Quick and Easy Methods to Fix Scratches on Hardwood Floor

Hardwood floors are a timeless and elegant addition to any home. However, they are also susceptible to scratches and wear that can detract from their natural beauty. This step-by-step guide on quick and easy hardwood floor repair scratches will help you restore your flooring to its original luster and ensure a well-maintained appearance for years to come.

Short Summary

  • Understand the scratch type and severity for appropriate repair.
  • Prepare the floor with cleaning and buffing before fixing light surface scratches.
  • Consider stain marker color, natural remedies, deep gouges/scuffs, wood filler application and sanding/refinishing techniques to address hardwood floor repairs. Use preventive measures for maintenance.

Understanding Scratch Types and Severity

Hardwood Floor

Scratches on hardwood floors can range from fine hairline scratches caused by everyday wear and tear to deeper gouges created by heavy furniture or pet nails. Understanding the type and severity of scratches on your wood floors is crucial for effective repair. In addition, it’s important to know that not all scratches are created equal, and different types of damage will require different repair methods.

Common causes of scratches on hardwood floors include high heels, pet claws, and shifting furniture. Wood floor scratches are usually thin and shallow. They are typically no deeper than 1/16-inch. On the other hand, deep scratches are those that are greater than 1/16-inch deep and can be caused by items such as dog claws, heavy furniture, or appliances being moved across the floor. Gouges in hardwood floors refer to recessed areas or holes.

Site-finished hardwood flooring is more amenable to repair than pre-finished hardwood flooring. Pre-finished wood flooring features multiple urethane and aluminum oxide layers that form a highly durable skin, making it resistant to sanding and blending efforts.

Regardless of the type of hardwood flooring, understanding the severity of the damage will help you choose the most appropriate repair method.

Preparing the Floor for Repair

Floor Repair

Before attempting any hardwood floor scratch repair, cleaning the working area thoroughly is essential. Start by using a soft mop or vacuum with the appropriate attachment to remove any dirt and debris from the floor. Next, mix a few drops of natural or biodegradable soap in a quart of water, and use this solution to mop the floor. To complete the task, mist the floors with water and gently buff them using a soft cloth.

Cleaning the floor not only ensures a clean work area but also helps reduce the visibility of light scratches. A commercial wood cleaner or a water-based product with a biodegradable cleaning agent is recommended for polyurethane-finished floors.

Always remember that a clean floor is the foundation for a successful hardwood floor scratch repair.

Fixing Light Surface Scratches


When dealing with light surface scratches, there are several methods to consider, including stain markers, wax sticks, crayons, and natural remedies like walnuts, coconut oil, or olive oil and baking soda. Regardless of your chosen method, starting by vacuuming the floors thoroughly or wiping them with a cloth to eliminate debris that can worsen scratches is crucial.

Commercial scratch removers, stain markers, and blending pencils are all suitable options for fixing light scratches on wood floors. Stain markers, wax sticks, and crayons work by filling in the scratch with a matching color, while natural remedies like baking soda and olive oil help reduce and remove scratches from the wood.

If you have engineered wood flooring, which consists of a thin layer of hardwood with softer, cheaper wood as the bulk of the floorboard, you may be able to do some light surface scratch repair, but things might get more complicated for deeper scratches and gouges.

For the best results, matching the repair material to the rest of the floor is essential. This may involve testing various methods, discovering straightforward techniques, and practicing patience to achieve impressive results when fixing light surface scratches on your hardwood floors.

Choosing the Right Stain Marker

To choose the right stain marker for your wood floor, it’s important to select a color that matches the floor and to test it in an inconspicuous area before applying it to the scratched area. Begin with a color that is a few shades lighter than the floor. If the color is too light, a second coat can be added to darken it, or a coat of a darker color can be applied. Adjusting a marker that is too light is easier than rectifying one that is too dark.

Using a stain marker is a straightforward process, but it requires some practice to perfect the technique. Gently apply color over the scratched area. Wipe away any excess with a clean cloth. The marker will stick to raw, exposed parts of the scratches on the wooden floor. It can be removed from the sections which are sealed with ease. Divide your work into small pieces for faster completion. Act swiftly as the markers dry quickly.

Remember, it’s always better to test any stain, wax, or crayon in an inconspicuous area before applying it to the damaged area.

Natural Remedies for Light Scratches

Natural remedies like olive oil and baking soda, and raw walnuts can also be effective in treating light surface scratches on hardwood floors. To use olive oil and baking soda, combine equal parts of both ingredients to create a paste, and apply the paste to the scratches. This natural remedy helps to reduce and remove scratches from the wood surface.

Another effective natural remedy is rubbing a raw walnut into the scratches. The oils from the walnut will help fill in the fine scratches, camouflaging the damage and improving the floor’s appearance. After applying the walnut, it is recommended to buff out the walnut oil with a soft cloth.

These natural remedies can be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to commercial scratch repair products.

Hardwood Floor Repair

Addressing Deep Gouges and Scuffs

Wood filler, sanding, and refinishing techniques are the most effective solutions for deep gouges and scratches on hardwood floors. Before applying wood filler, it’s essential to vacuum the floors extensively or wipe them with a cloth to remove any debris that could further aggravate the scratches. Wood filler fills in the deeper scratches, gouges, or holes, allowing you to repair the damaged area.

When using wood filler, it is important to match the color of the filler to the rest of the floor. A plastic putty knife or an old credit card can be utilized to press the wood filler into the scratch and remove any excess filler. Once the filler has dried, the area can be sanded, and color matched as necessary, followed by the application of a protective coating.

Applying Wood Filler

To apply wood filler to a scratch on a hardwood floor, use a putty knife to press the wood filler into the scratch, ensuring the application remains within the damaged area. Smooth down the wet filler and wipe off any excess while it is still wet to ensure a seamless repair. Choosing the right color for the wood filler to blend in with the surrounding floor is essential.

Although wood filler kits are available, they may not always be suitable for fixing wood floors due to the consistency of the resin wood filler. Therefore, choosing a wood filler specifically designed for hardwood floors is advisable to achieve the best results.

Sanding and Refinishing Techniques

Sanding and refinishing techniques are essential for repairing deep gouges and scuffs on hardwood floors. After the area has been filled with wood filler and allowed to dry, sand it to smooth out the filler and blend it with the surrounding floor. Conduct a patch test with a matching stain and polyurethane coating for small sections to ensure a seamless repair.

When choosing a urethane finish, consider using a water-based urethane for recently installed floors or an oil-based urethane for older floors with a yellowish hue. Always test the product in a small, out-of-the-way area before beginning to repair gouge in hardwood floor. Doing so can save time and resources in the long run.

Prevention Strategies for Hardwood Floor Scratches

Floor Scratches

Preventing hardwood floor scratches is just as crucial as repairing them. Implementing prevention strategies like removing shoes, trimming pet claws, and utilizing rugs can help maintain the aesthetic appeal of your wood floors for an extended period. Additionally, using protective pads on furniture can safeguard your floors from damage when moving items.

Being prepared and diligent in repairing scratches as they occur can also help preserve the look of your wood flooring for an extended period. Incorporating these prevention strategies into your routine will ensure your hardwood floors remain beautiful and well-maintained for years.

When to Call a Professional

Sometimes, calling a professional for hardwood floor scratch repair may be necessary. When the damage is evident or severe, a professional can help rectify the issue without causing further damage to your floors. A professional can also apply an abrasion-resistant polyurethane coating, which offers a highly durable finish that is simple to maintain.

By recognizing when to call a professional, you can ensure the longevity and beauty of your hardwood flooring, protecting your investment and maintaining the charm of your home.


Repairing scratches on hardwood floors is essential to maintaining their beauty and durability. By understanding the type and severity of scratches, properly preparing the floor, and using the appropriate repair methods, you can quickly and easily fix scratches on your hardwood floors. In addition, implementing prevention strategies and knowing when to call a professional will ensure your floors remain beautiful and well-maintained for years to come.

Don’t let scratches and scuffs detract from the natural beauty of your hardwood floors. Follow this step-by-step guide to repair scratches and keep your floors looking their best, so you can continue to enjoy the timeless elegance of hardwood flooring in your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can hardwood floor scratches be repaired?

Yes, hardwood floor scratches can be repaired! Minor scratches can usually be covered with stain, while deeper ones may need the help of fine-grit sandpaper and a little bit of elbow grease.

It’s possible to cover scratches on wood floor and make them look almost invisible by following the direction of the wood grain when applying the wood stain.

How do you get scratches out of hardwood floors without sanding?

A simple mixture of baking soda and olive oil can help restore the shine to scratched hardwood floors without sanding. First, vacuum, mix a paste from baking soda and a few drops of olive oil, and then use a soft cloth to rub the paste into the damaged areas. Wait five minutes and buff gently before wiping off with a damp cloth and drying with a towel.

This simple solution is an easy and cost-effective way to restore the beauty of your hardwood floors. With just a few ingredients and some elbow grease, you can have your floors look new in no time.Jan.

Does Murphy’s oil Soap remove scratches?

Based on advice from experts, Murphy’s Oil Soap can help reduce the visibility of scratches when used correctly. However, it will not remove the scratches completely. There are some commercially available floor scuff remover products, but most are just chemical versions of the simpler DIY methods.

Can you fill deep scratches on hardwood floors?

Yes, you can fill deep scratches on hardwood floors. Try a baking soda and olive oil combo or apply a wax filler stick for smaller areas. If you need to fill cracks in wood floor, try pressing wood putty or wood filler into the crack or deep gouge.

You can then sand down the dried wood filler with 180-grit sandpaper, avoid the surrounding floor, and finish by applying a matching colorant to the wood filler.

What takes scratches out of hardwood floors?

A mix of apple cider vinegar and olive oil should do the trick for getting scratches out of wood floor surfaces. Simply combine equal parts of each ingredient, rub into the scratched area, and leave it there for a day before buffing it out with a soft cloth.

This will help restore your floor to its original shine.

images courtesy of user14636459, phanuwatnandee, alexuhrin95, 3dinteriors, and xundr13 on Freepik

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