Hiding Ugly Scratches on Furniture

Monday, I was playing with the mantel in the family room, creating a fall mantel seen here: Fall Mantel.

Decorating the fireplace mantel for fall


I looked over and noticed a few scratches on the armoire in the corner.

Family Room with Judges Paneling


Do you see the little dents/scratches in this pic below?

Hiding Scratches on Wood Furniture


Over the years, this armoire has accumulated small scratches from everyday use.

Hiding Scratches on Wood Furniture


I thought I’d share a few products I’ve found that work well to help hide the boo boos that inevitably happen over the years.  By the way, I was not paid or perked in any way to share these products…just sharing them in case you find them helpful.

Hiding Scratches on Wood Furniture


The product I use most often for a quick touch-up of a scratch on wood furniture is Wood Finish Stain Markers by Minwax.  I found these at Home Depot.  I love Minwax products and use them a lot.  In fact, I noticed when the hardwood flooring guys installed my office flooring HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.   Minwax stain was the stain they used to match my exisiting hardwood flooring.

Hiding Scratches on Wood Furniture


After I bought the markers, I wanted a quick way to tell which one I should use each time I needed to touch up a scratch.  I found, even though a chest or table might be made of mahogany, sometimes the best marker to use wasn’t always the “mahogany” marker.  Sometime the “Dark Walnut” or the “Early American” marker was a better match.  It just depends on how the piece was stained and how the wood has aged over the years.

So, I created this little reference sheet to carry to the piece I’m about to touch up.  Not very high tech, but it works. πŸ™‚  I just put a few marks/samples of each stain onto a piece of notebook paper and I store this paper in the same place I keep the markers.  Each time I need to touch something up, I just carry the paper over to the piece of furniture to pick the best marker for the job.

Hiding Scratches on Wood Furniture


I used “Red Mahogany” to touch up the armoire and here’s how it looked afterwards.

Hiding Scratches on Wood Furniture




After:  Those shiny areas you see off to the right are not scratches.  They are just the reflection of the lamp on the table nearby.

Hiding Scratches on Wood Furniture


If you have larger areas to touch up…too much for a marker, you can use Howard’s Restor-A-Finish.  It also comes in several stain colors.  Be sure to test it out on a inconspicuous area before applying it…just to make sure it gives you the finish/color you need.

Hiding Scratches on Wood Furniture


My very favorite furniture polish is The Original Bee’s Wax.  It protects your furniture but doesn’t leave a wax build-up.  I used to buy this at a local antique store but they recently closed, so I’ll have to find a new place to purchase it.  Fortunately, I have two cans right now, so I’m good to go for a while.  Update:  Just Googled and apparently,The Original Bee’s Wax can be ordered online.

Hiding Scratches on Wood Furniture


I use my son’s old cloth diapers to apply furniture polish.  They also come in handy for polishing silver.  He’s gonna shoot me if he sees this post. πŸ˜‰  Someone told me years ago, cloth diapers make great dusting/cleaning cloths when your kids grow out of them.  So I saved them and 28 years later, they are still working great.  Talk about durable! Guess they last so well because they are made to go through a million washings.


Now, I need your suggestions.  I was noticing yesterday, the wood walls of my family room are looking pretty dry.  I haven’t rubbed them down with polish/oil in several years, so it’s time.

Family Room with Judges Paneling


I’ve used Old English Lemon Oil in the past.  It worked great, but I would like to know if you have a product you recommend for judges paneling?

Caring for Judges Paneling


Or, do you have a favorite touch-up product for case pieces/wood furniture?  How about a favorite furniture polish?  I hear Guardsman is an excellent furniture polish, but I’ve never tried it before.  Have you used it?  What are your favorite furniture care products?

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  1. Richard Cottrell says

    I love those pens, I used them all the time when I had my high end antique shop in St.Louis. They are the bomb.Richard from My Old Historic House.

  2. Denise at Forest Manor says

    Hi Susan,

    My Mom used cloth diapers as dustcloths for years, and I have used them my whole married life. They are great. If you're really in a hurry, and don't need to polish, I really like the Swiffer dusters. They do a good job. I have also used the markers, but I used the ones made by Guardsman furniture polish. I might have to give the Min Wax ones a try. Thanks for the tips.



  3. Olive Cooper says

    I also use the pen and love the Bee's Wax which I recently found at a lamp shop in Augusta, Ga. I use Murphy's oil soap on a lot of wood surfaces too. It cleans and polishes. I know a lot of churches use it to polish pews.

  4. We use those markers, too, Susan.

    And, we use Homer Formby's lemon oil.

  5. If you have black furniture that needs touching up just use a permanent marker. Dab it on and give it a swipe with a paper towel to remove the excess.

  6. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Anonymous, thanks for the tip for black furniture…great idea!

  7. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Appreciate all the suggestions…keep 'em coming! Olive, I used to use the Murphy Oil Soap on my kitchen cabinets.

  8. Linda@boydstreetbungalow says

    The wood in your family room is just beautiful. I don't have any paneling in my home but my Mom always used Scott's Liquid Gold. I also love Murphy's Oil Soap. Good luck and happy cleaning! πŸ™‚

  9. Pam@OurAdventuresInHomeImprovement says

    My Mom loved using diapers as dusting cloths too. One Christmas after our son was born, I wrapped up a bunch of new diapers for her. She was very happy. πŸ™‚ And yes, we did give her other gifts.

    I use the Old English Oil for the wood in my house and love how it works. I'm eager to hear what other commenters say in case there's something that works even better.

    Have a great day!
    p.s. Your armoire looks great!

  10. I use those pens too and love them, Susan. Thanks for sharing the other products. Your family room is beautiful!..Christine

  11. Good information Susan! I've used furniture pens before but don't remember the make. Usually for polish I use either Weiman's or (should I say…) Pledge. We have scratches on our first bedroom set made by our dog oh so many years ago. I don't cover them up because it's a nice memory of a wonderful pet.

    Your family room is just beautiful. I love everything in it…the furniture, the lamps, the pictures on the walls…and the wood paneling too.

  12. Don't know how anyone can live without these products … use them all. Nothing like a good old diaper for dusting, actually EVERYTHING!

    Your cabinet has gorgeous woods.

    Have a great week ~
    TTFN ~

  13. My favorite for deep cleaning furniture or paneling is Old English Lemon Oil. For those who aren't familiar with this product…..it needs to be wiped dry before sitting on chairs. It will stain nice wool pants and skirts. I am definitely going to try your Bee's Wax, Susan. And I'm still using my babies' old cloth diapers and they are 47 & 40. The secret is to let the polish build up in the cloth. Keep it in a plastic bag and don't wash it til you absolutely, positively have to. This past summer I found two at a thrift shop and was so excited the gal with me thought I had found a treasure……..well, I did!

  14. Back in the Navy days we had to pass inspections to check out of our military housing. Everyone learned to use diapers to wash walls because the towels wouldn't leave marks or lint behind.

  15. have used restore a finish for yeas and love it. It's the best to remove white rings from your table. Follow up with their Feed 'n' Wax for the most beau
    tiful patina.

  16. Glenda/MidSouth says

    Love those pens! I have covered up a lot of nicks and dings with them. I have never had to deal with an area as large as a wall, but have used lemon or orange oil products on furniture – think I have Old English in my cabinet now. Looks like some of the others have some good ideas.

  17. Cass @ That Old House says

    Hi Susan, great post. Those pens work wonders. In a real pinch, you can also use regular crayons — like Crayola. Match the wood to a crayon, fill in the nick with the wax (just crayon over it) and then polish up with a diaper!
    works quite well.

  18. Alycia Nichols says

    At least I know I'm not the only one who still has cloth diapers around the house…even though "the baby" is nearly 34 years old!!! πŸ™‚

  19. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Alycia, I never dreamed they would last this long! Amazing!

  20. Happy Cottage Quilter says

    Guardsman Wax Free Furniture Polish is the best polish that I've found. The man we bought our bedroom furniture from told us about it. Other polishes have left ghost shadows, but Guardsman does not.

    Jocelyn @

  21. Alison @ The Polohouse says

    I am smiling as I read this, bc if only there was blogging when we bought our house nine years ago!
    We have lots of cedar paneling and it was dry. I bought several cans of Cabinet Magic, recommended by a local hardware store guy, and sprayed it and wiped down several rooms of the dry paneling.

    The fumes were something else!
    I was so sick for two days, extreme nausea from the crazy fumes!

    In the meantime, I found Lemon Oil works great, and also this beeswax product called Feed n Wax…. awesome stuff!

    Great post! LOVE your family room. OMG, just gorgeous.

  22. I love Howard's Feed & Wax. It's resurrected several pieces of dry furniture for me for very little cost. I also use a diaper to apply it!

  23. Divine Theatre says

    I cannot GET OVER how organized you are! LOL! Such a foreign notion!

  24. Susan, At our furniture store, we use Mohawk products to do touch-ups and fill-ins when there are little "boo-boo's" in the wood. Unfortunately, these are not available to the retail public. We feel that they are much more superior than the Minwax pens. Same goes for their wax crayons- they melt easier, so they fill in deeper knicks. I like to use Homer Formby products to clean and re-fresh my wood at home. His lemon oil isn't as greasy as the kind you buy in the grocery store. I have used diapers to clean and polish everything for 30 years! I still buy cloth diapers, even though the kind I like to use can be hard to find. I don't like the ones with the heavy padding in the middle. They're good for babies, but not for cleaning- too bulky~ LOL

  25. Oh, I'm sorry that I got to the party late! My dining table has the same finish as your armoire, but it has fine-to-moderate scratches all over it from years of use. They aren't deep enough to need a pen, just fine scratches that have dulled the finish and show when the light hits it just right.

    I've heard of Briwax and 0000 steel wool to fix this problem, but I'd love to know if anyone else has had experience with this product.

  26. Thanks for all the tips and the various products that you use! I love to hear what works for you and your readers!

    I don't think I have any diapers left from my 25 year old baby! I use yellow duster cloths. I use old English polish and oil but I will try your bee's wax polish.

    Great post!
    From Virginia

  27. Beautiful firescreen! Where did you get it? Thanks for the info.

  28. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    I've had those firescreens so many years, it's hard to remember. The green topiary one came from a small decorating store that has long since gone out of business. Oh, I remember now…the cardinal screen saver came from A Classy Flea…a antique/thrift type store in Marietta, GA. I wonder if you can find them on eBay?

  29. Just found this blog & love it! I used Milsek Furniture Polish. It has been around since early 1900’s & has a consistency similar to the oils but leaves a very nice finish, not oily & repels dust better than most.

  30. I have so many pieces of wooden furniture that has been scratched over the years… thanks for the tips!

  31. I buy sack cloth dish towels for my dishes and when start to get dingy I use them for cleaning and dusting furniture. They are large and soft like diapers and are easier to find.

  32. I ordered the Bees Wax from Amazon. $20 a can. Homer Formby Lemon Oil is a nice product. I remember growing up, we had a house full of Maple furniture. I hated when it was time to lemon oil the furniture. LOL

  33. Elizabeth says

    Milsek is my favorite also. So many have such miserable, lingering odors..not the case here

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