10 Best Soap Scum Removers | March 2017

We spent 35 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Who would have thought that combining two of the most seemingly innocuous substances – water and soap – could produce such an unsightly mess? If your home suffers from bathroom woes, try one of these soap scum removers. They are formulated to take all the hard work out of cleaning tubs, showers, and counters, and are even available in natural and eco-friendly options for green removals. Skip to the best soap scum remover on Amazon.
10 Best Soap Scum Removers | March 2017

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If you live in an area with hard water, Oxi Clean Kaboom is a cleaner that can tackle those tough bathroom stains. It also disinfects and deodorizes at the same time, but it contains glycolic acid and citric acid, which may irritate your skin.
Rejuvenate RJ24SSR is an odorless, fumeless, and environmentally friendly solution that fights the worst soapy buildup and mildew. It requires very little scrubbing, and can be used daily if needed to keep nasty grime at bay.
If you have a marble or granite shower, DuPont Stonetech is an ideal cleaning solution, as it is specifically designed for use on sealed natural stone, ceramic, and glass tile. It leaves behind a fresh, clean scent after it's washed away.
The Bucko Shower Cleaner works well to remove tough grime, while leaving a beautiful shine behind. It makes glass shower doors, textured acrylic bathtubs, chrome fixtures, and sinks with all kinds of buildup look like new again.
  • pleasant lemony scent
  • free of bleach and other chemicals
  • too weak to work on heavy scale
Brand The Bucko
Model 3934457
Weight 2.2 pounds
Clorox Tilex 35604 is powerful enough to dissolve tough bathroom buildup on contact. Simply apply this non-abrasive formula to any surface, wait five minutes, and you'll see amazing results that make it look like you've been scrubbing all day.
  • disinfects and deodorizes
  • sprayer works smoothly
  • can't be used on natural stone
Brand Clorox
Model CLO 35604
Weight 2.3 pounds
TriNova All Purpose Spray is a must-have to effectively clean grease, grime, and adhesives, as well as household spills and messes without leaving any residue. It is 100% safe and nontoxic to ensure the utmost protection for your children and pets.
  • works on a variety of surfaces
  • great for your car or boat
  • doesn't have a pleasant smell
Brand TriNova
Model 5538480
Weight 2.2 pounds
Designed as an all-in-one solution, the Bring It On Cleaner works especially well on the kind of buildup you most often encounter in the bathroom. Its primary cleaning agent is oxygen bleach, however, so you should expect it to be a little harsh.
  • great for fiberglass tubs
  • concentrated in 32 ounces
  • gloves are recommended
Brand Bring It On Cleaner
Model BIO 32 fl oz
Weight 2.9 pounds
Miracle Scrub MIRSC16OZ is the perfect solution for cleaning glass, porcelain, ceramic, and other solid surfaces with minimal effort. It does the job without scratching or dulling the surface of your sink, tub, shower, or counter.
  • dilutes effectively
  • removes hard water stains
  • safe to use on granite
Brand Unelko
Weight 1.2 pounds
If you like to do your part in saving the planet, the EarthStone Bathstone is the product for you. Each stone is made from recycled materials that save an equivalent of one glass bottle from landfills. It's also among the most effective and powerful options available.
  • gets rid of mineral buildup and mold
  • safe for porcelain
  • outworks sponges and scrubbers
Brand EarthStone Internationa
Model 111
Weight 4 ounces
Krud Kutter KK32 is the only cleaner you will need to get your bathroom in tip-top shape. This super-concentrated commercial-strength formula can safely and easily remove tough stains, and it comes in a 32-ounce bottle that should last for months.
  • water-based and biodegradable
  • also available in value sizes
  • nonflammable and xylene-free
Brand Krud Kutter
Model KK32
Weight 2 pounds

What Is Soap Scum And Why Should It Be Removed?

Soap scum is the term for the white solids which build up around shower doors, counter tops, clear glass dishes, or windows after treatment with tap water and soap. The concentration of hard minerals left behind is often called soap scum, silt, or limescale.

Soap scum is caused by minerals in hard tap water interacting with soap. As molecules of ionic calcium or magnesium come into contact with the fatty acids in soap, they lock on to the natural sodium ions in these fatty acids. The bond formed between the two creates insoluble compounds within the soap that prevent it from lathering; rendering the soap highly ineffective. From cleaning laundry or dishes to washing the body and hair, soap clings to other molecules rather than react with the water, leaving behind the familiar white crust.

Soap scum is an eyesore, and that alone is reason enough to remove it. Without a soap scum remover, however, it is a very difficult task. In addition to being laborious, soap scum may also pose some risks to your health. Recent research studied polyvinyl chloride shower curtains which came into contact with hard water and soap. Over time, these shower curtains tend to accumulate soap scum deposits, which show rich microbial biofilms under microscopy.

Researchers collected samples of shower curtains from different homes to identify the types of potentially harmful bacteria found in these biofilms. The study noted that each film was highly complex and that no two biofilms were composed of the same microbes. All samples included various opportunistic pathogens known to be harmful to humans. The researchers also detected many other kinds of organisms in lower abundances. If the shower curtains remained uncleaned, these organisms would have enough time to reproduce and become a much larger threat.

Why Use Soap Scum Removers?

Knowing that soap scum provides the ideal breeding ground for various pathogenic bacteria, the decision to use a soap scum remover is a smart one. Additionally, soap scum removers make the process extremely easy, as they create the ideal compounds to adhere to and remove soap scum.

The chemistry of soap scum removers is the key to their success. Most contain either ionic or non-ionic surfactants combined with acids to react with the heavily basic composition of soap scum minerals. These two working together produce far greater results than scrubbing alone.

In actuality, many of the compounds in soap scum removers require little external effort. After spraying them on the soap scum, the acids begin to lessen the bond of the basic minerals through a neutralization reaction; while the surfactants help to bind with the soap scum. The result is sparkling clean glass, counter tops, and tiles with just the effort of wiping the soap scum remover away with a cloth.

Additional Effects Of Hard Minerals In Soap Scum

The effect of the hard minerals which create soap scum is not limited to spotty windows and biofilm. The majority of homes depend on a hard water supply, especially in large cities. The term hard water simply means water that has a high mineral content. Pure water has often been called the ultimate solvent. Water mixes with carbon dioxide as it comes up through the groundwater, forming small amounts of carbonic acid. Only about one percent of the carbon dioxide turns to carbonic acid. This carbonic acid lasts for just a fraction of a second before turning into protons and bicarbonate ions. Despite its short lifespan, carbonic acid is critical to the health of the atmosphere and the human body. It is an important part of the equilibrium between carbon dioxide, water, and many other minerals. In its short lifespan, carbonic acid can dissolve limestone, calcium, magnesium, and other minerals into the water.

This process continues as long as the water is pulled up from the earth. The result is extremely high concentrations of minerals in certain areas of the world. This effect may be amplified if the water is used more than once or travels long distances to its destination. As this hard water enters the home, the minerals within it are in an ionic state and highly reactive. These reactive minerals stick to metal pipes, faucets, appliances, glass, and even combine with soap; creating a long list of problems.

If these minerals build up within pipes, the first thing noticed is fluctuations in water pressure. Some areas of the home may have little to no pressure, while the water pressure elsewhere is extremely high. If the pipes are not cleaned, they can become completely clogged and may even burst.

Many household appliances use tap water, such as dishwashers, coffee makers, and washing machines. Hard minerals may also cause a reduction in the lifespan of these appliances. Continuous mineral buildup can affect or completely arrest the moving parts of these machines. Additionally, machines that use soap will create additional soap scum, as these minerals cling to the soap and adhere it to clothing and glass. Many people turn to water filters to reduce the minerality of their water to manageable levels or eliminate it completely.

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Last updated: 03/28/2017 | Authorship Information