How to Remove Tire Marks from Vinyl Flooring

linoleumflooring

Faye asked: How do I remove medium brown bicycle tire marks from our vinyl kitchen floor? This past summer, I noticed medium brown bicycle tire marks on the vinyl kitchen floor. I have scrubbed, but the stains won’t even fade. What kind of cleaning products can remove this stain? Please help!

Tire marks may seem difficult to clean, but the solution is actually deceptively simple. In most cases, a simple Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will do the trick. If that doesn’t work, give this method a try.

You Will Need:

Steps to Remove the Tire Marks:

  1. Read all label directions and follow all safety precautions before you begin working with the mineral spirits. Wear hand and eye protection at all times.
  2. Before you begin, spot test the product in a hidden area. Wait several minutes or (ideally) overnight to check for damage to the floor.
  3. To clean the stain, first soak the cloth in mineral spirits.
  4. Wipe the stain away, applying pressure to the cloth as needed.
  5. If the stain is stubborn, leave the wet cloth over it for a few moments then wipe again.
  6. Repeat as necessary until the marks are removed from the flooring.
  7. Once the stains are removed, clean the floor completely to remove any residue from the mineral spirits.
  8. Wash all cloths carefully. Mineral spirits is flammable. Do not dry them in the dryer until you are sure they are completely clean.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If mineral spirits are not available, try WD-40 instead.
  • Make sure to work in a well-ventilated area, even when using an odorless product.
  • Avoid using abrasive cleaning products or scouring pads. They may damage the finish of the vinyl.
  • Other quick solutions include rubbing a tennis ball against the skid marks or rubbing the sole or toe of your tennis shoe on the stain. Believe it or not, it will usually come right up! Just be careful not to create more smudges!
  • Store and dispose of mineral spirits according to the label directions.

Comments

  1. Alfred says:

    I tried the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and it did nothing.

    Then I tried WD-40, and all I got was an oily floor.

    However, when I used Fantastik to clean up the oil, some of it did come off. But not enough. I will have to try the mineral spirits.

    Thanks!
    Al

  2. Joe says:

    I have a three car garage with the checker board design black and white vinyl. I tried Desil fuel, WD-40, Comet cleanser, tennis shoe, etc. I don’t know what to use to clean the Vinyl!

  3. Jim says:

    I have the same problem as Joe said on January 27, 2013. Checker board white and black tile with tire marks. Please give solution!

  4. Melanie says:

    Jim,
    Tires are black due to the chemical “carbon black,” which is a combination of various forms of tar and vegetable oil. Therefore, you may be able to remove the tire marks by treating them as you would tar, oil, or colored dye. For all of those, rubbing alcohol is commonly recommended. Some other options are peanut butter, white vinegar, diluted ammonia (2 tbsp. in 1 cup water), or automotive tar remover. Dish soap that contains ammonia might also work.
    Another idea: (as with any cleaner, you should test it on a hidden area first to look for any adverse effects) you could try a dry cleaning pad (from an art supply store) or a dry cleaning wipe (from a laundry isle).
    Source: Zidbits – Why Are Car Tires Black Anyways?
    Source: Wikipedia – Carbon black
    Source: How To Clean Stuff – How to Remove Tar from Upholstery
    Source: How To Clean Stuff – How to Clean Vinyl Fencing
    Source: How To Clean Stuff – How to Remove Motor Oil from Tile
    Source: How To Clean Stuff – How to Remove Crepe Paper Stains from Vinyl

  5. Ester says:

    My husband and I both are in wheelchairs and we leave black marks from the tires of the wheelchair on our kitchen, bath, and bedroom floors; the kitchen and bath have linoleum. The bedroom is a light color laminate; we have black marks everywhere. Please tell me what I can use to eliminate the black marks. I clean everyday and I get these marks everyday. HELP!!!!!

  6. Melanie says:

    Ester,
    When I first read your message, I thought perhaps you were saying that your cleaning does remove the marks, but you make them again so quickly that it’s a hassle. If that is the case, here’s an idea: Commercial places (grocery stores, etc.) sometimes use an “auto scrubber” to clean away scuff marks, but those cost thousands of dollars and don’t look very wheelchair-friendly. But, it turns out that iRobot has a new “floor scrubber” that is safe for “most hard-surfaced floors,” including linoleum, and it sounds like it’s possible that it could work on tire marks, particularly if you fill it with a cleaner that works for your specific type of marks. You could contact the company to find out for sure.
    Another idea: you could coat the wheels with rubber sealant like Flex Seal; you may want to ask the manufacturer if it’s OK first though. That might prevent the tires from leaving marks.
    Another idea, I would imagine that you might have trouble using a Magic Eraser (or possibly a regular art eraser would work) because it would require you to actually get down on the floor or reach down to the floor. So instead, you could incorporate one of those trash picker-upper sticks that has the pointed tip, drill a hole into the eraser and use maybe some of that blue wall tack to hold the trash spike in the eraser hole…that way you could clean more easily with the eraser.
    A slightly more unconventional idea: you could work on creating a device that could hold the eraser (or possibly some type of wet Swiffer) behind each wheel to remove the marks almost as soon as they’re made (or just to make cleaning easier/more fun in general). Possibly something you can raise and lower as you want. :)
    If you are having more of an issue with finding a cleaner that will work, perhaps your tire marks are more like the scuff marks made by sneakers and would benefit from this article instead: How to Remove Scuff Marks from Flooring.
    Source: iRobot – Scooba 450
    Source: Walgreens – Flex Seal Liquid Rubber Sealant Coating Spray
    Source: Uline – 42″ Trash Picker Pin

  7. Steevo says:

    Hello… I had the same problem with my wheelchair and the only solution is to replace the black rubber wheels with the white or gray polyurethane rubbery plastic. You should be able to buy aftermarket wheels that will bolt on. Otherwise, to eliminate your daily work it might be worth buying wheelchairs already equipped with the wheels.

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