How To Remove Scuff Marks From Flooring

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

Erasers

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.

Tennis Shoe

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.

Tennis Ball

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.

 

Scrubbing Tricks

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.

Lighter Fluid

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.

Toothpaste

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.

WD-40

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.

Over-The-Counter

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. When using the Tennis Shoe method, opt for a shoe that has a white rubber sole to avoid making the scuff mark worse.
  4. When using the Tennis Ball method opt for the standard light green ball; colored balls may leave a smudge or stain behind.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

 

Comments

  1. Ann says:

    I have a new freezer, but was disappointed with a black scuff mark on the front of it. I read several solutions and thought I would try the WD-40. It worked perfectly! Thank you for the info.

  2. Lydia says:

    I’m using Simple Green to remove all the scuff marks and dirt from our company’s white tile floor. It works really good and smells good too.

  3. Jodi says:

    Hi! I have vinyl flooring in the office I work for, and the flooring is new. In the process of moving into our new office, several scuff marks showed up on the floor. I used a Magic Eraser to remove the marks, which worked beautifully, however there is a lot of residue from the Magic Eraser. Does anybody know how to remove the residue?

    Thanks,
    Jodi

  4. Cris says:

    I have a garage floor that has been coated with epoxy paint. I also have some soft sole hiking shoes that are notorious for leaving black scuff marks. None of the above methods alone would remove the black marks, but I got creative and used WD-40 and baking soda, and that combo did the trick!

  5. Lisa says:

    Rubbing alcohol worked to remove black scuffs on my oak wood floors!

  6. Chip and Joleen says:

    A co-worker of mine was trying to remove dark black skid marks off the top of a new tan computer tower. I saw this, handed him an eraser… and good as new! Thanks a bunch!
    PS. Only wish we had seen this before all the other stuff we tried!

  7. Samantha says:

    I have tile-like concrete floors in my house. My furniture (bed rails) scuffed up my bedroom floor. Can you tell me what I can use to get that cleared up to look like the rest of the floor?

  8. Scott says:

    I too am having a devil of a time removing skid marks. Nothing seems to work. WD-40 was a mess, and the tennis ball trick was very uncomfortable. I can’t seem to find the right combo. Please help!

  9. Sara says:

    The in-laws have just had a new deck built and it was stained yesterday with decking stain! The kids played soccer on it today and left rubber marks all over it from their shoes! Any suggestions as to what I could do to fix this up? Thanks.

  10. LC of Melbourne says:

    How do I remove plastic wheel scuff marks (long and dark ones) from painted concrete? I have tried it all and nothing works: water with a pressure hose, eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, and liquid hydrocarbon (clear cleaning liquid from a bottle).

  11. Lauren says:

    I have the same problem with my plastic wheels.

  12. Cilla says:

    While moving our dining cabinets whilst decorating, the plastic castors left roller marks on our laminated wooden flooring. Any tips on removing these please?

  13. Jennifer says:

    My son dropped his cheap plastic sword that has silver paint on my finished wood floors… There are silver marks everywhere and nothing I use takes it off!!!! Any suggestions?!!

  14. Melanie says:

    Jennifer,
    The scuff marks described in this article are rubber. Since your scuff marks are paint, maybe this article would be more helpful: How to Remove Paint from Wood Trim.

  15. Darlene says:

    I rubbed the sole of my tennis sneakers over several dark scuffs left by a suitcase. It worked beautifully! Thank you.

  16. Lala says:

    I’m about to move out of my university apartment for the summer, and there were black scuff marks all over one area of my floor. I used the baking soda technique, and it worked wonderfully. Many thanks to you!

  17. Susie says:

    I bought some magnetic putty at Michaels for my grandsons and didn’t realize the damage it could cause! They rolled it into a ball and were throwing in on my hardwood floors and I have scuff marks everywhere. It looks a mess! I’ve tried numerous things, such as WD-40 and vinegar, and nothing has taken it off. Any suggestions? Don’t ever buy that product!!! If you do, only let them use it outside!

  18. Joyce says:

    Recently I had a workman who left rubber marks from his shoes/trainers on my laminate flooring when he was kneeling down to fit something and standing up again. It is a quite extensive whitish mark over dark laminate flooring. I also have a shiny mark on the laminate flooring, which may have been caused when I hoovered.

  19. Enid says:

    Can some one please tell me how I can remove black plastic scuff marks from my carpet? They seem very deeply embedded.
    Thank you.

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