How to Fix Scratches on Wood Door (And 6 Quick Alternatives)


Whether it’s from your pets, your kids, or just general wear and tear, a scratch in your wooden door can be an unsightly thing. Luckily, there are ways to fix these scratches. Of course, it will depend on how badly the door is scratched.

To fix scratches on wood doors, you’ll sand down the scratch, clean the area, fill in the scratches with wood filler, sand it down again, and then paint or stain the area. If you don’t have the supplies, there are quick fixes for lightly scratched doors, such as rubbing them with a walnut.

The method below is the best way to ensure that the door is completely fixed. It works on both lightly scratched or deeply scratched wood, so no matter what caused the scratches on your wood door, you can follow these steps to restore your door to its former glory and beauty. Let’s take a closer look.

Tools You Need

You’ll need a few supplies to make this happen. You’ll want some fine-grain sandpaper, wood filler, and a putty knife. You’ll also want the stain or paint you’ll need to cover up the repair once it’s finished. 

Now, let’s begin with the step-by-step guide.

1. Lightly Sand Down the Scratches

You’ll need your fine-grain sandpaper for this step. You need to very lightly sand down the area of the wood that has the scratches on it. In order to prevent more damage to the wood door, you’ll want to move the sandpaper in the direction of the grain. Don’t sand against the grain, or you’ll risk making more scratches.

You can also sand the area by hand or use a tool. However, you might find that sanding by hand is easier, especially if the scratches aren’t very deep. 

If you’re unsure or nervous about sanding down your door, don’t be. You can watch this quick video below to help you decide the best techniques to use to fix those scratches.

2. Clean the Freshly Sanded Area

This step is as simple as using water to get all of the dust and debris out from sanding down the area. If you leave any pieces of sanded off wood in the area, you risk the chance that the filler won’t bond with the wood. It might even make it harder to make the door look natural if there are pieces left behind.

3. Use a Filler on the Area

Once the area is clean and free of any debris, you’ll want to get your filler ready. What you use in this step will vary on your own personal choice. You can use a wood refiller (recommended), a shellac liquid, or wax filler. Any of these options will work fine for this step.

In addition to your wood filler, you’re going to need a putty knife too. You’ll take that putty knife and use it to spread a small amount of your filler over the sanded down area of your door. Now, once the filler is applied, you’re going to want to let it sit until it’s fully dry. You’ll want to follow the directions on the back of the product you’re using.

Using a shellac liquid or wax filler could prove to be more difficult than a plain wood filler. Make sure you follow the instructions, so you don’t create a bigger problem on your door.

4. Sand It All Down Again

Once the filler has dried completely, you’re going to use your fine-grain sandpaper again. Sand down the area to make it smooth and flush with the rest of the door. You’ll want to be careful here, so you don’t sand the area too much. If that does happen, reapply more of the wood filler and repeat this step.

5. Paint or Stain the Door to Match

After you’ve finished sanding down the door and everything is smooth, you’ll want to paint or stain the repaired section to match the rest of the door. You might actually have the correct color for it stored in your basement or garage. If you do, you’ll be able to cover the repaired area rather than recover the entire door with a fresh coat.

That’s everything you need to do to fix the scratches on your wood doors. It will work for any kind of scratch you have. It’s quick and simple enough to do. You can watch the whole step-by-step process in the quick three-minute video below.

Top 6 Quick Fixes for Scratched Wood Doors

If the scratches are light or you’re short on time and materials, there are plenty of quick fixes that can be used to fix your scratched door. These quick fixes utilize ordinary things that you may even have lying around your house. Take a look at the list of six additional ways you can fix your door.

1. Rub a Walnut Over the Scratches

This is one of the most famous quick fixes for scratched wood. If you take a walnut (out of the shell) and rub it on the scratched wood, it will almost completely hide the scratches. The reason this is so effective is due to the oil found in the nut. 

Let the oil from the nut sit on the scratch for a few minutes and then buff it out with a cloth. Your door should look brand new when you’re done.

2. Brush Some Coconut Oil on the Scratched Wood

Just like the oils in the walnut can fix a light scratch, so can coconut oil. Heat the coconut oil and use a brush to apply a thin layer to the scratches. Once applied, let the oil rest for about five minutes. Then buff it out. It should work very similar to using the walnut.

3. Rub Some Coffee Grounds Into the Scratch

Another quick fix is to hide the scratches by covering them up with dyes. An easy to access natural dye is actually used coffee grounds. These grounds can be rubbed into the scratches. The color will leech out of the grounds and into the scratch, dying it.

This method is less likely to work on already painted doors that wouldn’t match the color of the coffee grounds. However, if you have a dark stained door, this could be effective.

4. Hide the Scratch With Art Supplies

Of course, another option is to use art supplies such as crayons and paint to cover up the scratches. This will work similarly to the coffee grounds. This means that it could be harder to cover up this way if you have a painted door.

5. Use Steel Wool to Buff Out Scratches

If the scratches you’re fixing are slight or aren’t very deep, you could get away from lightly buffing them out using steel wool. However, you’ll also want to go with the grain to prevent further damage to the wood. Once they’re sufficiently buffed out, you can use a stain or paint to cover the area.

6. Use Store-Bought Fixers

There are a few items that you can get from the store that fix scratched doors in minutes. You can order them online or find them at a hardware store. Two of these items are a wood pen like the DAIXI Furniture Touch-Up Marker and Howard Products Feed-n-Wax. Both of these items work wonders on your scratches. Just check out the video below to see how great they work.

Final Thoughts

Scratches on a wood door can make them look dingy and less beautiful than you intend. It’s normal to want to remove these scratches, and luckily it doesn’t have to be a hard task. Hopefully, this article has given you a few helpful tips on how to fix the scratches on your wood door.

Thanks for reading!

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Jim James

Hey, I'm Jim and the author of this website. I have always been interested in survival, fishing, camping, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!

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