I have some marks on the kitchen wall from a tall trash can. Do I need to paint over them? If so, do I need to degloss/sand the wall first?
I have tried a damp towel and failed. Can they be cleaned off with some cleaning products?
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Many paints "chalk", allowing surface dirt to be scrubbed off gently (e.g. with a weak solution of laundry detergent), but this also removes a very thin layer of paint. If cleaning changes the appearance noticeably, then repainting could be done.
Depending on the type of paint, no pretreatment might be necessary. Flat latex paint can often be reapplied after washing (to remove any surface dirt, e.g. evaporated cooking oil). Other paints are less forgiving, and might require sanding. See PaintInfo.com, This Old House, etc.
Try starting using different solutions on your damp cloth. Using baking soda with a damp towel has been known to work as well as a fresh pencil eraser. If that doesn't do it, then try a dry-cleaning solvent or a spot remover. Repainting would be the logical next step if any of these options do not work or if they damage the paint on the wall.