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5 Tried & Tested Ways to Remove Scuff Marks from Walls

plant in a white pot up against a white wall in an empty apartment

The thing about scuff marks is that they seem to (annoyingly) appear out of nowhere! One minute your walls look pristine, and the next time you walk by, low and behold, scuff marks! As subtly as they may occur with the slightest bump against a wall, there is nothing subtle about their appearance. They can make a newly painted wall look aged before its time; the good news, however, is that removing scuff marks from walls is easy, and quickly restores your walls to their clean, brand new-looking condition!

It is important to note that fresh scuff marks are a lot easier to remove from walls while older stains may require slightly more abrasive or aggressive treatments. For these reasons, it is advisable to act swiftly when you come across these unsightly marks on your walls.

Depending on the severity of the mark and how long it has been there, an appropriate cleaning method may be applied. To help you figure out which one you should use, here are our top tips to remove scuff marks from your walls

NOTE: Before attempting any of the following cleaning methods to remove scuff marks on your wall, test each one out on an inconspicuous area of the wall to ensure that they are not damaging to the finish.

1. Damp Cloth

person wearing pink gloves wiping wall with a blue microfiber cloth

It may come as a surprise to many but some fresh scuff marks can be cleaned off with just water and a soft cloth. In fact, if you are unsure of when the mark first appeared, it is advisable to start with a gentle cleaning method (like this one) before moving on to the use of cleaning agents and other techniques. 

When using this particular cleaning method, be sure to choose a clean and soft white cloth as a slightly dirty and/or coloured fabric may transfer dirt/colour to the paint finish. Another important tip is to ensure that the cloth is merely damp and not dripping wet. For best results, wipe over the scuff mark gently (refrain from wiping outside the mark, as far as possible), and use a fresh side of the cloth as and when needed. To finish off, dab the area with a dry cloth to remove as much moisture as possible, and leave it to dry. 

2. Soap & Water

woman wiping down pink wall with a blue cloth

If a damp cloth does not suffice, the next best (and relatively gentle) method to get off scuff marks from your wall is a cleaning solution made with mild soap and water. A few drops of a gentle dish soap mixed in a cup of water is all you need, along with a clean, soft (white) cloth or a non-abrasive sponge. 

Similar to the method mentioned above, your cleaning tool should be damp so as to not saturate the wall while cleaning. Scrub the scuff mark using minimal pressure until it vanishes completely. If you are dealing with an older mark, it may take some time and repeated scrubbing before the stain is removed; therefore, it is important to be patient when trying to get rid of scuff marks from your wall. When/if the treatment is successful, be sure to soak up excess water from the wall with a clean, dry towel. 

3. Baking Soda Paste

woman wiping down pink wall with a wet white cloth

The older the scuff mark, the more challenging it is to remove. Nevertheless, when you are faced with one that refuses to come off with the gentle cleaning methods above, break out the baking soda and try this quick and efficient way to clean stubborn scuff marks from your wall. 

Mix water and baking soda to make a slightly runny paste; dampen a soft cloth or sponge with water and dip it in the paste so that a small amount is transferred to the cleaning tool. Use this to gently scrub away the scuff mark without scrubbing outside of the stain (as much as you possibly can). The great thing about baking soda is that it is a mild abrasive with exceptional cleaning properties, thus making it safe and effective to use on paint finishes and many other surfaces. 

4. Melamine Sponge

4 melamine sponges on a pink background

Also known as ‘Magic Erasers’, melamine sponges are one of the best and most effective cleaning tools for removing wall-stains including scuff marks. The only downside is that they can be a little too abrasive for some types of paint finishes and surfaces; therefore, along with conducting a test on an inconspicuous area of your wall, we advise using minimal pressure when scrubbing your walls with a melamine sponge.

To use the cleaning tool, you will need to soak it in water and wring it completely so that it is just damp; then proceed to wipe the scuff mark on the wall very gently in a back and forth motion. When you are done, blot the area with a clean, dry towel.

5. Non-Gel Toothpaste

toothpaste on its side spilling blue toothpaste

NOTE: This method is recommended for gloss/satin paint finishes.

White, non-gel toothpaste is very effective in removing stubborn marks from walls, floors, furniture, and shoes, too! The reason behind its successful cleansing abilities lies in the mild abrasion of the paste which is further enhanced with brands that include baking soda in the ingredients.

When using (white) non-gel toothpaste to clean scuff marks on the wall, apply a minimal amount of paste to the affected area, and allow it to sit for a minute or so. Next, dampen a cotton swab or a soft cloth, and gently scrub the stain away. Be sure to remove the toothpaste residue with a damp cloth, and dry the area thereafter. 

Although the mere sight of scuff marks on a newly painted wall can be dreadful to see, there’s no need to fear because contrary to popular belief, scuff marks needn’t be painted over (just yet, at least). Use the tips and cleaning methods above to rid your beautiful walls of scuff marks and remember, the sooner you act, the easier they are to remove!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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