How to Clean Scuff Marks on Polyurethane Wood Floors

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While a polyurethane finish protects wood floors from all sorts of things that may otherwise stain the wood, scuffs still happen. Shoes with dark or grimy soles easily leave scuff marks on virtually any hard floor surface, including wood and laminate flooring. Scrub those scuffs away with a melamine foam eraser, a rubber pencil eraser, or even a tennis ball.

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Melamine Foam for Scuffs

A melamine foam sponge or eraser such as the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser removes scuff marks with ease. Wet a corner of the foam with water, wringing out most of the moisture so it's damp but not dripping wet. Rub the damp area over the scuff mark, tracing the scuff lines rather than rubbing across them. Continue until the scuffs disappear. For best results, use a fresh corner of the foam eraser, rather than a previously used, worn-down portion of it, as these types of sponges break down easily and don't work as well once they start disintegrating.

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Erase Those Scuffs

A soft pencil eraser or a rubber art-gum eraser eradicates more than just pencil marks. Rub the clean eraser over the scuff mark as if erasing scribbles on paper. Avoid using hard, greasy, or grungy erasers as they could smear the scuffs and make them look worse. Sweep up any eraser particles with a broom and dustpan.

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Erasers work well on scuffs because the rubber grips the floor surface and rubs the scuffs away. A tennis or running shoe with white or rubber-band beige soles made of rubber works in much the same manner. If you have such a shoe handy, grab one and rub the rubber sole over the scuff mark. Do not do this with dark or deeply tinted soles as those may leave additional marks. Old-school running shoes often have the right type of soles for this task.

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Buff With a Tennis Ball

A clean tennis ball on the end of a broom handle offers just the right leverage and buffing power for cleaning some scuff marks without harming the wood floor or its finish. Place the tennis ball in a vise so it won't move, as this is the best way to prevent injury while cutting the ball. Slice an X in the top-facing portion of the ball using a sharp utility knife. Keep the slits just wide enough to push a broom or mop handle into the ball.

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Remove the ball from the vise, push the ball firmly onto the top of the handle, then rub the ball over the scuffs on the wood floor. The handle method offers a bit more leverage than simply rubbing the ball over the floor while sitting on the floor.

If you don't have a tennis ball, a clean microfiber cloth or microfiber mop pad may do the trick. Apply enough warm water to make the cloth or mop pad damp but not soaking wet. Rub the cloth or the mop pad attached to a mop handle over the scuffed area, applying a little pressure. If the scuffs don't disappear with ease, mix a little dish soap with water, dip the cloth or mop pad in the soapy water, wring, and wipe the floor again. Follow up with a damp cloth to remove any soap residue.

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