How to Fix Stained Wood Door Scratches

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Remove scratches from stained wood doors to make them look newer.
Remove scratches from stained wood doors to make them look newer. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

Scratches in a stained wood door detract from the beauty of a well-done wood finish and can make a home look unkempt. It is possible to fix scratches in wooden doors, but the repair technique will vary depending on the severity of the scratch and whether the stain is a penetrating stain or a surface finish, such as varnish or shellac. Some minor scratches can be buffed out with steel wool and a penetrating finish, while paste wax or a shellac stick can fill in deep scratches to make them less visible.

Things You'll Need

  • Penetrating stain or iodine
  • Steel wool
  • Paste wax (for small scratches)
  • Soft cloth
  • Electric buffer (optional)
  • Shellac stick or wax stick (for deep scratches)
  • Heat source, such as an alcohol lamp
  • Spatula or metal putty knife
  • Razor
  • 400 grit sandpaper
  • Paraffin rubbing oil

Repairing Light Scratches in Penetrating Finish

Apply some penetrating finish to the scratch. Make sure to choose a finish that matches the stain already on the door. An oil-based stain that is slightly lighter than the original stain will help the scratch blend in without darkening the wood too much in areas that end up with more than one coat of stain.

Rub the finish onto the scratched area with a fine steel wool. Alternatively, stain the scratch with iodine to help it blend in with the color of the rest of the wood.

Allow the stain to dry thoroughly, and avoid touching the repaired area until it dries.

Repairing Light Scratches With Paste Wax

Rub paste wax onto the door.

Buff the paste wax with a soft cloth. Continue buffing the wax until it fills in the scratches and hardens on the wood.

Buff the wax with an electric buffer if the scratched area is large. Buffing by hand works fine, but an electric buffer works well for people with arm and shoulder injuries or who do not have enough strength to vigorously buff the wood.

Filling Deep Scratches With Wax or Shellac

Melt the end of a wax stick or shellac stick.

Fill the scratch in with the melted wax or shellac stick. Liquid shellac will also work to fill the scratch in, but the door must first be taken off of its hinges and laid horizontally to prevent the shellac from running out of the scratch.

Heat up a metal spatula or putty knife and use it to help work the wax or shellac into the scratch and fill it completely.

Scrape off any excess wax or shellac with a razor blade.

If you used a shellac stick to fill in the scratch, sand the area with 400 grit sandpaper coated in paraffin oil.

Tips & Warnings

  • Brown crayons, shoe dye, shoe wax, brazil nuts, black walnuts and butternuts can also help dye scratches in stained wood to match the color of the rest of the wood.

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