How to Remove Soap Scum

Jennifer L. Betts
old sink

Cleaning the bathroom isn't the highlight of anyone's cleaning schedule, especially if you have a soap scum problem. Rather than let soap scum get you down and out, try a few of these sure-fire soap scum removing methods. Whether you try a natural method or go for a commercial cleaner, removing soap scum is going to take a little elbow grease.

What Is Soap Scum?

When the minerals in water and soap fat mix, you create a very unpleasant reaction called soap scum. This winning combination forms a whitish yellow scaly, crust that lines your shower and tub walls, along with your shower doors. It can also get thicker the longer that it is left, creating that unpleasant bathroom ring. Since it isn't an option not to use soap or shower, best to learn how to clean this difficult mess up.

Homemade Cleaners for Soap Scum

Soap scum can be hard to remove despite your best efforts. It can mar your glass, tiles, fixtures and tub. Not only that but the longer it sits the harder it can be to clean. Before you reach for commercial cleaners, there are a few tricks that you can try with ingredients in your pantry. For these homemade recipes, you'll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Spray bottle
  • Sponge
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Peroxide
  • Bowl

Dish Soap and Vinegar Spray

If you are looking to clean your glass, fixtures, shower walls or shower doors, you can try a vinegar and dish soap spray. Not only will it take away the white dingy glaze, but it can restore your shine.

  1. In a clean spray bottle combine 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vinegar.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of dish soap to the mix.
  3. Give it a good shake and spray down your shower walls, fixtures and glass doors.
  4. Allow it to sit for about 20 minutes or so.
  5. Using the sponge, scrub in slow circles.
  6. For particularly scaly areas, bust out the soft bristle brush.
  7. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Foam

The inside of your fiberglass or porcelain tub and sink can see the brunt of soap scum if you take baths or have really hard water. For these areas, you might want a little more fighting power. In this instance baking soda works great, because it adds a bit of grit to scrub that soap scum. To get to clean, you'll need to:

  1. Add a cup of baking soda to about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of vinegar. (You're looking to make a scrubbing paste.)
  2. Let it foam.
  3. Using a sponge, add the paste to the tub or sink paying special attention to thick soap scum areas.
  4. Allow it to sit on the tub or sink for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Using the brush, scrub the entire area in circular motions.
  6. Rinse and repeat as necessary

For particularly hard-hit areas or if you missed a week of cleaning, you can substitute peroxide for vinegar.

Baking Soda And Vinegar Bottle

Commercial Cleaners to Tackle Soap Scum

Several top cleaning brands that are trusted in homes around the world sell cleaners that are specifically targeted to nixing soap scum. Many are not only great for soap scum but work great for mold and mildew too. Just a few of the cleaners include:

  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser: This cleaner works great for fiberglass tubs and showers. Micro scrubbers in the pad and foaming cleaners work to break down and lift the soap scum.
  • Bring It On Cleaner Hard Water Stain Remover: Designed specifically for hard water stains, Bring It On uses oxygen bleach to break down the calcium and residue left by soap.
  • Kaboom: With the power of Oxi Clean, Kaboom breaks down soap scum making it wipe away.
  • Scrubbing Bubbles: Using the power of bleach, Scrubbing Bubbles thick formula clings to the soap scum quickly dissolving it.
  • CLR: Perfect for all surfaces, CLR uses a unique formula to break down hard water, soap scum and calcium.

Using commercial cleaners is easy. Follow the instructions and spray the cleaners on to the soap scum. Allow it to sit and simply wipe it away. Just make sure to follow all the instructions.

Tips for Avoiding Soap Scum

Since you aren't going to stop showering, it can be hard to avoid soap scum. However, there are a few things that you can do to make it harder for soap scum to form.

  • Keep a spray bottle of vinegar and water in your bathroom and spray everything down after your shower. Wipe it down with your towel.
  • Try out liquid body soap rather than a bar soap. Using a shower gel can cause a significant reduction in that filmy yuck.
  • Use your towel and quickly dry your bathtub and shower. The water and soap need to get together and have a party to form soap scum particles. Wiping the water way will reduce the reaction.
  • The more minerals you have in your water, the worse your soap scum problem will be. Consider investing in a water softener if you have particularly hard water.
  • Add a bit of Epsom salt to your bath to make sure that the minerals and soap don't get a chance to react with one another.
Mom and daughter cleaning glass shower

Removing Soap Scum

If you use soap then soap scum can be unavoidable, especially if you have hard water. Take the work out of getting rid of that unsightly scum by trying a few natural and commercial cleaners. And remember, preventing soap scum daily can mean knocking that chore right off your weekly chore list.

How to Remove Soap Scum