The warmth and beauty that wood floors offer make them highly sought after. Many homeowners prefer wood floors to other types of flooring materials because they tend to last longer. However, wood floors are sometimes high maintenance and sustain scratches. Fortunately, wood floor cleaning can remove scratches or make them less visible.
Know the finish of your wood floor so you can choose the proper material to eliminate the scratches. Wax, polyurethane and penetrating oils or sealers are the three most common types of floor finishes. Waxed floors tend to look hazy when wet and you can get a gummy, waxy residue when you try to scrape it. Wood floors with polyurethane finish look like they have a plastic film on top. You cannot scrape off a gummy residue from polyurethane finished floors. Penetrating oils and sealers are shiny, solvent-borne finishes and, in some cases, have a topcoat of wax over them. Penetrating oils and sealers are not compatible with polyurethane. Test whether you have penetrating oil or polyurethane finished floors by pouring a little bit of paint thinner in an inconspicuous area of the floor. Urethane finishes bubble while penetrating finishes do not.
Inspect your floor for types of scratches. A light scratch is superficial that often only affects the top layer of the wood. In some cases, you can only see light scratches upon close inspection. A deep scratch, on the other hand, affects the inner layer of the wood and is highly visible.
Pour a bit of floor wax onto cheesecloth or other soft cloth. Rub the wax into the floor until the scratch is no longer visible. Using the same cloth, buff until the area becomes shiny. Cover minor scratches by using a touch-up or stain marker that matches the finish of your floor. Apply the marker along the direction of the wood grain. Make sure to stay within the scratched area only. Use a cloth to buff and blend in the color of the marker to the wood finish.
Sand the wood finish. Rub fine steel wool lightly over the fine scratch if waxing or touching up with markers does not remove the scratch. Sand only the scratched area, feathering lightly into the nearby surface. For deeper scratches, use lightweight sandpaper. Sand along the grain of the wood to prevent adding scratches to the wood.
Rub mineral oil spirits over the sanded portion of the wood floor to smooth it out and lift the dirt and dust. Use cheesecloth or any type of soft cloth for this process.
Dip a plastic putty knife in premixed wood filler and press the knife and filler into a deep scratch, filling the scratch completely. Make sure the filler covers the entire scratched area by pressing the putty knife flat over the scratch while you applying the filler. Add more filler if you see that the first application does not provide enough coverage. Gently sand off any excess filler from around the scratch or over the top. Wipe off the dust.
Apply a coat of finish that matches the floor’s original finish.. Use lambswool or natural bristle brush in applying the finish.