Stain Removal

How to Get Rid of Scuff Marks

Hard floor can’t stay in your home forever unscathed. Over time, you will notice that scuff marks are everywhere – marks that remind you of plastic items or hard rubber being ground onto your floor’s surface. Once you see a small trace of plastic item or hard rubber on your floor, or even on your leather shoe, it’s a go signal that you have to do some cleaning on your floor’s area or shoes’ surface.

You get scuff marks from the rubber feet of your tables and chairs, from your rubber feet of step ladders, rubber feet of walkers or dark-soled pair of shoes. When you see your floor filled with scuff marks, it’s difficult to imagine cleaning it; however, with the right strategy, truth is, you can’t go wrong.

Before following any of the methods below, it will help to check the instructions for your flooring. The instructions are there to help you take good care of your floor’s surface and to ensure you that your flooring won’t get discolored or damaged.

Rubber vs Rubber

If the scuff is light and small, and your flooring is not that porous, you can get rid of scuff marks with a pencil eraser. You don’t need to buy a special eraser. You can use what your preschooler son uses. Light and small scuff marks are that easy to deal with, although you may find it hard to believe it.

Some scuff marks resist pencil erasers that’s why there is now what you can call “scuff erasers” which you can buy from department stores, hardware stores and grocery shops. Scuff erasers are nothing special because they are almost the same as regular erasers. The only difference between scuff erasers and regular erasers is that scuff erasers are made of harder rubber.

Do you have tennis shoes around? Your pair of shoes works wonders. If you do have a pair laying around, then you can use that as a scuff eraser. Just press and twist your shoe’s sole into the marks and you’ll see that you don’t need to buy a magic eraser after all.

Chemicals on the Rescue

Sometimes, grinding your tennis shoe’s sole into the scuff is not enough. After all, your shoes were manufactured for your foot wear and not for the scuff marks on your floor. What you need to do now is to run to solvents and cleansers which may be more effective than using regular erasers and magic erasers.

Baking Soda Scrub – Using baking soda scrub to get rid of scuff marks is easy because you only need to create a paste out of the baking soda. Just add water to the baking soda and use the mixture to scrub the scuff marks out.

Adhesive Removers – Adhesive removers are always proven effective when it comes to breaking down the rubber. Once the rubber is broken down, cleaning is made easier. Your scuff marks can simply be wiped off. You should remember that when using adhesive removers on hardwood floors and granite, you need extra care.

Lighter Fluid – Did it ever dawn on you that lighter fluid can be a solution to the dreaded scuff marks on your floor? All you need is a white towel dipped in lighter fluid and then you can say goodbye to scuff marks. In case you don’t know, lighter fluid is also sometimes called naptha, so take note of that in case you need to buy some at a store.

Toothpaste –The thought may be odd, but try scrubbing your scuff mark-stricken floor with toothpaste and you will see that what you use for your teeth also does the trick on your floor. You can even use non-gel toothpaste by simply rubbing it on the scuff marks. Rinse it, wipe it, and let it dry after rubbing the affected area with non-gel toothpaste. Of course, you can also use a toothbrush to brush the marks off your floor.

Acetone – Apply some acetone on the scuff marks and use a clean cloth to wipe the scuff marks off the floor. You can also put some vaseline on the marks to prevent your floor from drying out. Just rub the vaseline on the marks with a kitchen towel tissue after applying acetone on it. You can also use acetone when removing scuff marks on your patent leather shoes.

Black Marker –A black marker, preferably waterproof, can be a big help when removing scuff marks off black granite tiles.

Auto-Scratch Removers – Now that auto-scratch remover are out on the market, try them out. You won’t regret it. These new products are valuable additions to your cleaning agents at home. If not, then a commercial concentrated household cleaner will be fine. Just make sure that the household cleaner has petroleum solvent. If not, then it should at least be solvent-based.

Rubbing Alcohol – Not everyone knows that rubbing alcohol can be used to remove scuff marks, especially those that you see on walls and doors. Black scuff marks on walls and doors can be wiped off with a piece of cloth dabbed in alcohol. Just make sure that you don’t rub very aggressively because if you do, some paint may come off the walls and doors. It is best to use rubbing alcohol only on light-colored doors and walls.

With all these tips, it can be safely said that various products are now widely available to help you deal with scuff marks. The final important tips you should remember are as follows:

One: You should make it a point to use a solvent-based wax or a solvent to remove scuff marks.

Two: Do not underestimate the power of clear shoe polish, metal polish, soft cloth and toothpaste.

Three: If you are removing scuff marks from leather shoes, a non-gel toothpaste will do. Rinse and wipe it, then allow it to dry.

Four: If your flooring or shoe is made of plastic or vinyl, you can always use a pencil eraser. If it is not effective, you can use non-gel toothpaste and brush it with toothbrush. You can also try your luck on lighter fluid.

Five: On canvas, upholstery cleaner will be a great help. You can also use non-gel toothpaste or cleanser and then let it dry naturally.

Now go back to your living room and see what method works for your flooring. It would be impossible not to find anything effective from the reliable list above.

About the author

Nicole Harding


  • I’m a teacher and we have lots of scuff marks in the hallways at school. We stick a tennis ball on the end of a yard stick and just rub them away. It works quickly and requires no scrubbing, bending, or cleansers.

  • Back in Basic Military Training, we had a big problem with boot polish scuffs (Air Force still wears black boots). So to combat that, we got neutral shoe polish and rubbed it into the black scuffs. I think it killed the wax, but it sure worked.

  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is the BOMB!!! It takes out scuff marks, those dirty little refrigerator handles, marks on doors, everything! I buy them by the case!

  • Using baking soda works but depending on the floor it can strip the wood of some of its color. I recommend using an eraser or tennis ball.

  • I have debunked the rubbing alcohol theory. I am going to try the tennis ball trick…. I see people in Target using that one all the time!

  • i have a whole wack of scuff marks on my concrete floor that were made by kids skateboarding on it, there not black there just a bit lighter then the colour of the concrete. i was wondering if anyone had any ideas as two what i should do

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