Any hard flooring in your home is susceptible to scuff marks. Scuff marks are the black streaks usually left by items that have a hard rubber bottom, such as heels, hard-soled shoes, ladders, furniture, toys, and so on. The following tricks should help you defeat those unsightly scuff marks with less effort than you probably imagined.
Rubber vs. Rubber
For smaller scuff marks, try using a regular pencil eraser. Rub the spot firmly until the scuff mark disappears. Be sure to sweep up any remaining eraser shaving as they can cause their own stains if left unattended. Some companies now make special eraser-type products for this purpose. One such product that works very well on scuff marks is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, generally available where ever cleaning products are sold. However, a Magic Eraser can remove the finish from some types of floors, so be sure to test it in a small hidden area first.
For larger scuff marks, try using the rubber sole of a tennis shoe. Press your hand into the shoe, and rub the spot firmly with the heel. If this is uncomfortable, or you feel you are not exerting enough pressure, place your foot inside the shoe and rub again with a circular, grinding motion.
For larger areas of scuff marks, take a plain tennis ball, carefully cut a small “X” ( about 1/4 “) into the top. To avoid injury, DO NOT hold the ball in your hand as you cut it, but rather place it on a firm surface or vise grip. Insert the top of a broom handle into the “X” and, using the tennis ball end of the broom, rub the scuff marks with the tennis ball.
If the above techniques don’t seem to work, or you don’t have any of the items handy, try the following scrubbing tricks:
Baking Soda Paste
Mix about 2 tablespoons of baking soda with warm water to make a smooth paste (not runny). Using a soft cloth, scrub with the paste to remove the scuff mark. Wipe the area with a clean damp cloth and wipe dry.
Dampen a soft cloth with lighter fluid and rub the spot with the cloth. Wipe the area with a clean damp cloth and dry. Always exercise caution when using lighter fluid. It is flammable and toxic, and should not come in contact with skin or eyes.
Using a clean cloth, rub a small amount of toothpaste on the scuff mark, using firm, circular motions. Wipe area with a clean, damp cloth and dry thoroughly.
Spray a little WD-40 onto a soft cloth or paper towel and rub the scuff mark gently. Wipe area with a clean, damp cloth and dry thoroughly.
There are products on the market specifically designed for removing scuff marks and other tough stains, which are safe to use on most types of flooring (i.e. Goo Gone). ALWAYS check the label to ensure that the product is safe for the type of flooring you have. Make sure you follow all manufacturer directions.
Special Notes and Precautions
- While a pencil eraser will remove scuff marks from most floors, a colored eraser (i.e. such as the standard pink) is NOT recommended if you have white or light colored floors as it may leave a pink residue that is as stubborn as the scuff mark. For light-colored floors, use a clear or light-colored eraser, or simply try a different method.
- While these methods are safe for most floors, ALWAYS test a small inconspicuous area of the floor first to make sure there will be no issues with regard to discoloration or fading.
- When using the Tennis Shoe method, opt for a shoe that has a white rubber sole to avoid making the scuff mark worse.
- When using the Tennis Ball method opt for the standard light green ball; colored balls may leave a smudge or stain behind.
- If you are removing the scuff mark from laminate or hardwood flooring, it is especially important that you dry the area thoroughly when you are done as excess water can damage the flooring.
- When in doubt, ALWAYS check with the manufacturer or retailer of your particular floor or floor type for additional tips and cautions with regard to cleaning.
Removing Scuffs from a Garage Floor
The floors in most garages are concrete, and can become covered with tire marks and other tenacious scuff marks caused by yard equipment, tools and the like. Although not as simple as interior floors, concrete floors in your garage and workshop can be made scuff-free as well. If the techniques above don’t work, try wetting the area and using an over-the-counter degreaser, such as ORANGE CITRUS concentrate. Allow the degreaser to sit on the spot for a few hours. Scrub with a scrub brush and rinse.
Depending on the source of the scuff mark, spraying it with bleach may work. Using a spray bottle, spray the area with undiluted bleach, wait about 15 or 20 minutes, and scrub with a stiff-bristled brush. Rinse with water to remove remaining bleach residue. NOTE: Always exercise caution when using bleach as it is considered a hazardous substance. Avoid getting bleach on your clothing as it will stain. Avoid contact with skin and especially eyes.
NEVER use bleach to clean decorative concrete flooring, or any other type of flooring, unless specifically recommended by the manufacturer. Otherwise, damage and discoloration can occur.
Removing Scuff Marks from Carpet
To remove a scuff mark from carpeting or rugs, you might be able to remove the stains using a foaming carpet cleaner or white foam shaving cream, which is often used in place of foam carpet cleaner. If that doesn’t work, there are more suggestions outlined in the guides How to Remove Bicycle Tire Marks from Carpet or How to Remove Dark Soled Shoe Stains from Carpet that might work.