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Removing scratches off wooden furniture 101

Clean a piece of furniture as many times as you like, but it’s just not going to have quite the same effect as a pristine piece of furniture would if it is covered in scratches and dents.

Unless you’re a fan of the well-worn look, finding a quick and easy way to remove or hide damage to wooden furniture will ensure it stays looking good for longer.

Natalie Ackling of Furnish and Finish Property Styling says the way you tackle the scratch depends on a few factors.

“Treating the scratch depends on the wood colour and also the treatment on the wood,” she explains.

“We always carry different wood markers, perfect for hiding small nicks and scratches in furniture. We have black, three shades of brown and one white, giving us the option to do a quick cover up until we can fix the problem properly.”

“Shallow scratches can then be buffed out with a light sand all over and a coat of stain to match the existing colour.“

Alternatively, try one of these home remedies using ingredients from your cupboard:

 

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Wipe strong coffee on shallow scratches to improve its appearance.

 

Colour it in

Shallow scratches can be simply coloured in using a number of items – if you have one, a specialty wood retouch pen will do the trick, but for those looking to use whatever they have in the house, a cup of strong coffee applied to the scratch with a soft cloth should do the trick.

To fill in deeper scratches, melted crayon wax is perfect – simply grate a small amount into a bowl and rest the bowl on top of a pan of boiling water to melt it. Once melted, drip it into the scratch and smooth flat with the side of a knife.

A soft, oil based eyebrow pencil or shoe polish applied in a matching colour can also provide a quick fix for both shallow and deep scratches.

 

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Sandpaper and varnish is more suitable to deeper scratches.

 

Polish it out

A very light application of car polish can help smooth out shallow scratches – but be careful not to completely remove the stain or varnish by scrubbing too harshly. For particularly deep scratches, especially those on varnished wood, turning to sandpaper and varnish may be the only option.

“To properly remove a scratch you need to sand back the furniture and completely re-stain it, if it is stained in natural finishes,” says Natalie. “If there is a big stain in a painted piece of furniture you could fill the scratch with putty, sand it back and paint in the same colour for an easy fix.”

 

Use natural oils

Natural oils can help in repairing damaged wood. Nuts and their oils are a perfect quick fix, especially walnuts. Rub a walnut kernel over the offending scratches to diminish their appearance.

Peanut butter can also be used in a similar fashion, however be sure to leave it for an hour or two before wiping away and buffing the surrounding area.

The oils in petroleum jelly and mayonnaise can also plump the wood so the scratch is less visible. Apply the gel to the affected area and leave to swell for two days, then wash off and buff to a polish.

 

Cover it up

For deep scratches and dents that need an immediate fix without the manual labour, Natalie suggests a sneaky cover up.

“Depending on the item, accessories are a nifty way to cover up blemishes,” she says. “Table runners, lamps and vases all make the room look great and can take your eye away from any imperfections.”

Too easy!

 

Top tip: Shallow dents

Try this quick and easy tip for reducing or removing dents from wooden furniture:

  • Lightly dampen a cloth and lay over the dent
  • Using an iron on medium heat, iron over the cloth covered wood
  • Under the heat, the wood will swell, correcting the dented area
  • Once dry, sand and repolish the area to finish

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Katie Adema

Katie previously worked as a journalist across print and radio before making the switch to PR. Her work has appeared in Green Lifestyle Magazine and online publication The Kids Are Alright, and more recently she has written myriad articles for newsletters, magazines, websites and online publications.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.