Do you have a piece of wood furniture that needs a little TLC?
Maybe a coffee table scuffed by a piece of heavy decor, or a nightstand scratched by your furry friend?
Wood furniture is always a great, durable option, but it’s normal to have it show some wear and tear over time–even in the calmest of homes.
If you’re like me though and have kiddos (ahem, 3 boys!) or pets (2 cats and a dog here), then there’s a good chance your furniture takes a beating.
But I’ve got good news! Fixing those wood scratches is easier thank you think.
Today I am sharing 5 easy ways of repairing scratches on wood furniture, so you can keep your pieces looking nice.
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BEST FIX FOR LIGHT SCRATCHES ON WOODEN FURNITURE
By far, my favorite way to fix minor scratches is with hemp oil.
This 100% natural product is a simple solution for minor damage or surface scratches on your wooden furniture.
I used a dry cloth to rub on a light coat of hemp oil, and was astonished when the scratches vanished right before my eyes!
It was a very easy process:
- Using a clean cloth, rub a light coat of hemp oil over the affected area using circular motions
- Lightly rub down into any visible scratches
- Remove all excess with a paper towel or clean cloth
- Allow the area to dry
The best thing about hemp oil is that it will work on light wood or dark wood.
You don’t have to worry about matching a stain color, and it only takes a tiny bit of product to get the results.
It’s also a food-safe, natural product, so you can feel good about using it on all the surfaces in your home.
Pro Tip! Be sure to purchase hemp oil that is formulated for use on furniture! Hemp Oil used for cooking has not had the fats removed and may go rancid on your wood after a period of time.
Hemp oil will also work to cover minor water spots or other damage.
And I have even used it for small scratches on wood floors with excellent results.
ANOTHER OPTION FOR REPAIRING SCRATCHES ON YOUR FURNITURE
Before I found hemp oil, I also used this simple solution to fix minor scratches and help revive dry wood furniture.
MIX 1 PART MINERAL OIL WITH 3 PARTS WHITE VINEGAR
This solution works essentially the same as the hemp oil, by nourishing the dry wood and filling in light scratches.
To create your mix, simply measure out 1 part mineral oil to 3 parts white vinegar.
I poured mine into a jar, then screwed the lid tight and shook it to combine.
Then using a clean cloth, rub the mixture into the scratch and surrounding area, and wipe off all the excess.
If you find the color of the wood has deepened and looks a little different than the surrounding area, go ahead and apply the oil & vinegar mixture to the rest of the wood. It won’t hurt the existing finish and will help the repaired spot not stand out.
I used this solution to repair an old wooden cradle I found at a garage sale.
Not only did it take out the scratches in the wood, it also revitalized the old finish and helped me clean off a lot of grime that had accumulated over the years.
Some people prefer to not work with petroleum products, like mineral oil, so it might be tempting to use olive oil or another oil in your cooking pantry.
I would avoid this though, as those oils contain fats that may go rancid over time.
If working with petroleum products doesn’t appeal to you, grab a bottle of hemp oil instead 🙂
HOW TO REPAIR DEEP SCRATCHES IN WOOD FURNITURE
Sometimes your scratch goes below the topcoat finish and gets further down into the wood.
If you try the above options and they don’t work, then it’s time to move on to one of these solutions for fixing your deeper scratches.
TOUCH UP DEEP SCRATCHES WITH WOOD FILLER AND STAIN
If you have a piece of furniture that has a scratch deep enough to see all the way through the stain and down to the raw wood, try applying a matching wood stain to the damaged area.
If the scratch is not just deep but also wide, it may be helpful to first fill it in with stainable wood filler.
When you purchase your wood filler, just be sure to get the kind that will accept stain.
Take a putty knife, and apply a thin layer of wood filler over the gouge, making sure to wipe off all excess filler from around the area.
Using a damp cloth will help make sure you get all the extra wiped up.
Then you can gently and very carefully (don’t scratch the good wood around the gouge!) sand the wood filler smooth with fine sandpaper.
The next step is to find a wood stain that is a good match for the color of your wood.
Hardware stores have almost endless options of colors available now, so you should be able to find something that’s pretty close.
Once your stainable wood filler is dry, you can apply the wood stain to the scratched area by wiping it on with a microfiber cloth or dabbing with a cotton swab.
Again, you will want to wipe back any excess stain left on the surface after filling in the scratch.
Pro Tip! Using the wood filler first is optional! You can always try dabbing the wood stain directly into the gouge first, even painting it on with a small paintbrush. The wood filler is most helpful when your damage is a bit wider.
USING A STAIN MARKER FOR EASY, DEEP SCRATCH TOUCH-UPS
If you don’t happen to have a can of matching stain hanging out in your garage, you can purchase a stain marker for deep gouges as well.
These are available in a bunch of different colors and can help you take care of unsightly scratches quickly.
Pro Tip! When you’re using stain to touch up wood scratches, it works best when your wood has lots of variations in color.
For your touch-up stain, try to match the darkest color you see in your wood.
Any spots you fix will look like another natural variation in the finish and blend right in.
A BIT MORE COMPLICATED, BLENDING IN SCRATCHES WITH COLORED PENCILS
This is a method I discovered several years ago and it’s too good not to share!
It’s not exactly a fix for scratches, more for when a spot in your wood has been rubbed raw and it no longer matches the wood around it.
If you’re dealing with a spot like this, try blending in new colors with artist-quality colored pencils.
I found a dining room table that had several spots in the stain where the wood looked completely different.
Turns out those were areas where the top wood veneer had worn through and the bottom cheaper wood base could be seen.
The worn spots didn’t match the rest of the finish on the table and looked quite terrible!
Since I was dealing with two totally different kinds of wood, touching up with more wood stain would not work for this spot.
So using 3 different colors of artist’s pencils and a can of spray shellac, I was able to “fake” the darker wood by layering in all the different colors and drawing in the natural grain lines.
Once I was finished, the spots were barely visible.
A full tutorial for this method can be found here:
Here’s a quick breakdown though of the steps:
1. Scribble all over the damaged area with the lightest colored pencil, then spray clear shellac over the spot.
2. Once shellac is dry, draw in lighter grain lines with your next darkest pencil. Smudge with your finger, and spray with shellac when finished.
3. Draw in the darker grain lines with the darkest colored pencil, connecting lines across the damaged spot. Spray with shellac.
If you try this at home, it’s important to use high-quality, artist’s grade colored pencils! Cheapy ones won’t quite do the trick.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON REPAIRING SCRATCHES TO WOOD FURNITURE
A good piece of wood furniture is worth trying to save! Don’t toss one out just because it has a few scratched spots, or think you have to completely refinish the whole piece to have it look nice again.
Rubbing on a bit of hemp oil or the vinegar/oil mix will work great for light and surface scratches. That’s s always what I try first.
For deeper scratches, your best bet is a bit of matching wood stain, whether you dab it on from a can or use a stain pen.
Don’t be afraid of ruining your furniture! These products all can be wiped off with a damp rag or a touch of mineral solvent, while they are still wet.
If you like, you can test your plan on a less noticeable spot on your furniture first.
You may surprise yourself with what you’re able to do and how nice your furniture looks when you’re finished!
You may also enjoy these posts about refurbishing furniture!