Soap Scum Removal Cleaning Tips

Stacks of Soap and How to Clean Soap Scum.

Soap Scum Removal Cleaning Tips

Soap scum is a combination of minerals in the water, body oils combined with the bar soap many of us use.

Soap scum is the film left behind once we are finished showering or bathing. It’s a dirty gray film left in the bathtub or shower that builds up over time.

Getting rid of soap scum in the bathroom can be a real challenge if not tackled immediately. It really isn’t something to be ignored or it’s just going to get worse.

Here are some tips that can help you with this problem, and believe me, we all face it. We’ll soon have you on your way to rid yourself of soap scum.

So are you ready then? Let’s get busy and remove that grimy soap scum!

How to Remove Soap Scum

Usually with good maintenance soap scum will just wipe away, but sometimes time gets away from us and you can’t find the opportunity to clean. (I assume that’s why you are here, right?)

Soap scum becomes like concrete when it hasn’t been cleaned on a regular basis. It can find its way on walls, tubs, shower curtains, and under hair care containers leaving stains in its wake.

When this happens, it can almost become impossible to do the work necessary for upkeep.

Homemade Soap Scum Removers

Note: If any of the cleaning products you purchase contain bleach or ammonia as an additional cleaner, remember these two are highly toxic when mixed together so be extra careful when using either of these so not to accidentally use them together. This is something we are very serious about.

There are many methods and products available for getting rid of soap scum once it has built up. Some of the products we’ll be mentioning might already be in your home.

If they are, that’s great, no extra trip to the store. And no getting sidetracked and then talking yourself out of cleaning it up.

Note: Keep in mind soap scum can be tough to clean- really tough, so if the first cleaning product you try doesn’t work, don’t give up, just move on to the next one.

Lemon Oil

Lemon oil (as in lemon furniture oil) will clean well and also prevent further build up.

  1. Apply the lemon oil with an acrylic scrubby in a circular motion.
  2. Wipe away with a soft cotton cloth.

Cloth baby diapers work well for this. Not only will this clean but it will leave you with a fresh scent.


Borax works well as a scouring powder instead of harsher, chemically toxic cleaners.

  1. Just pour the Borax on a sponge and apply to the soap scum with a touch of water.
  2. Circular motions when cleaning soap scum always work better than the back and forth motion many of us use. This can help with some of the tougher jobs.
  3. Rinse well when done.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another non-toxic abrasive that can be used in the bathtub, use in the same manner as the Borax.

  1. Just sprinkle the Baking Soda on the soap scum with a touch of water.
  2. Scrub in a circular motion.
  3. Rinse well when done.
  4. Follow it up with pouring a cup of white vinegar down the drain to clean the drain.

Spray and Wash ™

Some people swear by laundry stain removers like Spray and Wash ™.

  1. Spray the spray and wash liquid on the soap scum.
  2. Leave the spray and wash on the soap scum and leave for 15 minutes.
  3. Rinse well.

Laundry Detergent

Powdered laundry detergent works well as a non-toxic cleaner.

  1. Make a 50/50 paste of laundry detergent and water
  2. Work the paste into the soap scum and leave on for 15 minutes.
  3. Scrub in a circular motion.
  4. Rinse well when finished.

White Vinegar

Straight white vinegar can be just as effective at removing soap scum. It’s a mild acid and natural deodorizer.

  1. Just spray full strength white vinegar with a drop or 2 of liquid dishwashing detergent on the stain.
  2. Rub lightly to distribute the cleaning solution
  3. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Scrub with a plastic scrubby to work away the soap scum.


Ammonia works on the worst soap scum build up but you must wear gloves to protect your hands. Be sure to rinse well and keep the kids away from the ammonia while you’re working.

  1. Mix 1/2 cup of ammonia to a gallon of water.
  2. Spray on the stain.
  3. Let the ammonia work on the stain for 5 minutes
  4. Scrub, and rinse well to wipe away the soap scum.

Preventing Soap Scum

Another way to approach the idea of getting rid of soap scum is not only to clean it after it has shown up but to halt or slow its appearance with precautionary measures.

Here are some additional ways to work around soap scum, tackling the problem from a different angle.

Switch to Liquid Soap

To prevent soap scum there are several things you can do – number 1 is to switch to liquid soap in the shower or bath.

Isn’t that interesting and so easy?

Since the soap is a liquid and not a solid, it won’t adhere to surfaces when dry. But of course, (since you are reading this) it may be too late for this tidbit of advice.

Keep this cleaning tip in the back of your mind if you want to avoid having to chisel off soap scum in the future.

Use a Squeegee and Wipe the Shower and Tub Dry

A squeegee always helps after showering as it can remove most of the water from shower walls and the shower door.

A squeegee will also work to keep water spots from forming and building up in the shower.

You can pick these up at a dollar store and put one in each bathroom.

Wax the Walls

Waxing the walls and hard shower doors with regular car wax will make the water bead up and slide off, preventing soap scum build up.

This only has to be done about once every six months and will also work on the countertops.

Rain X ™

Another product that works well for the walls, shower doors and even shower curtains is Rain X. This is an automotive product, it can be found in most grocery stores within the automotive section.

And of course you can get it in an automotive store. The main purpose of this product is to cause rain water to bead on car windows.

But also works well in the shower.

Epsom Salt

One trick to keeping the soap scum from attaching is to add a bit of Epsom Salt to the bath water every time you bath. It easily dissolves into water.

Something about the salt keeps the scum from attaching and will also help soothe away those aches and pains from all the cleaning you do!

Baby Oil

When you use baby oil in the shower, spread a bit on the shower doors to keep them scum free. This type of application will help rebuff and repel soap scum, making it harder to cling to the walls.

Just remember that baby oil makes the shower very slippery so reconsider if you have young ones who may slip slide their way around the tub.

Hopefully these tips will come in handy for convenience and also to save you some time. Areas that collect soap scum, like showers walls, baths and glass panes are hard to always keep perfectly clean.

It is always good to have different options and there are many tricks of the trade that can help you on your way.