hardwood floor refinishing st louis mo

9 Ways to Remove Scratches from Hardwood Flooring

Scratch marks on hardwood floors are very common and happen easily. Over the years, you may notice your floors have small, shallow and deep scratches. You may find these areas unpleasing and want to find ways to alleviate the issue. Luckily, you are in the right place! Here are 9 ways to remove scratches from hardwood flooring. 


You can remove scratches from your hardwood with varnish if only the top layer of the protective coating was damaged. To remove superficial scratches from hardwood floors follow these steps:

  1. Take your soft cloth and hardwood floor cleaner and remove dirt.
  2. Take another soft cloth and moisten it with water. 
  3. Wipe the area again to make sure it is clean.
  4. Let the scratched area dry.
  5. Once dry, apply a new layer of protective coating. It can be a sealant, shellac, or any other type of polyurethane varnish.
  6. After applying the new protective layer, allow the area to dry overnight.

Always read the instructions of the varnish product you decide to go with. There may be additional steps or warnings you need to know about. 

Wood Markers

If the scratch on your hardwood floors is superficial, then you can easily hide it away by using a wood marker that matches the color of the floors. All you need to do is clean the area and then paint the scratch with the tip of the marker until it is the same shade as the rest of the hardwood floor. You can find a wood marker at your local home improvement store. 


Sometimes wood markers just don’t do the trick. Instead, you need something that will match the color of your floors better. That is where wood paint comes to play. Unlike the marker, with the paint, you add the color gradually to gradually reach the desired color. You will clean the area and then rub in the paint following the wood grain. Apply it with a flat brush, let it dry for 12 hours and apply a second light coat. Wait at least 24 hours before walking on it to make sure the paint has adhered well to the wood.

Wax Stick

Another easy way to get rid of minor scratches on your wood floors is with a wax stick. Follow these steps to use this method:

  1. Clean the scratched area with a soft cloth and hardwood floor cleaner. 
  2. Take your fine steel wool and rub it over the scratched area. Make sure you are rubbing with the grain of the wood.
  3. Lightly rub the steel wool against the edges.
  4. Now that the area is clean and polished, take your wax stick and rub it over the scratched area.
  5. Give the wax filling 10 minutes to set and dry.
  6. Take your soft cloth and buff the area back and forth.
  7. Once complete, check the repaired area and wipe with a soft cloth if you notice any excess fill or dust.

For extra precaution, read the instructions for the wax stick you purchased. There may be additional steps and warnings. 

Wood Repair Pencil

A mix of a wax stick and a wood marker is a wood repair pencil. Here is how you can use this method to remove scratches from hardwood floors:

  1. After you have properly cleaned the scratched area, use a wood repair pencil available from floor repair kits to fill in the scratched area. 
  2. Wipe off excess wax and smooth it out with a damp rag or cloth.
  3. Let dry for 24 hours.
  4. Take some wood clay from the kit and fill in the scratch until it is level with the floor.
  5. Wipe off the excess with a rag or cloth.

Make sure to read all the instructions and warnings on the floor repair kit that you purchase. 

Hard Wax

Scratches and small holes in the floor can be filled with hard wax. There are repair kits for this, usually with wax in different colors, so that the grain can also be imitated. The sets are often named according to the type of wood and the colors selected to match, for example, beechwood or oak wood. Here are the steps to use hard wax:

  1. Clean up scratches with a credit card.
  2. Remove loose pieces of wood and cut with a carpet knife if necessary.
  3. Roughly sand-sealed floors.
  4. Melt small pieces of wax with a soldering iron and fill the scratch with it. 
  5. If you want to imitate wood structure, you have to start with the lightest wax and then finish with darker shades.
  6. Use a plastic planer or a credit card to remove the excess.
  7. If necessary, make color corrections and add structural details. Plan off again.
  8. Clean filled scratches with a dry, dust-free cloth.
  9. Close sealed bottoms with a sealing pin.
  10. Polish sealed and oiled floors with polish or oil.

This method takes a little more work, and you may feel more comfortable with a handyman or contractor to finish this project. 

DIY Products

There are a ton of DIY products and methods you can use like the walnut method or making a concoction with ingredients in your pantry. We do recommend researching before trying out any of these options. If not done correctly, it can be a flop or can cause you serious harm.

Commercial Products

Did you know that there are commercial products that can help remove scratches? Good for scratch repair on both wood and laminate floors, Scratch Away cleans, polishes, and reduces the appearance of scratch marks caused by dirt, shoes, pets, and furniture scrapes. Another well-reviewed product is the Old English Scratch Cover, available in both light and dark wood tones. This nourishing oil both protects and hides unsightly scuff marks. All you need is a soft cloth to apply on clean wood surfaces. Always read all instructions and warnings before using any commercial products. 

Sanding & Refinishing

For deeper scratches, the best way to remove them is by sanding and refinishing your hardwood floors. This process is where a professional team comes in and uses their equipment to complete the job. It is the more expensive option but lasts the longest out of all these options. This should be your go-to choice if you also have sun-fading, stains and scuffs on your wood floors. Luckily, you do not have to look far for the best stress-free refinishers in the area — Valor Home Services. We’ve been helping our local community for over 25 years. For more information, give us a call today.