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How to Cover Scratches on Wood Cabinets

scratched up wood

Nothing is more frustrating than discovering a scratch or nick on your wood cabinet, especially when you think about how much time and money went into them. But try as we may, scratches and nicks are inevitable after years of heavy use.

So, what do you do if you notice a scratch? In most cases, repairing your cabinets is better left to the pros to prevent further damage. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do some simple, DIY repairs.

In this article, we’ll go over the following at-home solutions for repairing nicks and scratches:

Before doing any at-home repairs, be sure to assess the extent of the damage and make sure you feel comfortable handling the repairs. Keep in mind, there are many different types of cabinets, wood, and finishes that require different techniques.

That being said, these methods have proven effective for many bothersome blemishes, dents, scratches, and more.

If your cabinets are just beyond repair or you’re tired of trying to hide blemishes, it could be time to upgrade your cabinets. Schedule an appointment online or by calling us at (480) 641-9611. Our experts will give you a no-obligation quote to reface, refinish, or remodel your cabinets.

Solution #1: Touch-up markers

Cabinet and wood furniture touch-up markers can be found online and at most hardware stores and are probably the quickest and easiest method for covering light scratches. Just find a touch-up marker with a color that closely resembles the color of your wood or wood stain, apply it to the scratch, and then wipe the area with a soft rag to remove any excess marker from the cabinet.

You can typically find entire packs of effective, easy-to-use touch-up markers for less than $10, so keeping some on-hand is a great idea (should you ever need them).

Solution #2: Covering with color

If you have a light scratch that’s visible to the eye, but you can’t feel when you run your finger over it - you’re in luck. It’s very easy to repair these types of scratches with items you may already have around your house.

Try rubbing the meat of a nut (such as walnut or pecan) over the scratch. The nut’s oil helps darken the wood and will help eliminate the scratch.

For deeper scratches, you’ll need a product that colors and fills the scratch. Crayons are a great tool for these types of scratches and nicks. Simply choose a color that most closely matches the color of your cabinets and rub it into the scratch, using a credit card to remove any excess. You can finish this process by polishing the wood to give it a glossy shine.

Solution #3: Applying new stain

This classic method isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s a great way to fix those deeper scratches that touch-up markers and walnuts can’t handle.

You’ll need sandpaper and an appropriate stain that matches the color of your cabinet. First, you’ll need to sand down the scratched area of wood. After sanding, you’ll apply the stain to your cabinet and wipe away any excess stain with a soft rag. Then, let it dry. Once your cabinet is completely dry, it’s a good idea to apply a final coat of polyurethane over the treated area to protect and complete the stain.

Pro tip: Staining cabinets can be a tricky task for those without experience. If you’re interested in having your cabinets stained by an experienced professional, give us a call at (480) 641-9611.

Solution #4: Repairing dents in wood cabinets with heat

Obviously, deep scratches and dents aren’t as easy to repair as light scratches. But if you happen to have wood cabinets, there is a method to try and repair a dent at home.

Wood is a natural, porous material and responds to moisture. So the quickest, and easiest solution is to just apply moisture to the dented area. Here are some steps you can try:

  1. Grab a thick, white towel.
  2. Wet it and ring it out.
  3. Place the wet towel over the dent.
  4. Use a hot iron and run it continuously over the dent for 30 seconds. Pro tip: keep moving the cloth to a new, damp spot and repeat the process with the iron.
  5. Wait 24 hours. If the dent is still there, repeat.

Cabinets beyond repair? Need an inexpensive solution? 

At Cabinet Coatings, we have a variety of budget-friendly options available for cabinet repairs and upgrades. If you’re ready to get started on your cabinet repairs, contact us online or call us at (480) 641-9611 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tim Statezny