how to remove dog scratches from wood furniture and floors

It’s easy to get used to the daily wear and tear caused by our pets. Then, adding a new piece of furniture, preparing for a spring cleaning, or getting ready to move shines a spotlight on all those scratches on the floor and furnishings. 

Fortunately, repairing or removing dog scratches from wood flooring and furniture is a DIY task you can do over a day or weekend (depending on the scope of the damage).  

Remove Dog Scratches From Wood Furniture 

Wood is beautiful, but it’s easily scratched unless it’s a laminate product or it has a super, high-quality finish. 

Some scratches barely affect the finish and are very easy to remove, others (like the ones caused by cat kneading or a dog who loves to run and slide in a particular section of a hallway) are deeper, and require a more focused approach. 

Minimal scratching 

If the scratches are fairly minimal, and you don’t have things like wood stain on hand, you can try a simple fix or two using basic household products: 

  • Olive oil and vinegar. Try mixing ¾ cup of olive oil with ¼ cup of vinegar. Apply it with a clean rag. 
  • Oil and lemon juice. Similarly, you can mix equal parts of fresh-squeezed lemon juice (not the stuff you buy in the store that says it’s fresh) with cooking oil of your choice. Apply with a microfiber rag and wipe excess from around the scratch. 
  • Shelled walnuts. Nuts are oily and leave a thick residue behind, so some people find that rubbing a shelled walnut in the scratch does enough to mask minor scratching or scuffing. 
  • Black tea. Tea has been used to stain things various shades of brown or to make things look aged for centuries. Heat up a few tablespoons of water and steep a teabag in it, squeezing out the dark tea from the bag. Dip a cotton swab in the dark tea and run it along the scratch – playing with tea strength to better match the shade of the wood stain. 

Minor but notable scratches in the finish 

Once you’ve cleaned the floor or furniture, inspect it for minor scratches. For this task, you’ll need:

  • A soft clean rag 
  • Wood cleaner 
  • A wood finish repair pen or stick (you can also use a pigmented wood polish if you have it) that is a close match for your floor/furniture 
  • Shellac or polyurethane (for glossy wood)
  • A brush to apply the shellac, if necessary 

Stain requires a smooth surface to adhere to the wood. Use your rag and follow your wood cleaner’s instructions to thoroughly clean the area around the scratches and the interior of the scratches to remove all of the dirt and debris. 

Once the area is dry, apply the wood finish repair pen or use another rag to apply the pigmented polish. Only apply a single coat, let it dry, and evaluate. It’s easier to add more stain if needed than it is to remove too much stain. If you need another coat, add it.  

If your floor or furniture is glossy, use the brush to add a coat of shellac and let it dry. You can add another coat if needed to match the original finish. 

Major scratches or gouges 

If the scratches or dings caused by your beloved furry friend(s) are more drastic, you’ll need all of the items listed above, as well as:

  • Wood filler 
  • Putty knife 
  • Fine-grained sandpaper 
  • Wood stain that closely  matches the floor/furniture’s finish 

All of the above are available at your local hardware store. 

Instructions to remove dog scratches: 

  • First, clean the area around the scratch, as well as the interior of the scratch, to remove all of the dirt and debris. You want the repair materials to make direct contact with the wood, or else they can slough right off. 
  • Read the directions on your wood filler. Most require about an hour to set; some take longer. Use the putty knife to apply the wood filler to the scratch, working gently with the putty knife tip. Softly scrape the putty knife over the scratch so it’s filled in, but the surface is flush with the surrounding finish. 
  • When the filler is completely dry, use the sandpaper to gently smooth the wood filler at the surface of the scratch. 
  • If you have one, you can try to go over the wood filler/scratch with a wood finish pen. Sometimes that works. Otherwise, you’ll need to use a dry rag and apply a matching stain. 
  • Let the stain product dry (set) as per the directions.  
  • If the finish is glossy, use a brush to apply a coat or two of shellac. 

Once you’ve refilled the scratches on the floor and furniture, things will look new.

Save Yourself Some Time

Do you need help packing up and getting ready for the move, so you have time to perform the basic cleanup and repairs necessary to get your deposit back? Contact us here at Jay’s Moves, where we make moving easy.