How can I Fix Marks on Stained Wood Furniture?

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  • Written By: Dana Hinders
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2019
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There are a variety of solutions for camouflaging scratches, nicks, dents, and other minor damage to stained wood furniture. It may take a bit of trial and error to find a method that works for your needs, but it’s a wise investment of your time if you are able to avoid purchasing an entirely new piece of furniture for your home. Wax or iodine can be used to fill in nicks and scratches, while the oil from a nut can closely match the color of many light woods. Water rings can often be removed mayonnaise or toothpaste, while wax or gum can usually be frozen and broken off.

For a quick and inexpensive way to fix common furniture problems, raid your child’s crayon box. Look for a color that closely matches the finish of your furniture, then melt the crayon in the microwave or over your stove. Rub the wax into the mark and follow it with a coat of furniture polish.

Iodine, commonly found in pharmacies and drug stores, can also be used to hide small scratches in wood furniture with a cherry finish. Rub it gently into the scratch with a soft cloth and let it air dry. Repeat as necessary until you’ve reached an appropriate color match.


For light colored furniture, rub the surface with a cut walnut or Brazil nut. The nut’s natural oils should be a fairly close match to the original wood stain. Tan or natural colored shoe polish also works well for camouflaging imperfections in stained wood furniture with a light colored finish.

Water rings can be treated with mayonnaise or white toothpaste. Simply rub with a soft cloth until the mark is removed and follow this with a fresh coat of wax. This home remedy works well because the ring is typically a sign of damage in the wax and not the actual finish of the wood.

If someone has spilled wax or gum on your furniture, try to harden the substance by briefly holding an ice cube wrapped in cloth against the surface. Use a plastic credit card to remove the debris and carefully rub the area with extra fine steel wool and mineral spirits. When the surface is dry, add a fresh coat of polish or wax to keep your furniture looking like new.

Although it’s smart to keep hot objects away from your stained wood furniture, you can remove heat marks by rubbing along the grain of the finish with a dry steel wool soap pad. For cigarette burns, try using a paste of linseed oil and rottenstone to remove the mark.


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Post 5

Try using a steam iron. Place a towel over the mark and iron. Remember to wipe condensation off the wood straight away and don't do it for too long. This worked for me.

Robert Donellan
Post 4

I have the same problem with the white cloud on my table. The mayo was not the solution. Please help!

Post 2

How can I lighten or more importantly remove sharpie markings on cherry wood?

Post 1

How can i remove the white cloud, that is left no the table. I've used the mayo trick, but the cloud is still there.

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