When hard water and soap combine, you can get a white, filmy residue in your shower, tub, and sink that is called soap scum. It’s even more noticeable when it shows up on tile, metal fixtures, and grout. This buildup can be very hard to remove and it needs daily and weekly maintenance to keep it away.
In most instances, non toxic soap scum removers will work without damaging the surfaces with heavy chemicals. For deeper, older stains and stubborn areas, you might need to get a more concentrated soap scum remover with a scrub pad and tackle it. This being said, we’re going to outline 10 of the best soap scum removers on the market with a few DIY options to help you address the soap scum in no time.
Using the correct products can help you achieve a shining, clean bathroom that is easy to maintain once a week.
1. Rejuvenate No Scrub Soap Scum Remover – Top Pick
If you don’t want to scrub at the soap scum, we can’t blame you. Elbow grease is a huge drawback for people because it can take a decent amount of time, and let’s be honest, it can lead to a very sore arm by the time you finish. This is why we recommend this soap scum remover as our top pick. It’s a liquid, but you can also get a spray bottle version if you’d like it better. It works instantly by quickly dissolving the soap scum, and it’ll leave a streak-free finish behind after you spray to rinse it.
As a bonus, it’s a non-abrasive and non-toxic formula that keeps your family, you, and any surface you use it on safe. You can use it on ceramic tile, glass, plastic, chrome and many more surfaces without any damage. It doesn’t come with artificial scents, so if you’re someone who is sensitive to artificial or natural scents, this is a great choice.
- Available in two forms
- Works on a range of surfaces
- Non-toxic cleaner
- Works very quickly
- Dissolves soap scum with minimal scrubbing
- May need several applications on set-in stains
- Really need to rinse it
2. Seventh Generation Professional Cleaner – Step-up Pick
Seventh Generation has a reputation for producing non-toxic cleaners for your house without any harsh chemicals, including this soap scum remover. This is a professional-grade tile and tub formula that is a very heavy-duty cleaner without being hard on the planet or on your health. It’s also a septic-safe choice that is 91% plant-based ingredients that are certified by the USDA. You won’t find any synthetic fragrances, bleach, solvents, or synthetic dyes in this choice. Instead, it utilizes citric acid to gently dissolve hard water stains and soap scum, and this is the acid you find in lemons and limes.
When you use it, this soap scum remover leaves behind a botanical scent that is a mix of 100 essential oils. It’s effective on most kitchen and bathroom surfaces, and it’s a safe product to use on fiberglass, ceramic, satin, porcelain, nickel, and stainless steel. You get two bottles per order, and it should help you keep your bathroom spotless and clean.
- Non-toxic cleaner
- Professional-grade product
- Certified by the USDA for natural ingredients
- Uses citric acid as the main cleaner
- Botanical scent
- Safe to use on a range of surfaces
- Get two bottles per order
- Scent can be very strong
- May leave a residue
3. Clorox All-Purpose Cleaner – Mid-end Budget Pick
You can clean any area in the bathroom with Clorox’s soap scum cleaner. It works to help you get rid of mold, stubborn stains, mildew, and soap scum by offering a 30-ounces spray bottle of disinfecting cleaner that can help kill off common bathroom germs that cause flu, salmonella, and skin infections. This is an all-purpose cleaner that has bleach mixed into the formula, so it can take on virtually any stains you have.
The all-purpose cleaner can kill up to 99.9% of viruses and bacteria when you use it, and this helps to keep your home clean and free from disease. You can use this product in the shower, tub, floor, sink, or toilet without any issues. But you have to make sure to ventilate the area properly and wear a mask when you use it to avoid inhaling fumes.
- Gets rid of mold
- Kills 99.9% viruses and bacteria
- Decently priced
- Works on various surfaces
- All-purpose cleaner formula
- Clorox is reputable
- Get two bottles per order
- Can have strong fumes
4. CLR Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover – Bargain Budget Pick
The best products you can get for cleaning are non-toxic, multi-purpose, and highly effective without breaking your bank. All of this applies to CLR’s water stain and soap scum remover. It uses mild glycolic and lactic acids as the main ingredients, and it works to break down mineral deposits that can lead to nasty buildup, like calcium carbonate, calcium, and iron.
This is a very fast acting soap scum remover that gets rid of discoloration, soap scum, and dirt. It’s very effective on a range of different surfaces, including fiberglass, stainless steel, shower doors, tubs, walls, fixtures, tile, sinks, and toilets. It’s safe to use around pets and kids too. CLR comes EPA-certified and receives a B rating from the Environmental Working Group, and this is an independent testing body.
- Multi-purpose cleaner
- Very cost-effective for tight budgets
- Lactic and glycolic acids are the main ingredients
- Fast-acting formula
- EPA certified
- B rating from the Environmental Working Group
- Works on dirt, soap scum, and discoloration
- Have to use a lot on deep stains
- Has an odd scent
5. A-Maz Water Stain Remover – Best for Water Stains
With AMAZ’s water stain remover and a little scrubbing, any glass in your home will have a new look. This formula doesn’t contain harsh chemicals or acids, and it’s chlorine-free. It’s also safe for your septic system and it won’t scratch your delicate surfaces. For working on tough soap scum spots, you will want to use this more concentrated product with gripper pads designed by AMAZ. They won’t scratch glass but will help lift scum and tough stains using mild abrasiveness.
This very potent product is one that you can use in non-ventilated spaces, and it’s intended to restore chrome, glass, fiberglass, porcelain, and tile to the original shine. That said, you shouldn’t expect miracles. It won’t work to repair glass or reverse scratching or scoring that is already there. However, it will remove mineral deposits and scummy buildup that you can’t spray away.
- Water stain remover
- No acids or harsh chemicals
- Won’t scratch delicate surfaces
- Safe for the septic system
- Can use in non-ventilated spaces
- Removes mineral deposits
- Can’t repair glass
- Works best if you buy the scrubbers
6. Bring It On Cleaner – Best for Shower Doors
You can take those traditional glass shower doors that have a translucent and opaque look and use this soap scum remover to get them shining again. This product comes specifically designed to work very well on shower doors and other surfaces. It comes created to remove the toughest stains possible, including soap scum, hard-water buildup, and more. You can finally bid these stains goodbye and take pride in how your bathroom looks again.
As well as working on soap scum and hard water, this product also strips away mineral, calcium, and rust stains. So, if you have a build-up of any of these stains around the bathroom, this product will help you remove them. But, how does it work? It’s a very innovative product that uses oxygen bleach as the main ingredient. Unlike more traditional chlorine bleach, this is a non-toxic and safe product for several surfaces. You can even use it around pets and kids without any issue. It has a very fresh minty scent to leave behind a clean feel and smell.
- Specifically formulated for shower doors
- Removes hard water buildup, soap scum, and rust
- Oxygen bleach is the main ingredient
- Safe to use around pets and kids
- Non-toxic formula
- Leaves a minty scent
- Works on set-in stains
- May take several passes for deep stains
- Doesn’t work as well on non-glass surfaces
7. ForceField ScumBlaster – Best for Dingy Grout
If you’re after a spray soap scum remover, the ForceField ScumBlaster is a great option to consider. It comes in a spray bottle, as you may have guessed, and it has a concentrated refill for when you run out. It even has a grout brush included in the purchase to help you deep clean between the tiles and other places that are harder to reach. You can remove every speck of soap scum using this soap scum remover. We love the versatility of this product as it works well on a larger range of surfaces. These surfaces include acrylic, fiberglass, glass, plastic, vinyl, porcelain, grout, shower doors, bathtubs, and more.
You’ll get a professional-strength formula that strips away soap scum. It also removes mildew stains, hard water stains, and rust. So, this will leave your bathroom much cleaner than before. This is also a very eco-friendly formula that works to professional standards when you use it. It contains no corrosive acids or bleach, and it’s made with an organic salt that works well to clean while being safe for your septic system.
- Spray bottle formula
- Comes with a grout brush
- Has a concentrated refill pack
- Very versatile
- Professional-strength formula
- Safe for septic systems
- Organic salt is the main ingredient
- Have to mix the refill
- Stronger scent
8. Mr. Clean Bathroom Scrubbing Pad – Best for Use in Tight Areas
This is an impressive soap scum remover that comes designed to get into all of the surface grooves of your space to clean grout, remove stuck-on, tough grime or stains from the tub, sink, shower, floor, toilet, and walls. You get a dual pack of bathroom scrubbers made out of a white Durafoam material that is packed with foaming cleansers to help remove and loosen soap scum, fingerprints, toothpaste, and grease.
However, you can’t use the magic eraser to clean the inside portion of your toilet bowl because the toilet water can cause your soap scum remover to lose the foaming cleansers. The cleaner will activate with a little water exposure to release the cleansers while you apply abrasive force to the surface with the scrubber. Also, you get a very fresh, pleasant scent.
- Gets into tight areas
- Dual pack of scrubbers
- Activates with a little water
- Pleasant, fresh scent
- Uses abrasive force to get rid of stains
- Foaming cleansers
- Easy to use and store
- Doesn’t work inside toilets
- Can break down relatively quickly
9. The Bucko Soap Scum Cleaner – Best for Non Toxic Option
Many products and recommendations for our soap scum remover are non-toxic, we have another you can consider when you shop. This is a septic-safe and non-toxic cleaner liquid that is gentle on any surface you choose to use it on while being tough on grime and dirt. It has no strong acids, no bleach, and no harsh chemicals. You can use it both for daily maintenance and heavy-duty jobs.
As a bonus, this soap scum remover works without needing any scrubbing, so it’s easier to use. It also leaves a streak-free finish on your surfaces, so your bathroom or space will look cleaner each time you use it. It’s an eco-friendly formula that is actually a commercial-strength product. It can dissolve tough grime and soap stains to leave a sparkling shine behind. You can use it to strip hard water stains from acrylic tubs, glass doors, tile, chrome fixtures, sinks, and grout.
- Is a non-toxic formula
- No bleach or strong acids
- Commercial strength formula
- Works on several surfaces
- Dissolves stains
- May need to scrub at heavy stains
- Sticky formula
10. Tilex Disinfecting Soap Scum Remover – Best for Tile
This soap scum remover spray will help you give your tile new life. Soap scum can easily scruff up your tiles in the shower and make the bathroom look grimy and dingy instead of being relaxing. When you use this spray, not only are you stripping away soap scum stains, but you’re disinfecting your area. It will kill 99.9% of bacteria and germs to leave your bathroom as clean as possible.
It also removes set-in mildew and mold as these are things no one wants in the bathroom. Another great feature of this product is that it whitens and brightens grout and tile. If your tile or grout aren’t white, you want to test a small area to ensure that it doesn’t bleach the color. This product comes with a bactericidal formula to help lift soap scum and leave the area clean. It can also deodorize the surfaces, so if you have a bad smell in your bathroom, this can help get rid of it.
- Strips away 99.9% of bacteria and germs
- Disinfects the tile
- Removes set-in mildew
- Whitens and brightens tile and grout
- Bactericidal formula
- Deodorizes the surfaces
- Easy spray formula
- Can bleach colored tile
- Very strong scent
DIY Soap Scum Remover Recipes
If you don’t want to go out and buy a soap scum remover, you can easily make your own using simple ingredients you have around your home. We’ve picked out three recipes for you to consider below.
Recipe One – Vinegar and Dish Soap
- 1 cup white Vinegar
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 tbsp. dish soap
- Spray bottle
To make this formula, you’ll add one tablespoon of cornstarch to one cup of white vinegar. Stir this mixture together until it’s well-combined. The cornstarch will help to thicken the mixture so it’ll stay on your shower or tub walls to give the other ingredients time to work. As you stir it, you’ll see it start to thicken up nicely. You want to keep stirring until you notice the consistency start to change.
Next, you want to microwave it for two minutes. So, you want to put the mixture into a microwave-safe bowl to ensure that you can pop it into the microwave. While the mixture is heating, add two tablespoons of dish soap into your spray bottle. You can use any dish soap you like. Take your cornstarch and vinegar mixture out of the microwave and give it a few stirs to get a more gel-like consistency at this point. It may start to bubble in the microwave, and this is normal. Finally, get a funnel and add your mixture to the spray bottle and gently shake it to combine the mixture.
Vinegar is a very popular cleaning agent because it eats away at grime and grease without using any heavy chemicals.
Recipe Two – Bar Keeper’s Friend
- 1/2 cup Dawn dish soap
- 1/2 cup White vinegar – very hot but not boiling
- Bar Keeper’s Friend (for marble or granite)
- Hot Water
- Microfiber cloth
- Spray bottle
Acrylic Showers, Fiberglass, or Tile
For these surfaces, you’ll heat up your vinegar and add it to the dish soap and put it all into a spray bottle before swirling it gently to combine. Spray your tub and shower walls, including the glass doors. Allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes for light buildup or overnight for set-in stains and residue. Rinse it with hot water and buff it dry.
Natural Stone Surfaces – Granite and Marble
Get your natural stone surface damp with water before sprinkling Bar Keeper’s Friend on a damp microfiber cloth. Next, gently apply it to the surface using a circular motion, and don’t rinse it. In the meantime, add 1.5 cups of hot water and dish soap to a spray bottle before spraying the surface of your granite or marble and allowing it to sit for a minimum of 30 minutes to overnight. Rinse it with hot water and buff dry.
Recipe Three – Baking Soda and Vinegar
- 1 cup baking soda
- White vinegar
The final soap scum remover recipe has you pouring a cup of baking soda into a smaller bowl and adding enough white vinegar to it to make a paste. Once your mixture stops fizzing, you will use a sponge to apply it to the tub or shower and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Wipe the surfaces down with a non-scratch sponge before rinsing it thoroughly with water and drying it.
Soap Scum Remover Buying Guide
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So, following this, if you know you have hard water, you want to get rid of the water spots and mineral deposits each day or at least once a week before they turn into scaly soap scum. Another option is to buy a soap dispenser so your liquid soap isn’t dripping and causing scales to form. To get rid of soap scum, consider the following:
In addition to finding non-toxic and plant-based formulas, soap scum removers come in various application types:
- Cleaning Pads – These pads should always be non-scratch so they don’t damage your tile or surface. They are helpful for getting rid of soap scum that creams and sprays can’t erase. You can combine your spray with a cleaning pad and concentrated product on hard surfaces, like shower doors, tile, tubs, and sinks that can withstand mild abrasion. In most cases, you’ll want to wear gloves.
- Creams and Concentrates – These things provide the most use for your money, and they come designed to be professional-grade for industrial-strength applications. You can apply these products directly to surfaces with a non-abrasive pad, or you can dilute them in another container following the instructions.
- Sprays – Finally, sprays are the easiest soap scum removers to use. All you do is spray them onto the affected area, let them work for a few minutes, and rinse. For stubborn water spots or soap scum, you want to use a non-scratch pad with the spray to lift them.
There are a few ways you can apply your soap scum remover, and some will be more effective than others, depending on your situation.
Soap scum removers come in a large range of formulas. For everything but the most severe cases, you can choose a non-toxic, plant-based solution instead of going for a product with heavy chemicals. Non-toxic solutions shouldn’t have ammonia, chlorine bleach, phthalates, or heavy fragrances. Instead, they feature mild abrasives like baking soda or salt, less caustic acids like gluconic, citric, or lactic acids, plant-based surfactants, and hydrogen peroxide.
The best soap scum removers can also have certifications by the EPA or USDA, and you can check the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning to get product ratings and toxicity. Non-toxic cleaners work on a host of surfaces and are usually just as effective as chemical, commercial-strength solutions. They are also safe for people who have allergies and health issues, pets, and kids. For use around toilets and drains, your soap scum remover should also be septic-safe. If you have sensitivities to scent, you can find scent-free formulas that have essential oils instead of artificial scents.
Bathrooms have different surface materials ranging from ceramic tiles to metal fixtures to acrylic, fiberglass, and porcelain. You don’t want to cause any damage to these different materials when you clean them, but swapping out soap scum remover products each time you move to a new surface isn’t convenient either. So, when you shop for this product, look for formulas that work safely on a range or surfaces.
Your soap scum remover shouldn’t contain any chlorine bleach, abrasives, or strong acids that can permanently scar or cloud anything from glass to metal. For glass and mirrored surfaces, you’ll want to go buy a specially formulated product since these materials will streak and require solvents or surfactants to give you a neat finish.
How to Prevent Soap Scum
The following tips can help prevent soap scum buildup in your bathroom, and this will be a much better thing to deal with than trying to get rid of buildup once it forms.
- Keep the Shower/Tub Dry – After every use, you want to towel dry or squeegee the shower and tub. You’ll wipe away a decent amount of soap scum particles that get left behind when you bathe, so the buildup won’t be as severe.
- Soften the Water – Soap scum loves hard water, so one way of preventing it is to install a water softener that removes these minerals in the water that react to it to form soap scum. If you don’t want to go out and buy a water softener, you can add Epsom salts to the bath water to help soften it and control soap scum. Epsom salts can also soothe sore muscles.
- Use Liquid Over Bar Soap – It’s the fatty acids and talc in traditional bar soap that causes soap scum in the first place. So, if you swap it out with a shower gel or liquid soap, you’ll see a huge decrease in the white filmy residue.
You now know 10 soap scum removers you can buy and recipes for three DIY options, and you can mix and match to see which works best for your soap scum issue. With a little maintenance and work, you can easily restore your shower or space to get it sparkling clean with any nasty film.