November 1, 2020

fast and easy soap scum

If you take showers and baths as regularly as you should, you’ll probably encounter soap scum. It’s one of the biggest ironies that our cleaning and personal hygiene efforts should actually cause grungy residue to be left behind on our appliances.

The stubborn, scaly deposits build up when the fatty acids, talc, and other ingredients in washing soap react with the minerals in hard water. To make things even worse, soap scum also contains body oil, dirt, bits of dead skin, and bacteria. In short, it’s not a good idea to leave it sitting around for too long – especially as if soap scum is left to harden, it’s incredibly difficult to remove from your tub or shower.

Luckily, there are plenty of methods you can try out to remove soap scum, and you don’t need to pay out of pocket for an expensive commercial cleaner to get the job done, either. Here are some of our favourite tried and tested approaches to removing soap scum that should have your shower or bathtub sparkling in no time:

1. Baking soda and vinegar

Baking soda paired with vinegar is a great soap scum remover

Anyone who knows anything about household cleaning will have a good stock of baking soda to use in all manner of emergencies. To use this product to remove soap scum, it’s most effective when paired with vinegar.

Pour a cup of baking soda into a small bowl and add enough white vinegar to make a paste. The mixture will fizz like an impressive science experiment, so give it time to settle down.  

Once the mixture has stopped fizzing, dip a sponge into the solution and apply it to your shower and tub. Leave it to it set for about 15 minutes, before wiping the surfaces down with a non-scratch sponge. Finish by rinsing thoroughly with water, then dry with a soft towel.

2. Vinegar and dish detergent

Vinegar can be used with almost anything as a cleaner

Vinegar can be used with almost anything as a cleaner, thanks to its acidic properties, which help it to cut through tough grease, grime, and mineral deposits. You can use vinegar with dish detergent for a sure-fire remedy against soap scum on your bathroom surfaces.

Combine equal amounts of vinegar and water into a spray bottle, then add one tablespoon of dish detergent. Spray the solution on the soap scum, and let it sit for at least 15 minutes.

When you return, scrub the surface with a soft-bristle scrub brush, and rinse with hot water. Dry thoroughly with a soft towel.

3. Pumice stone

If you have a porcelain tub, you can use a wet pumice stone to remove soap scum—but make sure to proceed carefully. You can probably imagine that an improper technique or a dry stone could cause all sorts of damage to your surfaces, especially glass doors or tiles.

To give this method a try, dampen both the pumice stone and the surface you’re working on. Then very gently rub the wet stone over the soap scum.

As the soap scum transfers to the pumice stone, use a stiff-bristle brush to clean it off, then continue with the process. If a pumice stone isn’t enough, or you’re dealing with a surface with very bad soap scum, you can try scraping it off with a razor.

How to Remove Soap Scum From a Shower

Again, be very careful not to scratch your surfaces – that’s a lot more difficult to fix!

Preventing soap scum

Soap scum isn’t actually an inevitable aspect of showering or taking a bath, and there are things you can do yourself to prevent it from forming in the first place. This involves:

  1. Using liquid soap, which is far less likely to leave sticky residue than bar soap. It’s the talc and fatty acids in bar soap that are responsible for the majority of scum.
  2. Keeping your shower unit or bathtub dry. If you have a bath, for instance, instead of leaving the bubbly deposits at the bottom of your tub, rinse them away and follow with a quick dry with a clean towel. This little bit of extra work will save a much bigger effort in the future.
  3. Installing a shower head water softener. Admittedly, this one is a little niche, but soap scum is so much worse in water with high hardness. Soft water lathers better with soap and doesn’t leave limescale deposits, which soap scum may stick to.
  4. Using a daily cleaning product, because little and often proves far more effective than lots and rarely. The best way to keep your tub sparkling clean at all times is to commit to a cleaning schedule.
prevent soap scum in shower


So, there you have it – there really is no reason to buy the most expensive “quick fix” chemical cleaner to tackle your soap scum stains in your shower or bath. Most likely, you have the equipment and ingredients you need for the job in your own kitchen cupboards right at this moment.

Just make sure to tackle your cleaning with caution, and don’t go too OTT with your formulas – a little goes a long way in all instances!

If want to see some ready-made products then click on one of the below

Bestseller No. 1
Rejuvenate Scrub Free Soap Scum Remover Shower Glass Door Cleaner Works on Ceramic Tile, Chrome, Plastic and More 24oz
  • Rejuvenate Scrub Free Soap Scum Remover Non-abrasive Cleaning Formula - Spray and Rinse for Streak Free Finish on Glass, Ceramic Tile, Chrome, Plastic and More
  • Effective to use on glass, ceramic tile, fiberglass, natural stone, plastic, chrome and porcelain
  • Easy to use, just spray and rinse, for a streak finish
  • The no scrub soap scum remover is the winner of multiple cleaning product awards
Bestseller No. 2
The Bucko Soap Scum and Grime Cleaner (32oz + Sprayer)
  • 𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗠𝗘𝗥𝗖𝗜𝗔𝗟 𝗦𝗧𝗥𝗘𝗡𝗚𝗧𝗛: Dissolves tough soap scum and grime, leaving a beautiful shine. Makes glass shower doors, yellow stained textured acrylic bathtubs, dull chrome fixtures, sinks with dried out laundry detergent buildup, and wheel rims like new again
  • 𝗣𝗟𝗘𝗔𝗦𝗔𝗡𝗧: Light scent of lemonwater. No bleach, no acid, and no harsh chemicals. Non-toxic, septic system safe. Pleasant to use for tough jobs and regular touch-ups alike
  • 𝗪𝗢𝗥𝗞 𝗦𝗔𝗩𝗘𝗥: No scrubbing required for most jobs. Just spray and wipe away. For tougher jobs, may need to spray and let sit and some scrubbing. Leaves a beautiful, protective shine that will show up after the next shower or rinse.
  • 𝗣𝗥𝗢𝗩𝗘𝗡: Used by the most meticulous cleaners: professional cleaning companies and working moms

About the author

Rachel Perono

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