5 Soap Scum Busters Made With Simple Ingredients

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Soap scum is a combination of residue, mineral deposits and dirt that forms a grimy layer over surfaces and is a common trouble spot in bathroom cleaning (typically shower walls, doors, tubs and fixtures). It doesn’t have a chance to really build up if you wipe down surfaces regularly, but it will get quite heavy over time if preventative maintenance isn’t high on the priority list (it happens).

Rubber GloveThe good news is that this grimy nuisance is easy enough to remove with items that are probably in your home already. Here are 5 simple fixes that can help you get the job done…

  • Pour 1/2 cup of boiling water and 1 1/2 cups of white household vinegar into spray bottle, add a quick squirt of liquid dish soap. Spray area generously with this mixture and allow to soak for about 10 minutes. Scrub clean with a nylon scrubber then rinse well with water. Repeat process if necessary. Avoid using on tile grout since vinegar may affect color.
  • Spray surface with hot water then sprinkle a generous layer of baking soda on a large damp sponge. Scrub surface in a circular motion to lift the grime (baking soda is a gentle abrasive). You can also make a soft scrub cleaner with 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup liquid dish detergent and between 1/8 cup – 1/4 cup vinegar. See this this page for full details, I’ve had good luck using this on tough spots.
  • Mix 1/2 cup fabric softener or dishwasher detergent or mineral oil with 1 1/4 cups warm water and spray onto walls. Scrub with a household sponge and the residue should lift right off.
  • Sprinkle Borax on a damp sponge then scrub into grime that has first been sprayed with hot water. If it’s especially stubborn, let the Borax soak for a few minutes before rinsing off and scrubbing again with a fresh application.
  • If the bathtub is in a dire situation, check out this cleaning trick (recommendations for both porcelain and acrylic tubs).

Prevention is the easiest method of tackling this problem, see these recipes for shower spray that you can use after each shower or bath. Good luck and if I’ve missed your tried-and-true, please share in the comments area below :).

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Published: September 7, 2011

What Readers Are Saying:
6 Comments to “5 Soap Scum Busters Made With Simple Ingredients”
  1. Mary David says:

    Using Dawn straight liquid dish washing soapon a nylon net scrubber gets rid of soap scum in bathtubs. Dawn is a grease fighter and that scum is grease from hand soap.

  2. Linda says:

    I have found the bath and body works hand soap can be refilled with about one third to nearly half full of your favorite dish liquid, then ad water. Shake well. The bath and body works tops are spring loaded. When you test out your new hand soap it should come out a nice foam. I love the dawn hand renewal for this task. It smells so nice and softens skin costing so much less than the expensive hand soaps.

  3. tasha says:

    I tried easy off on my shower stall. It worked great on the soap scum build-up on the glass and stone walls. However, I didn’t test an area of the “chrome” frame. Silly me, I thought the frame was actually metal.
    After about two hours, the easy off ate through the chrome coating and left the yellowish plastic exposed. Now I have the chrome frame that looks like its been sanded, half of it eaten away and quite ugly.
    So please, as they say in earlier posts, please test an inconspicuous area first!!
    I’m guessing I should have started with a less caustic approach and worked my way to the heavy chemicals. Lesson learned!

  4. Connie says:

    Amazingly enough, I have found that a household eraser (like Mr Clean’s Eraser) will wipe away soap scum without any added cleaner. I keep an eraser in my shower and just wipe down the tiles with water, once a week. I have the basic, shiny ceramic tiles commonly used on shower and tub walls and this works wonders. By the way, I use the cheap ones- Walmart brand, Great Value 2/ $1.37!

  5. shawna says:

    the eraser works wonders, only thing we clean with. try the dollar store ones to save a few more $$$ (2/$1.00).

    If you have the typical white tile with white grout (or should be white grout) get out the car buffer and a bottle of white wax. Donate an 30-60 minutes (pending shower/tub size) and wax it just as you would the car. I do this every other month and only a quick wipe with the eraser in between waxings. Our showers look brand new and the tile is about 30 years old. No bleaching grout either.

  6. Bonnie says:

    Believe it or not, Avon’s Skin So Soft regular body oil will clean soap scum from showers! It will also clean 100 other different things around the house with very little of the oil needing to be used! Ask your Avon representative about all the ways it will soften your skin, repel mosquitoes, and 100 more things without all the harsh abrasives!


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