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How to Remove Soap Scum from Any Surface

Last Updated: May 9, 2022

It’s time to say sayonara to soap scum. We’ve gathered up our natural tips and tricks to remove soap scum from your faucets, drains, and shower tiles with the best soap scum removers around.

How to remove soap scum from any surface

Soap scum — fun to say, awful to look at. This soapy residue loves to stick to any and all available surfaces, and it’s rather beastly to remove if allowed to build up and harden — especially if you aren’t scrubbing things down on the daily.

The good news is that we’ve got a couple of tried-and-true methods to banish soap scum from your life using natural cleaning products and a bit of old-fashioned elbow grease.

What is soap scum?

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Soap scum, also called lime soap, is a chalky, white residue of dirt, soap, and mineral deposits. It forms when the fatty oil- or grease-based ingredients in soaps react with magnesium and calcium stearate minerals in the water. Hard water is especially prone to leaving behind soap scum due to its high mineral content.

Is soap scum a mold?

Soap scum isn’t a mold, nor is it harmful to your health. It does have a tendency to tarnish the appearance of whatever it’s glommed onto, so regular cleaning is a must if you want to keep your appliances looking their best.

Deep clean your bathroom from top to bottom with our bathroom cleaning guide.

What is the best cleaner for soap scum?

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Soap scum can cover any and all areas, from shower walls, doors, and tubs, to fixtures like shower heads and water taps. Since most of these surfaces are made from different materials, an ideal soap scum remover works on most, if not all of them.

Choose a non-abrasive and non-toxic cleaner. We’ve got a few favorite soap scum removers that are packed with plant-based ingredients — and they do an amazing job on all manner of surfaces! If you want to go the DIY route, there are several homemade cleaners you can whip up that work well, too.

What you’ll need to remove soap scum from any surface

How to remove soap scum from any surface

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Baking soda and vinegar

Baking soda and cleaning vinegar are a dynamic duo that’s great for glass shower doors and fiberglass shower enclosures.

Step 1: Mix one part baking soda and two parts distilled white vinegar in a plastic bowl. Note that this concoction will fizz a bit, so don’t be alarmed!

Step 2: Once the mixture stops fizzing, dip a microfiber cloth into it and apply it to the soap scum.

Step 3: Let the cleaning mixture sit for 15 to 20 minutes, then wipe down it clean with a new cloth. Rinse carefully with water and dry thoroughly to prevent water stains.

Grove Tip

How to remove stubborn soap scum

If the soap scum is heavy, use table salt as a gentle abrasive. Simply add the salt to your microfiber cloth that’s been drenched with the cleaning solution and scrub the offending surface. You can also switch out vinegar for hydrogen peroxide to cut through stubborn soap scum build-up.

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White vinegar and dish detergent

This cleaning solution works well on soap scum that’s stuck to showers and sinks, plus metal attachments like faucets, walls, and doors.

Step 1: Whip up your cleaning solution in a spray bottle using equal parts liquid dishwashing detergent, distilled white vinegar, and water.

Step 2: Spray the solution on the problem areas and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Step 3: Once the solution has had time to work its magic, rinse it off with hot water. Use a clean microfiber cloth to dry the areas completely and prevent water marks.

Grove Tip

Nix the water to create a cleaning concentrate

For more efficient cleaning, you can leave out the water in the cleaning solution. This works especially well on heavy and hard soap scum that’s been there awhile, plus it’s a boon for other grime and residue that’s tough to remove, too.

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Ready to tackle the dirtiest spots in your home? Grove Collaborative has you covered with Clean Team. Each week, we’ll do a deep dive into how to clean a different place or item in your home. No spot is too small — and we’ll tell you how to conquer them all, naturally.

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