Fixing Furniture / Floor Scratches, Dents and Water Spots!

June 15, 2021

For anyone who’s ever moved, installed carpet, rearranged furniture on wood floors, or given kids free rein indoors, anything made of wood can be scratched, dented and/or marred. That’s why we collected a few of the top fixes for wood floor and furniture flaws to help you erase rings, fix divots, gouges, and repair wear and tear to keep your wood floors and favorite tables and chairs looking good as new!

Coffee, Tea or Old English “Stains”

For a natural way to fix scratched furniture, steeping a black tea bag for a few minutes in a two-to-three tablespoons of water will produce a stain the approximate color of your wood – just beware that the longer you steep the darker your “stain.” Dab the tea onto the scratches with a cotton swab or cotton ball, then quickly wipe away the excess with a paper towel to prevent the wood around the scratches from staining. If the wood is a medium-dark color, you may need to apply the tea more than once.

If your wood furniture or floors have a darker hue, apply wet coffee grounds and allow to sit for an hour, or use instant coffee to cover the scratch. Make a thick paste of the coffee granules and water, then rub the paste into the scratch. If you happen to have circle sawn floors – word to the wise, the grounds are a little tough to scoop out of those grooves! (And, if you add too much water, it does end up looking like a little pile of ick for the hour it takes to stain!)

Depending on the depth of the scratch, Old English scratch cover sometimes does the trick, too – and comes in light and dark colors. Pick up a bottle in your grocery store and apply with a cotton swab (and wear a pair of those handy gloves you picked up during the pandemic!).

Fixing Wood Furniture Flaws

Sometimes you can cover up a furniture scratch by “coloring” the scratch with a wax crayon that matches the finish on your furniture. You can buy these online or pick them up at Home Depot five minutes from Southshore. Once you’ve colored the spot, rub it with your finger to blend the crayon with the finish. Or follow the steps (easy for anyone to follow) in this YouTube video using clear wax, and a couple of tools. These divots didn’t gouge out the color, so little more was needed than to fill in, scrape the excess, and buff. 

You can also hide scratches with an oil-based craft or artist’s paint, using a color that’s darker than the finish on the furniture – as long as it doesn’t have a polyurethane finish. Rub a little paint into the scratch, and the scratch will appear to blend in with the finish.

Refinishing Your Favorites

For fixing and repairing deeper scratches, especially if the piece of furniture is coated with polyurethane, you’ll probably want to refinish the entire surface. It sounds like a weekend project, and for some of us it will be, but we can each count a piece of furniture we’d like to salvage using the refinishing technique.

Use 320-grit sandpaper to remove the existing finish and then 400-grit to smooth out the scratch. After you wipe the surface with a cloth soaked in mineral oil (to remove the sawdust), apply new stain using a paintbrush or paint pad. Afterwards, brush the surface with polyurethane and let dry. BYOT or Bring Your Own Tools, will show you how it’s done – using an electric sander (attached to a shop vac) and a stain, prep, and epoxy finish, and Do Dodson Design teaches you how to remove varnish with a stripping chemical, and finishing with mineral spirits. 

Erasing Water Stains

It never fails, during the summer someone will forget to use a coaster on end tables, coffee tables, or nightstands. Reader’s Digest recommends attacking water stains with one of these remedies that are both quick and easy. And while we haven’t tried this one we found Thrifty Fun, several people said that watermarks can be erased by slathering a little mayonnaise into the wood, letting it sit for 30 minutes, and then with rubbing away the greasiness with a clean, soft cloth. If that works for you – send us the before and after!

A paste of 1 tablespoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon water rubbed into the stain in a circular motion can make the stain disappear, as can applying petroleum jelly and letting it sit overnight. You can also try rubbing toothpaste into the stain (non-gel) and wiping with a soft cloth or applying equal parts vinegar and olive oil. Again, we’ve had some success using the Old English scratch cover, especially on light colored pine furniture.

Weekend Projects in Southshore 

There’s always something to do to turn your leisure time  into a around-the-house weekend project in the master-planned community of Southshore. Whether it’s enhancing your curb appeal or making great first impressions with visiting guests, residents in Southshore take pride in every aspect of homeownership. Check out the brand new homes from Taylor Morrison, Century Communities, Richmond American Homes and Toll Brothers. Because Life at the Lake is a little slice of heaven, right here on earth, priced between the $400s and the $700s.