Methods to Remove Soap Scum from Different Bathroom Surfaces


There is no such thing as being careful enough not to get soap scum everywhere in the bathroom; it’s inevitable. Of course, most of you are aware of this from already finding the residue on various bathroom surfaces, even if you have cleaned the space just a few days prior. It should also be noted that getting rid of soap scum is not as simple as washing or scrubbing it away with just any cleaning product or tool. Depending on the surface in question, it will require a cleaning method that effectively breaks down the grimy film so that it can be properly scrubbed away thereafter.

So, if you haven’t paid much attention to the buildup in your bathroom, or simply don’t know how to remove soap scum from bathroom surfaces, Simply Maid is here to help you out! Before we get to the various tried and tested methods for cleaning up soap scum in a bathroom, it helps to know what you are dealing with.

What is Bathroom Soap Scum?

Soap scum is the result of a combination of two things; minerals and fats. The latter is contained in soap, while the former is found in your home’s water source. This is especially the case if you have hard water running through your faucets because it contains a higher count of minerals which, in turn, means more soap scum buildup. 

Although it is the reaction between fats in soap and minerals that causes soap scum, the real problem begins when you allow it to harden. That’s when the chalky residue clings to the surface and makes it harder to break down and remove. Nevertheless, soap scum in bathrooms can be cleaned up if the right method is applied. To learn more about that, read on!

How to Clean Soap Scum From Bathroom Surfaces

As we mentioned earlier, the various methods one can use to remove soap scum in a bathroom are dependent on what type of material or surface it is. Along with this, the severity of the residue or how long it has been sitting on the surface will also dictate which methods will render more effective. 

With that in mind, let’s get right to some of the most common bathroom surfaces and their respective cleaning methods to get rid of soap scum.

#1 Glazed Ceramic and Porcelain

These non-porous materials accumulate soap scum rather easily; however, the same can be removed without much trouble. Whether you are trying to remove soap scum from shower tiles, a tub, or sink, the following method can be applied:

  • In a bowl, combine ¼ cup distilled white vinegar and 1 cup baking soda. Use a stainless steel spoon to combine the ingredients until it forms a paste; leave the mixture to fizz or bubble. 
  • Once it settles, use a clean sponge to apply the mixture over the soap scum. Check closely to ensure that you are applying a good, generous amount of the paste to cover all areas of the chalky stains. Leave it to sit for at least 15 minutes.
  • Next, dampen a clean microfibre cloth with plain water, and wipe down the surfaces. 
  • Finish off by rinsing the areas well before drying immediately with a clean, lint-free cloth. 


  • To remove stubborn soap scum from porcelain or glazed ceramic, dampen the sponge and dip it in some table salt; this provides more abrasion when scrubbing but will not scratch the material.
  • A dampened pumice stone can also be used to scrub off hard soap scum on your glazed ceramic or porcelain. It is, however, important to dampen the tool completely, and use minimal pressure when scrubbing.

#2 Glass Shower Door

You can spot soap scum on glass from a mile away! These ugly stains are even worse to look at when you are in close proximity, or taking a shower in this enclosed space. Fortunately, there are many glass cleaning products that work well to remove soap scum from glass shower doors, as well as a cleaning spray one can make using regular household ingredients.

When using a commercial glass cleaner, simply follow the instructions on the label for best results. On the other hand, to get rid of soap scum from glass naturally, follow the steps below:

  • In a spray bottle, combine 1 cup each of distilled water and distilled white vinegar; add 1-2 squirts of dishwashing liquid to the mix, close the bottle, and give it a good shake. All the ingredients should be properly combined before you use this homemade glass cleaner so be sure to shake the bottle before every use.
  • Spray the soap scum directly to soak it, and allow the solution to work for about 5-10 minutes. 
  • Rinse the area with warm-hot water, and use a squeegee to push the water off the glass quickly. If needed, dry the shower door with a lint-free towel.


  • Spray your glass shower door with this solution after every shower. Give it a few minutes before rinsing the area clean, and drying thereafter. 
  • If scrubbing if needed, use a damp sponge dipped in table salt before you rinse the surface.

#3 Metal (Stainless Steel, Chrome, Brass, and Bronze)

When it comes to metal surfaces in the bathroom, you need to be a little cautious about the products and tools you are using as some of them have the potential to scratch or discolour certain metals. For these reasons, we advise using cleaning products that are specially formulated for the metal in question, and non-abrasive cleaning tools only. 

If you wish to treat newly formed soap scum on metal faucets and surfaces in your bathroom, use the gentle methods described below:

Stainless Steel and Chrome

  • In a spray bottle, mix equal parts water and distilled white vinegar; close the bottle and shake well.
  • Take a clean soft cloth and spray it with the solution to dampen it. Avoid soaking the fabric (squeeze out excess liquid if needed).
  • Use the dampened cloth to wipe down chrome and stainless steel bathroom fittings, paying extra attention to soap scum that may require a bit of elbow grease to remove.
  • Rinse the surfaces immediately after, and dry with a clean soft cloth. 

Brass and Bronze

  • Dampen a clean microfibre cloth with warm water, and gently rub the brass or bronze bathroom fitting to remove soap scum. If this does not work, proceed to the next steps.
  • Make a paste consisting of distilled white vinegar and baking soda. The paste should not be runny as it must sit on the surface when applied.
  • Use a clean sponge to cover up soap scum spots on your brass or bronze bathroom surfaces, and allow it to dry up.
  • When the paste becomes crusty, rinse the surface and dab it dry with a clean towel. 


  • All metal surfaces, once cleaned and ridden of soap scum, can be buffed using an appropriate polishing cloth, or a clean, soft cloth.

#4 Plastic 

From plastic shower curtains and liners to plastic bathroom accessories such as soap dispensers and trays; soap scum can make these surfaces appear and feel very icky. Fortunately, it is not difficult to remove soap scum from plastic in your bathroom if the right methods are applied. You can learn of these below.

Shower Curtains and Liners

  • How to Machine-Wash Plastic Shower Curtains/Liners
      1. Check the care tag or washing instructions on the label of the plastic material; if specified ‘safe’ for machine-washing, go ahead and place the plastic shower curtain/liner in your washing machine, along with 2-3 bath towels. 
      2. Add half a cup of your regular laundry detergent to the load, and run a warm water cycle.
      3. Once finished, hang the plastic up to air dry.
  • How to Hand-Wash Plastic Shower Curtains/Liners
    1. Mix 1 part distilled white vinegar, and 2 parts water in a large basin or tub. This mixture must be enough to fully submerge the plastic. 
    2. Allow it to soak overnight or for 6-8 hours. For stubborn soap scum on plastic shower curtains and liners, it is advisable to soak the material for up to 10 hours.
    3. Rinse thoroughly and hang up to air dry.

Plastic Bathroom Accessories

  • For fresh or newly formed soap scum, wash the item with dish soap and warm water.
  • If the soap scum has had a lot of time to sit and harden, make a soapy solution consisting of warm water and dishwashing liquid.
  • Soak the plastic bathroom accessories in the solution for 20-30 minutes.
  • Scrub with a sponge and rinse thoroughly thereafter.

WARNING: Do not attempt to dry any plastic items in the dryer.

Though stubborn at times, the nasty soap scum found on various bathroom surfaces can, and should be removed as often as possible. Not only is it easier to clean off the residue when done so routinely, but it also inhibits the growth of bacteria, and the accumulation of dirt and stains in your bathroom. With the cleaning methods to get rid of soap scum from all bathroom surfaces shared above, we are confident that you will have no problems in getting the job done to your satisfaction! And if all fails, you can always call to hire cleaning professionals.



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