3 ways to remove scratches from a wooden table

These simple tricks will make your timber table look like new again.

Ever had a fairly new piece of timber furniture a decent scratch at the hands of a child being slightly too vigorous with a Matchbox car or other toy?

Or perhaps, after years of being at the centre of family get-togethers and joyful dinner parties, you’ve noticed your dining table is beginning to show signs of its age.

Luckily, removing scratches from timber is fairly easy, if you know which tricks to use. Here we run through three ways to remove and repair both surface scuffs and deep scratches from timber. One of these DIY methods even uses two ingredients you’ve probably already got sitting in your kitchen pantry!

The owners of this contemporary farmhouse in the Gold Coast hinterland paired a 30-year-old solid timber dining table with black farmhouse chairs. Making an old table look new again is easy with these three handy tricks.


1. Vinegar and Olive Oil

What you’ll need

  • 1/2 cup of vinegar

  • 1/2 cup of olive oil


  • In a bowl or cleaning bucket, combine the vinegar and olive oil.

  • Using a microfibre cloth, buff the mixture into all visible scratches.

  • Allow the oil and vinegar to soak into the scratch overnight.

  • Using a clean damp cloth, wipe away excess residue from the vinegar and oil mixture. Those pesky scratches and scuff marks should be gone!

2. Timber repair touch up markers

Convinced that the only way you’ll really be able to fix the scratches in your table is by sanding it all down and applying a new coat of varnish? Well, before you commit to that mammoth upcycling project, try giving timber repair markers a try.

Before you apply the marker, be sure to buff the table down with a microfibre cloth and rubbing alcohol to ensure a clean, residue-free surface.

Not sure how to select the right colour? The colour of some timber repair markers (like the ScratchFix by Miller) intensifies the more layers you apply. For a more custom look, however, you may want to invest in a multi-pack of timber repair markers, so you can get the match just right.

10 Pack of SEISSO Wood Furniture Touch Up Markers, $66.54, Kogan.

3. Use a spent teabag or coffee grounds

To conceal a scratch in the varnish, you can try making the scratch the same colour as the table. Brew yourself a hot cuppa and enjoy – reserving the tea bag. Place the teabag on top of the scratch and allow it to sit for 30-minutes until the wood has stained the same colour as the tea. Don’t forget to remove the teabag and thoroughly dry the surface once complete, water can cause wood to warp, and that would be an even bigger problem to fix!

You can also achieve similar results by making a thick paste made up of instant coffee and water. Like tea, coffee has the ability to stain wood, effectively concealing any scratches. Once the scratch has disappeared, wipe away the paste and dry thoroughly.

The dining room in this tranquil home in country Queensland features a table the family have owned for years.

(Credit: Photo: John Downs / Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Related stories