How to get scratches out of wood

No need to walk the plank over a scratch on your wooden floor or furniture - try our scratch repair methods!

Updated 4 April 2023


AuthorBy Cleanipedia Team

Reading Time5 minutes

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Key steps to wood scratch repair

  1. 1

    Colour in light scratches with the meat of a nut, coffee grounds, iodine, or ash.

  2. 2

    Use a lint-free cloth with lemon juice and olive oil to rub away medium scratches.

  3. 3

    For deep scratches, clean the area and use a filler.

  4. 4

    Sand the surface and refinish with varnish or sealer.

Wood is a versatile material that's used in various parts of the home but while it looks great in the beginning, it can soon start to show its age thanks to scratches and chips. Follow our tips to learn how to get scratches out of wood using just 3 simple methods: polishing  for light scratches, cover-ups for medium scratches, and sanding for deep scratches.

Clean the scratched area before filling - it's our number one tip for furniture scratch repair!

Wood scratch repair on floor and furniture: dealing with light scratches

Unsure how to get scratches out of wood floors or furniture when they are light and don’t break the surface? The easiest way is to colour them in!

  • If you have light-coloured wood, use the meat of a nut. Rub it along the scratch, working the oil from the nut into the surface. The best nuts for this are walnut or pecan.

  • For dark wood, rub coffee grounds into the scratch until it is covered.

  • For mahogany or cherry wood, use the same rubbing process with iodine and a cotton bud.

  • For ebony-finished wood, ash works best. Combine a small amount of water with ash until it creates a thick paste. Use your finger to rub this into the scratch.

How to get scratches out of wood: dealing with medium scratches

For scratches that are a bit more visible you’ll need to do a little more work to cover them up. Try these step-by-step instructions fo varnishing or rubbing away scratches.

What you need for medium scratches:

  • Paste wax

  • Lemon juice

  • Olive oil

  • Lint-free cloth

How to fill medium scratches

  1. 1

    Gently sand the surface.

  2. 2

    Mix equal parts lemon juice and olive oil.

  3. 3

    Dip a lint-free cloth into the mixture.

  4. 4

    Rub the cloth over the scratch until it is no longer noticeable.

  5. 5

    If your furniture has an oil finish, you will need to use a specialised product. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

  6. 6

    If need be, add an additional layer of finish to the surface.

How to fill in cracks in wood: dealing with deeper scratches

We’ve only scratched the surface of wood scratch repair so far so if you're wondering how to get rid of scratches on wood floors that run deep  you'll need to fill and repaint them.

  1. 1

    Start by cleaning the area.

  2. 2

    Use a soft cloth and mineral spirits to rub the scratch.

  3. 3

    Use a specialised wood filler to fill the crack. Work it into the gap with your finger to avoid air bubbles.

  4. 4

    Use a putty knife to smooth the surface and ensure the wood filler is pushed deep into the scratch.

  5. 5

    Allow the filler to dry.

  6. 6

    Sand the surface following the direction of the wood’s grain.

  7. 7

    Seal the area using a layer of varnish, paint, or wood sealer. Refinish according to the style of the wood - follow our guide to refinishing wood funriture for more help.

  8. 8

    Allow a minimum of 24 hours to dry.

Once you've repaired scratches in your wood furniture and floors, keep them looking their best by learning how to remove stains from wood.

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