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Wood Maintenance and Repair

Our homes are busy places, and our floors, furniture, doors and cabinets take a great deal of abuse. Keeping them as beautiful as they looked when they were first finished is now easier than ever, thanks to a trend in products specially designed to help us care for each type of wood in our home. Wood expert Bruce Johnson shares his tips for easy maintenance and repair of all your wood surfaces.

Minwax maintenance and repair product lineup

The Basics: Simple Steps to Protect Wood in Your Home


Vacuum or sweep hardwood floors regularly to remove dirt and grit, which will wear down the finish.

Place rugs both inside and outside exterior doors for people to wipe their shoes.

Clean the outside surfaces of your kitchen cabinets often, as the grease and oils that accumulate around knobs and pulls will eventually soften and damage the wood's finish.


Delay making needed repairs. Left unchecked, small problems can soon become large ones.

Allow water to remain in contact with wood for extended periods of time, as it will penetrate the finish and leave permanent stains in the wood.

Under-estimate the bleaching power of the sun. Close your window coverings during peak sunlight periods, and rearrange your furniture to prevent long-term damage.

Easy Wood Maintenance Tips


Keeping your hardwood, laminate and pre-finished floors clean is the first step toward keeping them looking beautiful. Use Minwax® Hardwood Floor Cleaner to remove dirt, grease, and grime from hardwood, laminate and pre-finished floors without leaving any soapy residue.


Kitchen cabinets seem to be a magnet for cooking oils, grease and food, especially around knobs and hardware. Over time, these deposits will soften and damage even the strongest of wood finishes. To prevent that from happening, use Minwax® Wood Cleaner in the convenient trigger-spray bottle.


Dirt, grime and perspiration on our hands does the same thing to the wooden arms of our chairs as cooking oils do to the knobs on our cabinets. Dusting products aren't strong enough to remove this gradual build-up, so make it a point to clean your wood furniture regularly using Minwax® Wood Cleaner. To avoid spraying Wood Cleaner onto sensitive upholstery, squirt it onto a clean cloth rather than directly onto the wood.


To make caring for your wood furniture, cabinets, trim and floors easier and faster, assemble your own Maintenance & Repair Kit in a plastic dishpan or caddy. Start with the Minwax® repair and maintenance products mentioned here, then add an assortment of fine grit sandpaper sheets,a few screwdrivers, a pair of pliers, some clean cloths, disposable gloves and a small can of Minwax® Wipe-On Poly for additional protection for your furniture. Keep your Repair Kit under your kitchen sink or in a nearby closet to simplify those last-minute repairs.

Common Household Wood Repairs


To give worn hardwood floors a new lease on life, clean using Minwax® Hardwood Floor Cleaner, then simply squirt on Minwax® Hardwood Floor Reviver, spread it out using a painter's pad or a synthetic applicator on a long handle and let it dry. No sanding, no mess, no fumes. This water-based topcoat dries in approximately two hours and gives your floor another three to six months of beautiful protection.


Minwax® Wood Finish™ Stain Markers aren't just great for doing furniture touch-ups. Use them to repair minor scratches on hardwood floors, stairs, railings, moldings and kitchen cabinet doors and drawers. Each handy Stain Marker is colour matched to the most popular Wood Finish™ stains. Any project stained with Minwax® Wood Finish™ Red Oak, for instance, can later be touched up using the Red Oak Minwax® Stain Marker. Available in 8 colours.


When more than just a little colour is missing, use Minwax® Blend-Fil® Pencils to repair shallow scratches and nail holes in stained and finished wood such as your furniture, cabinets and wood moldings. Like Minwax® Wood Finish™Stain Markers, the Blend-Fil® Pencils are available in a variety of popular colours to match specific Minwax® Wood Finish™ stain colours and many other wood stains.


Nail holes left in furniture, hardwood floors and wood moldings are easy to disguise using Minwax® Wood Putty®. This tinted putty is available in the most popular Minwax® Wood Finish™ stain colours. Applied using either the tip of your finger or a screwdriver, it remains pliable and does not require any sanding afterwards, making it the perfect solution for perfections in finished wood surfaces.


Old wood may have soft or rotted areas damaged by excessive moisture. To repair, first scrape away any loose wood fibers using a stiff brush or the tip of a screwdriver. Vacuum off the dust, then brush on a liberal coat of Minwax® High Performance Wood Hardener. As it penetrates and dries, the Wood Hardener will strengthen and harden the wood, extending its useful life.


To replace rotted wood, first follow the instructions for Minwax® Wood Hardener, then select either Minwax® High Performance Wood Filler or Minwax® Stainable Wood Filler. Both can be used either indoors or outdoors.

First Aid for Old Furniture


Bleach out old moisture stains with chlorine bleach. Sponge bleach over entire surface around the stain, wait 5 to 10 minutes, wipe dry, then apply bleach to just the stain itself. The spot will fade as the bleach dries. Repeat as necessary.


Apply fresh stripper, give it time to work, then use a nylon scrub brush to get paint up and out. This process may have to be repeated several times.


Scrape away blackened area with steel wool, razor or knife. Shallow burns will fill in while finishing. For deeper burns, fill with a mixture of wood glue and sanding dust. Put the mixture in, let cure, then smooth with a razor blade.


Dents are the results of wood fibers being crushed and compressed. To raise a dent, simply swell the fibers back up with moisture in the form of steam. Place a damp cloth over the dent and hold a medium-hot iron on it. Check progress frequently, and be careful not to damage your finish!


To melt old glue under loose veneer, place several layers of paper between the veneer and a warm iron. When veneer begins to stick, apply pressure until glue dries. If no sticking occurs, regluing is needed. For a good bond, clean away any dirt and old glue before applying new.


Wood warps when moisture loss on one side is greater than on the other. To straighten a warp, add moisture to the dried-out side. Place the wood cupped side down on damp towels in strong sun. Place some light weights on top of the wood during the flattening process.


This is the dried-out appearance that occurs when dry air and changing temperature and humidity cause crack lines in the finish. Dissolve the old finish with Minwax® Antique Furniture Refinisher, then apply a protective finish such as Minwax® Tung Oil Finish to restore luster to the wood.