Is your shower door plagued by soap scum residue – hazy shower glass, tile look powdery – YUCK! We asked a professional maid service for tips on the best way to remove soap scum, and you might be surprised to hear the advice we got.

cat licking clean bathroom shower glass door

What is soap scum?

Soap scum is the result of soap combining with hard water, which is rich in calcium or magnesium. The chemical reaction between these chemicals in the water and the fatty acids in soap causes the white residue we all hate.

Technique #1 – Toilet Bowl Cleaner

The next time you’re cleaning glass shower doors, shower tile or trying to remove soap scum from any other surface, keep this tip in mind. It works so well, you might need to break out the sunglasses to protect your eyes from all that sparkle!

  1. Step 1: Grab your bottle of toilet bowl cleaner.
  2. Step 2: Protect your skin by wearing rubber gloves.
  3. Step 3: Open windows and turn on your exhaust fan. Good ventilation is a must.
  4. Step 4: Grab a sponge or rag and plunge it into a stream of hot water.
  5. Step 5: Apply just a little bit of toilet bowl cleaner to the wet sponge.
  6. Step 6: Wipe the soap scum right off.
  7. Step 7: Rinse with lots of clean water.

Now, a couple of disclaimers are in order here:
WARNING: First, we’re serious about that ventilation. Toilet bowl cleaning liquid is some strong stuff, and you don’t want to breathe it in. Make sure you stay safe because the last thing you’d want to do is to be overcome by fumes (although the paramedics might just admire your soap-scum free shower doors and tile!).

WARNING: This may not be the best way to remove soap scum from shower tiles if you’ve got extraordinarily expensive tile. If you’ve invested a mint into your tile, no doubt you received step-by-step instructions from the manufacturer about how to care for and clean your tile. Listen to them. If you want to try this technique, you’ll be doing so at your own risk.

Other ways to remove soap scum…

There are a couple of other tactics you might want to try if you’re nervous about using toilet bowl cleaner.

Technique #2 – Arm & Hammer + Elbow Grease

An alternate method for cleaning up soap scum is to put that box of Arm & Hammer to good use and scrub, scrub, scrub. You might even get good results by making a paste of baking soda and vinegar, applying it to the soap scum, and letting it sit for a while before scrubbing.

Technique #3 – Homemade Soap Scum Cleaner

Another method is to make your own soap scum cleaner. You’ll need a spray bottle, blue Dawn dish-washing liquid, and white (or cleaning) vinegar. Add a cup of Dawn to your sprayer, then fill to the top with the vinegar. Shake the sprayer gently before each use.

You’ll need to spray this solution on, then let it sit an hour or so – and overnight is even better. Then get in there and scrub. You’ll find that most of the soap scum breaks down and rinses away fairly easily.

If you notice that you’ve got severe mildew or black spots of mold, you may need to be much more aggressive. That’s when it’s time to break out a bottle of chlorine bleach… which of course means ventilation is even more important. It’s also extremely important to rinse the area thoroughly with clean water before using bleach. Bleach is highly interactive with many other chemicals, including those in vinegar. Rinse first, and ventilate! Be sure to check the surrounding area for mold or mildew in your Florida home.

Technique #4 – Don’t Use Soap!

At first, this idea might sound “stinky”. Hear me out. Real soap is made from animal fat. If you didn’t already know this fact, then soap scum just got even more disgusting. So, if you want to save your shower glass from that unsightly soap scum, save your elbows from all that scrubbing, and save the animals, buy soap that doesn’t come from animal fat. There are a lot of body wash and shampoo options that offer “fat free” ingredients.

Now that you’ve learned the best way to remove soap scum from your glass shower door, check out some closet organization tips!