How to Repair Wood Scratches

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How to Repair Wood Scratches

There are simple but effective ways to repair wood scratches. Surprisingly, even the most basic kitchen item can do wonders on a wood surface, and professional art supplies and even art supplies from a small child can remove annoying wood scratches.

The best solution depends on the type of wood scratch. To repair deep scratches or other wood damage such as burns or gouges, DIYers should know how spot finishing works. Those who know which materials to use as well as the right steps to repair wood scratches can have a flawless wood surface in no time.

Clean the Wood Surface

Make a solution by mixing a cup of mild dishwashing soap and one gallon (3.8 litres) of warm water. Then, dip a lint-free cloth in the cleaning solution and wring out excess liquid. With a damp cloth, rub off grease, wax, dirt, or old polish from the wood surface. To clean the wood thoroughly, rinse and wring out the cleaning cloth often and work on small area at a time, making sure to reach corners and inconspicuous areas. Finally, allow the wood to dry.

Repair with Black Tea

Black tea secretes a color close to that of a wood. To begin repair, place the tea bag in a cup and pour two tablespoons of hot water over it. Allow the tea bag to steep for two minutes for light to medium wood color, and three minutes for dark wood. Next, dip a cotton swab into the cup and dab it on the scratch. With a dry cloth or a paper towel, immediately wipe off tea that spreads on the non-scratched area to avoid staining.

Repair with Coffee

Begin by adding a tablespoon of coffee granules to a small container and add enough water to create a consistency of a paste. With a cotton swab, rub the paste into the scratched spot, and try not to apply the paste on the surrounding area. Wipe away any excess with a dry cloth or a paper towel.

Other Options to Repair Wood Scratches

In addition to the materials mentioned in the previous sections, there are other things found at home that DIYers can use to repair wood scratches. These options are often just as useful in repairing wood scratches as products from the store.

Optional Materials


Felt-Tip Marker

Apply marker to the scratch itself; wipe off color that gets on the surrounding area

Shelled Walnut/Almond

Rub it into the scratch; the walnut or almond oil makes light scratches nearly invisible

Lemon Juice

Mix equal parts of lemon juice and vegetable or olive oil; with a lint cloth, rub a generous amount of the solution in the direction of the scratch

Eyebrow Pencil

Find an eyebrow pencil that matches the color of wood surface; follow the direction of the scratch


Use the right shade of a wax crayon to cover the scratch


Using a fine brush, paint iodine in the scratch and let it dry

Coat lightly first, then apply more coats to match the color of the wood

For light-colored wood, dilute iodine with an equal amount of denatured alcohol

Oil Paint

Use a color that is darker than the finish on the furniture

Shoe Polish/Shoe Dye

Either liquid or paste; using a cotton swab, apply the polish or dye on the scratched surface and wipe away excess with a dry cloth.

These household materials are more or less effective depending on how deep the scratch is. DIYers can also use a lemon juice solution for small scratches and any of the rest of items above for deeper scratches.

Repair Wood Scratches with Spot Finishing

In addition to repairing deep scratches, spot refinishing also solves gouges, burns, or other damage to the wood surface. Spot refinishing involves several steps and requires the following materials: an oil-based stain; a clean cloth or artist's brush; No. 0000 steel wool; tack cloth; a new finish similar to the original, such as penetrating resin, varnish, or lacquer; hard paste wax; and a cloth for polishing

1. To begin, use a stain that matches the original stain of the wood. DIYers may need to mix stains to achieve a matching shade. To see if the new stain matches, test it on an unfinished part of the wood.

2. With a clean cloth or artist's brush, apply the stain on the damaged area and allow the area dry for 15 minutes. If the colour is too light, apply more coats until the color matches the surrounding area.

3. When the stain is completely dry, lightly buff the stained surface with No. 0000 steel wool and clean the surface with a dry tack cloth. Then apply a new finish and allow it to dry for one to two days. After that, lightly buff the reworked area with the steel wool. Finally, wax the whole area with hard paste wax and polish it to a shine.

How to Buy Items for Repairing Wood Scratches on eBay

eBay lists a wide variety of items for repairing wood scratches. Buyers should actively look for listings that offer free postage, which top-rated sellers may offer. To further get more value for the money, check out the bargain items on eBay Deals page.

Scratches on wood furniture are a common problem, but fortunately there are ways to repair them. DIYers need look no further than common items such as lemon juice, coffee, black tea, and felt-tip marker for an instant solution. For deeper scratches and other wood damage, spot finishing is the way to go. Knowing how to repair wood scratches allows DIYers to restore the beauty of any wood surface.

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