How To Remove Scratches From Wood With Vinegar

Wood is used in making furniture, floors, and walls, hence making it vulnerable to dents, scratches, marks, scuffs and gouges. This unpleasant experience can’t be avoided especially when the wood is found in high traffic areas in a home. However, for shallow scratches and marks, there is an everyday home item that you can use. This is no other than vinegar.

Did your favorite piece of wood furniture get banged up during a recent move? Or perhaps there was an unsightly scratch on your otherwise pristine wood floors, this guide will show you how to remove scratches from wood with vinegar. 

Well, there’s really no need to spend a bank on repairs and you don’t necessarily have to go to the home improvement store to buy pricey, chemical-laden cleaners and wood treatment. Instead, a solution might be laying freely, right in your pantry.

White vinegar has been long known to be an effective cleaning solution, that may be able to clean and buff wood furniture and floor in order to hide any undesirable scratches. Let’s quickly take a look at how it works.


Vinegar, the wonder household cleaner.

Vinegar is otherwise described as acetic acid and it is known for its ability to zest up dishes. It is also a popular household item for deodorizing, cleaning, stain and mark removal. If you have wooden furniture, walls or floors with small scratches and marks, then vinegar could be of help.


How to remove scratches from wood with vinegar

The acidic nature of vinegar allows it to naturally remove dirt, dull spots and marks. When marks are very shallow and have dirt and grit on them, you can rest assured that vinegar once applied directly on the area, would work just fine in this regard. You don’t need to worry about damaging nearby wood because acetic acid is so mild.

Using a soft cloth, take a small amount of vinegar and apply to the surface of the scratch. Rub the vinegar gently while you work towards the wood grain. If the stain persists, you may need to repeat the same process until you’re sure you can’t find the scratches anymore. Then use a damp cloth with water and rinse the area.


Removing scratches with vinegar and baking soda

Baking soda is another household item that is equally effective. You may have leftover ingredients for a cake or bread and this can be used for scratches as well as stain removal. You can combine baking soda with water to give a thick paste-like texture or with vinegar for an equally-effective solution for scratches and marks.


  • Combine part baking soda and part vinegar in a bowl to form a paste.
  • Then, take a small amount of paste and place this on a soft dry cloth. Rub the cloth on the wood surface to get rid of the scratches. Observe the scratches and repeat the process if necessary.
  • Thereafter you use a clean dry cloth to remove the baking soda and vinegar paste while you use another cloth to buff the surface to make it shiny.

How To Remove Scratches From Wood With Vinegar

Removing scratches and marks with toothpaste – How to get scratches out of wood

Aside from vinegar and baking soda, toothpaste is also a good household item for getting rid of scratches. The gel-like consistency of toothpaste as well as its baking soda content makes a good cleaner and scratch removal. How it works.

  • Use your fingers to rub toothpaste to the stains and marks on wood. Ensure you work in the same direction as the grain.
  • Rub the toothpaste gently and remove it with a moistened cloth to rinse the paste from the wood surface.
  • Then, wipe this with a clean and dry cloth or towel. Check the stain if it persists and repeat the process again until you can’t find it anymore.


Using lemon oil to remove scratches on wood.

Lemon oil is also perfect for dealing with scratches and stains on wood furniture. It helps to remove dirt and grime which is why it is commonly used in detergents and dishwashing liquid products. Lemon oil could either be used on its own or you may add a few drops to your dishwashing liquid to help remove stains and marks. How it works.

Apply lemon oil to the affected area using available steel wool while you rub in the direction of the wood grain. Ensure you don’t rub roughly or briskly in order not to damage the finish of the wooden piece you’re working on.

Then, use a clean cloth to remove the oil from the wood surface and repeat the application if the stain remains. Continue until you’re sure the marks have been removed effectively.

Cleaning wood furniture.

While it’s a simple process to remove stains from furniture and clean dirt off wood, the major key is knowing what product to use in order to preserve the wood’s beauty.

Unless your furniture has a protective coating, avoid cleaning it with water or commercial cleaning products that aren’t designed specifically for wood. Also, always make sure to test any cleaning method on a small, inconspicuous area first before applying to your furniture. This is to ensure it is suitable and safe to use for the furniture.


  • Using a clean cloth that’s been dipped in some water, wipe the surface of your furniture gently. Ensure you don’t soak the wood as this could cause damage and marks.
  • Use a clean damp cloth to spot-treat the affected area, target any grease or sticky spots with a gentle cleaning solution of soap or mild detergent dissolved in water.
  • Once you’re sure the mark has been gotten rid of, then rinse carefully and dry with a damp cloth.
  • Then, you treat stubborn stains such as watermarks or alcohol spots can also be cleaned but this would usually require a stronger cleaning solution such as a wood cleaning product.
  • Lastly, give your wood finish a nice polish. If your wood furniture has a finish, make reference to the manufacturer’s guide to know which polishing products are suitable as this can vary.

Note: Different wood sometimes require different cleaning products. So, you really want to determine the tree your furniture was made from before you go ahead to purchase or apply a wood cleaning product.

Also Reads: Best sander for removing paints from wood 


Cleaning wood furniture with vinegar

Vinegar is the trusted weapon of choice for many cleaning solutions. It is a safe and natural means of getting rid of dirt from wood. Its secret ingredient is acetic acid, a powerful agent used to tackle the removal of dirt, grime and grease from wood. While white vinegar is best for cleaning wood, it can still have slight odor. So to combat this, you may need to buy an odorless vinegar or better still, add a few drops of essential oil such as lemon, to your white vinegar solution.

Steps By Step Approach

  • Using a moistened and clean damp cloth that’s been dipped in water, wipe the entire wood surface to get rid of any dust residue.
  • After then, measure one part white vinegar and one part water. Add essential oil if you’re using it.
  • Test on an inconspicuous area first before applying on the entire wood surface. This is so because while white vinegar is suitable for all types of wood, it may have an adverse effects on some wood finishes. However, if it doesn’t damage the wood by then, you can proceed with the next step.
  • Thereafter you dip an area of the clean cheesecloth into the solution and wring out properly to ensure it doesn’t drip.
  • Rub the cloth in circular motions, following the direction of the wood grain.
  • Then you dry the wood using a clean, dry cloth to wipe across the surface. This way you’re able to absorb the moisture.
  • Finish by using circular movements to buff the entire furniture surface with a soft, clean cloth.

How To Remove Scratches From Wood With Vinegar

How to polish wood furniture

Now that you’ve learned how to remove grime and dirt from you wood, you may need to polish your furniture as a protective measure. It’s not something that should be done often but for lasting results, it should be done properly. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Some fragile or antique wooden items may be unsuitable for use with commercial polish spray wax, so ensure to read the manufacturer’s instructions first.
  • Test the polish on a small inconspicuous area first. Once you’re sure your polish is suitable for use, dust your wooden furniture with a clean,dry cloth to remove any lingering dirt.
  • Apply some polish, while you rub the wax along the surface of the grain to form a thin coat after which you allow to dry before buffing to a clear shine with a clean, soft cloth. Clean in a well-ventilated area for your safety.


Conclusion: How To Remove Scratches From Wood With Vinegar

Scratches on wooden furniture, floors and walls are very unpredictable and this is why most pieces are stained and finished with lacquer varnish. However, if the scratches persist, ensure to treat them right away to avoid making the scratches and marks even worse.