Household Fixes for Scratched Wood


Real wood furniture is beautiful and getting harder to find at any price. Don’t let a few scratches, dings and dents on your wood furniture or wood surfaces lead you to completely strip and refinish the surface, or even worse, throw that lovely, but imperfect piece out in the trash.

 Any reputable antique dealer or antique collector will tell you that those signs of age are actually appealing and add to the character and authenticity of wooden furniture pieces. After all, no one can expect great-grandmother’s 120-year-old china cabinet to have lived a long life in the presence of several generations without showing some evidence of family use. There are several methods available to keep the wood pieces from looking shabby and many such remedies can readily be found in the home.

Surface Scratches

For small scratches, crack a walnut, pecan or Brazil nut and rub the nutmeat into the scratch. The oil in the nut colors and treats the scratch making it less obvious.

Other household remedies can be found in the kitchen and in the medicine chest.

  • Brew up some strong black tea, of sufficient strength and color to match the wood being treated. Using a cotton swab, rub the brew into the scratch. Wipe off any excess liquid.
  • Use Iodine on dark wood by applying it to the scratch with the cotton swab, and wipe away excess so it doesn’t seep into the undamaged wood surrounding the scratch.

If there are many minor scratches in the surface, apply hard paste wax with extra fine-grade (No. 0000) steel wool. Rub this in very lightly along the wood grain. Polish the surface with a soft cloth. This not only “heals” the scratches but treats the wood as well.

Deeper Scratches and Dents

For deeper scratches, if there are only a few, furniture patching wax crayons can do the trick. These sticks are available at hardware stores and even some supermarkets. They come in a pack of assorted wood tones, so choose a crayon that matches the surface and run it along the scratch pressing firmly to fill the scratch with the wax. Remove any excess wax with a soft cloth and a thin plastic edge, like a credit card, if needed. Polish the surface with a soft cloth or furniture buffer.

Dents in soft woods that are small can usually be eliminated without difficulty, especially if the wood is untreated. If the wood does have a finished surface, you must remove the finish around the dent with fine-grit sandpaper. The idea is to raise the wood in the dent with water. For bare wood and finished wood sanded as above, complete the following steps:

Shallow dents on soft woods:

  1. Apply a few drops of water into the dent and leave it for 24 to 48 hours.
  2. Repeat step one if the dent is still visible.

Deeper dents in harder woods:

  1. Soak a cloth in water and wring it out.
  2. Fold the damp cloth into several layers.
  3. Place the cloth over the dent and firmly iron it with a warm iron, carefully avoiding the wood around the dent.
  4. The moist heat is usually enough to raise the wood to match the level of the rest of the surface.

You really can keep those precious pieces of real wood furniture to enjoy for years to come and even pass them on to the next generation. It is well worth it as real wood furniture is being made less and less these days and the trend to building furniture of man-made materials continues to grow.

No matter what your furniture style, the floor plans of the homes in the Landmark 24 communities will accommodate it all perfectly. Whether your pieces of furniture are new or have dents or scratches, we promise you will find a perfect home for even your most-imperfect furniture. Contact us today to tour any of our model homes.