Cover Scratches In Wood With These Simple Methods

Scratches in wood

Finished wood is warm and classic, and can add class and style to any home. Although it’s very strong and durable, wood furniture and trim is not completely impervious to scratches and dings. Even the strongest wood finishes can get damaged over time.

If you’re starting to notice that your woodwork is beginning to look a bit rough these days, you don’t have to spend a boatload of money and time to refinish it. The following methods can be used to cover scratches in wood that are relatively minor. The best part about them is that they really require little money or skill.

Try out these following methods to cover scratches in wood.

Buff Out Minor Scratches in Wood Finishes

If scratches in wood are very minor and don’t go all the way to the wood, you can try buffing them out. Keep in mind that buffing only works for scratches in wood finish, not for deeper scratches in wood where the wood is exposed.

Try rubbing in the direction of the scratch with a lint cloth dabbed in a mixture of lemon juice and cooking oil. Buff the scratch dry afterward. You might also be able to buff out scratches in wood with very fine steel wool, sandpaper, or pumice powder. Just be very careful and rub lightly so you don’t accidentally gouge the wood underneath and make the situation worse

Cover Deeper Scratches in Wood

Depending on the color of your finished wood, you may be able to cover deeper scratches in wood with any number of products you have in your home. Here are just a few…

Instant Coffee

Using instant coffee is one of my favorite methods to cover scratches in wood, mostly because the majority of the wood in my home is coffee colored. Just mix a small scoop of instant coffee with water to form a thick paste. You can then dab some onto the scratches wood, leave it set for a few minutes, and wipe away the excess. I’ve heard teabags work well for this, but I’ve never had much like with this method myself.

Shoe Polish

Still polish your brown shoes? Try rubbing a small amount of paste shoe polish onto scratched wood.


I’ve never actually tried to use crayons to cover scratches in wood, but I hear it works like a charm. Find a crayon that matches the color of your finished wood well, and rub it into the scratch. When you’re done, buff away any excess wax.


No – I am absolutely¬†NOT suggesting that you paint perfectly good woodwork! Instead, brush watercolors or watered down acrylic artist’s paint into scratched wood and let it dry. This method is nice, because you can do a little mixing to get a shade that’s just about perfect. Make sure you only apply a little at a time, though, or else the scratch will end up too dark.


If the little ones have some markers around, grab one that’s roughly the same shade as your finished wood and dab it carefully into the scratch.

Wood Stain

This may seem like a no-brainer, but consider using wood stain to cover several scratches in wood. A small jar of wood stain will go a long way and should only set you back a few dollars. Make sure you bring home a few stain sample cards to test against your wood before you buy, though, for the closest match. To stain scratches in wood, dip a rag into the stain and dab it onto the scratch. you may need to apply a few coats to get the color dark enough.

After you cover scratches in wood, you may want to finish up the job by applying a clear coat. A thin coat of clear polyurethane should seal in whatever you used to cover the scratch and prevent fading. If you’re on a really tight budget, a dab or two of clear nail polish will usually do the trick