How To Clean Soap Scum (On Shower Doors And Walls)

We love a sparking clean shower stall, and we bet you do, too. However, sometimes soap scum, mildew, and hard water stains ruin everything. Discover how to remove soap scum from shower walls, tiles, grout, and more with help from this incredible guide-we’ve got the best tips and most effective strategies to get your bathroom back on track.

Battling streaky soap scum is a tricky business, but what is soap scum, exactly? Soap scum is that scaly off-white film that clings to your glass shower door, grout, or tiles. This unattractive residue is caused by a reaction between your soap and water.

When you shower, fatty acids from bar soap mix with hard water or water containing excess minerals like magnesium and calcium. Together, they produce a scaly residue that seems impossible to conquer. There’s a bright light at the end of the soap scum tunnel, and we’ll help you get there with these in-depth tutorials.

Top Tips to Get Soap Scum Off Shower Walls

If you’re struggling with shower scum, mildew, and unwanted bathroom grime buildup, we have a cleaning tip or two for you. This cleaning guide includes all the information you require to stomp out soap scum on every type of bathroom surface.

Try a Dryer Sheet for Soap Scum

When you want a quick, 10-second tidy before company comes, head to the laundry room and grab a few dryer sheets. Although it may seem strange, dryer sheets have many clever uses around the home.

Dryer sheets have been around since 1975, and the formula has become more effective since. These ingenious sheets are infused with lubricating fabric softeners that effectively fight and destroy static cling. Someone along the way discovered that they make a pretty effective soap scum remover, too.

Give this budget soap scum remover a try. Grab a dryer sheet and dampen it with clean water. Gently rub the dry shower door and glass shower enclosure in small circles. As the soap scum softens, it becomes water-soluble and rinses off the shower door.

How to Remove Soap Scum from Shower Walls

Magic Erasers have been on the market since 2003, and they’re a great tool to help get soap scum off shower walls quickly and easily. These unique cleaning sponges made of melamine foam loosen caked-on stains from all kinds of spills, including dreaded soap scum buildup.

Always follow the manufacturer’s directions, but it’s usually as simple as wetting the Magic Eraser, squeezing out the excess water, and going to town on that stubborn soap scale. Use gentle circular motions to safely remove water stains and soap scum on glass and rinse well when finished.

Some Magic Erasers are available as bathroom-specific sponges that come infused with foaming bathroom cleaners; there are various choices, and you’re sure to find the best one for your requirements. Additionally, although a Magic Eraser might feel soft to the touch, they are slightly abrasive and unsuitable for stainless steel fixtures and polished surfaces.

Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide Paste

If you prefer to keep things natural and inexpensive, we recommend this handy baking soda and hydrogen peroxide paste for stubborn soap scum. Baking soda is a gentle abrasive that lifts soap scum, and hydrogen peroxide delivers whitening power to help dull, dingy bathroom surfaces – they make a great team.

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 cloth
  • 1 scrub brush

Mix your baking soda of choice and a cup of hydrogen peroxide to make a cleaning paste. Apply this peroxide paste with a cloth, and leave a hearty coating along the shower wall, door, and tracks. This DIY soap scum remover needs time to work; let it sit for an hour.

Scrub in circles with a soft-bristled brush. As the soap residue dissolves, rinse and continue the process until the shower sparkles. Never leave unused baking soda and hydrogen peroxide paste in a sealed container because gasses may build up inside; make the paste to order, and dispose of the rest.

Soap Scum on Faucets and Fixtures

It’s essential to avoid abrasive cleaners when dealing with shiny stainless steel, metal, or polished finishes. Be gentle on your fragile fixtures; don’t risk damaging your bathroom surfaces with rough materials such as steel wool or a dry pumice stone.

Use a 1:1 mixture of distilled white vinegar and water. Pour your DIY mixture into a clean spray bottle, spritz your soap stains, and buff with a microfiber cloth. While you’re at it, unscrew your shower head and toss it into a tub of straight vinegar for an hour to descale hard water stains.

How to Clean Grout Quickly

Clean grout takes time, commitment, and elbow grease. Most grout is either sanded cement or epoxy, and both materials require a soft touch to preserve the integrity of the shower tile. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a shortcut or two.

  • 3 tbsp of oxygen bleach
  • 2 gallons of warm water
  • 1 bucket
  • 1 toothbrush

For this recipe, use oxygenated bleach, not to be mistaken for chlorine bleach; oxy-bleach is much less corrosive and won’t erode your grout over time. Oxygenated bleach usually comes as a convenient powder and dissolves best in warm water.

Use a damp sponge to work the oxy-bleach solution into the grout lines, and then leave it to sit for about 15 minutes. Use a toothbrush to loosen stubborn soap scum, and rinse thoroughly with warm water. Keep a regular grout cleaning schedule in place to prevent overwhelming buildup.

How to Clean Natural Stone Shower Tiles

Natural stone tiles are an investment worth protecting; they look luxurious and give your bathroom a unique and tranquil spa-like feeling. Learn how to remove soap scum from shower walls made of natural stone safely and effectively.

You may already know that many commercial cleaners just don’t work well when it comes to natural stone tile; they damage the stone, strip the finish, and leave unsightly scratches behind. Common household cleaners like ammonia-based mixtures, vinegar, and lemon juice are off the table because they’re too acidic for the stone’s natural finish.

Find an approved natural stone cleaner, such as Clean Therapy’s Granite and Stone or Bona Stone and Tile. Or, if you prefer a natural and thrifty approach, use clean water and a soft microfiber cloth. Set a regular cleaning schedule to keep on top of soap scum buildup, and always avoid abrasive brushes or sponges.

Best Options for Soap Scum on Ceramic Tiles

For dazzling tiles, keep it simple. Porcelain and ceramic bathroom tiles don’t require a lot of expensive cleaners or fancy equipment. The best cure for soap scum on ceramic is water, dish soap, and a soft cloth.

Pour a half teaspoon of your preferred dish soap into a gallon of water, and use a damp cloth to wipe shower tile in large, circular strokes. Give the shower a good rinse-off, and allow time to air dry. Buff your shower tile with a microfiber cloth for extra sparkle and shine.

How to Get Soap Scum Off the Shower Curtain

You now have the best tips to help clean soap scum off shower walls, but what about that sad, dingy shower curtain? If you don’t have a fiberglass shower enclosure, you’re likely dealing with a plastic or fabric shower curtain, and it might seem like there are no real options.

Did you know shower curtains, both fabric and plastic, are machine washable? Take your shower curtain down while leaving the hooks on the shower rod; you don’t want those rattling around the washing machine.

Always use the cool-water cycle, and boost your laundry power with a half cup of distilled white vinegar. Do not put a plastic shower curtain in the dryer. Make it a practice to hang your shower curtain up after washing and allow it to air dry instead.

Clean Soap Scum Off Shower Walls with Scrubbing Bubbles

When you can’t clean soap scum off shower walls with home remedies, it’s time to try something more substantial. Scrubbing Bubbles is a targeted grime-fighting product that sticks to soap scum and dissolves it before your eyes.

Spray a thin coating of Scrubbing Bubbles on walls, doors, and tiles and let it sit for a few minutes. Wipe bathroom surfaces with a sponge, and rinse thoroughly. Use Scrubbing Bubbles once a week to keep your glass shower sparkling.

DIY Vinegar Spray to Prevent Shower Scum Buildup

The best way to get soap scum off shower walls is to stop it from building up in the first place. This DIY soap scum remover is easy to make and suitable for everyday use. Save some serious hassle by putting this homemade vinegar spray to work.

  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 4 parts water
  • 1 tsp of dish soap
  • 1 spray bottle

Repurpose a clean spray bottle or grab a cheap one from the grocery store. Dilute vinegar with four parts water, and add a teaspoon of dish soap. Give the bottle a little shake before to ensure the even distribution of the ingredients.

This white vinegar spray works wonders if you keep it in the bathroom for a quick shower spritz after every use or consider incorporating it weekly as part of your clean routine.

We hope you enjoyed our best-kept secrets for how to remove soap scum from shower walls, tiles, and other bathroom surfaces. These scum-fighting solutions are sure to come in handy, no matter what kind of stain buildup you have.

Make things a little easier on yourself, and consider switching to liquid soap if hard water is a problem. Invest in a tiny squeegee and give your shower fiberglass shower a quick wipe after each use – it really does make a difference.

Why not keep a spray bottle of vinegar in the bathroom to break up lingering soap scum? Or, choose a cleaner that smells amazing and makes you want to use it all the time. Keep a microfiber cloth handy, and set a cleaning schedule. There’s little more satisfying than stepping into a spotless bathroom.

If you loved our tips on how to remove soap scum from shower walls, share this amazing article with a friend on Facebook or Pinterest who loves sparkling bathroom tiles and scum-free showers.

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