How to Clean Baseboards – 4 Tips

The lowly baseboard is an often underappreciated finishing touch in a room. Generally, it is the last item to be installed in a new construction, yet it is curiously also the last item to be cleaned in many homes.

If you have noticed your baseboards getting a little grubby, you may be itching to break out the scrubbies and have at those dark marks. Before you do, take a quick look at these 4 points to keep in mind, so that your baseboards continue to be so clean you hardly notice them!

1. Most baseboards these days are painted MDF, which stands for Medium Density Fiberboard.

That  means it is a more porous material, and likely to soak up water very quickly, even when painted. However, a damp cloth will nicely clear the ledge on top of any dust and the fronts of any sticky stuff.

Keep in mind that they may only have one coat of paint, so scrubbing too vigorously could mean you lose some of the finish.

2. Once the damp cloth has been used, a little multipurpose cleaner and a light scrub should take care of most scuff marks on the baseboards.


Again, take care not to rub too hard, as the paint can wear off easily and leave you with a translucent area that won’t be easy to disguise.

3. If the marks are still there after a light scrub, then you may want to move on to the Magic Eraser.

These are great for walls and baseboards with marks that resist cleaning. You can wet it and smooth it over the mark with light pressure.

If the mark is still there, scrub a little more. The Magic Eraser does not generally remove paint, and can really make those baseboards look great!

4. Finally, imagine the worst, and the mark will not come off.

A single litre of paint, some painters tape and a small sponge roller can make them look as good as new, and also provide you some extra life for the boards themselves. If the baseboards are in the kitchen or bathroom, consider paints that are designed for water resistance, and they will be much easier to clean in the future.

In the event that your baseboards are made of something other than MDF, cleaning is much easier usually. A quick pass with the vacuum brush tool each time you do the edges of your carpeted area will keep the dust from settling into a film.

A damp cloth with a little multipurpose cleaner does wonders on splashes and marks as well. Solid wood baseboards are still subject to water damage, but they do stand up to a bit more than MDF.

Quite often, commercial buildings have plastic baseboards, which last a very long time, and can be cleaned even with a deftly swung mop by the skilled janitor.

Whatever your particular style of home and fittings, a clean baseboard goes a long way to having that “sparkling clean” feeling in your home!