How to Get Scuff Marks Off of Hardwood Floors

removing floor scuff

If your hardwood floors are the pride and joy of your home, seeing them scuffed is frustrating. While you likely expect some wear and tear, learning how to remove scuffs can help keep your floors looking their best.

Methods for Removing Scuff Marks

Try removing scuff marks from your hardwood floors using common household products. You don't always need to buy a special product for the job. Some unexpected resources can be pressed into service:

Scuff Mark Cleaning Tips
Cleaner Recommended Use Cautions
Eraser You can use a regular pencil eraser, although there are special hard-rubber erasers designed especially for floor cleaning that work well on stubborn marks. Can cause dulling of protective finishes if used repeatedly.
WD-40 type product This is safe and can also help give your wood some shine. It works best on light scuff marks. Clean up thoroughly after use as it can leave the floor slippery.
Rubber soled shoe If you're in a hurry and don't have an eraser, sometimes putting on rubber soled shoes and twisting one of them over the scuff mark will do the trick. Avoid using black, rubber soled shoes on light wood finishes.
Toothpaste or baking soda These are two of the mildest abrasives around. Use a clean, damp cloth or an old, moistened toothbrush to apply them to the mark. Rub gently with the grain of the wood. If your wood is scratched or pitted, toothpaste and baking soda can leave a chalky residue that's hard to remove.
Housecleaning eraser pad Rub the scuff mark with the grain of the wood according to the manufacturer's instructions. These new style cleaners look smooth and safe, and they usually are, but repeated use can dull surfaces, including wood.
Fine steel wool For very stubborn marks on dark wood. Use only the finest steel wool (#000 or #0000). Can cause dulling and abrade the wood. If you wax your floor, try coating the wool in a waxing solution before you begin.
Mineral spirits (naptha) Wipe scuff marks gently with a clean cloth. This is a caustic, flammable substance; so use caution.

Specialty Products

Some speciality products exist for removing scuff marks from your floors, as well as for cleaning up any dullness caused by other removal methods.

Hardwood Floor Care Cleaners

Using a hardwood floor care cleaner is often the first step in removing a scuff and in some cases, it's all that's needed. Find a formula specifically made for hardwood floors.

  • Bruce hardwood floor cleaner only costs about $5, and it is specifically designed for hardwood and laminate floors. To use it, apply it to a clean, soft cloth and rub the spot. It doesn't require any rinsing and won't leave residue. If the scuff marks are deep or scratched, you may need to continue with a concealer product.
  • Bona makes an entire hardwood floor care system, including a floor cleaner that may remove minor scuff marks. It works on all types of wood. To use it, apply it to a soft cloth and rub the scuff mark until it lifts. No rinsing is required. It costs about $10.

If the cleaner alone doesn't work, proceed with a scuff eraser.

Scuff Eraser

Oxo Good Grips makes a floor duster with a built in scuff remover, and it costs around $25. To use the eraser, step on the pedal to remove the duster and then use the eraser on the handle to scrub away scuff marks. If marks remain or the scuff is a deeper scratch, then you may need to use a concealer.

Concealer

For deep scratches or scuff marks that won't come off, you may need to use a concealer. While this doesn't technically "remove" the scuff marks, it does hide them or minimize their appearance.

  • ScratchAway concealing spray reduces visibility of scratches on hardwood and laminate floors (bonus - it also works on countertops). It contains oils and polymers that sink in to hide the raw white appearance of scratches and scuffs. To use it, simply spray it on, allow it to soak in, and wipe it away. You can find it for about $10.
  • WearMax scratch concealer removes the unsightly whiteness from fresh scratches and scuffs and repairs the top coat of pre-sealed hardwood floors. To use it, apply it, rub it in a circular motion, and cure under a lamp for four hours. It costs around $30.

Removing Scuffs

Hardwood floors can be a beautiful addition to any room. With a little time and effort you can keep yours in good condition by removing unsightly scuff marks safely.

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How to Get Scuff Marks Off of Hardwood Floors