Do you have ugly scratches on your hardwood floors? Does the sun hit them just right so accentuate them? In many cases you can make those surface level scratches go away – or at least make them less visible. Here are our best tips for hardwood floor scratch repairs that you can do yourself. 

With all of the different types of flooring finishes, it is important to know which one was used on your floors so you can match them. Is your finish oil or water based? Does it have a wax coating? Is the wood varnished or stained? Is there an aluminum oxide coating? Knowing what the surface is made of is important so that you know how to start your scratch repairs. If you didn’t install the floors and aren’t sure what type of finish it has, you can check here for more details. 

Before you start, make sure you clean the entire area around the scratch on your floors. You will want to remove all traces of dust, dirt and grime on the floor before you go any further in the process. Make sure you pay attention to the inside of the crack itself, which should be free of any small particles. If you have a wax layer, use a wax remover solution to clear away the way before you do the repair.

With just a little elbow grease, you can bring life back into your wood floors. A fine-grained sandpaper will buff out minor damage. First, sand the floor in the direction of the grain. You’ll need to reapply the stain that you buffed away in the process, so choose a hidden area (under a bed, in a corner or closet) to patch-test first to make sure it matches. After finding the right stain, patch test a urethane finish. 

A water-based polyurethane dries quickly, with a clear and shiny finish, which is ideal for newer floors. But this could create too much contrast if floors have darkened with age. Oil-based urethanes are strong-smelling and they dry with a yellow tinge that will continue to darken over time. This may better suit the color of older floors. Just make sure your sanded area is smooth and thoroughly clean before you apply stain and then the finish. 

If you have a small, single scratch that is only noticeable when you get close (like scratches from pets nails) and your floor has a relatively new finish, try a DIY home solution first. Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and olive oil in a small cup. Slowly rub the mixture into the scratch with a soft rag. Leave it for the remainder of the day and then rub clean. This will usually take care of small, minor scratches. 

Walnuts contain natural emollients and brown dyes that can repair and enhance the look of worn, scratched wood. Warm up the nut in your fingers, warming the natural oils, then rub the walnut into the floor into the worn areas using circular motions. Let the oil sit for a few minutes, then buff out with a soft cloth. Coconut oil can also help scratch marks on unfinished or freshly sanded floors. Just apply a thin layer of coconut oil on a brush or sponge and rub into the wood. Let sit for 10 minutes and then buff out with a soft cloth for rich looking wood. 

A combination of olive oil and baking soda can help reduce and remove scratches from wood. First step is to vacuum your floors well and then apply baking soda with several drops of olive oil. Wait a few minutes and then gently rub with a soft sponge with the grain of the wood. Rub with a damp cloth and then dry with a towel. 

For your deepest gouges in the wood, try a wood filler that can be sanded and stained, even painted. You could also use a pre-colored latex wood filler that can blend directly into your floor. This is the best option for small, deep holes that can then be filled, sanded, stained and finished. This leaves your floors looking new.