A Surface-by-Surface Guide to Getting Scratches Out of Practically Everything

Photo:  Sherbak_photo (Shutterstock)
Photo: Sherbak_photo (Shutterstock)

As frustrating as they are when you first spot them, not all scratches are permanent damage on your prized home surfaces. With a little effort, some scratches can be seamlessly covered or removed—it all depends on the type of material that sustained the damage.

Here’s how to fix scratches on a variety of surfaces.

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Hardwood floor

You can clean your hardwood floors and tackle their scratches at the same time with black tea. As we’ve mentioned before, you just need to bring a half gallon of water to a boil and steep about eight black tea bags for 10 to 15 minutes. Once the tea has all cooled off, use a rag and apply it to your floor. The secret is the tannins in the tea, which enhance the warm color of your wood and help hide small scratches.

You can also try the good old iron method. Wet your scratch, put a wet cloth over it, and move the iron around over the cloth for three to five minutes. You might have to sand up the finish a little after, but bigger dents will come out just fine this way.

Stainless steel

It’s stainless steel, not scratchless steel—the stuff your appliances are made out of is pretty susceptible to visible wear and tear. Luckily, you have some options for how to get those scratches out.

For fine scratches, according to How Stuff Works, cleaners designed for stainless steel are a good choice because they buff the surface of your appliances and reduce scratches. You can also try sanding with wet sandpaper if your scratch is a little deeper. Just look up your manufacturer to see which sandpaper they recommend.

Cabinets and other wood furniture

Don’t move straight into sanding if you have scratches on your cabinets, says Kitchen Infinity. Instead, try a light cleaning first, using a cloth dipped in dish soap and water. Dry it thoroughly after you’re done wiping it down and you may be surprised to see the scratch’s visibility has seriously reduced.

You can take a rag or sponge dipped in olive oil over scratches after this point if they’re not reduced to your liking. One tip we’ve long adhered to is this: Mix a half cup of vinegar and a half cup of olive oil, then rub the mixture on the scratches with a cloth. Dry with a clean cloth and be amazed.

Marble countertops

Marble is delicate and you don’t want to make the scene worse than it already is, so be careful here, but you can sprinkle some baking soda over your scratch and use a damp microfiber cloth to rub it in, according to Martha Stewart. Rub in the direction of the grain. (You can also try dish soap and water first.) When you’re all done, finish off with some marble polish.

Laminate

For laminate, Martha Stewart recommends using laminate paste, which you can find at your local hardware store. Pick a color that matches your countertop, then apply it in thin layers, removing excess with a small knife. You can also try a paste made of a tablespoon each of baking soda and water, rubbing it into the scratch with your finger before rinsing with a damp cloth and then drying with a clean one.

Windows and mirrors

You have a few different paths you can take if you have a scratched glass surface (and we’ve covered them here). Apply a thin coat of clear nail polish and let it dry for an hour, for instance. Once it’s dry, use a little bit of nail polish remover on a cloth to swipe the surface, removing excess around the scratch.

You can also use toothpaste on a slightly damp rag, which you’ll gently rub over the scratch for about 30 seconds in circular motions. Wipe off the toothpaste and repeat the process until the scratches are gone.

  

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