Hardwood floors get attention for their natural beauty, but if you have kids or pets, you’ll inevitably find yourself wondering how to get scratches out of wood floors.
Many light scratches disappear using simple DIY methods, but even deeper scratches or gouges are repairable or disguised with the right techniques.
Here’s a quick index to navigate through this article:
- Superficial vs. Deep Scratches or Gouges
- Try Cleaning Your Floors
- Repair Scratches with Household Items
- Baking Soda and Olive Oil
- Apple Cider Vinegar and Olive Oil
- Crayons, Paste Wax, or Wax Sticks
Superficial vs. Deep Scratches or Gouges
Superficial scratches are very common with solid hardwood or wood floors and relatively easy to remedy using DIY methods. Deeper scratches are also typical and often caused by:
- The claws of an excited pet
- Moving furniture
- From kids playing with their toys
- Foot traffic and debris
For deeper gouges, some sanding and possibly wood filler is likely necessary if you truly want to restore your floors’ flat surface. Colored wood fillers are a popular option for these repairs, but you can also use regular wood filler and color it after it dries with wood stain or wax.
Related reading: How Do You Protect Newly Finished Hardwood Floors
Try Cleaning Your Floors Gently & Regularly
There are many ways you can clean your floors, and this process may help make superficial scratches less visible and is the beginning step for how to fix scratches in hardwood or wood floors.
You can use homemade cleaning solutions to clean scratches on wood floors, and these are a good option apart from hardwood floor scratch repair products. Avoid getting your floors overly wet and use only dampened cloths, or mops.
Many commercial floor cleaners work well for all hardwood flooring types with a traditional finish. Regularly removing the debris from your floors will also protect them from acquiring as many scratches in the future, and this is particularly important in areas with a lot of foot traffic.
Repairing Scratches on Wood Floor with Household Items
Some homeowners swear you can use mayonnaise to restore wood while others choose to use stuff around their house like:
- Baking soda and olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar and olive oil
- Crayons, paste wax, or wax sticks
You probably have many of these ingredients in your home, and some will work better than others based on the type or color of the wood flooring that you have.
It may be more difficult to disguise light colored scratches on dark wood with these techniques, but many lighter colored planks of wood blend nicely using these methods.
If possible, find a small scratch to test before attempting to cover more noticeable damage.
01. Using Walnuts to Camouflage Scratches
Walnuts are an excellent alternative to wood staining markers, and they contain natural brown dyes and emollients that will fix the scratch and improve the look of worn wood. Warm a walnut in your hand for a minute and then use it to rub the damaged area in small circles.
The idea is to work the walnut flesh into the wood so the natural oil and dyes can penetrate the grain for a more natural-looking repair. Allow the walnut to sit for a few minutes before buffing the area with a soft cloth.
02. Baking Soda and Olive Oil
If you make a paste of baking soda and olive oil and apply it to scratches on a freshly vacuumed floor, you can minimize the appearance of the damage on most light to mid-tone colored woods.
Leave the mixture for five minutes before buffing the area with a microfiber cloth. You’ll then want to wipe away all excess baking soda and oil mixture with a damp cloth and dry it well with a soft cloth.
03. Apple Cider Vinegar and Olive Oil
Apple cider vinegar mixed with olive oil in equal parts will remedy minor scratches in wood if your floor has a newer-looking finish. Just apply the mixture to the scratch and leave it for a day before buffing it with a microfiber cloth.
04. Crayons, Paste Wax, Steel Wool, or Wax Sticks
Some homeowners like to use crayons to disguise scratches on their floors if they can match the colors well, but other wax products have a similar camouflage effect.
Paste wax is often used for other household applications and typically comes in a metal tin. Paste wax works well on its own or when applied over a stain marker or blending pencil.
Use steel wool on the mark. Rub the scraped area and always sand with the direction of the wood to fill in the scratch. But rubbing steel wool against the grain will enhance the mark and make it more noticeable.
Wax sticks come in various colors that match any hardwood flooring, and these are a go-to item for repairing scratches on any wood in your home. These wax sticks can hide blemishes on cabinets, flooring, trim, doors, furniture, and other wood items.
Finish Restorer Products and Light Sanding
A floor scratch repair kit is an easy way to get rid of light to medium scratches, but it won’t do much to protect hardwood floors from dog scratches or other damage. Engineered wood floor nick repair is another similar issue homeowners can take on themselves.
A finish restorer is a suitable method if you’re wondering how to fix hardwood floor scratches. This method is good when a wood scratch repair is needed, but you don’t want to resort to sanding and wood filler just yet.
Finish restoration products work well for removing scratches from wood floors without sanding and frequently require just wiping them on and some light buffing.
By lightly sanding scratches on hardwood floors, you can often restore the finish, but be careful that you’re choosing the right type of sandpaper for the job. Grit that is too rough will damage the floor’s surface more than needed, and a fine-grit sandpaper is typically enough for most nicks and scratches.