How to Get Scratches out of Wood Floors: 11 Tips

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There are various ways you can get scratches out of wood floors, including removing light scratches with a finish restorer, sanding and refinishing your entire floor, and swapping out bad floorboards that are severely damaged.
Quality hardwood floors can be a homeowner’s pride and joy—so when they’re scratched, they’re a pretty significant source of sorrow.
Whether your scratches come from pets or furniture that was moved a little too carelessly, here are some tips for getting scratches removed from your wood floors, courtesy of the home and car insurance comparison app Jerry
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Start by cleaning your floors well

Before you get to sanding and restaining, make sure you thoroughly clean your floor surfaces to get rid of any accumulating dust or dirt. 
Dirt or debris can sometimes exacerbate the appearance of scratches on your floor, so a quick cleaning might make for an already-noticeable improvement.

Try a home remedy

For minor scratches on hardwood floors, try mixing equal parts apple cider vinegar and olive oil or baking soda and olive oil, lightly wetting a sponge or cloth, and then gently mopping the affected area. 
Make sure not to let moisture accumulate on the floor. 

Use a blending pencil

Wood stain blending pencils and markers are designed to help reduce the noticeability of scratches in wood. You can choose from an assortment of colors to find a true match for your floors. 

Use a walnut

Even if it sounds a little unusual, rubbing a walnut can actually help buff scratches out of the wood floor, thanks to the nut’s properties as a dye and emollient. 
As you rub the walnut into the scratch, the wood can absorb its oils. After letting it sit for a few minutes, buff out the scratch with a microfiber cloth—and you might find the scratch is less easy to notice. 

Use paste wax

After you’ve buffed scratches out with a blending pencil, walnut, or another method, you can use paste or liquid wax to add a little more shine to your floors if they’ve been finished with a varnish or shellac. (However, this is not ideal for matte finishes or ultra-glossy polyurethane.)

Sand down scratches

Depending on how deep the damage is, you might be able to get scratches out of your wood floor by gently sanding it away, then re-applying stain and/or finish as needed.

Use wood stain

For deeper scratches on a floor with no finish, find a wood stain with the right shade and base (oil, water, gel, etc.) to make the damage disappear.

Use a finish restorer

For a surface with lighter scratching or scuffs, a finish restorer might be all you need to make your wood floor’s scratches less noticeable.

Use wood filler

If serious scratching in your floor has left some chips or holes that need to be filled, a wood filler paired with the right stain and/or finish could help make them look good as new.

Strip your floor and start over

Do your scratched floors have damage throughout that makes them seem like they’re beyond salvaging? You might be surprised to see how they look when they’re back to their basic, unfinished form after some stripping and sanding.
From there, you can decide how you want to refinish them to make them look brand new.
Pro Tip Proceed with caution when sanding an engineered wood floor—you want the flooring to be at least several millimeters thick since sanding will erode some of that surface. Take away necessary thickness and you could damage your floors even further.

Remove and replace severely damaged boards

Wear and tear on a lived-in home is inevitable, and damage can happen to even the most careful homeowner. That’s why when you’re first installing wood flooring, it’s often recommended that you buy more material than you need so you can swap out floorboards.
Having the original boards on hand can save a lot of time and ensure you’ll have a more perfect match. But obviously, that’s not always possible, and if you live in an older home, it’s going to be even less likely that those spare materials are still around. 
Even if you don’t have the same materials, you can likely get pretty close by shopping around at hardware stores, and using the right stain and finish after it’s installed will make all the difference, too.

Does home insurance cover damage to wood floors?

Your home insurance would only cover damage to wood floors that directly results from a named peril, which is an event like a fire, vandalism, or burst pipe. 
You’re very unlikely to file a successful claim for floor damage resulting from a pet, negligence, or normal wear and tear.

How to save money on home insurance

Removing or reducing scratches from wood floors can be time-consuming, but shopping for home and car insurance doesn’t have to be. Not with the Jerry app!
If you’ve never used Jerry before, here’s how it works: it takes less than a minute to enter your information on the app, and in an instant, you can start comparing quotes from top insurance providers. From there, you can pick the right policy for you at the right rate.
On average, Jerry users save an average of $887 per year on car insurance alone, and you could find further savings when you bundle your home and auto insurance.
Jerry blew my mind, honestly. From start to finish, using the app took me 10 minutes and I ended up with $100 of savings a month. Best of all, customer service answered all my questions about rental car reimbursement and roadside assistance.” —Savanna R. 
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FAQs

Yes, it’s possible to remove scratches from hardwood. The appropriate approach to take mostly depends on the type of finish your floors have and the severity of the scratching.
How much it costs to remove or reduce scratches on wood floors will vary widely depending on the severity of the damage. 
It’s possible that you could fix some minor scratching for less than $10 with ingredients at home, while severe damage that requires stripping and refinishing an entire floor could cost well over $1,000.

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