Hardwood floors are elegant and stately, that is, if they’re looking good. When hardwood floors are clean and shiny, they give a room an upscale look that’s second to none. Unfortunately, hardwoods are prone to scuff marks from shoes, especially in high traffic areas. These blemishes can be frustrating to remove and you definitely don’t want to damage your floor in the process.
So, how do you get rid of the unsightly marks without creating a more permanent problem? Unbeknownst to some, the unsightly smudge probably hasn’t damaged the wood itself. You can help keep it that way by using some care and common sense when performing the cleanup. There are plenty of methods for abolishing heel marks and they aren’t as tough as you might imagine. In fact, many of them take very little time and use items you probably already have in your home.
Hardwood floors typically have a layer of polyurethane or a similar type product to help protect the surface and give it a shiny look. Therefore, using harsh chemicals or heavy abrasives will damage this layer and cause an overall uneven finish. Read on to discover how to eliminate these unsightly marks and restore your floors to their original splendor without damaging the polyurethane protectant.
When you were in school and you left a mark that shouldn’t have been there, you erased it. Why not try the same method here? Grab any old pencil eraser and rub it on the heel mark. This method won’t always work, but it’s worth a shot as it’s a fairly gentle way to remove some marks. If a regular eraser doesn’t take off the mark, then there are harder floor cleaning erasers on the market or you could try a melamine foam eraser. Just be sure not to scrub too hard or too frequently in one spot as it may take off some of the floor’s finish.
Rubber soled shoes and tennis balls are two other options. They work in much the same way as erasers and can be rubbed on larger marks to try to remove the spot. If you want to try this method, keep in mind that shoes with dark colored soles may leave more marks on your floor.
Brush it Away
Toothpaste is a common weapon in any life hacker’s arsenal. Hardwood floor marks are just another problem potentially solved by this versatile tool. Toothpaste is a very gentle abrasive so it can help to lightly scrub away the spot. Apply the paste to a soft cloth or an old toothbrush and rub with the grain of the wood. Be sure not to scrub too hard, as you don’t want to damage the wood’s finish. You can then wipe away any residue with a clean, damp cloth.
Give It the WD-40 Treatment
Have you ever heard that you can fix everything with either WD-40 or duct tape? Well, here is further proof of that theory. Simply apply a little WD-40 to a soft cloth or a piece of paper towel and gently rub it over the heel mark. Be sure to wipe the area clean with a damp cloth afterwards to eliminate extra slipperiness.
Banish It with Baking Soda
Yes, baking soda does more than just add fluffiness to cakes. To clean heel marks from hardwood floors you can try mixing two parts baking soda with one part water and gently rub the paste over the spot. Like toothpaste, baking soda is very mildly abrasive and can be applied in the same manner as the toothpaste method. Again, when finished, the area should be wiped clean with a soft cloth.
Remember, no matter the method you choose, you’re trying to restore the luster of your hardwood floors. You need to use a gentle hand and work with the grain of the wood. Also, be sure to test your cleaner of choice on an inconspicuous area of the floor before cleaning the marks. If all else fails, there are commercial products available to clean heel marks, but always check the label to ensure that the product is safe for the type of flooring you have and make sure you follow all manufacturer directions.