Anyone else get almost blind with rage when dealing with soap scum? That white, chalky film can sneak up on you! At first, it’s a thin crust that most bathroom cleaning products can easily remove. But, without regular cleaning, more layers will form every time you bathe.
These layers get so hard, you might think about remodeling rather than cleaning. Good news: my homemade soap scum remover practically does all the work for you.
What Causes Soap Scum?
Soap scum results from calcium and magnesium particles in your water combined with fatty acids, oils, and other ingredients in soap. You’ll find these most often in natural or organic soaps and shampoos, like Castile soap and goat milk soap. These are better for your skin but harder to rinse off bathroom surfaces.
Also, the harder your water is, the more likely soap scum will occur. That’s because hard water contains minerals that bind with the fatty ingredients in soap and help them stick to your shower or tub’s surfaces. Not sure if you have hard water? If you have soap scum, you probably do since soft water contains salts that prevent buildup.
How Do You Get Rid of Soap Scum?
To remove soap scum from shower curtains, wash them using your machine’s delicate cycle using a cup of baking soda but no laundry detergent. Add a clean towel to the load to act as a scrubber. Hang the curtain back up once you’ve tackled soap scum on the rest of your shower’s surfaces.
To get soap scum off of your tub or shower walls, use the homemade soap scum remover. Be careful if you’re climbing into the shower to clean it, though, since the mixture is very slippery. If your shower doesn’t have grab bars, consider using a long-handled mop to wipe the walls.
Homemade Soap Scum Remover Recipe
This DIY soap scum remover can get rid of years of soap scum residue in one go without hours of scrubbing. Spray it on, wait, and rinse it away. That’s it!
You Will Need
- 1/2 cup White vinegar, very hot but not boiling
- 1/2 cup Dawn dish soap
- Bar Keeper’s Friend (for marble or granite)
- Hot Water
- Spray bottle
- Microfiber cloth
- For tile, fiberglass, and acrylic showers: Add the heated vinegar and dish detergent to the spray bottle and swirl gently to combine. Spray your shower and tub walls, including your glass doors. Let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes for light buildup to overnight if needed. Rinse with hot water and buff dry.
- For natural stone surfaces like marble or granite: Dampen the surface with water then sprinkle some Bar Keeper’s Friend on a damp microfiber cloth and gently apply it to the surface in circles. Do not rinse. Meanwhile, add 1.5 cups of hot water and the dish detergent to the spray bottle. Spray the surface and let the mixture sit at least 30 minutes, up to overnight. Rinse hot water and buff dry.
Removing Spots on Glass Shower Doors
If you still see spots on your glass shower doors after using the homemade soap scum remover, it’s probably from hard mineral buildup, not soap. Try homemade soft scrub or baking soda and some elbow grease to rub it on with a damp sponge to fix the problem. Then, spray the surface with heated vinegar and wait 5 minutes to dissolve the mineral bonds. Wipe with a Magic Eraser or microfiber cloth and rinse well.
How to Prevent Soap Scum
• Switch to body wash. Synthetic soaps like body wash don’t contain the organic fats that bar soap does. So, they’re less likely to create soap scum.
• Soften your water. Adding Epsom salts to your bath softens the water and keeps soap scum from forming in your tub. Or consider adding a whole-home water softener system to remove the calcium and magnesium ions in your home’s water that contribute to soap scum and water spots.
• Dry your shower after you dry off. Wiping your shower walls and doors with your towel after you’ve dried off will remove a lot of soapy water, so you’ll see less soap scum. A squeegee works, too. Neither method completely removes the soapy layer, though, so you’ll still need to clean your shower weekly to prevent soap scum buildup.
• Or use homemade shower spray daily. You can keep soap scum, mold, and mildew from forming at all with this daily homemade shower cleaner spray. Spritz it on glass shower doors, walls, and even the tub. It neutralizes the fatty substances in soap so they don’t cling to your shower surfaces, and that means you’ll never have to deal with removing soap scum again.