How to Remove Teeth Marks From a Crib Rail

Maybe you are having a second child and your crib has teeth marks on the rails. Or, you just bought a used crib and the teeth marks are driving you nuts. Perhaps your crib is a family heirloom that you can't part with. Fortunately, having a crib with teeth marks is a small problem with an easy solution. You need a few inexpensive materials to refurbish that crib.

On Your Marks

Find a well-ventilated area in which to work. Use fine grit sandpaper to remove the old stain. Use wood filler or putty to fill in small gouges such as teeth marks. You'll use a putty knife to apply the filler or putty, and stain will be used to refinish the project. Cheesecloth or an old rag is needed to apply the stain.

Sanding the Crib Rail

Be careful not to remove too much of the area you are working on. Remember that sanding is mainly to get the old stain off, and to prepare the surface for the other materials that will be used. The U.S. General Services Administration advises to not remove more than 1/16 of an inch of the material being worked on.

Into the Holes

Teeth marks aren't usually terribly deep. They can be filled in using a general wood putty. When selecting the putty at the store, you can either find a neutral color that can be stained, or a putty that matches the stain that is already on the crib. Water-based putties and oil based putties are available. The difference is how fast it will dry. Oil-based putties generally have a drying accelerant that will help it to dry faster. However, be cautious -- oil-based putties emit harmful fumes.

Staining Your Putty

If you are going to stain your putty or filler, you will need to do so before you apply it to the crib. This will keep the wood grain looking realistic and will allow the stain to dry into the putty/filler fully. To stain your putty, use the sediment from the bottom of your can of stain.

Finishing Your Work

After the putty has dried, sand it down level with the rest of the crib. Still using a fine grit sandpaper, carefully rub the area until it is smooth and level. Once it is sanded you can apply a small amount of stain to the entire work area. Be careful not to apply the stain too heavily, as it could be too dark to match the rest of the crib. It might take a few applications of light staining to match the overall appearance of your crib.


Whether you live in a small apartment or are concerned about the products that your child will be in contact with, there are alternatives to using the chemicals mentioned above. According to MedlinePlus, many of the accelerants used in stains have hydrocarbons that could cause sickness 1. You can always use coffee or tea to stain, but it will take more experimentation and time to match the color. For a putty alternative, you can use Elmer's Wood Glue. Elmer's is non-toxic, but it will take longer to dry.