Rescue Tips for Hardwood Floors

As resilient as hardwood flooring is, its natural origins and texture mean it isn’t actually invincible. Fortunately, there are methods you can use to repair most damage. Gently, gently is the thing to remember when it comes to fixing scuffs, scratches, or stains on hardwood floors. A bit of general advice for maintaining hardwood floors: DO NOT use abrasive cleaners and chemicals. Treat your hardwood floor like skin – test your cleaners on a small patch of floor somewhere inconspicuous before getting to work.

Scuff Marks

Tennis Ball

Use a sharp knife to cut a 1-inch X in the surface of an old (clean) tennis ball. Slot the ball onto the end of a mop or broom handle, then use the tennis ball covered end to gently scrub off the scuff mark.


Use a large, pink rubber pencil eraser (avoid plastic or gritty kinds), making sure the eraser is new or free from pencil marks and dirt. You can also buy rubber erasers made especially for hardwood flooring. Wipe the scuff mark with a damp sponge before rubbing the eraser over it. Do note, repeated use can dull your floor’s finish.

Rubber-soled shoe

Don’t have an eraser handy? Put on rubber soled shoes and twist them over the scuff mark. DO NOT use black rubber-soled shoes on light wood finishes.

WD-40 / Similar product

Is there anything WD-40 can’t do? Products like this work best on light scuff marks. Clean up afterwards as residue can leave the floor slippery.

Toothpaste or baking soda

Use a clean, damp cloth or an old, moistened toothbrush to apply and rub gently with the grain of the wood. Avoid using this method on scratched or pitted areas as the residue will be hard to remove.

Housecleaning/Magic eraser pad

Rub the scuff mark with the grain of the wood according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Much like flooring erasers, repeated use can dull the floor finish.

Fine steel wool

For very stubborn marks on dark wood. Use only the finest steel wool (#000 or #0000). Can cause dulling and abrade the wood. If you wax your floor, try coating the wool in a waxing solution before you begin.

Mineral spirits

Wipe scuff marks gently with a clean cloth. Caution: this is a caustic, flammable substance.


Colouring In

For shallow scratches, you can use a flooring marker to colour in the damage. You’ll still be able to feel the scratch’s indent but you won’t see it. Touch-up kits are available with several colours of markers so you can find the best colour match for damaged areas.


Sand the surrounding area down using fine sandpaper to the level of the scratch so the surface is smooth again. Move the sandpaper gently over the scratch in line with the wood grain. Re-varnish, paint, or wax the area to return it to a uniform colour.



To treat dried surface stains that haven’t soaked into the wood, use a sharp blade or putty knife and mild soapy water. Carefully scrape the stain off, making sure not to scratch the wood’s surface.


For shallow stains that have not penetrated deep into the wood, you may be able to sand them off and re-polish and varnish. For best results, contact a professional to match the the colour of the sanded area to the rest of your floor most accurately.

Replace the plank

This is a last resort for those particularly deep stains.

Andersens’ consultants are experts in maintaining hardwood floors. For more professional advice, step into your nearest showroom.

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