Your No-Sweat Guide to Spring Cleaning

3 Ways to Teach Stubborn Wall Scuffs a Lesson

Including DIY methods if you can't get to the store.

March 30, 2020

Welcome to Your No-Sweat Guide to Spring Cleaning, a month-long series that puts the fun (yep, for real!) back into cleaning. We’re talking spruce-ups that take less than five minutes, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that hacks, and hands-off cleaning tasks that basically…do themselves—plus our trustiest tools and helpers. The goal: clean less, go outside more.

I despise wall scuffs. As far as cleaning tasks go, scrubbing the walls free of marks is the thing-I’m-most-likely-to-drop-everything-for. If I’m running out the door on a Monday morning, the sight of a streak on the wall derails my trajectory—you can bet I’m throwing my bag down and getting right to it before I leave. There’s something so satisfying about making the blemish disappear…even if it makes me late for work. I’ve tested out a couple methods as a result of my compulsive cleaning impulses, and these three are the most effective:

1. Rubbing alcohol & wash cloth

I discovered firsthand the benefits of rubbing alcohol on wall scuffs while wiping an area clean to put up a Command hook, as one does. Little marks on the area disappear with a few good swipes: just dampen a cloth with the alcohol and get to work.

2. Water & baking soda paste

Is there anything baking soda and vinegar can't do? Perhaps, but not in my house. A paste of baking soda and water (mix the parts until they’re the consistency of toothpaste) is mildly abrasive, so it gently buffs away surface scuffs when you rub it on the wall in circular motions with a cloth. When you've successfully banished the scuff, wipe away the leftover bits with a clean, damp cloth.

3. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Okay, so this isn’t a novel idea—and it’s not the most sustainable—but seriously, my home is not complete without some Magic Erasers in my arsenal. They’re the ultimate in quickly removing marks from the wall with just the eraser and some water, and they can be reused until they eventually shrivel up into nothing. They’re also super handy for removing soap scum from the tub and caked-on crud from the stove.

What's your favorite way to remove wall scuffs? Let us know in the comments!

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When I'm not writing & editing for Home52, I'm likely to be found DIY-ing a new piece of furniture (or restoring an old one), hanging things on the wall in my apartment, or watching hours of vintage RHONY.


Missy R. March 21, 2023
All above have left water marks on my walls. (yikes!) Any suggestions?
VIPfood52 March 30, 2021
I use Bon Ami 🐣 on everything!! It removes scratches on walls, makes stainless sparkle, cleans a glass shower door beautifully and never, ever scratches.
Caroline M. March 30, 2021
Oh I've been using Bar Keeper's Friend all the time as well, it's truly magical on scuffs and stained stainless (ha) steel.
Wendy E. March 29, 2021
#3 mentions baking soda and vinegar in the headline, but the body of the text talks about baking soda and water. Please clarify. Thanks!
Caroline M. March 30, 2021
Hi Wendy! It's a baking soda & water paste, I just referenced vinegar as another kitchen staple cleaning item, not related.
Cindy March 30, 2021
I think maybe this should be "Is there anything that baking soda OR vinegar can't do?"
gideon B. March 30, 2020
Rubbing Alcohol<--------- good luck finding any these days