How to Clean Baseboards For a Fresh, Scuff-Free Look

Remove scuffs, dust, and dirt, in six simple steps.


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The baseboards in our homes create a finished aesthetic by hiding small gaps where the wall meets the floor. They also protect the painted or papered walls from moisture and damage from vacuums, furniture legs, and shoe scuffs. Whether the baseboards have a painted or stained finish of solid wood, MDF, or PVC, your home will look fresher after cleaning them to remove dust and dirt. Follow the simple steps and tips below to learn how to clean baseboards in your home.

How Often to Clean Baseboards

Food splatters and spills that land on baseboards should be cleaned away as soon as they happen. Then, each time you vacuum or mop, dust the baseboards to prevent dust and dirt from building up. If you don't have time to dust them each time you vacuum, try to do it at least twice a month. Baseboards need a thorough cleaning at least once a year to remove food splatters, scuffs, and stuck-on grime.

  • Rather than dusting all the baseboards in your home during one cleaning session, do a couple rooms every other week.
  • Use a duster with an extendable handle or a dust mop with a swivel head so you won't have to bend down when dusting.
  • When you need to do a more up-close cleaning, use a yoga mat or garden kneeler to make the process more comfortable for your knees.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Vacuum with upholstery attachment or dust mop with a swivel head
  • Small plastic bucket or basin


  • Microfiber cloths
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Disposable dusters (optional)
  • Melamine sponge
  • Cotton swabs
  • Rubber eraser
  • WD-40 lubricant


How to Clean Baseboards

  1. Clear a Path

    When it's time to do a thorough cleaning, move any furniture or items away from the baseboards. This will take some time but you need to have plenty of room to easily reach the baseboards without damaging the furniture.

  2. Get Rid of Dust

    Use a disposable duster, dust mop, microfiber cloth, or the upholstery attachment on your vacuum to remove loose dust and cobwebs. Starting with a dry dusting will help you get a more thorough clean when you move on to the wet cleaning solution—and prevent you from just pushing dirt and dust around.

  3. Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

    In a small plastic bucket, add a 1/2 teaspoon of degreasing dishwashing liquid to two quarts of warm water. If you are cleaning kitchen baseboards that feel greasy, increase the dishwashing liquid to one teaspoon per two quarts of warm water.

  4. Wipe Away Baseboard Soil

    Use a lint-free microfiber cloth to wipe away the soil. Dip the cloth into the cleaning solution and wring until it is not dripping. Using too much water will leave streaks or drips on your walls, baseboards, and flooring. Start at one side of the room and clean a small section at a time, wiping from the top of the baseboard and working down. Rinse the cloth out often and change the cleaning water as it becomes soiled.

    Use cotton swabs dipped in the cleaning solution to remove soil from corners or crevices where a cloth won't fit.

  5. Get Rid of Scuff Marks Without Damaging Paint

    Scuff marks end up on baseboards from shoes, vacuums, and furniture. Most can be easily removed with one of these methods:

    • Use a melamine sponge (like a Mr. Clean MagicEraser) on painted or PVC baseboards. Dampen the sponge and rub very lightly. Scrubbing too hard can damage a painted baseboard. Rinse the area by wiping it with the microfiber cloth once the scuff is gone.
    • Art gum erasers are a good choice for removing scuff marks from natural, stained, or painted wood. Be sure the surface of the eraser is clean and then rub it over the mark until it's gone. Wipe up or vacuum away the bits of the eraser left on the floor.
    • Use WD-40 to remove scuff marks from PVC baseboards. Spray the lubricant on a microfiber cloth and rub until the mark is gone.
  6. Move Furniture Back Into Place

    Be sure the baseboards are thoroughly dry before you move everything back into place.

Tips to Keep Your Baseboards Looking Great

  • Remove dust often with a vacuum attachment, dust mop, or duster.
  • Wipe up spills and splatters as soon as they happen.
  • Try dusting with a dryer sheet, The sheet leaves leave a very thin coat of silicone on the baseboard surface to reduce static cling and repel dust.
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