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How to Remove Soap Scum From Shower Doors & Surfaces

Is soap scum making your shower look dirty? Discover how to remove soap scum from your shower doors and surfaces with this helpful guide.


A shower screen with shampoo and shower gel nearby

It’s no surprise that the area we use to wash ourselves is often one of the most difficult to clean. When stubborn soap scum and bathroom grime build up around your shower and bath, you may feel like you’ve met your cleaning match, but with this complete guide, you’ll soon become an expert at removing soap scum.

To prevent soap scum from accumulating, dry the shower area after every use using a squeegee and microfiber cloth.

Use Heat to Help Soap Scum Removal

A steam cleaner can be very effective for cleaning soap scum all around your shower area, but if you don’t have a steam cleaner, built-up soap residue can be tricky to clean. However, you can replicate the benefits of a steam cleaner by rinsing shower surfaces with hot water before attempting to remove soap scum and grime, or, to save water when cleaning the bathroom, wait until just after a family member has had a shower and clean off soap scum while the bathroom is still hot and steamy. This will help to loosen soap scum on tiles, glass, and other bathroom surfaces and will assist in efficient soap scum removal.

Removing Soap Scum from Shower Surfaces

Knowing how to remove soap scum from your shower tray and bath is key in maintaining a clean and hygienic bathroom, and knowing how to remove soap scum from tiles can really make your shower area sparkle.

The best way to clean soap scum is by using an all-purpose product like . While you can use other home remedies like lemon juice or vinegar, commercial cleaning products tend to be much easier to use (and require much less scrubbing!). Remember to test any new products or techniques on a small, inconspicuous area, and always read the instructions on the label.

An alternative method for removing soap scum would be to use a mixture of vinegar, water, and washing-up liquid. Fill a spray bottle and apply a generous mist to all surfaces, or wipe the solution onto the surface with a cloth, before rinsing clean. The vinegar will cut through the scum whilst the dishwashing soap will ensure no residue is left behind.

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Where minerals from hard water have really set in, it may be necessary to scrub with something rougher than a cloth in order to scratch away the hard residue. A kitchen scourer can be used to gently scrape off soap scum, but care must be taken not to apply too much pressure and scratch the surface itself. An old toothbrush can double up as an extremely useful tool when it comes to cleaning soap stains from taps, plug holes, and chrome bathroom surfaces.

how to remove water stains from the shower

Cleaning Soap Scum on Showerheads

To clean your showerhead:

  1. Remove the showerhead and soak in a vinegar and water solution, or tie a bag filled with vinegar securely around the showerhead, before leaving to soak.

  2. Next, soak a cloth with the solution and wipe over shower tubing and pipes, again leaving to work away at the soap scum. After an extended period of time, clean and rinse the shower using the same methods as for your general bathroom surfaces.

How to Remove Soap Scum from Shower Doors or Curtains

To remove soap scum from a glass shower screen, the same products and techniques can be used as recommended for general bathroom surfaces. But removing soap scum from glass shower doors isn’t always that simple, especially if you live in a hard water area. You could try using commercial glass cleaning products, testing on a discrete spot beforehand.

It can be very effective to have a squeegee to hand when removing soap scum from glass shower doors, as this window cleaning tool can be used to ensure that no soap or water marks are left when the glass dries.

Removing soap scum from shower curtains may require a gentler approach than other general shower surfaces, depending on the material of the shower curtains. Clean shower curtains by taking them down and soaking them overnight in warm soapy water with vinegar added. Finally, simply rinse them and rehang them to dry.

  • Heat loosens soap scum – Clean the bathroom straight after the shower has been used.

  • Use a commercial cleaner to remove soap scum – Products like will help you to achieve sparkling results. Just remember to follow the instructions on the label.

  • Use an old toothbrush for added scrubbing power – This handy scrubbing tool can help lift soap scum from those hard-to-reach places on bathroom fixtures and fittings.

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Frequently asked questions on removing soap scum from shower surfaces

How do you clean a shower head with lemon juice?

Shower head clogged with limescale? It might be time to clean it. Luckily, you can learn how to clean a shower head with lemon juice without leaving this article! Remove scum and grime from a shower head by simply removing it from the bracket and soaking it in a solution of warm water with a few dashes of lemon juice (fresh or bought from the store) for 30 minutes. Remove the shower head, scrub to remove lingering limescale, and replace on your bracket.

How do you remove yellow stains from your shower tray?

Your shower tray holds your loose soap and bottles of shampoo, conditioner and other potions. When hard water collects here, it's more likely to turn a white tray into a yellowing, scummy mess. Using an all-purpose cleaner or any of the home remedies described above should return some shine to your tray. However, if your tray is yellowing mysteriously (or, alongside the rest of your shower), then this is simply due to age and wear. Using an industrial cleaner or a plastic/fibreglass paint kit could be your next best option in this case.

What is soap scum made of?

Soap cleans... but soap scum stains: so what is soap scum made of for it to have this effect? Soap scum is, in reality, a mix of soap (including oils and fats) with minerals in hard water (calcium and magnesium). When combined, it can produce an unsightly film on your surfaces.

Originally published