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How To Remove Scratches From Wood


Scratches are a common problem for anyone who has wood furniture. They can be frustrating to deal with, but luckily, you can try easy solutions at home before taking them to the professionals. Whether your scratches are because of pets, kids, or just general wear and tear, you’ll find that these simple tips will help remove them safely without damaging the surrounding finish on your furniture. 

First Things First

Before you start making the scratch marks worse, first try to identify what made them in the first place. There may be a more drastic solution for certain kinds of scratches that are hard to fix with standard methods; you’ll save yourself time and aggravation by initially ruling out any obvious culprits. If pets or animals cause your scratches, it’s essential to consider the depth of the scratch and make sure you apply a solution that will be appropriate.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a solvent to help remove scratches from wood furniture, and it’s safe for most finishes. It uses the natural acidity of acetic acid to briefly dissolve the top layer of your wood to even out the coloration – this means that you’ll have to repeat the process a few times with a dry cloth for the results to be noticeable.

White vinegar is a safe, natural product that you can use at home, and it’s straightforward to obtain – you can usually find it in your grocery or department stores. You’ll just need a bowl of white vinegar and a few paper towels to get started. 

First, dip one corner of your paper towel into the bowl of white vinegar. You don’t need too much, and just a little bit on each wipe should be enough to start mending your scratches. After that, use your paper towel to apply it directly to the scratch with a gentle rubbing motion – don’t press down too hard, or else you’ll risk making the scratch even worse. Make sure to change your paper towel often, as they’ll become saturated very quickly. 

You may need to repeat the process a few times to eliminate all scratches – this will depend on their severity. Just keep wiping until you’re satisfied with how it looks!

Mineral Oil (Liquid Petroleum Jelly)

For harsher scratches, mineral oil is another solvent that you can use to remove scratches from wood furniture. Unlike vinegar, which dissolves the top layer of your wood for a brief period, mineral oil works by filling in the scratch with its viscous composition – it’s a practical solution that is safe for most finishes.

Make sure you get “mineral oil,” a safe, natural product available in most grocery stores and pharmacies. It’s a bit more expensive than vinegar but works just as well to remove scratches from wood furniture.

To get started with the mineral oil fix, moisten a paper towel in a decent amount of mineral oil and then wipe it directly onto the scratch; make sure you apply it gently and use a rubbing motion instead of pressing down. 

Repeat this process until you’re satisfied with how smooth the surface is – if it’s particularly deep, you’ll want to repeat with a fresh paper towel. If it’s still not working for your scratches after that, consider letting a wood furniture repair specialist professionally remove them.

Oil works by filling in the scratch with its viscous composition, which makes this an excellent method for those who want to avoid making their furniture worse than it was before. Make sure you use rubbing instead of pressing down when applying to the surface.

Preparation is the key to success and avoiding further damage – cover all surrounding furniture with an old sheet or some newspapers since even a tiny amount of mineral oil can cause staining. Make sure you’re also wearing gloves to prevent oily hands and stains on your clothes.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Another common household solvent that you can use to remove scratches from wood furniture is isopropyl alcohol. It uses the same chemical process as those above but works even more effectively by removing the top layer of your wood and then using its parts to fill in your scratches. For this reason, many prefer to use it since it’s a complete fix – however, you’ll need to be very careful!

Isopropyl alcohol can cause significant damage if used incorrectly – for this reason, it is not a beginner method. To get started with the isopropyl alcohol fix, moisten a paper towel in some isopropyl alcohol and rub it directly onto the scratch; make sure to apply it gently. Repeat this process until no more scratches are present.

If your scratch is still showing after applying the isopropyl alcohol, consider taking it to a wood furniture repair specialist for augmentation – they have access to specialized tools that can buff out even deep scratches.

Do not use this method if you’re working with a piece of veneer or glued-down wood panels because it will seep all of the way through and cause damage on the other side.

Lemon Juice Paste

You can also remove scratches from wood furniture by making a paste of lemon juice and baking soda. The citric acid in the lemon is acidic, which makes it an effective scratching-removing chemical alternative to other household items.

Make sure you use organic lemons since they contain more ionic calcium than conventional produce – this makes them more acidic and better for removing scratches. As a bonus, the lemon juice paste is also effective at brightening up and restoring your wood furniture.

To make the scratch-removing paste, you’ll need to mix one teaspoon of baking soda into three tablespoons of lemon juice; stir them together until they form a thick consistency that’s easily spreadable with a cloth.

Apply it directly to the scratch and let it sit for about 20 minutes before wiping away with a dry cloth – make sure you’re wearing gloves, as this paste can irritate your skin. 

To remove deep scratches, try using a pumice stone or similar tool with your lemon juice paste. Make sure the wood is completely dry before attempting to remove a scratch – lemon juice is a natural solvent that can cause damage if it’s still wet. To avoid further damage from the lemon juice paste, do not let it sit for longer than 20 minutes – otherwise, you might end up removing too much of your finish!

Baking Soda & Toothpaste 

Baking soda is another valuable household item to remove scratches from wood furniture if you don’t have lemon juice on hand. To make the paste, use an equal mix of baking soda and toothpaste.

Another baking soda and toothpaste fix are to apply it directly to the scratch and let it sit overnight; in the morning, wipe off all of the paste and residue and then apply a coat of wax.

The toothpaste acts as an abrasive, which helps to buff out the scratch – by buffing it with baking soda, you’ll ensure that your toothpaste doesn’t wear down too quickly. 

Furniture Polish

The last method on how to remove scratches from wood furniture is simple and effective. All you need is a good quality furniture polish, and your wood will be as good as new – no scratch in sight! Furniture polishing can restore the finish of your wood by filling in the scratch with its glossy composition – it doesn’t fix the scratch but merely makes it not visible from a regular distance.

If any liquids are still sitting in the scratch, it will prevent the furniture polish from working correctly. Next, grab a decent-sized cloth and your favorite wood furniture polish – make sure you’re not using an abrasive product since it might cause damage! Apply the polish directly to the scratch with firm pressure for about 30 seconds or until it’s no longer visible. If the scratch is still visible, try applying a second coat.

If you’re worried about accidentally messing up your finish, consider taking it to a professional wood furniture repair specialist – they have access to the best polishes that will remove any scratches.

Powdered Super Glue

Another popular solution is to use powdered super glue, which is also known as epoxy resin. When you’re in the process of removing scratches from wood furniture, the sealant fills up in these gaps and gives your wood back its original sheen. This method is especially effective for deeper scratches that persist even after using your previous fix.

Make sure that it’s specifically labeled as “resin” since the compound cousins called “glue” are not entirely effective enough for your needs. You must use resin instead of ordinary glue or epoxy because they’re more substantial and more resistant to water.

To apply the glue, simply moisten a paper towel with it, rub it onto the scratch, and repeat until the scratch is gone! Do not let your superglue mix sit for longer than 15 minutes at a time, or you risk damaging the surface underneath even further.


That’s it! You now know how to remove scratches from wood furniture using only home remedies and items that you’ll probably have in your own house. The methods provided here are also reasonably easy to do – they may require a little bit of elbow grease, but the reward is worth it! Don’t forget that the very best way of dealing with scratches is to prevent them from happening in the first place!