Whether deep cleaning your bathroom, scrubbing your kitchen sink, or refreshing the inside of your washer, getting rid of soap scum is essential to achieve a thorough clean. The right ingredients or cleaner can easily eradicate soap scum, grime, and hard water stains while protecting your surface from future build-up.
- 1 Soap Scum Cleaner Buying Guide
- 2 What’s the best way to remove soap scum?
- 3 What dissolves soap scum quickly?
- 4 What is the best homemade soap scum remover?
- 5 What causes soap scum?
- 6 How do I get rid of thick soap scum?
- 7 What is soap scum?
- 8 What causes soap scum?
- 9 What is the best way to remove soap scum?
- 10 Can I use a bleach-based cleaner for soap scum?
- 11 Can I prevent soap scum from forming?
If you are your household’s designated bathroom cleaner (or if you pay attention to your surroundings when you’re in the shower or bath), you’ve probably seen your fair share of soap scum. It’s a sad irony of housekeeping that a substance that gets your body clean can make your shower or bathtub so grungy.
Soap scum forms when the fatty acids, talc, and other ingredients in bar soap react with the minerals in hard water, and builds up on your bathroom surfaces. Soap scum also contains body oil, dirt, bits of dead skin, and bacteria. When it’s left to harden, the buildup is incredibly difficult to remove from a shower or tub.
9 Best Cleaner for Soap Scum 2023:Tested and Reviewed
- Best Overall:The Bucko Soap Scum and Grime Cleaner
- Best Budget:Rejuvenate Scrub Free Soap Scum Remover
- Best No-Scrub:CLR PRO Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover
- Best Eco-Friendly:Tilex Bathroom Cleaner 32Fl.Oz
- Best for Shower Walls:Scrub Free Bathroom Cleaner with Oxi Clean
- Best for Tile:Soft Scrub Cleanser with Bleach
- Best for Heavy Soap Scum:Rejuvenate Scrub Free Soap Scum Remover
- Best Non-Toxic Soap Scum Remover:ForceField ScumBlaster
- Best for Natural Stone:Tilex Disinfecting Soap Scum Remover Spray
Most of us find it challenging to clean different surfaces. However, with the best soap scum removers, you can clean and brighten the surfaces prone to soap scum. This is a gray or white layer or residue on the surfaces that you may come across when you use soaps to clean bathtubs, showers, sinks, or other bathroom surfaces. Check out our list of removers that we have compiled and reviewed for you to choose a suitable product.
#1.The Bucko Soap Scum and Grime Cleaner
- Who it’s for: People who want an effective soap scum remover to use on nearly any surface.
- Who it isn’t for: People who want a more affordable cleaner.
For best results, spray thoroughly on the targeted area, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and rinse or wipe with a clean, damp cloth to bring out extra shine. This highly reviewed soap scum remover is expert-recommended and preferred by customers for its quick results and ability to get rid of old soap scum, grime, and hard water stains, making this product worth the higher price tag.
#2.Rejuvenate Scrub Free Soap Scum Remover
- Effective without scrubbing
- Safe for almost all surfaces
- Free of harsh chemicals
- Requires rinsing
It is an effective formula that breaks up soap scum and hard water deposits without any scrubbing. It is safe for almost all surfaces you can find in your bathroom, including glass, ceramic tile, chrome, plastic, fiberglass, natural stone, and porcelain. We always recommend testing it on an inconspicuous area first, but have used Rejuvenate soap scum remover on a variety of bathroom surfaces without issues.
This formula is made in the United States, which may mean it’s easy to find in a variety of online and brick-and-mortar retailers. It is made without chemicals that can be irritating in enclosed areas, such as bathrooms. This also makes it safe for use on delicate surfaces, such as natural stone and grout.
You will need to be able to rinse the cleaner off of your surface after it has done its work. If you have a removable shower head, this is the easiest and fastest way to reveal the soap scum-free surface after it has been cleaned. If not, you may need to use a wet cloth or paper towel. You still shouldn’t need to scrub; just wipe the excess away to get rid of any residue. All you’re left with is a streak-free shine and a sparkling clean bathroom.
#3.CLR PRO Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover
- It works on a variety of surfaces, including coffee machines.
- It’s approved for use in food service facilities.
- Industrial strength but eco-friendly formula.
- Works in as little as two minutes.
- You have to scrub quite hard on certain stains, such as calcium.
- Not as effective on rust or iron.
This professional-grade soap scum remover is made with an industrial-strength formula. It works to break down calcium, lime, and soap scum, leaving behind no residue or streaks.
#4.Tilex Bathroom Cleaner 32Fl.Oz
- Has a refreshing smell
- Does not require scrubbing
- Bleach-free combination
- May not be effective for cleaning showers
Tilex cleaning product can kill and disinfect up to 99% of the bacteria in the bathroom, thereby providing you with a clean and sparkling space.
#5.Scrub Free Bathroom Cleaner with Oxi Clean
- Who it’s for: People who want a scented and budget-friendly soap scum remover.
- Who it isn’t for: People who want a cleaner with natural ingredients.
Barton regularly uses this product in her cleaning rotation because she likes that it destroys hard water stains mixed with soap scum. It also has a clean and fresh lemon scent that’s a little strong at first but then dissipates into a pleasant and subtle aroma after rinsing.
This versatile cleaner can be used on nearly every bathroom surface (except natural stone or marble) to thoroughly clean, deodorize, and brighten. Spray it on the desired area, let it sit for a few minutes (or longer for tougher jobs), and rinse or wipe it away with a wet sponge or cloth. With regular use, this product can prevent future soap scum buildup.
#6.Soft Scrub Cleanser with Bleach
- Very effective
- Kills almost all germs
- Brightens as it cleans
- Strong chemical-based formula with bleach
- Top can lead to spills
- Should rinse after application
It kills 99.9 percent of germs on surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom, according to the brand. This is a slightly stronger cleaning formula that uses bleach, which may not be safe for all surfaces and does require extra precautions. If you have small children or pets, it is best to keep this cleaner locked away and rinse surfaces that they may come in contact with after using it. It is also strong when you apply it. Ventilate your room, use rubber gloves and goggles to keep it from irritating your skin or eyes, and never mix cleaners, especially those containing bleach—doing so is extremely hazardous1.
However, this formula is very effective at getting rid of soap scum and hard water stains. To use it, apply the liquid directly to your surface or to a cloth, and then scrub it on. This is a liquid cleaner and might be harder to use on vertical surfaces, such as showers and doors. The flip top can be hard to open and sometimes results in spills, as well. We recommend opening it inside the tub basin to keep from spilling it on other surfaces.
#7.Rejuvenate Scrub Free Soap Scum Remover
- Bleach-free, non-toxic cleaner.
- No scrubbing required, you can save time and energy.
- No added fragrance — skip the irritation.
- Dissolves soap scum and leaves behind a streak-free finish.
- You may need to scrub if you have heavy build-up.
- It may lighten stone after repeated use.
It’s also free of added fragrances. If you experience headaches or irritation from artificial or even natural scents, then this is a great option to consider.
- All-purpose cleaner for all surfaces
- Effective for daily usage
- Cuts through rust and hard water stains
- Made using organic salts
- Works effectively on stubborn stains
- May have a strong smell
#9.Tilex Disinfecting Soap Scum Remover Spray
- Who it’s for: People with soap scum stains on glass surfaces.
- Who it isn’t for: People who want a soap scum remover for tubs and tiles.
The Tilex Soap Scum Remover & Disinfectant gets rid of soap scum on glass surfaces, as well as eradicates mold, mildew, grime, and hard water stains. The penetrating foam spray is bleach-free but cleans, disinfects, and deodorizes, and is also safe to use on glazed ceramic tile, porcelain, ceramic, acrylic, and more.
To clean and disinfect, spray up to 10 inches away from the target, pre-cleaned surface until thoroughly wet, let it sit for up to 10 minutes, and rinse. While this product does not contain bleach, you should still utilize proper ventilation and consider wearing gloves to apply.
Soap Scum Cleaner Buying Guide
To make an informed decision when buying a soap scum cleaner, consider the following:
- Type of surface: Choose a cleaner that is suitable for the type of surface you need to clean (e.g. glass, tile, etc.).
- Strength: Determine the level of strength you need based on the amount of soap scum you need to remove.
- Ingredients: Check for ingredients that are effective in removing soap scum, such as hydrochloric acid or citric acid.
- Safety: Look for warnings and safety instructions, including recommended gloves and ventilation.
- Reviews: Read customer reviews to gauge the effectiveness of the product.
- Brand reputation: Consider purchasing from a reputable brand to ensure quality and reliability.
- Ease of use: Look for a cleaner that is easy to apply and has a convenient spray bottle.
- Eco-friendliness: Consider buying an eco-friendly soap scum cleaner if you are environmentally conscious.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best way to remove soap scum?
If you’re using a store-bought soap scum remover, Barton says that most are powerful enough to clean without scrubbing or using intense elbow grease. As a rule of thumb, spray or apply the product to the desired area, let it sit for a few minutes to work its magic, and rinse or wipe clean with a damp cloth.How to Clean and Remove Soap Scum
What dissolves soap scum quickly?
The strongest cleaners use ammonia or bleach to get rid of soap scum. However, these may not be safe for all surfaces, and require preparation and care when handling. Plant-based cleaners can also lift soap scum away with a foaming agent, and DIY options include baking soda and white vinegar to dissolve soap scum. Finally, some old-fashioned elbow grease can scrub away a layer of soap scum, although cleaning solutions make this task easier and more effective.
What is the best homemade soap scum remover?
White vinegar and baking soda is an effective soap scum remover on many surfaces. This homemade cleaner can be used on a variety of bathroom surfaces, including glass, tile, and fixtures. It is a good idea to test it on an inconspicuous area first, since it might be too abrasive for things like fiberglass or natural stone.
What causes soap scum?
When minerals found in hard water such as magnesium and calcium chemically combine with dirt and soap, they form a scaly film on metal surfaces, tiles, grouts, and other bathroom surfaces.
How do I get rid of thick soap scum?
What is soap scum?
Soap scum is a sticky film that forms on bathroom surfaces due to the buildup of soap and mineral deposits from hard water.
What causes soap scum?
Soap scum is caused by the reaction between soap and minerals in hard water.
What is the best way to remove soap scum?
A mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water can be effective in removing soap scum. Scrub with a sponge or cloth, and rinse with water.
Can I use a bleach-based cleaner for soap scum?
Yes, bleach-based cleaners can be effective in removing soap scum, but it should be used with caution as it can discolor some surfaces and irritate skin and eyes.
Can I prevent soap scum from forming?
Yes, using a water softener can help prevent soap scum from forming. Rinsing surfaces after each use can also help minimize soap scum buildup.