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Aside from accidentally getting it in your eyes, you might think soap has no downside. It leaves you smelling fresh, clean and ready for the day ahead. However, when your soap mixes with hard water, it creates a thin film of white/grey scum that builds up in and around your bathroom.
Left alone, this scum can build up and create more serious problems. In drains, hinges, and faucets, this tough-to-shift scum can lead to blockages, while buildups in between tiles and other hard-to-reach places form ideal sites for associated, unwanted bacterial growth. That foot fungus you’ve been trying to treat for weeks? It could be a result of soap scum.
The good news is that soap scum buildup can be kept under control with regular cleaning. Prevention is important, but if soap scum has already built up in your bathroom, there are many ways to remove the gross film. Angela Brown has a helpful YouTube video on removing soap scum from a shower, which in large part relies on preventative measures.
Squeegee – A squeegee is a great product to keep in your shower. It can help you remove hard water from your walls, shower door and floor, thus eliminating sitting water. It’s a good idea to squeegee your walls every time you use your shower.
Microfiber cloth – A microfiber cloth gets rid of any water left by your squeegee and helps ensure your shower is dry and won’t get a buildup of water that can turn into soap scum. A microfiber cloth can also be used to dry and clean handles and faucets.
Cleaning product – If soap scum does begin to create a film on your shower door or sink and discolor tiles and grout, it’s time to use a cleaner. Below we’ve included several cleaners that work on glass doors, plastic shower curtains, ceramic, tile, natural stone and more.
Shower brush – A shower brush with bristles is ideal for pairing with a cleaning agent and scrubbing at soap scum to loosen and remove any gunk hiding between tiles and grout.
Still not sure which products you need to stock up on for your bathroom? Check out our full list below of the best tools and cleaners for tackling soap scum.
Tools for Cleaning Soap Scum
1. So Clean So Fast Drill Brush
BEST BRUSH HEAD
Elbow grease will only get you so far in the fight against soap scum. So, the creators of the So Clean So Fast Drill Brush thought you should be able to turn your DIY drill into a powerful bathroom scrubber. The drill brush bit easily fits into your drill to help you clean at will. It sports strong bristles that remain stable as you remove soap scum, even at the lower drill speeds. The effective and quick cleaning tool can have even the scummiest showers impressively scum-free within 20 minutes.
2. OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Squeegee
When it comes to the seemingly never-ending battle with soap scum, prevention is key. One of the best ways to combat soap scum buildup is by using a squeegee after every shower. Yup, every single shower. Consider it your post-shower stretching exercise. The OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Squeegee is a great option thanks to its non-slip grip and wide blade, which requires fewer passes to cover the shower. We’ve been using our OXO Squeegee for three years and its suction cup holder has yet to fall off the tile on our shower.
3. Casabella Infuse All Purpose Microfiber Cloths
BEST FOR REMOVING STREAKS
When it comes to cleaning, you can’t have too many microfiber cleaning cloths. They’re great for dusting, washing dishes, wiping counters, and yes, getting rid of soap scum. Like the shower squeegee, using a microfiber cloth is ideal for preventing soap scum. It helps to wipe up any water on the walls or floors that may have been missed by the squeegee and it’s a great way to wipe down your faucet and handles without leaving streaks and water spots.
4. Holikme 5 Pack Deep Cleaning Brush Set
BEST BRUSH SET
Holikme knows not all showers, tubs and sinks are designed the same, which is why their set of five deep cleaning brushes helps to get the cleaning job done regardless of your bathroom style. The grout cleaning set includes two scrub brushes with a comfortable handle, a tile line brush for accessing hard-to-reach corners, a groove gap brush for extra stubborn stains, and a scouring pad brush for when you need extra help with stuck-on soap scum. The brushes can be paired with just about any soap scum cleaner to get your bathroom looking new.
5. Maryton Pumice Stones for Cleaning
FOR TILE OR PORCELAIN
Pumice stones are great for getting rid of tough stains in the bathroom and that includes removing soap scum from tile or porcelain surfaces. The Maryton Pumice Stones for Cleaning is a set of 16 multipurpose pumice stones that can be used to clean several areas of the home, including the bathroom. Simply wet the pumice stone and gently rub over soap scum that has built up on tile or porcelain. Lime, calcium, and rust buildup can also be removed with the use of a wet pumice stone.
6. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath
CLEANER AND TOOL IN ONE
Whether it’s your bathtub, shower, or even your kitchen sink, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are made for getting rid of soap scum buildups. Acting up to 3x faster than the average all-purpose spray cleaner, Magic Erasers will save you plenty of time during your weekly clean and require only a dose of water to activate. They are also tough enough to endure a number of uses without losing their durable scrubbing surface. This makes them great for treating all kinds of bathroom scum.
Cleaners for Cleaning Soap Scum
7. Bio Clean Hard Water Stain Remover
BEST FOR HARD WATER HOMES
When a product is used by professionals, you know it’s got to be good. Bio Clean is an industrial-strength hard water stain remover that’s free from harmful fumes and unpleasant smells. It’s made to fight all kinds of hard water stains on a range of surfaces, including doors, glass, tile, marble, fiberglass and more. But Bio Clean doesn’t just clean your surfaces. The multi-action remover also leaves a visible seal to keep your home clean up to three months.
8. Bring It On Hard Water Stain Remover
REMOVES CALCIUM DEPOSITS
Another soap scum stain fighter you might want to include in your cleaning arsenal is the Bring It On Stain Remover. This multi-use cleaner isn’t just limited to cleaning soap scum. The solution can take on rust stains, hard water buildups, water stains, grime, and calcium deposits. It’s an easy and effective way to breathe new life into your stain-filled windows, tiles, stone, kitchens, and doors while filling your house with Bring It On’s pleasant minty smell.
9. AspenClean Natural SuperScrub Scouring Powder
BEST NATURAL CLEANER
There are lots of cleaners that can help remove soap scum from various surfaces in the bathroom, but many contain chemicals that can quickly turn your shower stall into a great place to pass out. For a more natural cleaner, we like AspenClean’s Natural SuperScrub Scouring Powder. SPY received a sample of the cleaner and in addition to using it in just about every room in the home, we like that it can remove soap scum in showers, sinks, and clean toilets while being safe for septic tanks, fully biodegradable, scratch-free, and safe for pets and kids. There’s even lavender and tea tree essential oils in the powder, which leaves a gentle and inviting aroma that is much more nose-friendly than bleach.
10. Rejuvenate Scrub Free Soap Scum Remover
BEST FOR GLASS, CERAMIC, TILE AND CHROME
Another non-toxic option that helps to quickly and efficiently remove soap scum from bathroom surfaces is Rejuvenate Scrub Free Soap Scum Remover. The bleach-free Rejuvenate has a spray-and-rinse formula that makes it easy to get your shower and sink looking new. No scrubbing is necessary and Rejuvenate can clean most surfaces in a bathroom, including glass, ceramic, tile, and chrome, without leaving unsightly streaks. For those with sensitive noses, Rejuvenate is fragrance-free for a clean you can see but don’t have to smell.
11. Lucy’s Family Owned Natural Distilled White Vinegar
BEST FOR PLASTIC SHOWER CURTAINS
Plastic shower curtains can start to take on an icky brown tinge near the bottom that works its way up as more soap scum accumulates. Thankfully, you don’t have to throw out your plastic shower curtain at the first sign of soap scum. The Spruce recommends mixing equal parts white vinegar and distilled water in a large container and leaving the shower curtain to soak for eight hours before washing it in the washing machine with a load of towels, then hanging to dry. As for fabric curtains, they can also be placed in the washing machine with an extra cup of white vinegar to go with detergent.
12. Stone Care International Granite Cleaner
BEST FOR NATURAL STONE
If your bathroom has been finished with natural stone, you need a cleaner that won’t damage your granite, marble, quartz, travertine, limestone, or slate. The Stone Care International Granite Cleaner will get rid of soap scum and leave your natural stone looking brand new. Safe for food contact surfaces, meaning you can also use it to clean natural stone in the kitchen, Stone Care has a pH balance that won’t cause the stone to deteriorate and still removes dirt without leaving streaks.