Preventing Soap Scum

Category Bathroom
One way to reduce your time scrubbing off soap scum buildup in your shower is to find ways to prevent it. This is a page about preventing soap scum.


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Soap scum can build up quickly in a large household. This attracts dirt and looks unsightly.

Next time you buy something and it comes packed with thin plastic foam, trim it to size and place it under your soap. The foam can be quickly rinsed under a tap when necessary. This also works with a dish sponge.

I have trimmed the corners off mine in a sort of vaguely feng shui manner.

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I sprinkle a little Epsom salts to my bathwater to prevent soap scum. The soap seems to float on the top of the water rather than becoming a scummy ring, then goes down the drain. I found this out after using the salts to help sore muscles. It seems that ever so little of the salts in the water helps prevent the scum.


By Megan from Colliers, WV


May 21, 20090 found this helpful

I've read that the liquid soaps don't cause soap scum. That's all I use now but my darling husband won't/can't give up his Ivory so I can't tell if that's true.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

May 20, 2009

I have a terrible problem with soap scum on my tub and have spent a small fortune of cleaners that don't work. If they do, you still have to scrub and scrub. I'd appreciate any tips on helping me resolve this problem.

Donna Marie


Preventing and Removing Soap Scum on Tub

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Use it every time you shower or take a bath. The nice thing is you can be in the tub while you are cleaning it! (02/02/2005)


By Sonya Yoder

Preventing and Removing Soap Scum on Tub

If you use liquid soap in your bath and shower, you will not have soap scum. It is the paraffin in the soap that causes the scum. My husband refuses to throw his bar away. My sister has not had soap scum in years! (02/02/2005)


Preventing and Removing Soap Scum on Tub

Once clean (which the first time took a lot of elbow grease), apply Gel Gloss, available at hardware stores and maybe Walmart. You use it like a car wax, apply a thin coat and buff with a soft cloth when dry. It repels a lot and wipes clean easily for months after application. You may have to clean and apply more often if you take a lot of baths. (02/02/2005)

By Barbie

Preventing and Removing Soap Scum on Tub

Bar Keeper's friend! I get it at Walmart. Usually $1.70 I've seen it at Grocery stores for a higher price. Just rinse your tub with water, sprinkle BKF on, then brush it all over (use a kitchen brush). Let it sit for a while. Clean your mirrors, mop the floor then return for another brushing. You will be amazed at the results!


I use this cleaner on porcelain, fiberglass, glass, glass shower doors, stainless steel, copper. A great polisher! I have even use it on my white wall tires. It is a must! Check out their website: I'm sure it will be a forever cleaning tool for you too! Happy cleaning :) (02/02/2005)

By jjager

Preventing and Removing Soap Scum on Tub

After showers, wash tub in Dawn dish soap or take shower in Dawn dish soap, the one that has the hand care in it. Always have a clean tub and shower. (02/02/2005)

By snowangel

Preventing and Removing Soap Scum on Tub

Mix a little baking soda with cheap shampoo. The cheap shampoo will clean while the baking soda is abrasive enough to clean the scum without scratching. This is a very inexpensive solution. (02/03/2005)


By Ronda

Preventing and Removing Soap Scum on Tub

Tile and Grout Cleaner

This is a handy spray on grout cleaner for frequent use. It is good for removing soap scum and cleaning tile counters and it really works!

Combine all the ingredients in a labeled spray bottle and shake well to mix. Do not use this in conjunction with chlorine bleach or where chlorine bleach has been used. Simply spray it on and then wipe with a damp sponge or cloth. No rinsing required. (02/04/2005)

By Alma

Preventing and Removing Soap Scum on Tub

I need all the help I can get to clean my porcelain bathtub. It is a mess! Last time I spent 4 hours just on the tub alone. The porcelain walls and shower doors were extra 2 more hours. I refuse to spend that much time doing that again. I tried CLR (calcium, lime rust) remover, but no great improvement. I appreciate all help. Thanks. (02/14/2005)


By Stephanie

Preventing and Removing Soap Scum on Tub

Reading the feedback remarks takes me back a couple of years and I know how frustrating it is.


Remove all the soap from your bathroom. Give it to a worthy cause.

Buy liquid soap and go to a dollar store where you can purchase a nice dispenser for the sink for about 1.00.

For The Bath And Shower

We buy at Costco 2/9.00 TWO huge bottles of shower gel. My husband takes baths and uses it.and I shower and also use it.

We scrubbed the tubs and tiles very well with a Eureka steamer and scrub brush .

Once clean there is no more scum. It comes from soap, not from shower gel. We have not had to do it again. The bath is wonderful after two years. NO MORE SCUM! It's a wonder. Plus we have found that our skin no longer feels tight and pulled and needing lotion after using gel. Skin is softer and no more dry scales on dark shirts and pants. Two bonuses. Try it. If you aren't pleased you can always go back to soap. LM (02/15/2005)

By notetotel

Preventing and Removing Soap Scum on Tub

Mix 1 box Dreft laundry soap and 1 carton (1/2 gallon size) Epsom Salt. Add 1/4 cup or more to your bath water - if you add more, you get a nice bubble bath. Something in the combination takes the soap scum right off. I use it all the time, my husband never does, but no scum any more. This will last a really long time, and makes a nice Christmas gift when put in a nice container. I always get asked what brand is this, most can't believe when I tell them what it is. Good luck! (02/16/2005)

By Dawn

Preventing and Removing Soap Scum on Tub

There are 3 things needed to form a bathtub ring: water "hardness" (mostly calcium salts), soap (meaning real soap, not other detergents), and enough time for the resulting lime soap to deposit.

To deprive the process of time, take a shower instead of a tub bath. However, you can still get a layer of soap scum building up eventually.

Otherwise, you can keep soap out of the picture, i.e. use only products containing no real soap. (There are many substitutes in bar and liquid form.) Or you can get rid of "hardness" by either running the water through a water "softener" or adding to bath water a bath salt of the type that would tie up calcium (such as Calgon); definitely not Epsom, it's magnesium reacts with soap like calcium!

Finally, even if you take sit-down baths in ";hard" water with real soap, you can prevent scum from depositing by adding a lime soap dispersant. Bath foams ("bubble" baths) are usually fairly effective lime soap dispersants, and some bar soap products (Zest) contain adequate amounts of lime soap dispersant to prevent rings or scum. (02/19/2005)

By Robert

Preventing Soap Scum on Tub

Bought a house with severe soap scum in bathtub. Scrubbed it with a Mr Clean Eraser, rinsing frequently, only took about 20 minutes to get it looking like new, did all the tiles with it too, it was one filthy bathroom and I mean bad. Mr Clean Eraser is unbelievable. (09/09/2006)

By D Denney

Preventing Soap Scum on Tub

I actually found the solution to soap scum, a way to end soap scum forever. The solution is so simple, it will make you laugh. What is it? Easy. Stop using soap. Wait! Don't get excited. I mean stop using bar soap. The "glue" that holds bar soap together is what makes it stick to tile and other matter. The answer is to use liquid soap. It took me a few years to figure this out. Now, I use liquid soap exclusively and I have no more soap scum. (11/06/2007)

By Joe

Preventing Soap Scum on Tub

Well, here is another one. I had a severe acrylic jacuzzi tub, color dark brown, that was a mess with soap scum, hard water deposits, and scratches. For what the tub refinishers would charge, I bought a professional car buffer with pad and 3m polishing compound. The tub came out better than new. Looks like a mirror. Waxed with new car wax and then towel out after each use to keep it new. Will also get rid of the bar soap as others have suggested to not have to do it again. Now, I have a polisher for my car (12/03/2007)

By Dan

Preventing Soap Scum on Tub

Use Comet and a brillo pad. Good luck. (07/21/2008)


Preventing Soap Scum on Tub

First I want to say thanks for the info. This is just great! I would, however, like to bring it to everyone's attention that using hardcore or any chemicals or funky soaps, like Dawn, Mr. Clean and Clorox is just simply BAD for you and your skin, bad on the environment, washing into the drains and then into rivers, bad in production. Using resources, polluting environment again, waste bi-products and creating unhealthy work places and more.

There are plenty of more natural cleaners.

I really enjoy the posts and ideas to eliminate the problem. I do love my bar soap SOOO SO SO SO much. But if it means I will have to scrub my shower less, use less Bon Ami and not have the horrible stains I have, well then I might have to say bye to my wonderful soap. Or just use it in the kitchen or bathroom sink. :) (10/20/2008)

By Jane

Preventing Soap Scum on Tub

I make natural soap and if you are using REAL soap there is no parafin in it. Anything that says bath bar, beauty bar or something similar isn't real soap. It's made from petroleum (look at the ingredients) and is a detergent and not a soap. Who wants to use something that's made from oil that comes out of the ground? It never cleans out of our water and this could be what's causing your scum problem. Vegetable oil (olive, coconut etc.) is used in natural soap and it rinses clean so you should not have this problem if you are using soap and not detergent.


By Mary205

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