Removing black marks from linoleum floors

I like linoleum floors because they’re pretty resilient and easy to take care of. But they can get a bit marked up in some cases. Here’s how to remove black marks from linoleum floors and, more importantly, how to keep them from coming back.

Black marks on linoleum floors are usually a result of the feet on tables or chairs rubbing against the floor while you scoot it. They’ll come off with a mild abrasive and moderate scrubbing.

Cleaning black marks from linoleum floors

black marks on linoleum floor
A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser can remove black marks on linoleum floor in a matter of minutes.

I’ve seen and heard a number of suggestions for cleaning marks off linoleum floors, ranging from a mild detergent and water up to using abrasives. If you can remove it with detergent and warm water and a soft brush, that’s certainly easier on the floor. But if simple mopping doesn’t lighten the marks, there’s a pretty good chance you need more than soap and water. You probably need an abrasive.

I like to use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It’s an inexpensive sponge that becomes slightly abrasive when you dampen it. It’s abrasive enough to remove the marks without further scratching the floor. You don’t need any other cleaner on it, and in fact, it works better without one. Just wet a piece of the sponge, scrub away at the marks, and switch to a new sponge when it wears out. The marks will fade pretty quickly, after just a few passes, but it can take 3-5 minutes to remove a severe one.

The marks are stubborn because the grab onto the tiny crevices in the floor. Even though it feels smooth, on a microscopic level it’s anything but. A mild abrasive can dig into those crevices and remove the mark. Just don’t get impatient and get out a green scouring pad. Those are too aggressive to use on a linoleum floor.

Cleaning the floor will take a few minutes, but it’s much faster and cheaper than replacing the floor. And once you eliminate the source of the marks, linoleum floors hold up for decades.

Preventing black marks on linoleum floors

To prevent black marks on linoleum floors, place felt pads on the underside of your table legs and chairs’ legs. Don’t use plastic or rubber, as they’ll mark the floor again. Place felt pads onto the rubber or plastic feet your chairs already have, and you’ll be able to slide them more easily on the floor without marking it up. You can get a package of felt pads for around a dollar, and they just peel and stick onto the ends of the legs. They’ll save you a lot of cleanup time and prevent further damage to your floor.

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