removing scratch marks from wood

3 Methods For Removing Scratch Marks From Wood Furniture (UK)

Every home’s furniture receives its fair share of wear and tear and, unless you’ve somehow managed to keep your friends and family 2m away from it, chances are there are a few scratches on your prized wooden furnishings. 

Removing scratch marks from wood furniture can be challenging and you could end up causing more harm than good. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of tricks you can use to get your wooden furniture (or floors) scratch-free using various household items. 


Using sandpaper

Light scratches can usually be removed by gently sanding the affected area with a sanding block. Just ensure you always sand in the direction of the grain otherwise you’ll end up putting more visible scratches onto the surface of the furniture. By following the grain, any scratches you do cause will blend in with the natural look. 

  1. Start by using fine sandpaper (180 grit) and then move onto something even lighter (240 grit) to blend the scratches in more.
  2. If the original scratches are quite deep, you may consider using coarser sandpaper (120 grit) to begin with. Just ensure you never move from the coarse sandpaper to the fine sandpaper without a “middle” sandpaper in between as you’ll see the scratches from the coarse paper. 
  3. Once the marks have been removed, make sure that all dust is cleaned from the surface and refinish with wax or oil where necessary. 
sanding a table

Using White Vinegar and Olive Oil

Some scratches may be removed by a less invasive method; using a combination of olive oil and white vinegar. The acetic acid in the vinegar will work into the existing finish around the scratch to help fill it whilst the olive oil dilutes the concentration of acid whilst also soaking into the wood and making it appear darker (where acid “strips” the colour and makes it appear lighter). 

Steps:

  1. Mix 100ml of white vinegar with 200ml olive oil and stir.
  2. Dip a soft cotton rag into the solution and wring so that it is damp without dripping.
  3. Firmly rub the rag in a circular motion over the scratched area. Finish by rubbing in the direction of the grain.
  4. Allow the oil to soak into the scratches by letting the solution sit on the surface for a few minutes.
  5. Wipe off any excess solution with a clean rag by rubbing along the grain. Make certain there is no solution left on the surface. 

We strongly recommend you always test the solution in a small area first and ensure it doesn’t damage the finish. You may wish to repeat this process several times as necessary. Hopefully, the scratches fade with each iteration. If the scratches don’t seem to disappear it could be because your scratches are just too deep


Fixing deep scratches using wood filler

For deeper scratches, you’ll likely need to use a specialised wood filler that matches your wood.  

  1. Find a specialised wood filler that matches the wood type and colour of your furniture. For example, if you had an Oak dining table, you may search “oak wood filler”. 
  2. Once you have the wood filler, use your finger and gently work it into the scratch. Ensure there are air pockets as you’re doing this.
  3. Using an old credit card or putty knife, smooth the surface over and remove any excess wood filler.
  4. Wait for the filler to dry. Drying times will vary between wood filler brands so make sure you’ve read the packaging for more information.
  5. Using fine sandpaper (180 grit or 240 grit), sand over the wood filler and the area around the scratch ensuring you are following the direction of the wood’s grain.
  6. Once the marks have been removed, make sure that all dust is cleaned from the surface and refinish with wax or oil where necessary. 

Final Thoughts

So there you have it – a few ways you’ll likely be able to get rid of scratch marks from furniture, largely using household items. Instead of wood filler, some people find using colour-matching-crayon works too. Our advice would be, however, if you’re going to buy one – maybe go for the wood filler first. But if you have Crayons in the house it might be worth giving it a shot. 

Good luck!