How to Get Rid of Scuff Marks

By Subodh / March 15, 2012

Scuff marks on hard flooring are caused by rubber that rubs off of shoes or the bottoms of furniture. It can happen really easily. Even the most beautiful flooring can be made ugly by black marks all over it, but fortunately there are many products you can use to remove them, many of them things you have around your house anyway. Just remember to be careful of damaging your floor, especially if it’s made of something porous like granite or wood. A few of these tips are good for scuff marks on walls and doors, or your favorite patent leather shoes as well.

  1. Erasers: an ordinary pencil eraser will often do the trick on non-porous surfaces like vinyl or plastic. Special “scuff erasers” are sold in stores which are like regular erasers, but harder. Instead of spending the money, try using the hard rubber sole of a tennis shoe to rub off scuff marks.
  2. Make a paste out of baking soda and water and scrub with it, or try a non-gel toothpaste instead. The same ingredients which are good for cleansing your teeth work with floors too. Try toothpaste on your shoes, scrubbing gently.
  3. Astringents will often take those black rubber streaks off. Acetone is very effective, although you should follow it up with a buffing of Vaseline so that your floor doesn’t dry out. Acetone also works well taking the scuffs off of patent leather. Regular rubbing alcohol is another option, good for not only floor but walls and doors as well, particularly light colored ones. Just be careful to rub lightly so that you don’t remove the paint with the scuffs.
  4. Lighter fluid may not sound like your typical cleaner, but it is good for removing scuff marks. Just dip a white cloth in it and rub. Lighter fluid is also sold as naptha in some places.
  5. Adhesive removers work well on not only glue but rubber. They simply break it down so that it’s easy to wipe up. This may not be safe for hardwoods and granite. Another store-bought product is the auto-scratch remover, designed specifically for removing unsightly marks. Any household cleaner may work too, as long as it is solvent based, preferably containing a petroleum solvent. That means that it is able to break down rubber.
  6. If you have a black floor, use a waterproof black marker to blot out your scuff marks. For scuffs on canvass, try an upholstery cleaner.

With this wide array of choices, you should try a variety of things to see what works best on your floor. You may want to check the manufacturer’s warnings on your type of flooring to see what types of substances are harmful to it, or else use a little bit in an inconspicuous area first. Be sure to wear gloves when handling substances such as lighter fluid, alcohol and acetone. Now you can keep your beautiful floors beautiful like they’re supposed to be.