At-Home Remedies to Remove Scratches From Wood Furniture

Don't let a scratch ruin a beautiful piece of wood furniture. Superficial scuffs and shallow marks can be repaired with a few do-it-yourself methods. The at-home remedies work best if only the surface or wood finish is scratched. If the mark goes deep into the wood, talk to a professional about potential solutions. This guide will help you figure out what type of scratch you're dealing with and diagnose the best method of repair.

How to Remove Scratches From Wood Furniture
credit: Ana Stanciu

Polish Off Scuffs and Minor Scratches

Often you can rehabilitate wooden furniture that's been scuffed or scratched by giving it a good polish. This method works best for small surface scratches that don't penetrate the wood finish. These are scratches you can feel with your finger but you don't see any discoloration.

Polish Off Scuffs with lemon juice and olive oil
credit: Ana Stanciu

Mix equal parts lemon juice and olive oil together in a small dish. Dip a soft lint-free cloth into the mixture. Rub the cloth over the scratch until it's no longer noticeable.

Color in Scratches You Can See but Not Feel

Sometimes you'll get scratches that create a discoloration in the wood, but they don't have a groove that you can feel with your fingertip. For those kinds of scratches you can color them in with one of the following coloring options. When the coloring agent dries, cover the spot with wax or varnish.

How to color in wood scratches
credit: Ana Stanciu

Walnuts

Rub a shelled walnut in circular motions over the scratch. Give the area a few minutes for the oil from the nut to darken the wood.

Black tea bag

Brew a small amount of strong black tea. Dab the tea onto the scratches with a cotton swab, then quickly wipe away the excess with a paper towel to prevent the wood around the scratches from being stained.

Coffee grounds

Fix wood scratches with coffee grounds
credit: Ana Stanciu

Dip a cotton swab in moist coffee grounds, and then apply it to the scratches in the wood. Wait for about 15 to 20 minutes, and then wipe the surface with a dry cloth. This works best on darker wood furniture.

Markers or colored pencils

Gently color in the area with a matching marker or colored pencil.

Iodine

Remove wood scratches with iodine
credit: Ana Stanciu

For mahogany finishes, dip a cotton swab in iodine, and then apply it to the scratches in the wood. For light-colored woods like maple or cherry, use a mixture of 50 percent denatured alcohol and 50 percent iodine on a cotton swab and apply to the scratch until it is gone.

Color and Fill Deeper Scratches

To fix a scratch that you can both see and feel, try a wax crayon. The wax will fill the scratch and hide the discoloration.

Color and fill wood scratches with crayon
credit: Ana Stanciu

Pick a wax crayon that matches your furniture. Apply the crayon to the scratch, and then rub the spot with your finger to blend the the finish. Remove any excess crayon wax, and then apply a wax or polish to the surface to restore the finish.


Stephanie Gerber

Stephanie Gerber

Stephanie Gerber is the founder and editor of the beauty and wellness site, HelloGlow.co. She lives in Nashville with her husband and three children.