How to Remove Soap Scum

Dealing with soap scum can be a real headache. You invest the time and effort to remove soap scum, only to watch it return, leaving you feeling defeated and frustrated. 

While most of us want to remove soap scum because of its unsightly nature, the impact goes beyond aesthetics. For instance, in areas prone to moisture and humidity, such as bathrooms, soap scum accumulation can exacerbate issues related to mould and mildew growth, further compromising indoor air quality.

While soap scum is an inevitable part of life, it doesn’t have to reign supreme in your household. With the right techniques, products, and a little elbow grease, you can easily remove soap scum from any surface, leaving your bathroom sparkling clean.

How to remove soap scum

What Causes Soap Scum

Soap scum is that white or grayish residue you find coating your bathroom and kitchen surfaces. It happens when the calcium and magnesium ions present in hard water react with the fatty acids found in soap. Furthermore, soap scum also plays host to dirt, body oils, dead skin, and bacteria, making it even more of a nuisance. The worst part? When you let it sit and harden, it becomes significantly harder to remove soap scum.

The Dangers of Soap Scum

While harmless to healthy individuals, soap scum poses significant risks to those with compromised immune systems. Additionally, exposure to harmful pathogens can exacerbate allergies, and respiratory issues like asthma and result in skin irritations.

Moreover, its accumulation can lead to surface damage, fixture deterioration,  clogged drains, bathroom falls, and poor indoor air quality.

Ultimately, it’s crucial to regularly remove soap scum to mitigate risks and maintain a safer and healthier environment in your home.

How to Remove Soap Scum

Before we dive into it, let’s take a quick look at the cleaning equipment and solutions that you’ll need at hand before you get started. Then we’ll go through some methods for cleaning soap scum off of various parts of your bathroom. 

Tools and Supplies Needed to Remove Soap Scum

  • Scrub brush or sponge
  • White vinegar or lemon juice
  • Baking soda
  • Microfiber cloth or paper towels
  • Rubber gloves
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Essential Oils
  • Large basin or washtub
  • Optional: commercial soap scum remover

How Often to Clean and Remove Soap Scum

Soap scum builds up quickly on shower walls, doors, and bathtubs. Want to keep your bathroom and kitchen looking fresh? Make it a weekly thing to give soap-scum-prone surfaces a good scrub. 

Homemade Remedies to Remove Soap Scum

For those who prefer eco-friendly options or have sensitivities to harsh chemicals, natural remedies can effectively tackle soap scum. Here are some DIY solutions to try:

  • Vinegar and Baking Soda Solution: Blend equal parts white vinegar and baking soda into a paste. Apply it to soap scum-affected areas, allowing it to sit before scrubbing and rinsing. Vinegar’s acidity aids in soap scum breakdown, while baking soda acts as a mild abrasive.
  • Lemon Juice and Salt Mixture: Mix lemon juice and salt to create a gritty paste. Apply directly onto soap scum, gently scrubbing before rinsing thoroughly. Lemon’s acidity helps dissolve residue, while salt provides an abrasive action for removal.
  • Essential Oils and Water Spray: Dilute essential oils like tea tree or eucalyptus with water in a spray bottle. Spritz onto soap scum, allowing it to sit before wiping with a damp cloth.
  • Lemon Juice and Water Spray: Fill a spray bottle with equal parts lemon juice and water. Apply onto affected areas, letting it sit for 10-15 minutes. Then, scrub with a sponge and rinse. Lemon’s citric acid effectively dissolves soap scum and leaves a fresh scent.
  • Lemon Juice and Borax Scrub: Make a paste with lemon juice and borax powder. Apply onto affected areas, letting it sit before scrubbing and rinsing thoroughly. This mixture works well on ceramic, porcelain surfaces, and metal fixtures.

These natural remedies provide effective alternatives for removing soap scum while being gentle on the environment and sensitive skin.

Removing Soap Scum with Commercial Cleaners

If natural remedies don’t do the trick, try commercial cleaners designed to tackle soap scum. Look for products with ingredients like citric acid or oxalic acid. Commercial soap scum removers work well on a variety of surfaces, including glass, fiberglass, and plastic shower enclosures, and tiles.

How to Remove Soap Scum from a Bathtub

Dealing with soap scum in your bathtub can be frustrating, but with the right approach, it’s conquerable.

Spray your bathtub with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water, allowing it to sit for 10-15 minutes to break down the residue. Afterward, gently scrub the surface with a non-abrasive sponge or brush. 

For tougher buildup, try using a baking soda paste for a foaming action that further loosens the soap scum. Thoroughly rinse the bathtub to remove any leftover residue, and consider using commercial cleaners if natural remedies prove ineffective. Finally, towel dry the bathtub to prevent future soap scum buildup.

This method can also be applied to remove soap scum from your kitchen and bathroom sinks.

Remove Soap Scum from Shower Screen

How to Remove Soap Scum from Shower Doors, Walls, and Grout Lines

Soap scum easily accumulates on shower doors, walls, and grout lines, tarnishing your bathroom’s appearance. To revive your shower’s brilliance, try these steps:

Removing Soap Scum from Glass Shower Doors and Shower Walls

Shower doors and walls often accumulate soap scum due to frequent water and soap residue exposure. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, apply the solution to affected areas, and let sit for 10-15 minutes. 

For tough spots, make a paste with baking soda and water, apply, and let sit before scrubbing. Then, rinse thoroughly and dry with a microfiber cloth. Alternatively, use lemon juice or commercial glass cleaners for soap scum removal. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results and be sure to avoid abrasives that could scratch the glass.

How to Remove Soap Scum from Marble Shower Walls

When dealing with soap scum on marble shower walls, avoid acidic or abrasive cleaners to prevent etching or scratching the marble.

Mix warm water with a gentle, pH-neutral soap and apply to affected areas with a soft sponge or cloth, scrubbing gently to avoid damage. Then, rinse thoroughly with clean water and pat dry with a soft cloth.

Eliminating Soap Scum from Grout Lines

To remove soap scum from grout lines, create a paste with baking soda and water, apply to affected grout lines, and let it sit. Scrub vigorously with a stiff-bristled brush or old toothbrush, focusing on stubborn areas. Rinse with warm water to remove residue and pat dry with a soft cloth.

How to Remove Soap Scum from Shower Curtains

Don’t overlook your shower curtains during your weekly cleaning routine. Treat plastic curtains with a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water, or soak them overnight in a bucket of the same solution. Afterward, thoroughly rinse with warm water to eliminate any lingering soap scum or cleaning residue. 

For fabric curtains, opt for a machine wash, using mild detergent and a cup of white vinegar to achieve a deep clean. Once washed, hang both plastic and fabric curtains to air dry completely to prevent the growth of mould and mildew.

Remove Soap Scum from Faucets and Fixtures

How to Remove Soap Scum from Faucets and Fixtures

Bathroom and kitchen faucets and fixtures are not exempt from soap scum buildup. Here’s a step-by-step guide for removing soap scum from these areas:

1. Prepare the Solution: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Alternatively, lemon juice or a commercial soap scum remover can be used.

2. Apply the Solution: Generously spray the prepared solution onto the affected faucets and fixtures, ensuring thorough coverage.

3. Allow to Sit: Let the solution sit for 10-15 minutes to penetrate and loosen the soap scum buildup.

4. Scrub: After soaking, use a soft-bristled brush or a non-abrasive sponge to gently scrub the surface of the faucets and fixtures. Pay attention to areas with stubborn buildup, applying gentle pressure to lift away the soap scum.

5. Rinse: Once scrubbing is complete, rinse the faucets and fixtures thoroughly with water to remove any remaining residue.

6. Dry: Use a clean cloth to dry the faucets and fixtures. 

How to Remove Soap Scum from a Showerhead

1. Detach or Bag: If your showerhead is detachable, remove it and submerge it in a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water or a commercial descaling solution. Otherwise, pour the mixture into a plastic bag and tie it around the showerhead with a rubber band.

 2. Soak: Let the showerhead soak for at least 30 minutes to loosen the soap scum buildup.

 3. Rinse: After soaking, thoroughly rinse the showerhead with warm water to wash away any remaining residue and cleaning solution.

4. Buff: Once the soap scum has been loosened and removed, use a soft cloth to buff the surface of the showerhead and remove any water spots or streaks.

Tips to Prevent Soap Scum Buildup

Don’t wait for soap scum to become a problem. Here are some handy tips to keep your bathroom and kitchen surfaces clean and fresh:

Use liquid soap instead of bar soap

Liquid soap tends to leave less residue compared to bar soap, reducing the formation of soap scum.

Regularly wipe down surfaces

After showering or using the sink, dry the surfaces with a squeegee or microfiber cloth to remove any excess moisture that could contribute to soap scum formation.

Ventilate the bathroom

Proper ventilation helps to reduce humidity levels in the bathroom, which can contribute to soap scum buildup. Be sure to use an extractor fan or open a window during and after showers.

Use a water softener

If you have hard water, consider installing a water softener to reduce mineral deposits, which can combine with soap to form scum.

Apply a water-repellent coating

After each clean, treat your shower surfaces with a water-repellent coating to help prevent soap scum from sticking. 

Getting rid of soap scum doesn’t have to be a difficult and time-consuming task. With a regular home cleaning schedule in place, you can tackle soap scum effectively. Ready to reclaim your time and enjoy a spotless home without the hassle? Book your home cleaning service with SimplySpotless today and say goodbye to stress and mess!

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