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How to Repair Stains and Scratches
on Wood Furniture and Floors
By Justin Tyme

Fine furniture and wood floors sometimes become damaged. If this has happened to you, don't panic. Many times home and business owners can repair stains and scratches with a little information and a few minutes work. This site offers you some tips and suggestions to help save and/or repair slightly damaged furniture and floors.

You're going to need some tools and supplies, but you probably have most of them around the house, in your garage, or even in your ktichen. Some supplies you might have to purchase at a hardware store.

Here's a list of handy tools and supplies you MIGHT need for your repair project:
furniture wax
Art or pencil eraser
Clean, soft cloths
Dull knife
Exacto Knife
Fine steel wool
Fine sandpaper
Laundry markers
Lemon oil
Mayonaise
Mineral oil
Olive oil or salad oil
Paraffin oil
Paste wax
Petroleum jelly
Plastic wood
Razor blade paint-scraper
Rottenstone
Sharp knife
Shoe polish


STAINS ON WAXED WOOD FLOORS

BLACK HEEL MARKS
A soft art or pencil eraser will remove these black marks.

CIGARETTE AND OTHER COMMON BURNS
Scrape off the burnt or charred finish and wood. Use a sharp knife or a paint-scraper razor blade in its holder. As in all fine wood work, work with the grain. Don't scrape across the grain. Scrape in the direction of the grain. Use fine sandpaper to smooth the scraped surface. If the burn was deep, you'll need to fill it with plastic wood, which will also need to be stained to match the rest of the wood and sanded. After you've scraped and sanded (and filled-in if needed) the burn, wax your floor as normal.


STAINS ON OILED WOOD FURNITURE OR FLOORS

ALCOHOL AND WATER RINGS
Dip a piece of fine steel wool into the same type of oil that was used in the original finishing of the wood and carefully rub the stained area (with the grain, of course). If you don't have the original oil, or don't know what was used, you may use a lightweight mineral oil, parafiin oil or lemon oil. After you've worked on the damaged area, wipe the entire surface of the wood you're repairing with the same oil you've been using. Then wipe dry.


STAINS AND SCRATCHES ON VARNISHED WOOD FURNITURE OR FLOORS

ALCOHOL AND WATER RINGS
Moisten a cloth in salad or olive oil and touch the cloth to some rottenstone (limestone, polishing particles) and gently rub the stained area.
Do not wax or polish over an alcohol or water ring. That will permanently set the stain on the wooded finish. If the ring is new, you may apply a clean blotter over the stain and press a warm iron on the blotter until the stain is removed. Do not use a hot iron. Do not use steam. If you'd rather not try the iron and blotter technique, you can rub the stain with a soft cloth and olive or salad oil. If this doesn't remove the stain you can try rubbing the stain with mayonaise or petroleum jelly and then leave it overnight. Wipe it clean the next morning.

CANDLE WAX
Use your fingernails to scratch as much of the wax off as possible. Use a dull knife to remove the last layers of candle wax.

CRAYON AND LIPSTICK
Your favorite cleaning/wax should remove these surface mars as part of your normal cleaing routine. Check the instructions on the can or bottle.

FINGERNAIL POLISH
Do not attempt to remove fingernail polish with fingernail polish remover. Fingernail polish remover is usually a lacquer thinner. It will damage your varnished surface even more. Take a sharp knife and gently scrape off the polish. If the suface has been scratched, follow the instruction for removing alcohol and water rings on varnish (above).

PAINT
Paint is removed just like fingernail polish. Scrape it off gently.

PAPER
Sometimes paper gets stuck to wooden surfaces by accompanying, neglected spills. Do not use the knife scraping method! The paper needs to be removed by being moistened first. Apply a few drops of olive or salad oil to a small section of the paper. Rub that area gently with a clean cloth until the paper is removed. Next, repeat the same procedure to the adjacent stuck paper area. Continue applying and rubbing until all of the paper has been removed.

SCRATCHES
Scratches in dark oak mop boards and trim can be covered up with black, fine-point laundry markers. On red finished mahogany, scratches can be made invisible with iodine and sometimes a red, fine-point laundry marker. With the wide variety of present day shoe colors, shoe polish is also a good cover-up solution. Check out your local shoe repair shop for a sample of colors to match your furniture and floors. Rubbing scratches with the meats of oily nuts will also help remove apparent scratches. Floor wax can also be used for neutral shades of wood.
Deep scratches may need some of the scraping, sanding, and filling techniques mentioned in some of the tips above.


If all of your attemps at removing stains and scratches to your fine wood furniture or floors fail, all is not lost. Contact a professional wood refinisher to repair your finished wooden surfaces. The chances are good that a professional can save your finish or even make it look as good as new, and sometimes even better.