work. 

Maintaining Wood Surfaces So They Do Not Get Scratched

Wooden furniture is a great way to add aesthetics to any home decor. But it does come with its drawbacks; the major one being it can get easily scratched and lose its luster and shine.

Daily wear and tear starts showing on wooden furniture faster than any other material, so maintaining wooden furniture is the most important part.

As it is a known fact that prevention is better than cure, it is always better to take care of your furniture and prevent it from getting damaged.

The most common damages are scratches followed closely by watermarks, fading paint, or peeling paint, so, if you want to protect your furniture from scratches, here are a few tips:

  • If you have a wooden table, use plate mats and table covers to prevent scratches from plates and cutlery. 
  • Do not use hard and pointy scrubs to clean wooden surfaces. They will do more harm than good. 
  • Regularly repair small scratches and dents.
  • Repolish or rewax the wooden surface as needed.
  • Keep the furniture clean.
  • Dust often. 

FAQs

How Do You Cover Scratches On Wood?

You can cover scratches on wood furniture with coloring agents like paint and polish. You can also use fillers like crayons and oils like vegetable oil and olive oil to swell the food and fill the scratch.

Does Toothpaste Remove Scratches From Wood?

Toothpaste is another household item that you can use to remove scratches on wood furniture. Apply a little paste on the scratch with your finger, rub it on the surface, and wipe off with a moistened cloth.

Conclusion

Wooden furniture is beautiful. It is the preferred choice of many homeowners. However, it comes with a small drawback—it is easily damaged.

If a scratched surface is your matter of concern, we hope one of these 17 solutions on ​​how to remove scratches from wood furniture helps you out.