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Don’t let the fear of scratches stop you from having beautiful hardwood floors. Although they’re not ideal, scratches are somewhat inevitable. Homes are full of life, which means furniture getting moved, pets and children running around, maybe even some dancing guests in high heels. Luckily, there are ways to keep your floors looking as good as new, from home remedies to miracle products you can easily buy online.
How To Fix Scratches On Wood Floors
STEP ONE — Clean thoroughly but gently
When dirt particles get ground into wood floors, it can lead to worse scratches, and lackluster wood can also magnify the appearance of scratches. That being said, the first step in fixing existing scratches is the clean your floors.
Instead of soaking or using abrasive brooms or scrubbers, try using a soft mop or vacuum to remove the surface debris. Then you can either make a DIY cleaner with water and a few drops of liquid soap to mist and mop, followed by a freshwater mist and buff, or just buy one of these very safe and effective hardwood floor cleaners.
Rejuvenate All-Floors Cleaner
This cleaning product is not only safe to use on wood floors, but it also promises to get rid of the toughest dirt and grime without leaving any dulling residue. It’s pH balanced so as not to harm the floor’s finish, easy to use and gets tons of rave reviews on Amazon.
Bona PowerPlus Hardwood Floor Deep Cleaner
If you want to get the deepest possible clean with a product specifically designed for hardwood floors, this Bona cleaner is the perfect option. It’s safe for all unwaxed-, unoiled- or polyurethane-finished wood floors. It loosens tough, heavy build-up and bubbles to help lift away stubborn debris. It’s also water-based, so it dries quickly without leaving any residue.
Begley’s All Natural Floor Cleaner
For something natural and plant-based that’s also effective in cleaning hardwood floors, this multi-surface floor cleaning is probably your best bet. The citrus-based solvent quickly cleans and melts away grease and dirt without any harmful fumes to minimize any risk to people, pets or the environment.
STEP TWO — Sand out scratches
To buff out scratches and other damage, all you need is some cheap fine-grained sandpaper. Gently sand the floor in the same direction as the grain of the wood to help even things out.
Garnet makes very fine grit sandpaper that still has sharp, clean cutting power to produce quality smooth finishes. It also happens to be made for wood, so you know it’ll be effective.
STEP THREE — Stain and urethane the area
Sanding down scratches also means removing some of the wood stain that keeps your floors protected and looking nice and shiny. Find a matching wood stain, which you can test out by experimenting in small patches under the bed or in any area hidden by furniture.
Once you find the right stain, simply apply to the whole floor or just the scratched area that was dulled from sanding. Then do a similar patch test to find the right urethane to finish off the job and have your floors looking good as new.
Minwax Polycrylic Protective Wood Finish
For newer floors, it’s best to use a water-based urethane that dries quickly with a clear, shiny finish. This one promises to provide a crystal clear coating that’s long-lasting and protects wood surfaces.
For older wood floors that have darkened with age, it’s best to use an oil-based urethane that dries with a yellow tinge and darkens over time. They’re stronger-smelling, but they may better suit the color of more worn wood. This one has superior scratch resistance and dries quickly, so you shouldn’t have to deal with the smell for long.
Home Remedies That Can Help
Strangely enough, walnuts contain natural emollients and brown dyes that both repair and enhance the look of scratched wood. If you’re looking for a more direct option with less steps, you can try warming up the oil of a walnut with your fingers and then rubbing it into the worn areas of the wood in circular motions. Let the oil sit for a few minutes and then buff with a soft cloth.
A combination of baking soda and olive oil has also been shown to reduce and remove scratches from wood. Just vacuum the floor, apply your mixture, wait five minutes and gently buff it into the damaged area using a soft sponge. Then clean it with a damp cloth and hopefully see results.
If you have a deep scratch but want to avoid the sandpaper step, you can try finding a matching wood stain and filling in the scratch completely using that liquid color. Use a Q-Tip to remove any excess stain and let it dry.
There are also some other products specially designed for scratch repair that don’t require you to go through all of these steps, like the ones linked below.
Old English Scratch Cover
This Old English Scratch Cover helps restore damaged wood by hiding scratches and nicks. It’s available in two colors for light or dark wood floors, and will also help protect the surface from future damage.
Guardsman Wood Repair Filler Sticks
This one may seem silly, but these filler sticks are actually a great quick fix in a pinch. This pack comes with five colors to match any wood surface that has been damaged, and a sharpener for continued use. Simply color in deep scratches and flaws to maintain the appearance of your wood with no mess or residue.
For some extra help to prevent scratches from happening in the first place, there are plenty of products that promise to protect your wood floors from damage. The urethanes linked above are not only intended to give your wood floors that glossy finish, but also to help avoid scratches and nicks.
If you’re looking for a couple of other options that can help avoid further damage, these two products can be lifesavers.
This clear paste wax can help restore the original brilliance to wood floors while also ensuring long-term luster. It contains Brazilian Carnauba which is the world’s hardest natural wax, perfect for a durable finish. It’s non-slip and dries quickly, so it’s perfectly safe to seal in the beautiful appearance of wood floors and protect them from damage.
Felt Furniture Pads
Possibly the worst culprit when it comes to causing scratches on hardwood floors is your furniture. Heavy items with wooden or metal legs are bound to dig into the floor when they’re moved around or accidentally jostled. Stop those scratches before they happen with these affordable felt furniture pads. You just stick them onto the legs of a piece of furniture and they’ll slide easily across your floors with no damage.