Wood furniture is remarkably sturdy and long-lasting. With proper care, many pieces can become treasured heirlooms. When you’re using your wood furniture every day though, scratches, dings, and other marks are almost inevitable. This is especially likely when you’re entertaining, such as during the holiday season.

You can protect your wood by using tablecloths, placemats, table runners, potholders, and coasters. If marks do show up on your table, try these tips to remove the marks or at least make them less noticeable.

How To Remove scratches From Wood Tables

Water Rings

If hot cups or sweating glasses left water marks on your wood, you can buff them out using any of these common household products:

  • Petroleum jelly – apply jelly to the mark and let it sit overnight. Wipe off in the morning.
  • Non-gel toothpaste – rub toothpaste onto the mark with a soft cloth, following the wood grain. Wipe off with a damp cloth, then let dry.
  • Baking Soda – mix 2 tablespoons soda with 1 teaspoon water to make a paste. Rub over the water mark using a circular motion.

Light colored stains come off the easiest. Darker stains might require several treatments. The petroleum jelly is gentlest, so start with that. If the stain doesn’t come out, try toothpaste next and then baking soda. After you get the stain out, polish your table with a wax polish. We recommend using Howard Feed-N-Wax Wood Polish and Conditioner.

Light Dings

Shallow scratches, nicks, and dings are usually surface issues. They affect the finish rather than getting deep enough to damage the wood. If you look at the scratch on an angle and don’t see discoloration, then the scratch is only on the surface.

Here at Rustic + Modern, we finish all of our furniture with satin polyurethane. This finish offers durable protection against everyday use. If scratches develop in this type of finish, start by buffing a paste wax furniture polish into the scratch. This is often enough to hide scratches.

If the wax doesn’t hide your scratch and you want to try refinishing that spot, sand over the scratch with fine steel wool. Sand with the grain using light pressure until the scratch is no longer visible. Wipe the sanded surface with a clean, damp cloth and let it dry completely. Apply a thin coat of satin polyurethane to the scratch and let dry for 24 hours. Repeat polyurethane coats until the finish over the scratch is level with the rest of the table.

Deep Scratches

If the marks on your wood table are from damage that gets through the finish to the wood itself, you have a few options. Most involve filling in or coloring the scratches to make them less noticeable. You can use a commercially available scratch filler or stain pen, or try one of these DIY options:

  • Rub the nut meat or a walnut, almond, pecan, or Brazil nut into the scratch. This works best for light to medium colored woods.
  • Dab coffee grounds or a damp tea bag over the scratch. Wipe excess away with a paper towel, then repeat until colors match. This works best for medium to dark colored woods.
  • Use a felt-tip marker the same shade as the wood to hide the scratch. Polish with a wax-based furniture polish.

You can also try touching-up the finish over deep scratches as described for light scratches. Remember also that wood furniture can be completely refinished if the surface becomes too marred, unlike furniture made with veneers or engineered woods. That’s part of the beauty of investing in solid wood – even many years of wear-and-tear isn’t going to make it unusable.

If you’d like to order a new, solid wood table, get in touch with us at Rustic + Modern. All our tables are hand-crafted from high-quality solid wood. You’ll get a table made to your exact specifications – the kind of furniture you’ll want to keep around for many years.