Sat Aug 05 2023

Soap Scum - How to Remove It Easily in 4 Steps!

Soap Scum - How to Remove It Easily in 4 Steps!

Soap scum is a headache in the bathroom. It might look small at first (literally), but in the long run, it can bring irreparable damage to your bathtub and ultimately your bathroom. Find out how to fight it in this article!


One of the most used bathroom accessories is soap. From cleaning ourselves to cleaning the entire bathroom, soap is the main ingredient. A white patchy sediment can appear after each use of soap to clean your bathtub. If you leave it for a long time, it can become a headache to clean and bring your bathtub to its original state. 


So, how do you clean the soap-scum-affected area in your bathtub? Or better yet, how do you prevent it from happening again? That is what we are going to discuss in this blog. 


Without further ado, let’s get started!

Soap Scum – What Is It?

In general, soap scum is a thin film of sediment that is whitish-gray in color formed from the usage of soap when cleaning the bathtub. 

This thin soap scum film, in the long run, becomes a thick, rough, and patchy layer, which becomes difficult to get rid of in your bathtub.


Soap is the best cleaning agent, and it does a pretty good job when it comes to cleaning ourselves and the bathroom. But why does this beneficial accessory create a byproduct that does exactly the opposite of its purpose?


The answer may shock you but the soap is not the culprit here… most of the time.


The formation of soap scum lies in the water.

How Does Soap Scum Form?

How Does Soap Scum Form?

What causes the soap scum is not the actual soap, but the water that you use to clean the bathroom.


Especially when you use hard water, the formation can be rapid and extensive. Tap water contains various minerals. Some minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium are responsible for the creation of soap scum.

If you are using hard water, the concentration of magnesium and sodium level is considerably higher than in soft water, and when these minerals react with the soap, it creates a thin layer of residue.

Along with that thin layer of residue, our dead skin cells, residue from other cleaning agents, such as shampoo, conditioner, and even the residue of oils and dirt washed off from ourselves are mixed together and form the gross and thick white-grayish layer of soap scum.

So, which product does not create soap scum?


Well, any product that produces bubbles and lathers well when mixed with water will create soap scum. That is certain.

How To Check If Your Water Is Soft or Hard

According to HomeWater101, only 15% of the US population uses soft water, and the remaining 85% use hard water. That is quite a ratio, and it is safe to assume that you are in an area that predominantly uses hard water.

But, how do you find out if your tap water is soft or hard? 


There is a simple home method, that helps to determine the type of water you are using. 


Take a clean and transparent bottle. Fill it with tap water. One-thrid full is more than enough for our experiment. Now, add two-three drops of liquid soap and shake well for a good ten seconds. 


Now, check the bottle for the formation of bubbles. If there are a lot of small bubbles and lather (milk-like bubbles), then your water is soft water

How To Remove the Soap Scum in 4 Steps

With just a homemade cleaning agent, you can tackle the soap scum in your bathroom. Remember that different areas, such as the glass door (if any) in your bathroom do require some extra care, but don’t worry. The following steps can help you to remove the soap scum effectively. 


The creation of soap scum remover:


STEP #1: Create a homemade cleaning solution for scraping the soap scum. The solution involves the two-three spoons of vinegar and two tablespoons of dish soap (preferred Dawn dish soap, thanks to its high concentration ingredients)


STEP #2: Store the homemade cleaning solution in a spray bottle with a tight cap. 

This solution can last anywhere between two to three months

Remove Soap Scum From the Bathroom Glass Door

The process is simple: 


STEP #1: Spray the homemade cleaning agent on the affected area on the glass surface. Five to ten sprays are enough. Let the solution sit for 20 minutes. The vinegar helps to eradicate the harsh minerals in the water and the dish soap helps to remove oil, dirt, and dead skin cells from the soap scum residue.


STEP #2: Once the time is up, take a paper towel or a cleaning sponge and rub off the solution from the affected area. Repeat the process if required.

STEP #3: Clean the area again with clean water, and dry it with a sponge or a paper towel.

Remove Soap Scum From the Bathtub

Same as the glass door, cleaning the bathtub involves the same steps with a small yet considerable change. 


In the cleaning agent, along with the vinegar, and dish soap, add two tablespoons of baking soda


One of the main reasons to include baking soda as a cleansing agent is its, abrasive power.


Now the steps are identical to the glass area:


STEP #1: Spray the cleaning solution on the affected area. Bathtub material is stronger than glass doors and has more durability. Meaning, you can spray a good amount of cleaning agent on the soap scum. 


STEP #2: Leave the solution for a good amount of time (20- 30 minutes is a good time). 


STEP #3: Once the time period is up, take a cleaning towel or soft sponge and remove the residue thoroughly.


STEP #4: Rinse the area thoroughly with clean water and dry it with a paper towel.


NOTE: Ensure there is no water or moisture on the bathtub’s surface.


Now, what if this solution works better on the glass than on the bathtub surface?


Don’t worry, there is another method, in which you can use different types of cleaning agents to remove the soap scum.

Remove Soap Scum From the Bathtub Using a Baking Soda Paste

Instead of adding baking soda to the vinegar and soap cleaning solution, try to make a baking soda paste.

The process is easy. Mix clean water about ½ cup with three tablespoons of baking soda


This gives the consistency of paste, which is required for our cleaning situation.


STEP #1: Take a soft cloth (a microfiber cloth should get the job done nicely) and rub the paste on the soap scum area in your bathtub. Apply generously. 


STEP #2: Let the paste sit on the bathtub’s surface for 10- 20 minutes


STEP #3: Remove the paste by rinsing the area with clean water. Dry the area as soon as possible with a soft cloth or towel.


STEP #4: Repeat the steps as much as required.


One thing you should remember is to ensure your bathtub is free from moisture or water. This helps to prevent water damage, which is one of the main issues in the bathtub.


TIP:  If your bathtub is made of porcelain, you can use iodized salt as one of the ingredients for the cleaning paste. This also helps remove the discoloration on your bathtub’s surface.


Follow the same procedure for cleaning your bathroom floor (tiles). It is recommended to use the solution instead of paste for treating the bathroom floor tiles.

How To Prevent Soap Scum from Rising

The answer lies in your usage of soap and water. Soap is one of the most used bathroom accessories, and it is difficult not to use it in our daily life.

But that does not necessarily mean we have to live with gross soap scum. We can certainly take measures to limit the emergence of soap scum.


For example, changing to liquid soap, such as shower gel can help to reduce the occurrence of soap scum. Another measure is the implementation of a water softener. This helps to dilute the concentration of minerals, such as magnesium and sodium. 


Suggested Reads:

  • Important 5 Warning Signs That Tell You to Replace a Bathtub – How to Identify?
  • How To Clean A Bathtub – 5 Easy Steps to Bring Back Old Glory


  • How do you get rid of soap scum?
  • One of the easiest ways to get rid of soap scum is to use vinegar and baking soda. Mix the two ingredients together in a 1:2 ratio and apply it to the affected area. This helps you to remove soap scum.

  • Can coconut oil remove soap scum?
  • Yes, certainly. But coconut oil alone cannot work as intended. Mix it with another cleaning agent like baking soda. This works like magic in removing soap scum and other tough stains on your bathtub.

  • Is soap scum toxic?
  • No, it is not toxic to humans per se, but definitely “toxic” to bathroom accessories, such as the bathtub and floor. It diminishes the original look of the bathtub. So, in a way, it is toxic but not harmful to our health.

    Final Thoughts

    The bathtub is one of the few bathroom “tools” that help users to destress themselves. This way of destressing not only resides in the functionality of the bathtub but also in the look. The aesthetics calm our mind and body in a spiritual way. Having gross soap scum can definitely reduces the immersion of the session. 


    This article hopes to provide good information on removing effectively soap scum from your bathtub. 


    If you are in the market for a good bathtub, you are in the right place. Magnus Home products offer good bathtubs of various styles. You can access the collection here!