House Cleaning Tips > Bathrooms > The Best Way to Remove Soap Scum

two Bars of Soap



The Best Way to Clean & Remove Soap Scum

Talk about ruining my bath!

There's nothing I find less relaxing in the bathtub than that dreaded ring around the tub called soap scum.

Soap scum builds up, shower after shower and bath after bath. The longer the cleaning is delayed the more difficult soap scum is to remove.

As time goes on, the minerals from the water make the soap scum set up almost like concrete.

Then there's the gross-out factor!

Soap scum is not just dirty soap, it's minerals from the water combined with dirt, body oils, sloughed off skin and bacteria.

That's not something I want to bathe or shower in!

The good news for you is that I'm a professional house cleaner, and I've cleaned up many grimy bathtubs and showers.

Soap scum doesn't have a chance of sticking around anywhere when I'm around.

I teach others how to clean up soap scum at my cleaning company (Mrs Clean in Seattle) and I'm going to teach you how to clean it up too.

Are you ready then? Let's get busy cleaning!

Removing Soap Scum

If you find that one of the remedies below doesn't remove the soap scum easily, you can try another cleaning solution.

Just make sure to rinse the solution off completely before moving to a new one.

You can use less water to make the borax and baking soda cleaning solution a little thicker if you are cleaning vertical surfaces like the sides of the bathtub.


boraxBorax is a natural mineral and is used as cleaning agent and scouring powder. It is safer to use than many other chemicals on the market.

It's a great deodorizing abrasive and it's very effective in removing soap scum from your shower or your tub.

Borax also kills mold and mildew and as an added bonus helps to stop mold and mildew from coming back.

Borax is slippery when used as a cleaner. Rinse your surfaces well to remove all traces.

  • 1 cup of borax
  • 2 Tbs. dishwashing detergent
  • 1-2 cups of water

Mix the borax, detergent and water to form a paste in a bowl. It should have a consistency that’s a little bit thicker than pancake batter.

  1. Use a soft bristle brush and apply the cleaning solution to the affected area.
  2. Let the solution sit on the soap scum for about 15 minutes.
  3. Do not allow the cleaning solution to dry.
  4. Scrub with a soft bristle brush until the soap scum is gone.
  5. Rinse completely with hot water.
  6. Wipe the area dry to help remove any remaining traces of grime.

Baking Soda

baking-sodaBaking soda is a deodorizing abrasive that will help to remove soap scum from your shower or your tub.

  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 1 Tbs. dishwashing detergent (or 1 squirt!)
  • 1-2 cups of water

Mix these together in a bowl to form a paste with the consistency of pancake batter.

  1. Dip a soft bristle brush into the solution
  2. Apply to the soap scum and let the solution sit for about 15 minutes.
  3. Scrub with a soft bristle brush until the soap scum is gone.
  4. Rinse completely with hot water.
  5. Wipe the area dry to help remove any remaining traces of grime.


vinegarThis is an acidic formula that helps to cut grease. Vinegar is also a natural deodorizer for your shower or your tub.

  • 4 cups of white vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tbs. dishwashing detergent

Mix the solution together and then fill a spray bottle.

  1. Spray the soap scum with the vinegar solution
  2. Let the vinegar work on the stain for 15 minutes.
  3. Scrub with a soft bristle brush.
  4. Rinse completely with hot water.
  5. Wipe the area dry to help remove any remaining traces of grime.


Ammonia is alkaline and is very effective at cutting through waxy soap scum build up. The smell of ammonia is very strong, so open the window when using it.ammonia-parsons

  • 1 cups of ammonia
  • 2 cups water

Mix the cleaning solution in a spray bottle.

  1. Spray the ammonia solution onto the soap scum
  2. Let the ammonia sit on the soap scum for 30 minutes.
  3. Do not allow the ammonia cleaner to dry.
  4. Scrub the stain with a soft bristle brush.
  5. Rinse the area thoroughly with hot water.
  6. Wipe the area dry to help remove any remaining traces of grime.

Pumice Stone

Pumice stones are my heavy duty cleaning secret.

pumice-stonePumice stones are formed when lava cools very quickly above ground. The air pockets are from heavy amounts of gas that are in the lava at the time it is cooling.

Pumice might be a rock like material, but it's a soft rock that crumbles when using. The crumbled particles are similar to sand and they will scratch ceramic, glass and porcelain, etc. if it is not used correctly.

It's important to use plenty of water on the surface you are cleaning to avoid scratching.

Pumice stones will remove soap scum where other cleaning agents fail. They will also remove hard water spots caused by minerals in water.

Pumice will damage and scratch tubs and showers if not used correctly. Harder is not better. Scrub gently.

  1. Get your pumice stone and a soft bristle brush.
  2. Wet the pumice stone and the area you are going to clean.
  3. Gently rub the wet pumice stone across the soap scum stain.
  4. It's important to keep the pumice stone and cleaning surface wet.
  5. When the pumice has built up on the sides of the soap scum, use a stiff brush and keep scrubbing at the stain.
  6. Continue gently scrubbing until the stain disappears.
  7. Rinse completely with hot water.
  8. Wipe the area dry to help remove any remaining traces of grime.

To Stop Soap Scum from Forming

Soap scum is formed in conjunction with real SOAP (Not Detergent) and OIL. You can stop soap scum from forming by using liquid body soap rather than bar soap. Liquid soap is not a true soap. It's a detergent and it won't form soap scum.

Bubble bath is notorious for causing "ring around the tub". The next time you bathe, add 1/4 cup of baking soda to soften the water and make your bath feel as smooth as silk.

Drying the tub and shower removes residue left after using it and the soap scum is wiped away before it has a chance to adhere to the tub or shower.

  1. Use liquid soap rather than bar soap
  2. Do not use oily bubble bath or scented water conditioners
  3. Dry the tub or shower after using it.

Now you know the tricks and tips of a professional soap scum remover! No need to get stressed because you can clean it up quickly and easily.

Enjoy the luxury of soaking in a CLEAN hot bathtub. It's one of the best ways to soothe sore muscles and relax after a busy day.

Great job!

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Connect with Mrs Clean!

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Mrs Clean (Corina Wilson) is not only the owner of the company, but a very busy mother of 3 children.

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Mrs Clean realized long ago, that a clean home is a necessity, not a luxury when we are struggling to find the time in our day to cover the very basic levels of work and/or family obligations. The battle seems to never end... (but that's why we're here to help!)

When Mrs Clean is not busy managing her house cleaning company or running her kids back and forth to their events, she enjoys experimenting with natural and non-toxic cleaners and learning new techniques to remove stains.

She thoroughly enjoys sharing her valuable information with the readers of her blogs and various social media sites.

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