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How to Get Scuff Marks Off Walls

A gloved hand wiping the mint green wall.

Scruff marks can be really unsightly and it can ruin the overall pristine aesthetic of the house so here are ways to get them off your beautiful walls.

No matter how careful you are about keeping your walls looking nice and clean, there still tend to be the occasional scrapes or scuffs, you will notice over time, especially on the bottom of the wall or on baseboards.

There is no need to worry, most times it is an easy fix. There are a couple of very useful and relatively easy methods you can try to quickly remove unwanted marks from your walls.

If that doesn’t do the trick, there are other methods you can use as well that are a little more time consuming and labor-intensive, but definitely worth it to get your walls looking their best again in no time!

What You Will Need

Supplies:

  • Water
  • Liquid Dishwashing Soap/Detergent
  • Baking Soda
  • All Purpose Household Cleaner
  • Melamine Cleaning Sponge
  • Soft White Cloths
  • Small Bowls
  • Gum Eraser
  • Fine-Grit Sandpaper
  • Paint Cup
HANDy 1500-CC HANDy Paint Cup, single
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  • Paintbrush
Pro Grade - Paint Brushes - 5 Ea - Paint Brush Set
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Instructions

Just to be safe, you should test any solution you intend to use on a small corner of the wall or baseboard to be sure it is not going to damage or remove any of the paint on the wall.

Testing a small area and waiting a few minutes to see how it dries could save you the trouble of having to repaint the whole wall if it ends up making the small scuff mark into a large worn out, discolored circle on the wall.

Step 1

Use a damp soft cloth to lightly rub the scuff mark in smooth circular strokes, applying slightly more pressure over time. If this successfully removes the scuff mark, then wipe off the wall with a dry soft cloth and be sure you got it all. If this does not work, continue through the cleaning methods

Step 2

Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda, 5 lb
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Mix a solution of about ½ teaspoon of dishwashing liquid and two cups of warm water. Use the damp soft cloth from before and dip it in the solution and follow the same steps as above.

If it seems to be working, but you can still slightly see the mark, try sprinkling a little bit of baking soda on the damp cloth and continue scrubbing. Once the mark is completely gone, use a dry soft towel to wipe and buff dry. If it does not work, move on to the next step.

Step 3

STK 20 Pack Extra Thick Magic Cleaning Pads - Eraser Sponge for All Surfaces - Kitchen-Bathroom-Furniture-Leather-Car-Steel - Just Add Water to Erase All Dirt - Melamine - Universal Cleaner
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Dampen a melamine cleaning sponge and squeeze out any excess water before applying it to the wall.

Scrub the scuff mark in a repeated slow circular motion and then up and down and left to right. If this still doesn’t work, the easy solutions have been exhausted and you will need to move onto more aggressive steps.

Step 4

Add a few drops of liquid detergent into a bowl of warm water and use the same method as before with your rag.

As always, make sure you are not saturating the wall by having a cloth that is too wet. If you start to see some results, but can’t seem to get it all, try a tiny drop of the liquid dish detergent directly on the rag and use that on the wall to see if it will remove the remainder of the scuff marks until they are completely gone. If needed, move on to the next cleaning method.

Step 5

Next, you will try using the all-purpose household cleaner for those stubborn scuff marks that you can’t seem to get rid of. Put the cleaner on your cloth and repeat the motions from before to try to clean the scuff mark off the wall.

If you start seeing the scuff mark get lighter, but it won’t go away completely, try spraying the all-purpose cleaner directly on the wall and continue rubbing with the cloth. Luckily, there are still more steps to try if this still won’t work.

Step 6

Try making a paste out of baking soda and water in a small bowl until it is similar to the thickness of toothpaste. You can put some of the paste on a clean cloth and scrub the scuff mark again on the wall.

If you need something a little tougher, you can try using an old toothbrush, but just make sure you are gentle, so you don’t damage the paint or the wall. Then rinse the area with a damp rage and wipe dry with a soft cloth.

Hopefully, by now your scuff mark is gone! If it hasn’t or if you have put your wall through enough scrubbing and wiping and it now has resulted in damaged paint or discoloration, follow the steps below in the section titled “What to Do If You Couldn’t Avoid Damaging Your Wall”. Unfortunately, if you truly want the mark gone, buffing out the scuff mark and touching up the paint might be the only option you have left.

Scuff Marks on Wallpaper

Most wallpaper does not hold up well to excessive cleaning or repeated rubbing, especially with chemicals or a melamine sponge. It will most likely leave you with discolored or torn wallpaper that looks much worse than when you started.

Faber-Castell Erasers - Drawing Art kneaded Erasers, Large size Grey - 4 Pack
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Try using a gum eraser for wallpaper and see if it will remove the mark without having to go any further. If it’s a really stubborn scuff mark, you can try using liquid detergent mixed with some water, but make sure you test a small area first to see how the wallpaper reacts to the solution and to ensure it doesn’t damage or discolor the wallpaper.

Don’t rub too hard or use a cloth that is too wet, because you could end up permanently damaging the wallpaper, which is the last thing you want to do.

What to Do If You Couldn’t Avoid Damaging Your Wall

If the damage is already done and you didn’t read this before you used a harmful solution that damaged your wall or ripped the poster off the wall bringing the wall paint with it, no need to worry.

3M 19015ES-CC 3-2/3 by 9-Inch Fine Grit Aluminum Oxide Paint, Wood, Metal Sandpaper, 9-Pack
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Yes, you have created more work for yourself, but it isn’t the end of the world and can be easily fixed. What you need to do next is gently rub-down the wall with a fine-grit piece of sandpaper to wear down the stained area to make it easy to prime and paint over.

Ideally, you want to use sandpaper with 120 grit or higher. If there is a lot of dust leftover on the wall, wipe it off with a Clorox wipe, baby wipe, or wet paper towel.

Apply a layer of primer over the stain using a small roller brush or small paintbrush in short, smooth strokes. You want to cover a space that is slightly bigger than the spot you are trying to cover. If you don’t have any primer on hand, as your local home improvement store which primer would be best to use on your wall.

Next, once the primer is dry, you want to sand it down with the fine-grit sandpaper to even out the layer of primer with the rest of the wall. This will provide a smooth surface for the paint to be applied, so you want to make it look as fresh and flawless as possible.

Again, wipe away any excess dust with a wipe or damp cloth before painting. Then you are going to add a thin layer of paint over the stained spot with a small paintbrush or roller. Make sure you use the same exact color paint as the rest of the wall.

Use long, even strokes to apply a smooth layer of paint. If you are using an oil-based paint, you should use a brush with natural bristles. If your paint is water or latex-based, a synthetic paintbrush would be best.

Once the paint dries, your wall should be looking as good as new! If the area needs to be slightly darker, add a second coat of paint, but just be sure it is a very thin layer, so the wall remains even and smooth and you won’t even be able to tell the difference.

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