Do you have scratched wood including gouges, nicks, scuffs or chips? If you have wood in your home, you probably have some scratches in your wood. If you’ve got these problems, here are the solutions. The following are the cheapest, easiest, tried and true methods to repairing your wood quickly and easily.
My house probably has more wood in it than most homes.
It’s common for a house to have wood floors, cabinets, doors, and windows. I have those too, but since my home was built in the 80’s I also have wood beams, wood railings, wood light bars and boxes, and some wood walls. My house was birthed in the era when people just couldn’t get enough of the stuff.
While I do appreciate the natural beauty it brings, the upkeep and maintenance of it can be a bit daunting. We just had our floors re-sanded but prior to that they were cracking, gouged, and splitting apart. It cost us a few thousand dollars to have a professional come in and do this.
It’s just a fact of life that dogs are going to scratch the floors, the walls, the windows, or anything else they happen to be climbing on or running around near. It’s kind of a lost cause to believe we can stop that from happening, but up until recently I didn’t think I could fix it.
One time we separated our dogs by putting one in the office and one outside of it – as a result the office door looks like Freddy Kruger had some kind of manic outburst on the door. I should say “looked” because this is what it looks like now.
To fix the horrid scratches I’ve been seeing for years took me about 2 minutes total.
If I’m being totally honest, yes, the scratches are still there – but you just can’t really see them at all anymore, so to me, that’s enough. You can kind of see them still in the area above where the flash was bright, but most people aren’t looking at your doors or furniture that closely. Compared to the way they looked before, it’s a huge, dramatic improvement.
It actually took me a long time to even want to attempt to repair the scratches in my home – I would exhaust myself by merely looking around at the wood; there was so much scratched up in the house that I was sure I would spend years sanding and refinishing it all.
But, I was dead WRONG.
Well, that’s why I am SO happy to share this with you – because I think you’re going to be as thrilled as I was to find out that it’s SO much easier to remedy than you probably think!
I’m listing several methods because what works for one person may not work for another, and I want you to have lots of options. Don’t give up hope – try one until you find the right one for you.
There are a bunch of options using things you already have in your house – and people do swear by these – but I’m less inclined to want to smear food items on my furniture – mostly because I don’t want to attract bugs and dog licks 😉 – but for those who feel comfortable with it – why not give it a try!?
I can skip to the punch line by telling you that for me, it turned out that this wood feed and wax was my holy grail solution. No matter what the real ingredients are, I’m convinced it’s magic fairy dust. If you don’t believe me, watch my video.
Before you Start
- Use the technique that is right for the color or type of wood you have: Depending on the color of your scratched wood, you should choose an option that would make sense for that color. The darker woods can be difficult to match colors for.
- Food: If you are trying to repair a wood item that is food related, this wood cleaner and conditioner is specifically made for food grade items, and is made by the same maker of Howard Feed-N-Wax. Do not use any of the chemical recommendations below on food grade wood that you are using on food.
- Water Stains: If you have water rings on your wood, there is a specific product/method for fixing that – first light sand with 0000 steel wool, then wipe on Restor-a-Finish, then use a wax like the Feed-N-Wax the next day.
- Tip: If you are using a marker or paint, always start with a lighter color than the wood. Darker pen or paint colors look awful in contrast to a lighter wood and make the scratches stand out even more.
This little miracle in a bottle is a mixture of beeswax and oils that rejuvenates furniture like nobody’s bizniz. The instructions say to rub it on and leave it for 20 minutes, then buff it off. I confess that I did the rubbing on but never went back to rub it off. I don’t know that it matters unless you see excess amounts of oil – my wood might just be super dry so it soaked it all in.
I was actually surprised that these not only work well, but the marker is more like an oil stain than a marker so it’s pretty easy to get it to fill in the cracks. I originally thought this was the holy grail product, and they do work great – but the Howard’s Feed-N-Wax was just quicker for me to use and cover a wider area all at once. The effectiveness of that and these pens to me is the same – and the wax crayons they include can fill in a deep nick or gouge. So, I do recommend this set but more for touch-up scratches and not for a larger areas of coverage.
Old English Scratch Cover (light or dark)
An oldie but a goodie – people have been using this product for years with great results. Rub it on and buff it out. This is available in either light or dark and you should pick the one you need for the color of wood you plan on repairing.
Acrylic or watercolor will do the trick here, just make sure you get a paint that closely matches the color of your wood – and remember to always choose a bit of a lighter color than the wood itself. Use a brush or a q-tip to apply the paint only to the scratch itself, then wipe the excess off immediately with a cloth. Follow up with a wax like Wax-N-Feed.
Wax Filler Pens/Crayons
You can opt to buy these separate from the marker set shown above, or you can get the marker/crayon combo set (I think the price is similar for either) – but these wax filler crayons work great, especially when you have a deep gouge that needs a bit of filler. These work best if it is warmer and you can even put them under a match or a lighter to get them a little more pliable – then rub them into the scratch, wait a bit, and then scrape with a plastic (like a credit card). This kit comes with the plastic scraper.
Yes, I know it sounds weird. But this is a quick fix way to fill in and color gouged wood, especially wood in the lighter hues. Just break apart a walnut and push it into the scratches until it becomes soft and pliable and it will eventually rub into the wood, erasing scratches. Take off any extra pieces with a furniture cloth.
Another item that might sound odd but is an effective wood cleaner and surface restoration product, is mayonnaise. Of course, try a test sample before you use it on something you love, but this will coat your wood furniture with a heavy oil. Make sure you buff it off so that you don’t have a greasy coating left on top.
Oil & Vinegar
Along the same vein as mayo, you can use Oil & Vinegar as a wood furniture cleaner with some surprising success. Use equal parts and start with 1/4 cup of each, and use a rag to wipe it on a scratched piece of furniture. This mixture will repair and condition your wood as well as hide some of those blemishes.
For dark wood only – you can use a q-tip and a bit of iodine to repair a few scratches in a pinch. Apply one coat and let it dry, and if it’s not dark enough, go for another coat. Rub off the excess with a soft cloth.
Lemon juice, just like vinegar, can be used along with olive oil to buff out scratches. A lot of these techniques require some elbow grease, and this is no exception. If you keep working the scratch with this mixture, it will eventually buff out.
Instant Coffee or Coffee Grounds
Instant coffee always reminds me of my Great Uncle’s house because he was the only one I knew who used it. I don’t know if this is still a thing anymore, but if it is, and you have some around the house, you can use it for repairing the darker wood scratches. The trick is to not dilute it as you would for a full cup, and just use a small amount of hot water to make an almost paste-like mixture. Then rub it in as many times as you need to get the color to match. Grounds are the same thing.
Black tea leaves are a good alternative to coffee grounds if you want to go with a lighter solution. Not only do these have a slight tint for light wood to repair the color lost in a scratch, but they also have tannins that are really good for conditioning and improving the wood itself. In fact, I have a post on a home-made wood stain and this is made up from coffee grounds and tea leaves, among other ingredients. To use as a scratch repair put a tablespoon or two of hot water in a cup with black tea leaves and let it steep until it reaches the desired consistency. Then apply it to the wood with a q-tip or other applicator until the wood color is as desired. Top coat with a wax or wood oil.
Fix your Wood Scratches
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