Scuff marks always seem to appear out of thin air. Shoes get dragged, walls get bumped, or your pet claws at the floor. One minute, your walls and floors appear spotless, but the next time you pass by, they are covered in scuff marks.
Thankfully, there are several methods to remove the scuff marks and restore the fresh look of your floors and walls without having to repaint or refinish them.
In this article, we've compiled all the best ways to remove scuff marks, whether you have a painted or unpainted wall, hardwood, vinyl, or polyurethane floor. We also highlight six tips to keep scuff marks from reappearing.
How do you get rid of scuff marks?
Most times, you can easily remove a recent scuff mark by rubbing the spot with a slightly damp, soft cloth. If that doesn't work, dip a sponge in a mixture of warm water and dish soap. Wring out the sponge, then use it to gently scrub the scuff mark in a circular motion.
Or, check out our other pro techniques for removing scuff marks.
How to remove scuff marks from walls
You can remove scuff marks from walls with the correct method and supplies. However, certain techniques are better suited for specific wall types: painted, unpainted, or wallpapered.
The method below works best for painted walls. For unpainted or tiled walls, use the technique we listed for removing scuff marks from floors.
What you’ll need
- White microfiber cloth
- Dishwashing liquid
- Magic eraser
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Tennis ball
- Rubbing alcohol
- Bowl or bucket
Steps to remove scuff marks from walls
Follow these steps to remove scuff marks from painted walls.
Step 1: Wipe with a damp cloth
You can remove recent scuff marks using only water and a soft cloth. In fact, it’s advisable to try this technique first before using cleaning products or other methods.
- Dip a clean, white cloth in water and wring it out so that it's slightly damp and not dripping wet.
Choose a clean, soft white cloth because any dirt or color on a cloth can transfer to the paint finish.
- Gently wipe off the scuff mark. Avoid wiping outside the affected area.
- When the scuff mark is gone, buff the area with a dry cloth to remove any remaining moisture.
Step 2: Clean with dishwash soap and water
If the damp cloth in the method above doesn’t remove the scuff mark, you can try cleaning it with a mixture of dish soap and water.
- Add a few squirts of dishwashing liquid to warm water.
- Take a soft cloth and dip it into the mixture. Wring the cloth until it’s damp, not dripping.
- Use the dampened cloth to gently rub the scuff mark until it’s gone.
If you’re dealing with an older scuff mark, it will take more time and several rounds of scrubbing to get it out. Be patient. If this method successfully removes the scuff mark, finish by buffing the area with a dry, white cloth to remove any remaining moisture from the wall.
Step 3: Scrub with a melamine sponge
If steps one and two fail to remove the scuff from your wall, another technique to try is a melamine-cleaning sponge (aka a “Magic Eraser”.)
Melamine sponges, also called “Magic Erasers”, help erase scuff marks. The only drawback is that your paint may come off if you scrub too hard. We recommend testing the melamine sponge on a discrete portion of your wall before using it anywhere else.
- Dampen the magic eraser and squeeze out the water.
- Gently and steadily rub the scuff mark in a back-and-forth motion.
- Once you're through, wipe the area with a clean, moist cloth.
How to remove scuff marks from floors
Buffing a floor with a tennis ball or microfiber cloth can effectively remove most scuff marks. If that doesn't work, sprinkle some baking soda on the area, then scrub the scuff mark with a damp microfiber cloth until the mark disappears. Remove any remaining residue with a wet towel and dry with a soft cloth.
Below, we’ve listed more detailed methods for different types of flooring.
Hardwood and polyurethane hardwood floors
To remove scuff marks from hardwood or polyurethane floors, follow these steps.
Clean the area around the scuff mark
Before you remove the scuff mark, sweep or vacuum the area around it to remove any loose dirt and debris. This will help prevent further scratches when scrubbing the floor.
Buff with a tennis ball
Take a clean tennis ball and rub it back and forth over the scuff mark. The ball's texture will lift the scuff mark from the floor's surface.
Scrub with a microfiber cloth
If buffing with a tennis ball doesn’t completely remove the scuff mark, try scrubbing with a dampened microfiber cloth.
Use the dampened microfiber cloth to rub the scuff mark in a circular motion, applying a little pressure as needed. The plastic fibers that make up microfiber cloths, combined with the moisture, will make it easier to scrub and lift the scuff mark from the floor's surface.
Clean with baking soda
If both methods fail in completely getting the scuff mark out of the floor, turn your sight towards using baking soda.
Baking soda is a common household cleaner that gets rid of just about anything, including scuff marks, musty smells in your house, soap scum on overlapping sliding shower doors, and clogged faucet heads.
- Mix a small amount of baking soda with water to make a paste.
- Use a microfiber cloth to apply the paste to the scuff mark.
- Rub the baking soda paste onto the scuff mark in a circular motion.
- Apply pressure as needed.
- Use a clean, damp microfiber cloth to remove any residue left by the paste.
You can use the magic eraser, baking soda, and dishwashing solution methods we discussed earlier to remove scuff marks from your vinyl floors. However, none of these methods completely remove the scuff mark, here are two alternatives to try.
Alternative 1: Rubbing alcohol
Rubbing alcohol effectively removes scuff marks from vinyl floors because it has a mild abrasive property that helps to loosen dirt and grime.
- Mix equal parts warm water and rubbing alcohol.
- Soak a clean cloth or sponge in the solution.
- Wring out excess water so the cloth is damp but not dripping wet.
- Test a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t cause discoloration or damage.
- Rub the scuff mark in a circular motion. Apply more pressure for stubborn marks.
- Rinse and dry the floor.
After removing the scuff mark, wipe the area with a clean, moist cloth to remove any residue from the cleaning solution, then use a dry cloth to buff up the remaining moisture.
Alternative 2: White vinegar
White vinegar is an effective and inexpensive way to remove scuff marks from vinyl floors. The acidity makes it great at removing scuff marks, and diluting it with water prevents it from being too harsh on your vinyl floors.
- Mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water in a bucket.
- For stubborn scuff marks, add a small amount of baking soda to the solution.
- Dip a microfiber cloth into the solution, wring until damp, and scrub the scuff marks.
- If the marks don’t come off easily, let solution sit for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing.
Once the scuff marks are removed, wipe the area with a clean, moist cloth to remove the cleaning solution. Finally, soak up the remaining moisture with a clean microfiber cloth.
Pro floor-cleaning tips: The pro cleaners at Homeaglow know a thing or two about getting scuffs, stains, mildew, and more out of your floors. Check out these other floor-cleaning tips.
How to prevent scuff marks on walls and floors
To prevent scuff marks on walls and floors, install doorstops and avoid placing furniture directly against walls. Put carpets or mats at entrances. For areas with significant traffic, use a wall cover or make use of wall guards. Keep pet nails clipped short. Finally, utilize anti-slip furniture mats.
- Keep your furniture away from your walls.
- To avoid having your doorknobs scrape the wall, place a doorstop at the bottom of the door.
- Apply a wall cover in high-traffic areas of your home. This also shields your walls from dings and scratches, especially if you have kids or pets.
- Clean your walls and floors regularly. Scuff marks are more likely to appear as a result of scratches from dust and dirt accumulation.
- Place carpets or mats at entrances. This will aid in catching dirt and debris before it has a chance to scratch your floors.
- Regularly trim your pet's nails to avoid needless scratching.
Don’t let scuff marks beat you
We have all been there. The mere sight of scuff marks on a freshly painted wall can sink your mood in seconds. However, contrary to popular opinion, scuff marks don't necessarily need to be painted over.
Whether you have a painted or unpainted wall, hardwood, or vinyl floor, use the cleaning techniques and recommendations above beat scuff marks and get your floor or wall back to brand new. Remember: the sooner you take action, the easier it will be to erase the scuff marks. So get to it!
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