Ask the Expert: How Do I Clean Tyre Marks off the Wall Without Re-Painting?

Get ride of those dirty stains without getting the dust sheets out

If you store your bikes in your home, or sometimes do the odd maintenance job inside, it’s not uncommon to find you accumulate a number of dirty marks on the walls.

These generally come from tyres catching the walls, from oily fingers as you flit between bike and tool store, or simply from your first movements when you return from a ride with dirty hands.

These marks can be hard to get rid of, without damaging the paintwork or wallpaper.What you want to avoid doing is having to clean or re-paint the entire wall, so spot cleaning is the order of the day. 

Here are a few ways you can rid yourself of small scuffs and smudges:

  • If your mark is finger sized, start with a clean (white) artists eraser, rub this gently over the patch, this should remove finger marks or smudges. If you can’t stretch to a rubber, we have also seen examples of people using white bread in place of an eraser, since it has the same absorbent properties. We reckon it might be better left in the bread bin but each to their own.

  • Over a larger area, you can try a clean, soft cloth with a little HOT water. Rub the wall very gently, in small circles, and check it every couple of seconds to ensure that you aren’t rubbing off paint or scuffing wall paper design.

  • For tougher stains, get yourself a bottle of sugar soap. You can pick it up in most hardware stores and it’s a degreaser so particularly useful for bike related stains. It is quite a harsh product, though, so if you’re using it on matt paint or wallpaper test a very small patch before continuing. On shiny, varnished surfaces such as doorframes, doors and brass door knockers, it’s a lifesaver.
  • Another option is to use a little rubbing alcohol – the kind of stuff you’re likely to find in the pharmacy, next to the plasters. Use this in the same way as the sugar soap, rubbing a small section, and checking the area every couple of seconds.
  • Avoid any product with abrasive particles – scourers, scouring powder or soft-scrub cleansers contain granules which are likely to scratch the wallpaper’s coating or paintwork.

Hopefully these will work – if all else fails, it’s probably time to redecorate with a new lick of paint… here are 50 bike friendly homes to inspire you. 


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