Black Marks on Vinyl Floors?

Vinyl flooring sometimes ends up streaked with black marks caused by shoes, toys, appliances, and other objects. When black marks won’t wipe off it can be a real nightmare. No one wants vinyl floors stained with black scuffmarks and streaks. A vinyl floor can be sparkling clean, but if it has black marks and streaks, it still looks dirty.

You can get rid of black marks and streaks on vinyl floors safely and easily. All it takes is a little ingenuity and elbow grease to restore your vinyl floors to their former glory. Try the following solutions for removing scuffmarks and streaks, and your vinyl floor will once again look as good as new.

Is it Tar?

Black or dark brown oily spots on vinyl flooring could be tar or creosote. Railroad ties or fresh pavement are usually the source when oily black goo is tracked indoors. As you may have already discovered, it won’t come off with a wet rag or normal cleaning. It will only smear.

Rub tar or other oily spots on vinyl flooring with oil-based lubricant or commercial adhesive remover, and it should come right off. Be sure to wash away oily spots left behind to avoid slipping and falling.


Black-healed shoes sometimes leave scuffmarks on vinyl flooring, and scuffmarks can be very difficult to remove. Those who clean and maintain airports and other high traffic areas know the secret to cleaning scuffmarks from flooring, and the solution couldn’t be easier. Maintenance personnel responsible for removing scuffmarks from floors attach a tennis ball to a broom handle and rub away scuffmarks simply and easily. The semi-rough fabric covering the tennis ball safely rubs away scuffmarks.

If you don’t have a tennis ball, try removing black scuffmarks with white rubber. Erase scuffmarks with a white rubber-soled shoe or a clean white vinyl eraser. Chances are the scuffmarks will come right off.

Mystery Marks

If you’ve discovered marks on your vinyl floor, and you’re not quite sure of the cause, try rubbing them away with a little dab of toothpaste on a damp rag. Toothpaste is a great home remedy for removing stains from hard surfaces, and it just might do the trick.

Fabric softener sheets are also great for rubbing away mystery marks from vinyl flooring. Simply cover your index finger with a dry fabric softener sheet, and briskly rub away the stain. If it isn’t beneath the surface of the vinyl, it should come right off.

It is common knowledge that oil and water don’t mix, so don’t waste your time trying to remove oily stains on vinyl floors with water-based cleaners. For a mystery mark that appears to be oil-based, place a dot of dishwashing liquid on a dry fabric softener sheet. Briskly rub the mark until it dissolves, and then thoroughly rinse and dry the area.

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