How to Remove a Scratch From a Solid Wood Piece of Furniture

You are dusting the table with your usual meticulous care when, to your horror, you spot a scratch that you were certain was not there the last time you cleaned it. How did that happen? Who was responsible? What can I do about it?

We will leave you to ponder over the first two queries, but help is at hand with the third. There is quite a lot you can do about it, and it will not cost you very much at all. In fact, a temporary solution which will hide the impediment involves using your nut. To be more precise, a walnut, or Brazil nut. Just rub the inside of the nut along the scratch and, hey presto, the oil in it will darken the newly-scratched surface so that it is barely visible to the naked eye.


A walnut can help hide a scratch.

If you are not satisfied with that and you wish to make a more permanent repair, then there are simple and inexpensive ways and means of doing so.

If the scratch is quite shallow and the surface is waxed, you can remedy the situation by applying hard paste wax to the surface with No 0000 steel wool. But please be gentle. Stroke it very gently, as you would your pet cat, along the grain of the wood until the wax is level with the surface of the wood. All that remains then is to buff the area with a soft cloth. You will find, no doubt to your great relief, that the scratch will quickly disappear and you will not be able to tell it was ever there.

You can also use lemon juice and olive or vegetable oil. Just mix one part of each in a small dish and apply the mixture to a lint-free cloth. Then rub the cloth quite firmly over the scratch until it is no longer visible.

If your furniture has an oil finish you should look for a product designed by the manufacturer with which to remove the offending scratch or scratches.


This pen can be used as a scratch cover tool. Check out the maintenance and repair section of our site for full details.

Just possibly you may be lumbered with a scratch that goes somewhat deeper and you are concerned that here is little you can do to make a satisfactory repair. No problem. Just ask at your local hardware store for a furniture patching stick. You will find one that will match the colour of your wood stain and using it is simplicity itself.

All you have to do is rub the stick firmly and evenly into the scratch until it is completely filled with the wax and then remove any excess with a piece of plastic. A credit card does the job admirably, but if you do decide to use one be sure that you then clean it before the wax dries and hardens!

Finally, allow the wax on the scratch to dry before buffing to a smooth finish with a soft cloth and you will be pleasantly surprised at the result.

Finish a repair job off with wax for a great finish.

Finish a repair job off with wax for a great finish.

In order to hide very deep scratches it may be possible to stain the area to match. To do so you should apply an oil-based matching stain, preferably with an artist’s brush, by carefully tracing it along the length of the scratch. That done, wait for about a quarter-of-an-hour, and then wipe it off. You may have to repeat the process several times before the scratch exactly matches the rest of the wood.

When you are satisfied, let the whole area dry out completely before applying hard past wax and then buff the waxed surface to produce the desired sheen.