Removing Scratches From Hardwood Floors

The Complete Guide to Removing Scratches From Hardwood Floors

There are certain things to know and do when it comes to removing scratches from hardwood floors. You can check out our guide here to learn more.

Losing sleep over scratches on your hardwood floors? Read on for tips, tricks and products that may be helpful in removing scratches from hardwood flooring.

Removing Scratches from Hardwood Floors: Five-Step Process

Simplicity is king when it comes to home improvement. Removing scratches from a hardwood floor is no exception. So let's start with that.

1. Cleanse the Area

Start with rubbing alcohol. Take the rubbing alcoho, pour it over a washcloth, and start to wipe the scratch and the surrounding area.

This will ensure that you remove the majority of the debris, dust and other nasties in the area.

2. Clean It Again

Next, take a cotton swab, dip it in the rubbing alcohol and drive it through the entire length of the scratch. The scratch should get clean while the cotton swab gets dirty.

3. Prepare Floor Wax

Before you begin to seal the scratch, ensure that you have a proper shade of floor wax to do the job. Hold it up next to the floor, and compare the shades.

Depending on your flooring, you might need to mix and match your colors to get the best possible solution.

4. Fill the Void

Now take a minuscule amount of wax, and apply to the scratch. You can use a knife to press it down at an angle until it has become filled.

To finish it up, take the flat end of the knife and remove the excess wax by gliding over the surface of the floor. Make sure it's level to the floor.

5. Ensure Success

To ensure your success, you should double-check that you didn't remove any of the scratch fillings when gliding over to remove the excess. If you would like to even out the wax, you can buff the locale with sandpaper of fine grit.

After fixing the scratches, consider staining the hardwood floors. The stain or varnish will help lock the wax in place and even out the playing field and color of your wood for it to look brand new.

Buffing the Floor

In some cases, the steps listed above could actually be unnecessary, especially if you have shallow and fine scratches. These types of scratches can be buffed away by hand!

In order to do this, find sandpaper of fine grit, and buff lightly in the direction of the wood grain. Use a cloth to remove dust after you're done with the buffing process.

This method can only work for light scratches. As long as you don't apply too much pressure, you shouldn't damage the wood itself. This technique is best applied after the first five-steps to ensure a smooth look before you start to stain the floors.

Additional Methods

While floor wax and sandpaper buffing work for most, there are additional methods that can be employed to remove/reduce the scratches on hardwood floors.

These are as follows:

• Wood Filler - Use the same application method with a knife, and make sure you are using the right colors, so you don't get a zebra floor.

• Steel Wool - Most light scratches can be resolved with simple steel wool. Rub it over the scratch, and minimize its presence. Remember to always go with the grain of the wood, so you don't create more scratches.

• Area Seal - Revarnish or seal off the area with polyurethane or varnish. This is done by applying the liquid to the brush of your choice (soft bristle lamb wool or natural bristle).

Finishes for Hardwood Floors

When it comes to finding a hardwood finish, the options may seem endless. However, what really matters is the durability and the category of the product itself. Your choices include:


Varnish is a type of product that comes in a variety of lusters, starting with glossy and ending with matte. The more gloss it has, the more durable it will be.

Varnish does darken over time, so keep that in mind. However, varnish is great for spot repairs and can help you treat the floor on a case-by-case basis.


Water or oil-based polyurethane also comes in a variety of luster, but it has a plastic look to it. Both oil and water finish change the color of the wood, but some newer products are known to avoid that side-effect.

This type of finish is great for high-moisture and high foot traffic areas, but if it gets ruined in some manner, it will be difficult to spot treat it.

Penetrant Sealer

A penetrant sealer provides a very natural look to your wood, and it has a tendency to spotlight the wood grain. To note, thia also darkens over time.

A penetrant sealer provides great protection, considering you will probably want it to be waxed. Nonetheless, it is the least durable of the three, so it is also the easiest to spot-repair.

In a perfect world, you will want to seal your floor on the same day of sanding/buffing, so that you prevent the bare wood from absorbing moisture from the air.

Use a sheepskin applicator for stain and sealer, so that you don't get bubbles in your application. And moderate quantities of sealer, otherwise, you may have pools of liquid on the floor.

The Beauty of Hardwood Could Be Yours

There you have it. There are many options and techniques that can be applied to remove scratches from your hardwood floor. These techniques require a certain level of patience and expertise and are often best left to the professionals.

If you're looking for advice on restoring your floors or looking to install new flooring altogether, get in touch with us! Our team at National Floors Direct is here to help.