Scuff marks seem to magically appear. Walls get bumped; shoes and furniture get dragged. When they appear, they can leave a paint job, wallpaper, and floor looking less than pristine. Luckily, scuff marks are easy to remove when they are fresh using simple products like baking soda and dish soap. Removal is simpler and leaves walls and floors looking their best.
Equipment / Tools
- Soft white cloth
- Melamine sponge (Magic Eraser)
- Small bowls
- Art gum eraser
- Touch-up paint
- Microfiber cloth
- Tennis ball
- Art gum or school eraser
- Dishwashing liquid
- Baking soda
- Baking soda
- Acetone nail polish remover
Walls can be painted, wallpapered, or tiled. These techniques will work best on painted surfaces (with a wallpaper tip thrown in). For unpainted wood and tiled walls, follow the tips for scuff marks on floors.
Begin Gently With Cloth and Water
Many fresh scuff marks can be removed by simply rubbing the mark with a slightly damp soft, white cloth. It's always best to give it a try to avoid damaging paint. After dipping the cloth in water, apply a bit of pressure and, if the mark is removed, buff the area with a dry white cloth.
Treat With Dishwashing Liquid
If the mark didn't budge, move to the next step. Mix a solution of one-half teaspoon of dishwashing liquid and two cups of warm water. Use the same soft cloth and scrub the mark again. If it is almost gone, but still visible, sprinkle a bit of baking soda on your cloth and scrub again. When the mark is gone, wipe the spot with a damp cloth dipped in plain water and buff dry.
Use a Melamine Sponge
The last thing to try is a melamine cleaning sponge (like Mr. Clean Magic Eraser). Dampen it and squeeze out the water. Scrub the mark with gentle, steady pressure. Don't be overzealous or you'll lose some paint. Finish by wiping down the area with a damp cloth.
Sometimes nothing works or too much scrubbing leads to paint loss. When either of those things happens, you may be able to touch up the paint.
- If you have some leftover paint, mix it thoroughly before you start to work. Pour a small amount into a disposable plastic dish or cup. If the paint is latex, dilute it with plain water, two parts paint to one part water. Use a commercial paint reducer for oil-based paints.
- Dip just the tips of a paintbrush into the paint and wipe any excess onto a paper towel. Stipple (small dots) the paint onto the damaged area in a thin, even coat. Let the paint dry completely.
Scuff Marks on Wallpaper
Most wallpaper does not stand up well to cleaning with water, and a heavy hand with the melamine sponge will leave you with holes or no color. Use an art gum eraser instead to remove scuff marks. For really tough marks, try using the liquid detergent and water mixture for walls but test it first in an inconspicuous place to make sure it doesn't harm or watermark the paper.
How to Remove Scuff Marks From Floors
Floors are not simple to replace, and scuff marks really show up on light-colored finishes. As with walls, always start with the most gentle method to prevent additional damage to the floor. A good way to prevent scuff marks is to ask people to remove their shoes at the door and have plenty of help when moving large pieces of furniture.
Remove Scuff Marks With a Tennis Ball
When a black scuff mark appears on wood floors, grab a tennis ball (a used one is just fine). Use a sharp blade to cut an X in the ball and then slip the ball onto the end of a broom or mop handle.
Place the ball over the scuff mark and apply some gentle pressure to buff away the mark.
Use an Eraser to Remove Scuff Marks
An art gum or school pencil eraser will remove the marks from wood. Just make sure the surface of the eraser is clean. Rub the scuff mark and then vacuum away any shavings from the floor
Try a Microfiber Cloth
Microfiber cloths are made up of thousands of plastic fibers that gently scrub away scuff marks. If the scuff is light and new, a bit of rubbing with a dry microfiber cloth will do the trick on wood floors. For older, heaver marks, dampen the cloth with plain water and rub away.
Deep Clean With Baking Soda
The tennis ball, eraser, and microfiber cloth can also be used on ceramic, stone, and laminate floors. But since these are a bit more durable than some wood finishes, you can also add the gentle abrasion of baking soda for tough scuff marks.
Simply wet a cotton or microfiber cloth and sprinkle the scuff with baking soda. Use the cloth to scrub away any evidence. Finish by wiping down the area with a clean, damp cloth.
Remove Scuffs With WD-40 on Vinyl Floors
If you've tried all of the other methods on vinyl floors to remove dark scuff marks, and nothing has worked, try some WD-40.
But first, try this potent solvent in an inconspicuous spot to make sure that it doesn't discolor your vinyl. When you're sure it's safe, spritz it on the scuff mark and wait about five minutes. Wipe clean with a soft cloth.
You may need to restore the shine of your vinyl by using a good cleaner on the area.