How to Remove Soap Scum, the Easy Way

How to Remove Soap Scum

It’s gross, filthy, ugly, and unbearable. Of course, we are talking about soap scum. We hate it because it makes our tubs, showers, and tiles look dirty.

The fact is it’s hard to see it coming. One day you have a spot free bathroom. After a few weeks or so, even with regular cleaning, every surface is smeared.

The worst mistake you can make is putting off the cleaning work.  You should read on to find out how to get rid of soap scum today. Find the best cleaning tips on how to remove the scum. Know how it’s formed, and how you can prevent it.

What is soap scum? And why would it form?

Soap reacts with minerals in water to form scum. You may have experienced the build-up of scale in your hot water heater or when you boil water in a pot. Soap scum is so dreadful because it also consists of dead skin cells, body oil, dust, bacteria, etc.

This mass of dirt and filth is deposited on your bathroom surfaces. When left to dry,  the resulting hard substance is arduous to remove without using any special cleaners and much effort.

But don’t fret! There are many proven methods for getting rid of soap scum.

How to remove soap scum from shower walls:  Top 5 Techniques

1)     Using store-bought cleaners

You can cut right to the chase and purchase commercial cleaning products specially formulated to remove soap scum. With most products, you just have to apply them to your shower walls.  They will loosen the built-up scum.  Afterward, you just have to scrub the surfaces for a spot-free, refreshed wall.

But would you like to save money and time spent commuting to your local grocery store? Would you want to get your creative juices flowing and formulate your own cleaning products?

2)    Prepare Homemade Cleaners

You don’t have to be a science whiz to pull off these homemade cleaners. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to clean soap scum effectively and cheaply. And it’s fun too!

One of the most popular formulations entails mixing baking soda with vinegar. You start by measuring a cup of baking soda into a bowl.  Subsequently,  you fill 1/4 of the cup with vinegar and pour it into the mixing bowl.

The mixture will start fizzing as the baking powder reacts with vinegar to release carbon dioxide. Allow enough time for the reaction to end. Afterward, using a sponge, apply your paste on the surfaces to be cleaned. You may also use the paste in combination with salt to remove heavy soap scum.

Another popular formulation entails mixing vinegar and dish detergent.  You will need a spray bottle where you will combine one cup of water, one cup of white vinegar (preferably), and a teaspoon of detergent.

3)     Using paint/glass scrappers

Paint scrapers are ideal for scraping off the grime from most surfaces such as oven doors. You can also pick up this tool from your local hardware store and use it to scrape off tough scum from your glass shower doors and tiles.

Now, this tool is not ideal for surfaces that are easily damaged such as granite. And you may use it in combination with store-bought cleaners or with your homemade cleaning solutions.

4)     Using pumice stone

Another best way to remove soap scum from your tiles and other surfaces is by using a pumice stone.  However, this technique is more abrasive and may cause you to scratch your surfaces.

You start off by wetting your stone and rubbing it on the target area. The dirt and grime are transferred onto the stone. It’s advisable to never use it on fiberglass.

5)     Using a steam cleaner

The steam cleaner is a piece of equipment that utilizes high temperatures of water to dislodge soap scum. Steam cleaners heat up the water to about 100 degrees and are also useful in killing some bacteria.

6)     Using natural stone cleaning

Some store-bought scum removers are not suitable for delicate natural stones.  Even techniques such as using pumice may be too abrasive. It’s best to obtain specialized products for your specific natural stone.

Effective ways of preventing the buildup of soap scum

It’s true that prevention is better than cure. You can beat soap scum at its game  using the following techniques:

1)     Buy a water softener for your home

The minerals in your hard water are the fuel that the soap scum users to thrive. Reduce the available numerals for scum formation and you will have made huge progress.

Hard water has been a nuisance in many American homes because it also affects water pipes and heating systems.

You also end up using a lot of soap and detergent when using hard water. Read more about how to properly select a water softener for your home.

2)     Wipe down after taking a shower

You may not like this particular advice But consider reducing your shower time. Spend an extra minute cleaning your shower by wiping it down with a cloth or sponge.

You fight the soap scum by preventing it from acquiring more particles and hardening. You can also get a squeegee to quickly clean your shower glass door.

3)     Consider alternative products

One such alternative is synthetic soap that can break down the molecules in hard water preventing the formation of scum. Liquid soaps such as shower gels are also recommended.

How to remove soap scum: Conclusion

Dealing with soap scum may be the most tedious and boring task you can ever undertake. But you may make it more interesting when you prepare your own home formulations and test them out.

Installing a water softener in your home may not only help with the formation of soap scum and allow you to enjoy your favorite bar soap,  but it can actually make your water more suitable for drinking.

There are many more recommendations on how to get rid of soap scum and prevent it. So, stay curious and continue discovering.

Video Tutorial

Here’s a popular tutorial on how to get soap scum cleaning done the easy way:

FAQs and Tips on How to Remove Soap Scum

Q: What’s the best way to define soap scum?

A: The off-white/grey film layer covering the surfaces around bathtubs, showers, or sinks is soap scum. You will also notice it on bathroom fixtures, shower curtains, shower doors, tilling, and everywhere water will get.

Q: Is limescale different from soap scum?

A: Limescale is a chalky deposit that you will find in your kettle, hot water central heating appliances, and hot water boilers. It’s off-white and also challenging to remove.

Q: How come soap scum develops?

A: Using soap is used with hard water; it’s only a matter of time until soap scum will develop. Scientifically speaking, soap scum will mix with magnesium particles and calcium from the water with the soap, causing the soap scum substance.

Q: What are the main factors making soap scum develop?

A: Minerals in the tap water will mix with the dirt and soap, generating a layer of scaliness over the fixtures; it can also develop on the laundry. Appliances using hard water have a high risk of developing soap scum buildup.

Q: Is it necessary to remove the soap scum?

A: Leaving soap scum will build up, combine with mildew and mold, and lead to even worse buildup. It can harden in time and become as hard as concrete. If so, removing it will be almost impossible.

Q: Is the soap scum dangerous for your health?

A: Dead skin, hair, and body oils are also found in the soap scum. Any other kind of dirt may also be found in the soap scum. Soap scum may easily be affected by mold and algae. Once they attach to the soap scum, they will become colorful as the rainbow and smelly.

Q: Is soap scum different from the bathroom mold?

A: Unlike soap scum made with dirt, residues, and minerals, mold is made from a living thing. Hair and body, and soap scum will feed the mold. Once you get rid of the soap scum, the mold will die as it will no longer have what to feed.

Q: Is it difficult to identify the difference between soap scum and mold?

A: Mold is very different from soap scum as it’s black and slimy. Typically, you will find it in moist, dark, and warm shower stalls or tubs. It will feast on what you leave behind after your shower.

Q: Is it possible for soap scum to develop on people as well?

A: Your bathroom tiles aren’t the only place where you can find soap scum, as it may also build up on your skin. The minerals in the hard water will create a white film around the epidermis, clogging the pores. It will block the natural oils, causing you blemishes. It’s a problem to consider, as it can also cause breakouts, especially in young children who have a high risk of developing eczema.

The natural oils in the skin are essential as they lubricate and ensure moisture. The film from the soap scum clogs the pore, leaving the skin itchy and dry.

Q: Should you worry about hard water and soap scum?

A: Hard water may speed up the aging of your skin. Impurities in the hard water determine the appearance of free radicals, affecting the healthy skin cells. Soon enough, you will notice wrinkles and fine lines. Collagen will also be broken down, as your skin needs to be young and healthy.

Q: Is it challenging to reduce the risk of soap scum occurrence?

A: Keeping the bathroom clean by removing any soap scum in the shower, tub, and other surfaces will reduce the risk of soap scum. You may use some car wax or gel gloss and apply it on surfaces after cleaning so that soap scum doesn’t develop.

You may also utilize a shower cleaner so that soap scum doesn’t buildup. Use a dry rag or a sponge for cleaning the space every time you use it.

Q: Does soap scum happens more often when you use a bar soap?

A: You should switch from bar soap to liquid/gel body soap, as it will stop cause soap scum. Most of the time, soap will cause soap scum, no matter how meticulous you are cleaning.

Q: Is it possible to die from soap scum?

A: Even if soap scum is gross, it cannot kill you. Carbon, sodium, calcium, nitrogen, and oxygen are found in soap scum, but none is lethal. Water is made with oxygen and nitrogen, but soap scum becomes dangerous only when combined with bacteria and mold.

Q: Can you use Epsom salts for naturally removing soap scum?

A: Epsom salts make a reliable option for when you’re trying to remove soap scum naturally. You may use them for cleaning your bathtub of soap scum. You let them soak in the bath, as the salts will rinse the soap scum down the drain. They will also make it difficult for the soap scum to attach to your tub’s surface, reducing future buildup risk.

Q: Can you only use white vinegar for removing soap scum?

A: You may use white vinegar for preventing future buildup with some white vinegar. You may dilute it, though. Use some diluted water and make a 25% dilute solution of white vinegar. After you’re done showering, you spray the shower with the diluted solution. Please keep it in a spray bottle so that you use it for a long time.

Q: What’s the easiest way to keep the shower doors clean of soap scum?

A: Crystal clean shower doors are almost impossible to obtain and keep if you don’t clean regularly. You’re supposed to obtain a paste with one half a cup of baking soda and some white vinegar. Fizzing and bubbling will occur, but it’s just carbon dioxide, which is safe. Once the fizz is gone, add a bit of water and sodium acetate for cleaning the shower doors.

Get a soft sponge for applying the paste on the shower doors, but don’t rush the results. The paste will need at least 10 minutes for working.. Use a sponge that doesn’t scratch for scrubbing gently. Don’t forget to rinse for the best results.

About Amanda

I love to buy a lot of products for the home, and dissect them out. I split them into duds and winners, and share the findings here on my site. As a reader of my site, I'm aiming for your next purchase to be an informed and inspired one.

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