Do It Yourself: Fixing scratches in wood furniture and trim
Scratches in wood can often be repaired easily with products found at home or at home improvement stores. Scratches can happen all too easily to furniture and woodwork. Take heart! There are many things you can do to repair these unsightly marks. First, determine if the scratch is into the wood, or only in the finish. If the scratch is not discolored, or can only be seen from certain angles, it is in the finish. This is good news with most finishes. There are several things that will restore your finish.
Wax - A fresh coat of paste wax is often all you need to repair these minor scratches. Spray polishes may work, but are less effective at concealing scratches. Lemon - Mix equal parts lemon juice and vegetable oil or olive oil. Apply a generous amount on a clean lint free cloth, rubbing firmly in the direction of the scratch, until it disappears. Oil Finish - Some companies, such as Old English, make a specific oil to use on scratched finishes.
If your surface is coated with urethane or polyurethane, scratches are more difficult to repair. Try carefully sanding the scratch with 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper. Moisten the sandpaper with water or lemon oil and sand gently. When you have removed the scratch, buff with 0000 steel wool and paste wax to bring back the shine.
If your woodwork or furniture is finished with shellac or lacquer, you can remove scratches by painting the area with an appropriate solvent. Use alcohol on shellac and lacquer thinner or nail polish remover on lacquer. Paint the thinner on with a brush until the finish softens and fills the cracks, and then let the piece sit overnight for the finish to harden again. Your scratches should be gone. This technique also works for cracking or alligatoring of the finish.
If the scratch appears lighter in color than the surrounding wood, it is through the finish and into the wood. In this case, you will need to color it to make it disappear. There are a number of items that you may have at home, which will do the job, as well as several commercial products.
Nuts - Nutmeats will often hide scratches. Rub the meat of a Brazil nut, a Walnut, a Pecan, or an Almond into the scratch. Be careful to rub in the direction of the scratch, and only in the scratch, as the nutmeat will darken the surrounding wood as well. Eyebrow Pencil - Eyebrow pencil comes in many colors, and will often conceal small scratches. Match the color carefully, and follow the direction of the scratch. Crayons - Children's crayons can also be used to fill a scratch, if you happen to have the right color. You have a bit more leeway with these, as they are wax, and can be removed if needed. Shoe Dye or Shoe Polish - Shoe polish comes in a myriad of colors these days. Either the liquid, or the paste forms can be used to fill a scratch. If using liquid, use a fine brush to apply. If using the paste variety, a cotton swab can be useful. Iodine - If you have mahogany woodwork or furniture, iodine often works well to hide scratches. For brown or cherry mahogany, use iodine that has turned dark. For lighter woods, such as maple you can dilute the iodine with an equal amount of denatured alcohol to cover scratches. In each case, paint the iodine carefully in the scratch with a fine brush and allow to dry. If it is too light, apply another coat. Always err on the side of lightness, as it is easy to darken an area further, but more difficult to lighten it! On the commercial side, there are a number of different products available. Stain - First of all, you can buy a small can of liquid stain to match your furniture and apply with a fine brush or cotton swab. Wait for it to dry, and add a second coat if needed. Markers - Many companies, such as MinWax, sell wood stain packaged in a marker, especially for touch-ups. These are easy to use, simply color in the scratch and wait a minute for it to dry. If it is too light, repeat. Pencils - Companies also sell special pencils or crayons which match wood colors and can be used to camouflage scratches. Ask at your local home improvement store.
Once you have darkened the scratch to match the surrounding wood, all you need to do is wax or polish the wood, and the scratch will be gone.
If all your efforts fail, do not give up hope! Contact a professional wood refinisher. Chances are, a professional can make your wood furniture look as good as new, sometimes even better.
A scratch in wood furniture or woodwork doesn't have to be a disaster. With these simple tips, you too can once again have beautiful wood in your home.
Instrucions for cleaning hardwood floors and removing stains.
Any grating substance such as sand, dirt, or grit, will dull the surface of hardwood floors. By observing a few rules today, your need for restoration will be far less likely and the floor will look luxurious for many years. Sweep, vacuum, or dust mop, at least every week, and place mats or rugs at the entranceway to trap as much dirt and dust as possible.
* Vacuuming: Avoid beater bars this can cause indentations in the surface of the floor. Use a brush attachment. * Dust mopping Use a non-abrasive dust mop with a soft cotton head. Some floor manufacturers suggest using a floor treatment as well. * Sweeping The broom used to sweep a hardwood floor will need to have fine bristles, with feathered ends, that will be very gentle on the floor's surface. * Furniture Dragging furniture across the floor will damage it significantly. Lift the furniture at all times when repositioning it in your room. Using felt "shoes" under the legs would help to avoid scratches when furniture is accidentally scooted across floor. * Sunlight Over a period, too much sun can discolor wood finishes. Darken the room by closing curtains and blinds during the time of day when the sun is most intense. * Shoes Some (sports related) shoes have hard heel supports and metal nails attached to the sole?"stop" and do not enter, they will most surely damage the finish of your wood floor. Stains will need your immediate attention on wood floors. Keep them waxed as needed and wipe up any drops of fluid that may be spilled on the floor as soon as possible.
Fruit Juices Coffee As a basic first step, it is good to remember to remove a stain start at the outer circumference and work to the inside. This will not allow the stain to continue to spread outward. Warm a soft cotton cloth with hot water, and use a mild abrasive as in a scouring powder. Massage the spot easily do not apply pressure. Mold or Mildew Your wood floors need good ventilation; air that is not moving and is stagnating will encourage the growth of mold in your home and on your wood floors. If this has occurred, use a solution of 1-cup water and 1/4 cup common household bleach. Use a soft cotton cloth and wipe the mold away gently. It is suggested you wear a mask when dealing with mold. Water Rings that have turned white Use steel wool (No. 1) and rub the stain, the area will need to have wax re-applied to the stained area. If unsuccessful with the steel wool, use very fine sandpaper and lightly sand the area. The stain, and area encircling, can be cleaned with (no.1) steel wool and a good floor cleaner or mineral spirits. After the floor is dry, a comparable finish for wood floors can be applied. Spread the area very thin, "feathering" the newly applied finish around the circumference allowing it to dry. When completely dry re-wax the floor. Chewing gum or wax product Fill a secure Ziploc plastic bag with ice cubes and place it over the wax or gum. This should cause the wax or gum to harden, and become breakable. Use a plastic scraper, spatula, or plastic paint scraper, and gently remove the material. The floor will need to be re-polished. Oily or greasy substance First remove the stain as well as possible with old newspaper or paper towels. Immerse a cloth in dry cleaning fluid and saturate the stain. Another idea is, to use a soap that contains lye (perhaps homemade lye soap) and rub it on the stain. Alternatively if that fails, drench a cloth with hydrogen peroxide and lay it over thee greasy area. A second layer saturated with ammonia is then placed over that the first layer. This should be duplicated until the stain is removed. Blood This requires ammonia to remove the stain. Use cold water and ammonia in equal parts, to remove the stain. Re-wax and buff. Alcoholic drinks This may be easily removed by a simple solution of detergent and warm water. If this is not successful, use a soft cotton cloth moistened with any of the following: ammonia, linseed oil, liquid or paste wax, denatured alcohol or silver polish. You will need to re-wax and polish. Dark stains Collect a no.1 steel wool pad, and a floor cleaner, or perhaps mineral spirits. Clean the spots or stains and the surrounding region. Dampen a cloth with normal household vinegar and carefully wash the area. It may take a short while but the stain will most likely vanish. If by chance the spots are still noticeable use fine sandpaper and sand, feathering around edges about 4 inches. Re-wax and polish the floor. Extremely dark stains or spots If you have tried several applications of vinegar on these stains and have had no success then you may apply a solution of Oxalic acid, use this strictly according to the label instructions. This is a bleaching medium and can be purchased in hardware and paint stores. You will definitely have to re-stain and refinish the floor once oxalic acid is used, to rematch the first color. Follow the directions and allow the mixture to set on the spots and stains for a time and then sponge off. More than one attempt may have to be attempted before stains will fade or come off completely. Cigarette Burns If the burn is not deep and penetrating, there is a good chance it can be removed by using steel wool moistened with soap and water.
It is always important to start processing at the edge of any spot or stained area, and move into the center to avoid spreading the solution outward. It is most probable that re-waxing and buffing will need to be done after each stain removal.
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