How to Clean Scuff Marks From a Flat Painted Wall

Katherine Harder

While shinier paints such as eggshell or glossy paints reflect light, flat paints absorb light. Many homeowners and builders use flat paint for this quality, which hides texture surface imperfections.

Start with the least abrasive method to avoid accidentally removing paint.

The matte finish on flat walls is difficult to keep clean, since the grainier texture tends to hold onto dirt, dust and other debris. The lower potion of flat painted walls are prone to surface damage, where shoes can scuff and mark up the area.


If you can’t remove the scuff marks by cleaning or you accidentally rub away some paint, you’ll have to paint over the area.

  1. Fill the bucket with warm water and a few squirts of dish detergent. Soak the sponge in the soapy water and wring out excess water; the sponge shouldn’t be dripping, but just wet.

  2. Gently rub at the scuff marks using circular strokes. Wipe the area dry with a clean, soft towel. If the scuff marks remain, rinse your sponge so you can proceed to other methods.

  3. Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with a similar amount of water to create a paste. Apply this paste to the clean, damp sponge and rub at the marked area with the paste. You also can use non-gel toothpaste, which has a similar texture to baking soda paste. Use a paste-free section of the sponge to remove any paste and examine the wall area for remaining scuff marks.

  4. Wet the melamine sponge and gently dab at the scuff marks. Use a light touch with the melamine, which can rub off pigment and paint if used too forcefully.