How to Avoid Black Sole Scuff Marks & Scuffing Floors

Black marks on floors are usually caused by rubber or hard leather soles and heels on shoes or protective rubber tips placed on ladders and furniture legs. Removing shoes at the door and slipping into slippers or non-scuff slip-on shoes can help prevent scuffing caused by athletic shoes and dress shoes.

Select athletic shoes with white or light-colored soles for preventing black scuff marks on floors.


Most black scuff marks on floors are caused by black rubber soles of shoes or tips of furniture legs. Hard leather shoes can also create scuff marks. High heels can scuff and cause indentations in floors; it's always best to remove them before walking on hardwood flooring. Dragging or pushing furniture across a room can also scuff your floors. Dragging or pulling step stools or ladders with protective rubber tipping also can create scuff marks.

Floor Care

Waxing your floors helps with preventing or minimizing the appearance of scuff marks. The more wax you apply, the less risk of damage to your flooring caused by black scuff marks. Floor wax protects flooring by absorbing scuff marks before they reach the actual flooring material. Remove scuffing by using a gentle cleaner and soft rag. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or materials such as rough sponges and steel wool. You can also remove scuff marks using small amounts of toothpaste or a water displacement compound. Rub your cleaning compound into the scuff marks and gently scrub with a clean soft cloth. Ensure that all moisture is removed from your floors to prevent possible moisture damage.

Scuff Prevention

Protecting your investment in your flooring by taking preventative steps is a good way to avoid damaging your floors with scuff marks and other unsightly marks. Trimming your pet's nails every six weeks and limiting children's toys with rubber wheels in areas with scuff-prone flooring prevents scratches and scuff marks. Discourage running or roughhousing in areas with hard-surfaced flooring. Selecting athletic shoes with white or light colored soles assists with preventing black scuff marks on your floors. Take care when carrying or moving heavy items over hard-surfaced floors. Use removable gates as barriers for small children and pets and visual reminders for protecting your floors.


Before cleaning scuff marks from your floors, read all label directions before applying any type of cleaning agent to your floors. You can risk voiding any manufacturer's warranty for your flooring by using products incompatible with your flooring materials and warranty. Maintaining floors according to manufacturer's suggestions can help with preventing scuff marks. Follow all product and equipment instructions when waxing, stripping or re-waxing floors.