How to Fix Deep Scratches in Wood

If your wood furniture has a deep scratch or an unsightly gouge, repair it by filling it in. Wax filler sticks are the most inexpensive option and work best on narrow scratches. Wax filler putty is a better option for covering and blending wider gouges. Another option to try is wax-based paint, which is a creative way to mask scratches in inconspicuous spots. After blending the filler material and sanding it down, you may even forget where the wood had a scratch.

EditUsing Wax Filler Sticks
Rub a wax wood filler stick over the crack. These filler sticks are often sold in the shape of crayons, so essentially you get to color in the wood. Choose a color that most closely matches the wood’s shade. Continue rubbing the stick back and forth until the entire crack is filled in.[1]
Some other options are stain markers and blending pencils. All of these products are often available at home improvement stores.[2]

Blend the filler in by rubbing it with your finger. Move your finger around the edges of the crack, being careful not to remove too much of the filler inside the scratch. Smooth out the filler along the crack’s edges. Get it as level with the surrounding wood as possible.[3]
Don’t worry about spreading the filler material past the crack. It is easy to remove as long as it doesn’t have time to dry. Instead, make sure the scratch looks well-hidden.

Wipe away the excess filler with a dry rag. Using a clean cloth, scrub around the edges of the scratch. Remove any filler material that spilled over the scratch or elsewhere on the wood. Wipe along the wood’s grain as much as possible to reduce the possibility of adding new scratches. Be careful not to disturb the material in the scratch.[4]
An easy way to level the filler material and get all the excess is with a solid edge, like a credit card. Hold the card vertically against the wood, then drag it across the scratch. Use a rag to pick up the filler.

If the filler begins to dry before you clean it all up, dampen a rag with mineral spirits. Make sure the rag isn’t dripping, then scrub along the wood’s grain over the excess wax.

Let the filler material dry for 30 minutes. Make sure no one comes along and smudges it. Once the filler sets, it will feel hard to the touch. Check the scratch again and add more filler if needed to improve it.[5]

EditApplying Wax Filler Putty
Spread a pre-colored latex wood filler in the scratch. For deep scratches and gouges, choose a filler that is the same color as the wood you wish to repair. Pick up some of the filler with a putty knife, then spread it by brushing the knife along the inside part of the scratch. Continue adding more filler material until the scratch is filled. Hold the knife horizontally and move it across the crack to level out the filler.[6]
To avoid scratching the wood, use a plastic knife instead of a metal one.

Latex wood filler is similar to traditional wood putty, but it holds shape in deep scratches more efficiently. Get some online or at a home improvement store.

Another option is to use a similarly-colored wood stain. Dip a rag or paint brush into the stain, then spread it along the inside of the scratch. Continue adding more until the scratch is filled. Scrape off and sand down the excess as usual.

Scrape off the excess filler with a putty knife. Remove as much of the excess filler as you can before it dries. To do this, hold the putty knife at a 45-degree angle. While pressing it lightly against the wood, drag it across the scratch. Do this in a few different directions to smooth out the scratched area.[7]
If you don’t have a plastic putty knife available, try using a solid, blunt edge like a credit card. Hold it vertically and drag the edge across the scratch.

Dry the filler for at least 30 minutes. Make sure no one touches the filler during this time. Once it dries, it will feel hard to the touch.[8]

Rub the filler with 180-grit sandpaper to blend it into the wood. Press the sandpaper very lightly against the crack. Be very careful to avoid scratching the wood further. Rub the sandpaper back and forth along the wood’s grain, enough to rough up the filled-in area and make it look more natural.[9]
Use sandpaper rated 180-grit or higher for finishing. Using anything lower is likely to lead to more deep scratches for you to fix.

Wipe off the excess filler with a damp cloth. Moisten the cloth in lukewarm water, but make sure it isn’t soaked. Squeeze out excess moisture before using it on the wood. Then, lightly rub it against the wood. Remove any filler around the borders of the scratch to help blend the spot in.
Remember to clean up any areas with spilled filler as well.[10]

Finish the wood with polyurethane or another sealant. Choose the same sealant used on the surrounding wood, if possible. Dip a rag into the sealant, then spread it over the scratch in an even layer. Let it dry for 2 hours, then add a second coating of sealant as needed.[11]
If you don’t know what kind of sealant is on the wood, use varnish. Thin it out with 10% to 20% turpentine before adding it to the scratched area.[12]

EditUsing Wax Paints
Sand the edges of the scratch flat with 180-grit sandpaper. Press the sandpaper lightly against the table and move it back and forth along the grain. Avoid sanding the areas outside of the scratch. When you’re done, test the edges by touching them. Make sure they feel smooth and look level with the rest of the table.[13]
Use only sandpaper rated 180-grit or higher. Coarse sandpaper is very abrasive and may significantly scratch up the wood.

Clean the wood with a microfiber cloth and warm water. Dampen the cloth and squeeze out excess moisture to make sure it doesn’t drip all over the wood. Wipe the cloth along the wood’s grain, removing dirt, sawdust, and other debris. Dry it off with another clean cloth as needed.[14]
For extra cleaning power, mix of liquid dish detergent into some water. Any non-abrasive dish detergent works well here.

Fill the bottom of the scratch with a lacquer brush pen. Choose a pen color similar to the wood. Then, use the pen to add a little bit of color to the bottom of the scratch. The lacquer brush pen, along with similar products, forms a base color for the paint. It also ensures the paint doesn’t dry out prematurely.[15]
The lacquer products sold in pen form are easiest to use since you use them like regular markers. Some others are sold in a liquid form in canisters. Use a paint brush to coat the bottom of the scratch.

Some alternative products are sold as color edging pens or color touch-up markers. They’re all used the same way, so focus on matching the wood’s color.

Mix wax paint together to match the base shade of the wood. Wax paint comes in a variety of colors, and you usually need both light and dark shades of brown to match the wood perfectly. Set out a palette, then open the paints starting with the lightest color available. Drip a little of each paint onto the palette and blend them together with a palette knife.
If your wood consists of a few different shades, match the paint to the lightest one.

Wax paint is often sold in stick form, which melts when held over heat like a candle or lighter flame. The paint itself is often available at craft stores in addition to some home improvement stores and online.

For an alternative to wax paint, try oil-based or acrylic paint.

Spread the paint in the scratch with a palette knife. Use the knife to scoop up the paint and move it to the scratch. Add more of the mixed paint until the entire crack is filled. The paint may flow over the edge of the crack, but it isn’t a problem.[16]
Check the paint as you work to make sure it matches the table. Adjust it with lighter and darker shades of paint as needed to perfect it.

Smooth the painted area with 180-grit sandpaper. Start sanding before the paint has a chance to dry, since it will be much easier to remove. Rub the sandpaper around the edges of the scratch, moving along the wood’s grain. Press lightly to avoid scratching the table further. Carefully blend the scratch’s edges and remove any paint outside of the scratch.[17]

Adjust the paint coating with more coloring until it blends into the wood. Check the paint one last time and add more color as needed to finish it. Most of the time, you will need to add a little bit more of a dark shade of paint to achieve the right color. Sand the area smooth again as needed.[18]
Also, use the paint to match any marks in the wood. Many pieces aren’t a consistent color. For example, add a little dark brown or black to complete darker streaks a lot of wood has.

Protect the area with a lacquer spray or another sealant. Lacquer sealant comes in a canister, similar to spray paint. Hold the nozzle about above the wood. Starting on 1 end of the scratch, spray over it at a slow, steady pace. You do not need to wait for the paint to dry before doing this. The lacquer coating will be clear, but it will protect the painted area from damage.[19]
For other types of sealant, including polyurethane, wait a day for the paint to dry. Then, use a rag to spread a thin, even layer of sealant over the entire scratch. Let it rest for 2 hours before adding another coat.

Check the wood carefully before you begin treating it. Sometimes the scratch may look deeper than it is. If the wood has a sealant on it, the scratch may not even reach the wood.

To remove wax buildup on the table, dampen a rag with mineral spirits or a little bit of vinegar. Make sure the rag isn’t dripping, then use it to clean out the scratch. Any leftover wax may prevent the filler material from curing correctly.

Always apply a sealant or lacquer after fixing a scratch. It protects both wood and filler material from damage.

EditThings You’ll Need
EditUsing Wax Filler Sticks
Wax filler stick


EditApplying Wax Filler Putty
Latex wood filler

Putty knife

180-grit sandpaper



Polyurethane or alternative sealant

EditUsing Wax Paints
Wax paints


Palette knife

Pre-color damage substrate

180-grit sandpaper

Lacquer spray or alternative sealant

EditSources and Citations
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Today in History for 23rd December 2018

Historical Events

962 – Byzantine-Arab Wars: Under the future Emperor Nicephorus Phocas, Byzantine troops stormed city of Aleppo, recovering the tattered tunic of John the Baptist
1482 – The Peace of Atrecht (now Arras) concluded between Louis XI of France and Maximilian of Austria, ending the War of the Burgundian Succession
1751 – France sets plan to tax clergymen
1832 – Dutch troops in Antwerp surrender
1940 – John Van Druten’s “Old Acquaintance” premieres in NYC
1962 – Cuba starts returning US prisoners from Bay of Pigs invasion

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1923 – Milt Okun, American music producer and arranger (John Denver, Peter, Paul and Mary), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2016)
1924 – Floyd Kalber, American television journalist and anchorman (NBC Weekend News Anchor-1973), born in Omaha, Nebraska (d. 2004)
1971 – Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, British socialite, born in Hampshire (d. 2017)
1974 – Agustín Delgado, Ecuadorian footballer, born in Ambuquí, Ecuador
1977 – Jari Mäenpää, Finnish guitarist and singer, born in Finland
1978 – Víctor Martínez, Venezuelan baseball player, born in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1568 – Roger Ascham, tutor of Elizabeth I of England
1744 – Élisabeth Charlotte d’Orléans, Duchess of Lorraine, dies at 68
1946 – John A. Sampson, American gynecologist (b. 1873)
1967 – Ruth Fuller Sasaki, American Zen teacher (1st Zen Institute of America), dies at 75
1984 – Joan Lindsay, Australian author (b. 1896)
2013 – Mikhail Kalashnikov, Russian general and inventor of the AK-47, dies at 94

More Famous Deaths »

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How to Clean Contact Lenses

Contact lenses are a convenient way to correct your vision without having to wear glasses. When you wear contact lenses, it’s easy to forget that they’re medical devices that must be treated with care. It’s important that you clean your lenses after each wear, as well as any time they fall out or become dirty. Whether you’re wearing disposable or rigid contacts, you’ll need to remove, rub, and store your contacts properly, as well as follow precautions to keep them clean.

EditRemoving Contact Lenses
Wash and dry your hands using a mild soap. Your hands can introduce bacteria and germs to your lenses, which can cause an infection. Additionally, lotions and substances on your hands can irritate your eyes. Always cleanse your hands in warm water using soap.[1]
Use a lint free towel to dry your hands.

Open one side of your contact lens case. It’s best to only open one side of your case at a time. This limits your risk of mixing up your contacts.[2]
Make a habit of taking out your lenses in the same order each night.

If you are using an upright case for rigid contacts, unscrew the top and remove the lens holder. Open one side of the lens holder at a time.[3]

Remove one contact lens from your eye with your finger pad. Gently touch the lens and drag it down to the bottom of your eye. Then, pull the lens away from your eye.[4]
Some people who wear rigid contacts use a suction cup to remove them. If you use this method, make sure your suction cup is positioned directly over your contact. After each use, rinse your suction cup with contact lens solution.[5]

Check the lens for any damage. Since lenses are soft, it’s easy for them to get torn, especially around the edges. Not only will this make your lenses feel uncomfortable, it also allows bacteria to collect in the damaged spot. During your inspection, look for visible dirty spots, as well.[6]
For example, you might see a mascara streak on your contact. This is a visible dirty spot that can likely be cleaned away with extra rubbing. On the other hand, a tiny tear on the edge is damage that can’t be corrected.

If your contact is torn or otherwise damaged, throw it away.

EditRubbing Your Contact Lenses Clean
Place your contact lens in the palm of your hand. Gently place it in your hand. The part of the lens that touches your eye should be face up.[7]
Your lens should look like a bowl.

Spray contact solution on the lens. Make sure the solution gets on both sides of the lens. Allow some of the solution to drain away before you continue cleaning the lens.[8]
If you’re wearing rigid contact lenses, make sure you purchase contact solution specifically formulated for these lenses. Read the label thoroughly. Ask your doctor which solution is best for you.

Always use contact solution to clean your lenses. Never, ever use water or saliva to clean your lenses. This can cause a serious infection.[9]
Do not attempt to clean daily contacts, which are only meant to be worn once. You should throw these away, as wearing them more than once increases your risk of infection.

Use the pad of your finger to gently rub your contact lens. Lightly move the lens back and forth on your palm. There should be contact solution both on your hand and on the lens.[10]
Some solutions are labeled as “no-rub” solutions. However, rubbing always gets your lenses cleaner, so it’s best to do it regardless of which solution brand you use.

If your lens is very dirty, you might flip it over and rub both sides.

Rinse the lens once more before putting it in your case. Spray the lens with contact solution to remove any remaining grime. Make sure the solution treats both sides of the lens.[11]
If you see any visible dirt or grime left on the lens, repeat these steps to try to clean the lens. If you cannot get the lens clean, discard it.

You can follow the same steps to clean your lens after it falls out or feels dirty, as long as you only use saline solution. Instead of putting your lens away, put it back in your eye.

EditStoring Your Lenses
Place the lens in the appropriate side of your contact lens case. It’s important to keep your lenses separate. It’s likely that your prescription differs in each eye. Even if they’re the same, however, mixing up your lenses could lead to an infection.[12]

Fill the case with fresh contact solution. Make sure the lens is fully covered. Your case should be filled to just below the rim on each side.[13]
Again, only use contact solution on your contacts. Never use plain water!

Soak your lenses overnight if you’re wearing rigid contact lenses. Rigid contact lenses need more soaking time between uses than disposable lenses. It’s important that you leave them in the case overnight, or at least 6 hours. This gives the solution time to disinfect your lenses.[14]
Keep in mind that some contact solutions made for rigid contacts can irritate your eye if they don’t sit out for the correct amount of time. That’s because it’s a disinfecting solution rather than a saline solution. It will neutralize over the required 6 hours.[15]

EditKeeping Your Lenses Clean
Change your lenses out as recommended by your doctor. Disposable lenses are only meant to be worn for so long, whether it’s a day, week, two weeks, or a month. Always follow your doctor’s advice on how often to switch out your contact lenses.[16]
The label on your box should also say how often the lenses must be changed.

Disposable lenses can rarely be worn for longer than 1 month.

If you wear rigid contacts, ask your doctor when you should purchase another pair. With proper cleaning, rigid contacts can last a year or longer.

Refill your contact lens case with fresh solution each time. Do not simply top off the lens case. Reusing solution increases your risk of developing an infection. Old solution does not properly clean your lens and can even become dirty.[17]
Dump out the solution in your case after you put your contacts on each day. Do not save it for later.

Sterilize your case every day using contact solution. Unscrew each of the case lids and set them aside. Spray the solution over your case on both sides. Then, rinse the lids. Allow each piece to air dry.[18]
Before letting your case dry, pour out all of the rinsing solution from the lens storage area. You might also let it dry upside down for a few minutes to completely drain away the solution.

Switch to a new case every 3 months, or as recommended. Your contact lens case can accumulate bacteria and germs. This can contaminate your lenses. Be sure to change it out on schedule to keep your lenses clean.[19]
As an alternative to getting a new case, you can sterilize your case by boiling it at least once every 3 months.[20]

Avoid exposing your contacts to water. Wearing your contact lenses while swimming, showering, or bathing can allow water to come in contact with your lenses. Although your lenses might not seem “dirty,” water can contaminate your lenses and possibly cause an infection. It’s best to remove your lenses before entering water.[21]
Wear your glasses while you’re in a body of water.

Wear goggles to protect your eyes while swimming. Make sure they don’t leak so your lenses aren’t compromised.

Soft contact lenses can flip inside out. If necessary, flip the lens into the right position before inserting onto your eye.

Even if your contacts are safe to wear overnight, it’s best to take them out until morning. This will reduce the amount of waste buildup on the contact, and lower the risk of eye irritation.

Always remove your contacts before going to sleep, unless your doctor approves sleeping in your contacts.[22]
If the contact solution you purchase is bothering your eyes, try another brand. Each brand has its own formula, so you might find another brands works best for you. You might even ask your doctor for samples and advice.

Throw out disposable contacts if they dry out. If you’re wearing rigid contacts, you can try soaking them for at least 4 hours to see if the contacts become moist again.[23]
Contacts are incredibly delicate and sensitive to your skin oil. Do not touch your face in between washing your hands and handling the contacts.

Only use a solution specifically made for contact lenses.

Soft contact lenses are very fragile. Be careful not to rip them during this cleaning process.

If your contacts continue to irritate your eyes after you clean them, don’t wear them. Instead, make an appointment with your doctor and take the contacts in with you. In the meantime, wear your backup glasses.[24]
Check your contact solution often to make sure it isn’t expired. You might even write the expiration date in big numbers on your container using a magic marker. Never use expired solution, as it won’t be as effective.

EditRelated wikiHows
Care for Contact Lenses

Take out Hard Contacts

Get Colored Contacts to Change Your Eye Color

Tell If a Soft Contact Lens Is Inside Out

EditSources and Citations
EditQuick Summary
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