Long Island's Painting Contractor - Scott Painting

GUIDE: How to clean a painted wall?


I get asked this question a lot: I was thinking of painting my house but I wanted to try washing scuff marks off painted walls first.

I will try to be as detailed as possible in my response. If anyone reading this painting article still has questions send them to CONTACT at bottom of page.  

Magic Eraser sponge

The best thing to get off scuff marks on a wall  is a Magic Eraser that you buy at a grocery store.

  1. Wet sponge. Make sure you wring it out. You want damp, not wet.
  2. Only use the tip of the sponge and focus on scuff mark. Press lightly - you don't want to take off the paint.
  3. Do not take big round strokes. Keep the stroke confined to the scuff mark. I can't stress this point enough. 
  4. Don't go over the same area again within a few minutes. If you wet it a few minutes ago, it will be soft, and the paint will rub off the wall.


The 4 steps above are key. If any of the above are not met, then you will see where you washed. The biggest mistake that most people make is using the whole sponge and not just the tip, then going in circles and not confiding to just the scuff mark, then going over the area again or longer than 30 seconds, thus softening the paint and removing the shine. 

The result of the above paragraph is, "I tried the magic sponge and it doesn't work." Did you just start laughing? Okay then you know what I'm talking about. LOL


If you have a tough area, adding Dirtex to a 1/2 gallon of water sometimes does the trick. Only a small amount 1/2 teaspoon or it will remove paint. This product works well with finger prints around door handles.

Elmont Paint on Dutch Broadway sells this product. Call to make sure they have it in stock.

Most of your paints with a sheen such as Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, and Behr are washable. Always test a small area to make sure that your paint is washable. Large scuff marks will probably show.

With each of the above brands, the higher end lines have a lot more washability then the cheaper paints.

The higher the sheen, the more washable the paint will be. When choosing paint, remember high sheen paints bring out all the imperfections in a wall.

When using a paint roller on walls, paint needs to be straight out of the can. If your last painter thinned the paint, there will be minimal washability.

Article written by Scott Brown from Scott Painting