Soap scum is a frustrating reality for many homeowners. At first, you have this clean, shiny bathroom with a great look and a nice hardware. Then one day, you realize that the shower and tub look dull, grimy, and just generally icky. Soap scum builds so gradually that people only notice it when it’s already become a gross problem to try to solve.
If you want to get your bathroom back in shape–and then keep it that way–there are some things you need to know about soap scum.
How does soap scum form in the first place?
Soap scum is a residual build up from using soap and hard water. The magnesium and calcium in the hard water interact with the soap, leaving the residue behind. It would be nice if the problem was just an issue of needing to clean the bathroom more often, but that doesn’t actually solve the problem of the soap and hard water interacting to form the scummy compound that ends up on your tile, tub, and shower doors and walls.
What do you need to know about preventing soap scum?
Because soap scum is a chemical reaction between your water and soap, you have a few preventative options. For example, using a good water softener and always ensuring that it is full of salt is a great way to prevent the chemical reaction from happening in the first place. Softer water = less soap scum.
Using a daily shower cleaning spray can also help prevent soap scum build-up, and it’s a good habit to get into. If you like to take baths, using epsom salts in your bath can counteract the development of scum, as well. And if you can switch to liquid soap or gel body wash, you’ll also benefit from not giving scum an opportunity to form.
One useful method for preventing soap scum is to make sure your grout is well sealed. This is something you can do on your own, or with the help of a professional grout cleaning service.
Of course, all of this is only helpful if you’ve already rid your bathroom of the problem in the first place.
What are the best methods for cleaning soap scum?
There are essentially three methods for cleaning soap scum: commercial cleaning supplies, DIY cleaning supplies, and professional help. Let’s consider the two you can do on your own first.
Commercial cleaners: When choosing a commercial cleaner, you should make sure to choose something that is specifically formulated for the type of material you need to clean. Not all cleaners are created equal, and using a formula designed for fiberglass on your beautiful natural stone shower walls is just asking for disaster.
DIY cleaners: If your soap scum isn’t too bad, you can get a lot accomplished with a combination of baking soda and distilled white vinegar. You should use a ¼ c. vinegar for every 1 c. baking soda. This will form a paste that you can use to clean glass doors, fiberglass showers, and tile.
Simply using vinegar (or vinegar with water) will help with your metal fixtures and shower curtains.
How do you know when you need to call in the professionals?
Sometimes, the best choice isn’t between commercial or DIY cleaning supplies, but rather, whether you want to do the work yourself or bring in a professional. Professional grout and tile cleaners can make a world of difference in the appearance and cleanliness of your bathroom.
There are four main reasons you may want to consider a professional:
- You’ve been unsuccessful in removing the grime, dirt, and icky discoloration in your tub and shower on your own.
- You lack the time to tackle the cleaning task at hand.
- You’re not able to tackle the physical requirements of cleaning a shower.
- It’s just really not something you want to do yourself!
See Your Tile Transformed
Get a free demonstration of professional grout & tile cleaning services from The Groutsmith of Tulsa. You’re tile can be transformed and looking amazing again! Contact us today to set up a time that’s convenient for you.