Removing Soap Scum from a Plastic Tub

Category Bathroom
Soap scum build up on a tub can be very difficult to remove. This is a page about removing soap scum build up from a plastic tub.


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I found using Avon's original Skin So Soft works wonderfully. Apply it on the tub, with extra on the scum spots. Allow to set about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, use a scrubby of some kind (even old bath scrubbies) rinse, and, wah lah, scum is gone!

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

February 6, 2011

How do you clean built up shower soap scum?

By Kim Simmons from Cedar Rapids, IA


February 6, 20110 found this helpful

Most of the dollar stores sell this product and follow directions on the bottle.

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February 7, 20110 found this helpful

"The Works" for showers and tubs is great as well.

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February 8, 20110 found this helpful

I have used everything, and I mean everything, ever posted on ThriftyFun and nothing has worked completely. My son is a glazier (glasswork). He told me the only thing he has found is to spray the shower with something like Tylex Soap Scum remover, rub/even out (with your hands) the Tylex over the soap scum, wait a minute or so and then diligently go over every inch with a single-sided razor.


You can make razor up-and-down strokes about a 6" swipe. Rinse down really well and dry everything. This is the only thing that has ever worked for me to get it "new" cleaned. I'm talking about glass shower doors. The first person caught not using a squeegee is the next person that cleans the shower doors! My shower doors do not have a coating applied by the manufacturer.

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February 8, 20110 found this helpful

Want to make it clear on my previous post that I'm talking about glass shower doors, not the shower stall itself.

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February 8, 20110 found this helpful

I use a generic magic eraser and Lime Away. I keep the eraser in the shower and wipe down the glass doors and trim every day and after my shower I rinse clean.


Then once or twice a month I spray it down and wipe again. Good luck with that.

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February 9, 20110 found this helpful

I use plain old Comet and a little elbow grease. Works like a charm on glass and tub!

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April 10, 20110 found this helpful

I do housecleaning as a part time business and feel I can't tell my clients to use liquid soap or a squeegie to make my job easier. I'm trying to find a solution for one of my clients' messy shower screens. I'm only asked to clean it every 6 weeks or so. I like the sound of the white vinegar method so might try that, together with the shampoo and Magic Eraser. I'd never heard of fabric softener sheets, apparently they are banned in Australia because of some dangerous content in them.

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September 2, 2008

I have a black acrylic tub. It has a thick buildup of soap scum. Can any one or has anyone had this problem? Please help.



September 3, 20080 found this helpful

Clean it with a powdered cleanser such as Comet or Ajax, or use the Mr Clean magic eraser. A liquid cleanser such as Mr. Clean will also work, but the slight abrasive in the powder or the eraser will make the job a whole lot easier.


Wipe down your tub after using it to avoid this. I also have heard that using a liquid soap or shower gel will avoid this problem, but I use regular soap and so could not say for sure.

Everyone gets soap build up. You just have to clean your tub regularly.

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September 3, 20080 found this helpful

Get a bottle of Bathroom Cleaner Plus, it is sold by Amway, it will seem expensive but a very small amount goes a long way.

I have a chocolate brown tub and it keeps it clean and shiny

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By jsham (Guest Post)
September 3, 20081 found this helpful

Give it a good sprinkle with baking soda, dampen (well) a cloth or sponge with plain white vinegar and give it a scrub. Will take a little extra scrubbing the first time, but if you do this at least once a week it will keep your tub looking like new.


Both of these products are environmentally friendly.

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By Guest (Guest Post)
September 5, 20080 found this helpful

Avoid scratchy cleansers. I'd be leery of Comex or Ajax. The scratches will only encourage more gunk to stick and you'll have scratches. I use baking soda and water. It takes a little elbow grease at first, but it looks great and if you do it regularly, it doesn't take as long. And I don't poison the earth or my lungs when I do it. AND baking soda is very cheap. I just buy a fresh box to use in baking, and use the leftovers of the old box for cleaning.

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September 17, 20080 found this helpful

I believe that if you use a mixture of baking soda AND white vinegar it will come clean w/o scrubbing. I've never actually cleaned (or even seen) an "acrylic" tub before, but I have used this solution on acrylic faucet handles to clean them of the soap/hand oil/dirt gunk.


I also use an "after" product; a polish and (albeit temporary) sealant called Gel Gloss. It comes as a spray or a pourable creme. It is in a hot pink can (white cap) w/blue & white lettering, and available @ Home Depot (and other of this type) stores.

For me, this is a "must have" product for keeping all kinds of surfaces polished/sealed between cleanings, especially those that come into contact w/water on a daily basis, such as sinks, tubs, etc. I wouldn't be w/o it in my business!

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May 20, 20110 found this helpful

Hello David,

Make a paste of white vinegar and baking soda, thick enough so it will stick to where you want to clean, let it sit while you do something else( half an hour or so). You will find that the soap scum comes off quite easily.


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March 15, 2012

I have a plastic tub in my mobile home and it has so much soap scum on the sides of it. I tried to clean it with Tilex, but it caused my tub to get a crack in it. I clean my tub every day and still the soap scum is there. What will work on removing soap scum from a plastic tub without cracking it or scratching it? I would appreciate any input you could offer. I tried bleach and a green scratch pad, but it scratches the tub and the bleach is just too strong to be around.

By lyonsoldtown


March 16, 20121 found this helpful

I doubt the tilex caused a crack,however, you want to use a non scratch pad such a 3M, and is so label on the package. available at you grocery store, Target and I suppose Home Depot and Lowes.

You could also get box of Barteners Friend from the same locations. It is a powder to be used with the non scratch pad. It will require a bit of labor to get rid of the scum if there is a large build up.

Once you get the scum off you may want to wipe down the tub with a towel after every use. Then when you do the monthly cleaning of the tub it will be much easier to get rid of the scum.

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March 17, 20120 found this helpful

When you say "plastic tub" do you mean a bathtub? If so, are you sure it's plastic or could it be fiberglass? I've found that Scrubbing Bubbles to be very effective on soap scum. After spraying on the cleaner, let it sit for about 10 minutes and use a sponge to scrub. You may want to change the type of soap you are using, or whatever product is causing a daily buildup. The Tilex didn't cause the crack in the tub.

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

November 15, 2004

Calgon Takes It Away! The easiest way to remove soap scum in a tub or shower: Purchase a box of Calgon water softener powder (in the detergent section of most supermarkets). Apply a small amount to a wet cloth. Rub on, rinse off. Scum is gone. Works so well and is so mild you can do this while taking a shower without hurting your skin at all.

By Kathy

Wipe Down the Walls 11/15/2004
After years of scrubbing, it dawned on me one day that it didn't make sense that a shower/tub, where I spent time to get clean, would get "dirty". I finally got everyone in the house to agree to use their towel to wipe down the walls and tub after use. I have not cleaned the shower/tub yet.
By Sandy
Car Wax 01/12/2005
When the tub/shower is new, wax it with car wax. Then once a year after that the tub/shower will be easy to keep clean. The layer of wax will keep it shiny too! Be careful not to wax the bottom of the tub. You'll slip!
By connie
Brillo 03/28/2005
To remove soap scum and mildew from shower doors, I tried everything, even Kaboom. Nothing worked until I used this, spray door with any advertised cleaner, clean with a piece of Brillo pad, wipe with a damp cloth or paper towel and eureka - it's clean and shining. It makes it an easy job.
By Frances Merrill
Baby Oil 03/29/2005
I've heard that after you clean the shower door and get it to your specifications, if baby oil was lightly applied to the glass, soap scum would just come right off the very next time you cleaned it. Has any one tried this?!
By Melissa W.
Don't Use Soap 05/05/2005
The best way to avoid soap scum is not to use soap!

I recently switched to those liquid body wash products, which I believe are detergent rather than soap, and now there's no soap scum anywhere and my shower is almost self-cleaning. These products come in great scents and make lots of rich suds. I'll never go back....

By Claudia
Fabric Softener Sheets 06/27/2005
I found a cheap and easy way the clean shower doors. You get a used fabric softener and wet it, wipe the shower doors and the soap and grim come off with ease. I do it all the time and it works great
By stephanie
I will try it... 01/17/2006
I will try this, my tub looks awful. i am not able to get down and scrub the tub anymore so I am looking for a way to remove the soap scum without all the scrubbing.
By Tina
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November 4, 2006

To remove soap scum from the bathtub, I get a washcloth and rub it with a bar of soap and scrub the tub. I do this after someone has gotten a bath and it really seems to work for my family of six.

By Jill from Shavertown, PA


Removing Soap Scum From Bath Tub or Shower

I just tried Fantastic Total Bathroom Orange Action on my acrylic bathtub. I sprayed it on, waited a few moments and tried wiping. My heart sank; it didn't work at all. I sprayed again and then let it sit while I watched a tv program. I came back in the first commercial, wiped with a soft cloth, and the soap scum was gone. Clearly the key is giving the product time to work. (07/30/2006)

By Pam

Removing Soap Scum From Bath Tub or Shower

Calgon does indeed take it away. I had been looking for a product that would remove the soap scum from my son's shower for years. I had tried various products with no success, even the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser which I happen to love. Then I read about using Calgon. The funny thing is that I use Calgon in my bath water all the time and my tub still looks like new. Yet it never dawned on me that it would work wonders on shower soap scum. Thanks Calgon and Kathy. (10/22/2006)

By Kawanna

Removing Soap Scum From Bath Tub or Shower

A lot of advice about soap scum is about preventing it from forming in the first place. We moved into a house which was in immaculate, move-in condition except for the fiberglass shower stall. The build up of scum was impressive, giving meaning to "sticky shower scum." The previous owners were elderly and probably unable to clean it properly.

We tried all the tricks and products mentioned above with little success. Then I read about the fabric softner sheets and they work! I wrapped one around a sponge to make it easier to handle and scrubbed away.

The floor is another issue. There is a slip-resistant surface glued on it and the little grooves are full of soap scum. I saturated a towel in vinegar, spread it out and left it to soak. The jury is still out on this one. (10/30/2006)

By Elizabeth

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February 6, 2011

How do you clean soap scum off of porcelain tub and fiberglass shower walls?

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November 1, 2010

I live in a rental and have never been able to properly clean off a residue from shower tiles and shower screen. It is a whitish colour and is either soap buildup or mineral deposits.

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December 7, 2009

How do I clean soap scum from a tub, once and for all? Commercial products don't work.

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April 18, 2007

I said in my last request it took all day to clean part of the bathroom. Well, I still have soap scum on the tub.

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