Phew, that is a loaded question. If this is your very first time trying to clean soap scum and you’re intimidated, then you should be.
If you follow our guide, you can clean your shower with very few chemicals, very little scrubbing, and very little of your time.
As a small disclaimer, everybody is going to have a slightly different experience.
How well these methods and tips work is going to depend on the type of water in your area, the soap you use, and how often you clean your shower in general.
If this isn’t your first rodeo, and you’ve tried every cleaner out there and STILL haven’t been able to get the soap scum off, the answer may have been under your nose this whole time.
Before we get to how exactly you should clean your shower, let’s go over a couple of basic facts about soap scum.
What is Soap Scum Anyway?
You may find yourself asking this question.
Well, the truth is, it’s not quite as disgusting as it sounds. We know, we know, it has the word ‘scum’ in it, but trust me.
Most of what soap scum is (and getting rid of it for that matter) is basic chemistry.
Joining soap with hard water is the main culprit of soap scum.
One way to help prevent soap scum is to try and soften your water, but that’s a topic for a different article.
Okay enough chemistry (for now), how do you get rid of this annoying film in your shower?
Vinegar and Baking Soda
Vinegar and baking soda? Really?
Two common things that I have laying around my house is going to be the thing to get rid of the most stubborn of all dirt in my house?
Yes! Well, probably.
It comes down to basic chemistry. Even though you may have tried every bathroom cleaner out there that claims to get rid of soap scum, it’s mainly marketing.
Vinegar and baking soda are truly all you need. So, what exactly do you need to do?
- First things first, place one full cup of baking soda into a plastic cup or some sort of plastic container. The container ultimately is not important.
- Now, pour enough white vinegar (yes, the normal white vinegar that you have laying around your house!) onto the baking soda. Keep pouring until it forms some sort of pasty mixture.
- Almost there, no you need to use a spoon to stir up this mixture really well.
- You will start to see some mild fizzing but do not fear! This is simply the CO2 reacting and does not mean that you’re doing anything wrong.
- It’s going to take a few minutes for this to stop fizzing. This is normal. Once it has stopped fizzing, take a sponge and get a good amount of your new paste onto the sponge.
- You’re not going to be doing any scrubbing now. You simply need to use the sponge to apply the paste on all areas where you are seeing soap scum.
- After you let it sit for around 15 to 20 minutes, now you want to use a sponge to give it a good scrubbing. A couple of tips:
- Don’t use a soft sponge. Use one of those sponges that has the green side that’s slightly brittle. This is going to help lift the scum off the glass.
- Absolutely do not use that silver scrubber that you use on dishes. This may seem like a good idea in the short term, but all you’re going to end up doing is scratching the glass and making it worse than when you started.
- Scrub using water and the green side of the sponge to thoroughly clean off all the mixture that you put on
- You might have to put a little bit of elbow grease during this part. However, if you let the mixture sit for 15+ minutes, you shouldn’t need to be scrubbing too too hard.
This is essentially a fool-proof way to get rid of soap scum. It is easily one of the best ways to clean glass shower doors. Unless you happen to have a particularly hard water supply or haven’t cleaned your shower in years, this is going to do a dang good job of getting that soap scum off.
Still a little bit left after your first round?
Just repeat the same exact process one more time.
Whatever soap scum that is remaining is sure to come off this time around.
Wait, so why does this simple method work? Shouldn’t I be using something stronger?
For those of you who are detail-oriented or just like chemistry, let us break it down for you (pun intended).
Vinegar is an extremely acetic liquid, which is why it’s such a good cleaning solution.
Restaurant use it all around the country for cleaning their floors, polishing their cutlery, and other general use cleaning.
The vinegar is what helps to actually break down the soap scum on your shower.
Then, when you combine the baking soda with the vinegar, it forms carbonic acid.
This is an extremely unstable mixture and will immediately start to break down, hence the fizzing.
What you’re left with is simply carbon dioxide and water which makes this extremely safe and family friendly to use.
You are left with literally just a diluted solution of water and sodium acetate.
This creates the perfect strong, safe, chemical-free solution that is going to cut through dirt and scum like butter.
Okay, this is cool and all, but how do you keep it from coming back?
The answer is actually a bit unconventional. Can you guess what it is?
Go to your nearest automotive store and pick up some Rainx. What is Rainx?
It’s actually a glass cleaner meant for cars, but a lot of people actually use it to help soap scum from coming back!
It doubles as a rain repellant so it’s going to prevent the water and any other soapy scummy deposits from sticking to the side of your shower doors.
It’s not going to stop every piece, but it will keep your shower doors a lot cleaner for a lot longer.
Sold! How do I apply the Rainx?
This is the easiest part of the whole process!
- Spray the Rainx (it comes out a little bit like hairspray) all over the glass, applying more to the parts where water goes on most)
- Let it stand for two to three minutes and then, using a paper towel or a microfiber cloth, go ahead and wipe it off!
Presto! Done. This will seriously do wonders for keeping soap scum away.
Small note, it doesn’t necessarily have to be Rainx. Any water repellant will be sufficient.
If you don’t want the chemicals in your shower, simply cleaning your shower regularly will help to prevent soap scum from building up.
Removing soap scum is cheap and simple. You don’t need any fancy cleaners or a lot of muscle to have a nice, clean shower.
We hope this simple trick helped you and you are on your way to a sparkling clean shower.
Robert is a tech junkie interested in the latest home improvement trends and gadgets. His wife Jen regularly finds him following their robot vacuum around the house and still hasn’t left him.