Unless you live in a home that observes the Eastern tradition of removing your shoes before entering a home, you are bound to have multiple scuff marks on your floors from time to time. There are several effective ways to remove those annoying scuff marks that mar an otherwise spotless floor, but the method you use would be dependent upon what type of flooring you are talking about. Some methods are not safe for all types of flooring, but each method has its merits when used appropriately.
How to Remove Scuff Marks From a Vinyl Floor
Believe it or not, vinyl flooring may be the hardest type of flooring to remove scuffs from if you don’t understand the difference between vinyl and linoleum. Although we use the terms interchangeably, there really is a difference between the two materials, and that is that one is synthetic while the other is 100% natural. Vinyl flooring is synthetic and the coloration or pattern is usually on the top layer only. For this reason you would need to use extreme caution when scrubbing up those scuff marks or you are liable to damage the flooring. The best suggestion for removing those unsightly black scuff marks from vinyl flooring is to use one of those white ‘magic’ types of erasers or a paste made from baking soda and water. If you use anything that is abrasive you are more likely to scrub right through the layer that has the color.
Removing Scuff Marks From Ceramic Floor Tiles
Probably the easiest type of flooring to remove scuff marks from is ceramic tile. It is suggested that the best way to begin is with a few sprays of WD-40. Gently rub off the scuffs and then wash the area well so that it isn’t slippery. The reason why this works so well is because WD-40 is a solvent and those scuffs are usually from rubber soled shoes. It works like a charm to literally dissolve those marks so that they will quickly wipe up. Of course on ceramic tile you can also use fine grade steel wool pads if necessary. Ceramic is extremely hard and durable but you wouldn’t want a harsh wool pad as it may damage the top coat and take some of the luster away. Fortunately, this can be easily repaired if necessary.
Safely Removing Scuff Marks From Linoleum
While linoleum is much more durable than vinyl flooring, it is often just as tricky to remove scuff marks from. Although the color in linoleum goes all the way through the tile, you can still scratch it quite easily if you try to remove the scuff marks with a product or cleaning material that is too abrasive. Here again, WD-40 works wonders. Also, some people have found that tennis balls work like a charm because rubber removes rubber! Simply cut away the outer layer and gently scrub the mark with the tennis ball and then wash your floor as usual. Other things that work well on linoleum would be the baking soda paste mentioned above, hairspray, toothpaste and even isopropyl alcohol which you probably have in your bathroom medicine cabinet.
Scratch-Free Removal of Scuffs From Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors are just as difficult to remove scuff marks from as vinyl flooring, but the major difference is that hardwood floors are so much more expensive to fix should they become scraped and damaged. For this reason alone, extreme caution should be used when removing black scuff marks from hardwood flooring. You will find that this is another of those times when that amazing WD-40 comes in handy. Just a tiny squirt should remove the most stubborn of scuffs from the floor without scraping it or removing the lacquer finish. Some people also use the tennis ball method because it would not cause abrasions while others take a clean pair of rubber soled shoes and gently rub off the scuff. Those white eraser sponges can also be used if you don’t rub to hard. Other suggestions include mineral spirits, a clean pencil eraser and if the scuff is stubborn enough use the absolute finest grade of steel wool that has been coated with floor wax to inhibit marring the finish.
There are innumerable ways to remove scuff marks on a floor but you need to analyze what type of flooring you have prior to trying any method whatsoever. The scuffs are bad enough, but if you damage your floor in the process of trying to remove those marks you will just be compounding the problem. If you are truly uncertain what type of material is on your floor, the rule of thumb is to start with the least aggressive and work your way up from there. As the old saying goes, it is always better to err on the side of caution.