Here Are The Most Effective Ways To Get Rid of Soap Scum


At first glance, the term soap scum seems like an oxymoron along the lines of jumbo shrimp or airline “food.” But unlike rubber chicken served at 35,000 feet, soap scum is not an oxymoron. It is technically misnamed; it is neither soap nor scum.

The film layer of mildew that forms on shower curtains, sinks, and tubs is not caused by soap but by minerals in the water, especially hard water. These minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium, combine with soap to create a sticky mixture which bonds with bathroom surfaces. Now the gross part: soap scum also includes body oils, dead skin, hair, and whatever dirt may be floating around your tub. It gets worse: the white to grey colored soap scum is irresistible to mold and algae. When these furry beasties attach themselves to the scum, it can turn the colors of the rainbow and emit smells that are unpleasant.


1. Mix Dawn and vinegar
Also known as the miracle cleaning solution, Dawn and vinegar are a powerful combination. This solution effectively removes the toughest of soap scum. The Yummy Mummy Club recommends spraying it on and allowing it to do its magic for 10 minutes before wiping it and the soap scum off your shower walls and doors.


2. Try Barkeeper’s Friend
This commercial cleaning powder is a powerful scrubbing agent gentle enough to use on acrylic, porcelain and glass. Joe Keegan of Times Union sprinkled the scrubbing powder on a damp sponge and gently wiped away the soap scum from his shower doors. A quick rinse revealed sparkling clean glass.


3. Add a bit of cornstarch
Adding cornstarch to your Dawn and vinegar soap scum remover gives you the cleaning power without a lot of suds. This is perfect for shower doors and bathroom sinks. The reduced suds means you don’t spend as much time rinsing.


4. All-natural essential oils
People love their essential oils for more than just the way they smell. Many are strong cleaners and disinfectants. Oily Rock Stars shares her recipe for an essential oil soap scum remover that uses Thieves Household Cleaner and lemon essential oil. This homemade soft scrub has more uses than just in the shower. ​


5. Use a Magic Eraser
The Magic Eraser by Mr. Clean acts as a very gentle sanding substance to remove unwanted marks from many different surfaces without causing damage. Home Tester Club recommends them for removing soap scum from your bathtub and shower. Wet the sponge, then rub over the soap scum to remove it. Lean in to the sponge to make this chemical-free soap scum remover work hard.


6. Prevent soap scum on glass
Once you’ve taken the time to remove the soap scum from your glass shower doors, take one more step to prevent it from returning. The Family Handyman uses an auto-glass treatment to prevent soap scum from attaching to glass surfaces.


7. Simply spray every day
This creative solution not only cleans but prevents soap scum from returning if you give your shower or bath a quick spray every day. Mom4Real combines distilled water with hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, Castile soap and vinegar for an effective cleaner and soap scum prevention spray. Once she’s thoroughly cleaned her shower, she sprays her shower once a day with her homemade soap scum solution.


Once you’ve taken the time to remove the shower scum from your bathroom, take a few quick minutes every week to wipe down surfaces and keep the scum from reforming. Prevention sprays, the use of liquid soaps and the installation of a water softener also helps prevent soap scum and saves you from scrubbing.