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Wood Furniture Scratch Removal Made Simple

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Wood Furniture Scratch Removal Made Simple


Wood furniture is a beautiful and timeless addition to any home, but it can be prone to scratches and scuffs over time. Whether it’s from moving furniture, pets, or simply everyday wear and tear, scratches can detract from the aesthetic appeal of your wooden pieces. However, with the right techniques and tools, removing scratches from wood furniture can be a simple and straightforward process.

Understanding Wood Scratches

Before we dive into the methods for scratch removal, it’s important to understand the different types of scratches that can occur on wood surfaces. Shallow surface scratches are the easiest to address, as they typically only affect the top layer of the wood finish. Deeper scratches, on the other hand, may penetrate through the finish and into the wood itself, requiring a more thorough approach.

Assessing the Scratch Severity

The first step in removing scratches from wood furniture is to assess the severity of the damage. I use my fingernail to gently run over the scratch. If the scratch is not felt, it is likely a surface scratch that can be addressed with a simple polish or scratch remover. If the scratch can be felt with my fingernail, it indicates a deeper scratch that may require more intensive treatment.

Surface Scratch Removal

For surface scratches, there are several simple and effective methods that I employ:

1. Furniture Polish or Scratch Remover

One of the most straightforward approaches is to use a quality furniture polish or scratch remover. These products contain mild abrasives and oils that can help fill in and camouflage minor scratches. I apply a small amount of the product to a clean, soft cloth and gently rub it into the scratched area, following the direction of the wood grain.

2. Baking Soda and Water Paste

Another inexpensive and effective solution for surface scratches is a paste made from baking soda and water. I mix equal parts baking soda and water to form a thick paste, and then gently rub it into the scratched area using a soft cloth or a non-abrasive sponge. The gentle abrasive action of the baking soda helps to fill and disguise the scratch.

3. Olive Oil or Mineral Oil

For deeper surface scratches, I sometimes turn to olive oil or mineral oil. These oils can help to nourish and condition the wood, while also filling in and disguising minor scratches. I apply a small amount of oil to a soft cloth and gently rub it into the scratched area, being careful not to oversaturate the wood.

Deeper Scratch Removal

If the scratches on your wood furniture are more significant and have penetrated through the finish, more intensive methods may be required:

1. Sanding and Refinishing

For deep scratches that cannot be effectively concealed, sanding and refinishing may be necessary. This process involves carefully sanding away the damaged finish and any exposed wood fibers, and then applying a fresh coat of stain or paint, followed by a new protective finish.

2. Wood Filler and Stain

In some cases, I may opt to use a wood filler to fill in deep scratches or gouges. Once the filler has dried, I sand it flush with the surrounding wood surface and then apply a matching stain to blend the repair with the rest of the piece.

3. Professional Restoration

For particularly severe or extensive damage, or if the piece holds significant sentimental or monetary value, seeking the services of a professional furniture restoration specialist may be the best course of action. These experts have the knowledge, tools, and techniques to properly address even the most challenging scratches and restore your furniture to its former glory.

Preventive Measures

While scratches on wood furniture are inevitable, there are steps I take to help minimize their occurrence and protect my valuable pieces:

  1. Use felt pads or furniture coasters under table and chair legs to prevent scratching from sliding or dragging.
  2. Avoid placing hot or cold items directly on wood surfaces, as extreme temperatures can cause damage.
  3. Use placemats or coasters to protect tabletops from scratches caused by dishes, glasses, or other objects.
  4. Regularly dust and clean wood furniture with a soft, dry cloth to prevent buildup of abrasive particles.
  5. Consider applying a high-quality furniture polish or wax periodically to create a protective barrier against scratches and wear.


Removing scratches from wood furniture can be a simple and rewarding process when approached with the right techniques and tools. By assessing the severity of the damage, understanding the different methods for surface and deeper scratch removal, and taking preventive measures, you can keep your wood furniture looking its best for years to come. Remember, patience and attention to detail are key when addressing scratches on these beautiful and timeless pieces.

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