How to Remove Soap Scum with Soap

soap scum removal

So, I didn’t get a post out last week and I apologize. It’s not that my house was perfectly clean and I didn’t have anything to show you, it was that my house was a disaster zone that I didn’t have time to properly clean. That’s the story I’m going with, although if you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know it’s true.

Anyhoo, I have this theory that hot water and soap can clean just about anything and it’s working out pretty well so far.  I decided that I would try it out on the bathtub and see if it could get rid of the inevitable soap scum build up. The vinegar and dish soap trick worked pretty well, why won’t this one? Oh, wait, it does work! But with less suds and vinegary smell. Here’s how to remove soap scum with hot water and dish soap.

Let’s take a look at what we’re dealing with first. I actually did let my tub get this bad so I could take good before and after pictures, so don’t judge me, I really do hate having a dirty bathtub. It’s gross.

remove soap scum

I know, amazing shot in a room with no windows.

Step One:  Add a small squirt of dish soap and fill the tub up with hot water just past the soap scum line.

how to remove soap scum

Step Two: Let it soak! Close the door and let it soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
I was cleaning the rest of my house while I was waiting.

Step Three: Drain tub until there’s about an inch or two of water left and add more dish soap then scrub!
The soaking should have softened up the scum so this should be light scrubbing.


Step Four: Rinse and you’re done! Tada, sparkly clean tub with no more soap scum.

While cleaning the soap scum from the tub, I realized that the very soapy water at the end is important because soap scum does not like to come off all by itself. Duh. That and the dish soap eats through the body oils and dirt making it easy to scrub off the remaining nasties. I loved this solution because I didn’t have to go out and buy a specific chemical for the tub and this method is safe for any tub type.

If you have a stand up shower, I’d recommend cleaning it right after you’ve showered because all of the steam should have soften up the soap scum. Then have a bowl of hot water and soap you can dip your scrubby into.

What are your best tips to remove soap scum?

Happy Cleaning!


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14 thoughts on “How to Remove Soap Scum with Soap

    • Good luck! If you have hard water stains on your surround, vinegar will take it right off as soap won’t do too much. Sometimes soap scum is a mixture of hard water build up and the usual nasties.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

  1. I have one word for pretty much any cleaning situation: Dawn.

    I just used it to clean Venetian blinds and they look fantastic…and I did not scrub at all, I just soaked them in extremely hot water, with Dawn until the water got cool enough for me to swish my hands around (about an hour), then I drained the tub and rinsed them with the shower head. Voila…and the tub looked pretty good, but I never made an association!

    I have eleven more blinds to do, AND the bonus will be a clean tub! God, I hate to clean the tub, but I REALLY hate a dirty tub…so for a while at least, all my problems will be solved!

  2. Angela:

    Yesterday I spent quite a while browsing your terrific blog!

    I saw a response from someone (a guy I think) who wrote about a test that was done for liquid dishwashing detergents. He said that some product got and A and Dawn got a C…well, now I can’t find the letter and I can’t remember the product…it was “Planet… something”, I THINK. Do you know what he was talking about? Because, wow, would I like to try that! Dawn is great, but if there is something that works BETTER? And is good for the Planet? Sign me up.

    I’m sure you don’t have time to spend hours browsing through your mail, but I was kind of hoping you had indexed it somewhere.

    Any help would be gratefully appreciated. I LOVE your site!!! Love it!

    Linda Hollnader

    • Hey Linda!

      I actually remember what you’re talking about and Dawn did do poorly. The site is and there you can find out how safe your cleaning product is for the environment. For soaps, castile soap ranks as very safe (Dr. Bronners is a favorite brand). I’ve browsed this site quite a few times and find it very informative; makes me want to be nicer to the environment.

      Thanks so much for visiting the site and I don’t mind at all you spending hours on the blog. It makes me so happy that you love the information you find here.

      Take care!

  3. The trick to keeping the tub surround clean is to dry it off after EVERY shower…..and you will never have to scrub it ever…..the soap scum does not have a chance to build up…..around the tub seems to get soap scum, but using DAWN and BAKING SODA and scrubbing it will make it clean……I took an old brush that I used to keep in the kitchen to scrub dishes with and now keep it in the bathroom just to clean my tub and it works……

  4. Now I would like to know how to get permanent marker off of tupperware ? Someone told me alcohol…..doesn’t work…..I put some on and rubbed and rubbed and even let set overnite and then rubbed again, it is still on there…….would anyone know how to remove this ?

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