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What Causes Scuff Marks on a Floor?

Amanda Flanigan

Scuff marks will quickly cause your once pristine floor to appear old and dingy. Many common household items will leave the unsightly marks on floors. Hardwood, vinyl and even linoleum floors can develop scuff marks. Fortunately, if you know what causes the scuff marks, you can take the necessary steps to prevent them from forming.


Various household items will remove scuff marks from your floor.

Wearing shoes that feature black heels and soles will increase the chance of scuff marks on the flooring. To help prevent scuff marks caused by shoes, refrain from walking on the hard floor with the shoes. Ask guests to remove their footwear before entering your home. If you must wear shoes while on hardwood, vinyl or linoleum floors, do not drag your feet across the floor. The scraping of the heels and soles of the shoes is what causes the scuffs to appear on the floor.


Sliding a chair, table or other piece of furniture across the flooring will leave the surface filled with unpleasant black marks. Not sliding the furniture across the floor, and instead lifting the furniture up when it needs to be moved, will help reduce the chance of scuff marks on your floors. Furthermore, install foot protectors on the bottom of the furniture feet to protect your flooring from damage when the item slides across it.


Just about anything that features black rubber can leave a scuff mark on the floor. From toys to rugs with a rubber backing, dragging the rubber item across the hard floor will leave a thin layer of the rubber on the floor, creating the scuff marks. The best way to prevent the scuff marks is not to allow rubber items on hardwood, vinyl or linoleum floors. If you must use rugs on the floors, choose ones that feature a cloth backing. Encourage children to play with their toys on carpeted areas instead of your hard flooring.

Removing Scuff Marks

Since scuff marks only affect the surface of the flooring, no real damage occurs to the floor. Dampen a paper towel with water, and vigorously rub the scuff marks until they are no longer present. You can also rub the marks off the floor with a white pencil eraser. Another option for removing scuff marks is rubbing the marks with a tennis ball. For easier removal, cut a slit in the tennis ball and insert a broom handle, which will allow you to remove the marks without bending over. Rubbing toothpaste, baking soda and water-displacing spray on the scuff marks will also remove them from hard floors.