Remove Scratches from Wood Furniture | A How-To Guide

How to repair scratches in wood furniture by Woodard Cleaning & Restoration in St. Louis, Mo.

It seems as if keeping wood furniture free of scratches and dings is like fighting a losing battle.  Even the smallest scratch on your favorite piece of wood furniture can cause an eye sore, leaving it to look old and worn – and not in the “trendy vintage” way! While scratches are bound to happen, they don’t have to be permanent. Follow these simple steps to remove scratches from wood furniture.

High-Value & Antique Furniture Pieces

If you’re dealing with a highly expensive or antique furniture piece, always check with the manufacturer, or a qualified expert, before following our scratch repair steps. Often times, rare pieces of furniture or antique works have very specific guidelines that must be followed. Better safe than sorry, right? We think so!

Step #1: Identify the Scratch

The first step in the repair process is to identify the type of scratch, as well as how deep it is; these two items will determine which repair method is best. If the scratch is the same color as the rest of the wood, it is safe to say that the scratch only penetrated the finish; see step two to easily repair these types of scratches.

If the scratch is a different color than the surrounding area, or has gone through all layers of paint/finish, then the actual wood has been scratched; see steps three and four to repair these types of scratches.

Step #2 Repairing Finish Scratches

Regardless of the depth, finding a scratch on your wood furniture is never ideal. However, if your scratch only runs finish-deep, you’re in luck! Why? Well, repairing scratches that only affect the finish is much simpler than repairing a scratch that has also penetrated the wood. To repair a scratch on the finish of your furniture, you’ll use a simple 4-step process and DIY cleaning method with items you probably already have in your kitchen!

Firstly, you’ll need to create a 1:1 mixture of lemon juice and olive oil. After the ingredients are mixed thoroughly, submerge a soft cloth in the mixture. The next step is to rub the scratched area(s) with the mixture-soaked cloth until the scratch disappears. The final step in the repair process is to apply a fresh coat of stain, finish, or paint (depending upon your furniture type) to the area you applied your lemon juice/olive oil mixture to. Keep in mind: it is always best practice to follow manufacturer instructions when dealing with store-bought finishes, paints, and stains.

Step #3: Repairing Scratches on Unpainted Wood Furniture

To repair a scratch on unpainted wood furniture, you’ll also use a DIY method with an item you probably already have in your kitchen: nuts! If you’re thinking we’re nuts for suggesting that you use nuts to repair your furniture, we promise we’re not!

Simply rub a walnut, pecan, or Brazil nut, into the scratch so that it fills the groove, then allow it to sit for approximately 10 minutes so that the oils from the nut can absorb and naturally repair the scratch. The final step is to buff the area with a soft cloth – then you’re done!

Step #4: Repairing Scratches on Painted Wood Furniture

To make things as easy as possible on yourself, make sure you have the matching paint color on hand before you begin repairing a scratch on your painted wood furniture. If you’ve got your paint handy, the only other thing you’ll need is a toothpick (or brush, for larger areas).

To quickly repair a scratch on painted wood furniture, you’ll simply dip the tip of a toothpick, or edge of an angled paintbrush, into the paint and fill in the scratched area(s). Keep in mind: if the area you’re re-painting also has a layer of finish, you’ll also need to replace that.