How to Clean Years of Soap Scum?

Soap scum is a greyish or whitish layer formed on surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom. It is usually found in the sink, bathtubs, and showers.

Soap scums form into a hard substance when hard water from the running tap mixes with soap stain over a long time. 

If not removed for years, it can result in mold, mildew, or discoloration, leaving our surfaces in bad condition.

In this article, we will discuss how to clean years of soap scum.

How do you remove heavy soap scum?

Soap scums are usually very hard to remove, especially if not removed early. After years of accumulation on your surface, removing it ordinarily might not work. 

This article was written to enlighten people on the best ways to remove soap scum from your surfaces. It is almost impossible for soap scums not to form. The only way we can avoid soap scums is to avoid using soap and water (more on this later in the article). Here are a few tips on how to remove heavy soap scum from our home fixtures. 

  • Get your cleaning tools ready. The cleaning process will require a few tools to ensure absolute perfection. Don’t worry; you don’t need much. You only need an old toothbrush, a commercial or homemade scum cleaning agent, a cloth, and some water.  
  • Start cleaning off the scum. Heavy soap scum means a big lump of hard substance accumulated over a long period. It might be tough to remove, so you have to buckle up. Get your commercial or homemade scum cleaning agent ready for some action.

 I always advise people to make their own cleaning agent when it comes to heavy soap scum. We will discuss more on the best cleaning product to use in the next section.

Whatever cleaning agent you are using, ensure you add table salt to your mixture to make it more abrasive to the scum. Spray the cleaning mixture on the heavy soap scum and leave for about 15 minutes.

After that, wipe the surface with a clean cloth made of microfiber and rinse properly with water. 

You may need to make use of an old toothbrush to remove the soap scum after applying your scum remover when cleaning a tight corner.

How long you leave your scum remover after application depends on the type of surface you are working with. 

For instance, when working with stainless steel surfaces, you may need to leave for at least an hour. Check here for more information.

What is the best product for removing soap scum?

When it comes to selecting the best product for removing soap scum, we have two options- commercial soap scum remover and homemade soap scum remover. These two scum removers are useful, but I always advise people to make their scum remover themselves. 

We will discuss the two types of scum removers in a bit. This allows you to pick the most suitable one for the removal of your stain. 

Here are a few tips on how to make homemade scum remover:

  • Get some baking soda, vinegar, a small bowl, a sponge, and some water ready. Pour a cup of baking soda into the small bowl and mix vinegar with the soda to form a paste. The mixture starts fizzing due to the content you are mixing. Once the mixture stops fizzing, then you can apply it to your scum.
  • Instead of using baking soda, you can use another option. Here, you will need a spray bottle, some water, vinegar, dish detergent, a soft brush, and hot water. Start by mixing vinegar with some water in a spray bottle. Then add one tablespoon of dish detergent in the spray bottle. Apply the mixture on the soap scum and wait for about 15 minutes before scrubbing with the soft brush. How long it takes for the scum to come off depends on the size of the scum, how long it has been there, and the force applied to remove it.

If you don’t have the time to mix or prefer to use commercial soap scum remover, you can purchase scum removers from a trusted store. We have outlined the best five soap scum removers on Amazon in 2020. They include:

  1. Bio-Clean: Eco-Friendly Hard Water Stain Remover (20oz Large)
  2. Rain-X 630035 Shower Door Cleaner
  3. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath
  4. Bring It On Cleaner Hard Water Stain Remover
  5. Kaboom Shower, Tub & Tile Cleaner with Oxi Clean

How does Vinegar and Dawn get rid of soap scum?

Apart from baking soda and dishwasher, you can also use Dawn mixed with vinegar to get rid of soap scum from your surfaces.

It seems vinegar is an indispensable substance when it comes to homemade vinegar.

So how does vinegar and Dawn get rid of soap scum? We have organized this section into steps for easy understanding.  

Step one: Get your essential items ready. You will need a spray bottle, Dawn and vinegar. The spray bottle is necessary for mixing and application of the mixture.

Step two: Pour an equal amount of vinegar and Dawn into the spray bottle. Ensure that you measure the amount of each item you add such that they are of equal quantity.

Step three: If the soap scum is sturdy, heavy, and difficult to remove, you may want to heat your vinegar in the microwave for some minutes before mixing with Dawn. Spray the mixture on the scum and leave for as long an hour or two. 

Step four: Scrub it off after some hours with your brush or piece of cloth and rinse off the scum.   

How do I get rid of soap build up in my shower?

One of the most common places you can find soap scum in the home is the shower. Whether you are trying to clean fiberglass shower enclosures, metal shower fixtures, or glass shower doors, worry not, as all follows the same routine. But make sure you use the right cleaning agent.

When trying to get rid of soap scum in my shower, I usually use a commercial soap scum remover and a cloth to wipe off. Spray the cleaner on the shower surface and leave for about 15 minutes before wiping with a cloth. Ensure that you rinse the surface adequately to avoid spotting.


Soap scums are soap build-ups formed when soap and water combine. If neglected for an extended period, it can lead to discoloration and bad odor. Therefore, soap scums need to be removed often as they form. 

We have highlighted a few tips on how to get rid of soap scums in your shower, bathroom, or floorings. Use these tips and guidelines to remove soap scums from your surfaces and avoid a smelly or messed up bathroom, and kitchen cabinet.

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