Soap scum is an unsightly hard water residue that gets left behind when the water mixes with soap (1). Finding a product that actually gets it to come off and stay off can be daunting.
Thankfully, after hours of dedicated research, we’ve found 10 trustworthy products that are effective, easy to apply, and mostly environmentally friendly. With these 10 best soap scum removers, you can see your bathroom fixtures gleam again.
- Works on multiple surfaces
- Approved for food service facilities
- Industrial strength but eco-friendly formula
- Bleach-free, non-toxic
- No scrubbing required
- No added fragrance
- Scrub free cleaning
- Non-toxic formula
- Cleans mold & mildew too
- Kills 9.99% of bacteria
- Smart tube technology
- Long-lasting formula
- Professional grade cleaner
- Works multiple surfaces
- Eco-friendly and non-toxic
- Remove years of build up
- Works on hard water & other stains
- Plant-powered ingredients
- Dissolves mineral deposits too
- Removes mold, mildew & rust
- Multi-use cleaner
- Removes multiple types of stains
- Works on tile & grout
- Fast-acting formula
- Bio-enzyme cleaning power
- Great for heavy build-up
- Removes hard water spots too
- Paste formula
- Easy to apply with damp cloth
Types of Soap Scum Removers
Knowing the pros and cons of each type of soap scum remover can help you make the best decision for you.
Liquid cleaners are very popular as they’re easy to dissolve and a little goes a long way. These liquid cleaners usually come in a bottle with either a small opening or a nozzle so you can apply the cleaner to a sponge or cloth first before cleaning the soap scum.
- There are lots of options on the market.
- A little goes a long way.
- They’re good value for money.
- Quite a few eco-friendly options.
- They’re easy to apply and dissolve.
- You do need to apply it to a cloth first.
- It’s easier to spill the entire contents of the bottle.
- Some use quite toxic chemicals.
Spray soap scum removers are the easiest to use because you just squirt out the liquid. You can easily aim it where you want it to go. If you’re used to using spray surface cleaners, this will be a breeze for you to use!
- Easy to use.
- There are many options on the market.
- They’re affordable.
- Many are multi-purpose.
- Many are made with harsh cleaning chemicals.
- Nozzles can get stuck.
Paste soap scum removers are definitely the least common, but they are a preference for many people. You apply the paste to the affected area with a cloth or sponge and it doesn’t drip. This concentrates the product on the soap scum for longer which can enhance cleaning results.
- No drip, so you can apply it directly to the affected area for longer.
- Many are eco-friendly formulas.
- You don’t need to dilute it beforehand.
- Many are multi-purpose.
- There aren’t as many options on the market.
- You may have to use more for each clean, meaning a little doesn’t a long way.
- You’ll have to wear protective gloves to avoid getting it on your hand.
How to Choose the Best Soap Scum Remover
Before you get to your shopping spree, it’s important to be aware of these criteria. This will help you find one that’s most suitable for your surface and preference.
Consider which type sounds the easiest for you to use, recap the pros and cons, and let that help you narrow down which cleaner to go for.
You should always check what type of surface the soap scum remover is for. Is it best for tile, or granite, or something else? You don’t want to buy a product and realize that it might actually damage your surfaces!
On another note — how versatile is it? Will it work on glass, fixtures, and other surfaces, too?
Some soap scum removers are more heavy-duty than others. So consider how severe your soap scum stains are and shop accordingly. Important ingredients to look out for are surfactants, acids, and ammonium chloride. However, if you want an eco-friendly option, you may want to skip the ones with acids and ammonium chloride. These solutions can still be heavy-duty but may require some extra scrubbing.
You should also consider your preferences. After all, you’re the one using the product! So decide what type you prefer, whether or not you want something scented, or if you want something that requires no scrubbing to minimize elbow grease.
Budget is important when shopping. If you look at the cost per fluid ounce, you’ll be able to see which products are the most affordable. Soap scum removers tend to be more expensive than other multi-purpose cleaners, so keep that in mind. These cleaners are often between $20 and $30 whereas multi-purpose cleaners can often be only a couple of dollars.
Value for Money
The best way to get your value for money is to buy in bulk or buy bigger bottles at a time. Look at the cost per fluid ounce to see how much you’re paying by the ounce, rather than overall. Sometimes a bigger upfront cost actually works out cheaper because the product lasts longer.
You can determine this by checking the ingredients. Sometimes the manufacturer states whether the product is non-toxic or eco-friendly. These cleaners are usually free of bleach, harsh acid, ammonia, and synthetic surfactants. Instead, the cleaners are made with natural surfactants, natural acids and scented with essential oils.
You might be happy to know that the majority of soap scum removers are non-toxic and eco-friendly, and still work great.
The Best Soap Scum Removers of 2021
These are the best soap scum removers on the market:
1. CLR Pro Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover
If nothing else is working to remove your heavy build-up — try this. This professional-grade soap scum remover is made with an industrial-strength formula. It works to break down calcium, lime, and soap scum, leaving behind no residue or streaks.
You might be thinking… industrial strength? That must be full of harsh chemicals. Actually, no! It’s an eco-friendly non-toxic formula with the same power as harsh chemicals, but without the nasty fumes!
Another thing you’ll love about this is how quickly it works. The fast-acting formula removes your stains, discoloration, and dirt quickly. You can use it for stainless steel, countertops, tubs, showers, tile, fixtures, and sinks. Talk about versatility.
Looking for something to take a dirty, old, nasty bathroom to brand new perfection? Then this is a well-loved and trusted product to try.
- It works on a variety of surfaces, including coffee machines.
- It’s approved for use in food service facilities.
- Industrial strength but eco-friendly formula.
- Works in as little as two minutes.
- You have to scrub quite hard on certain stains, such as calcium.
- Not as effective on rust or iron.
|Surface||Multi-purpose, such as stainless steel, countertops, tubs, showers, and tile|
|Removes What Stains||Calcium, lime, hard water deposits, soap scum, discoloration, and dirt|
2. Rejuvenate Scrub Free Soap Scum Remover
Don’t want to scrub? We don’t blame you! Elbow grease is a big drawback for lots of people as it can take time, and let’s be honest — it can give you a sore arm!
That’s why we recommend this Scrub Free cleaner from Rejuvenate. It’s a liquid, but you can buy the spray bottle version if you’d prefer.
It works by instantly dissolving soap scum, leaving behind a streak-free finish. Just spray and rinse!
You’ll also love that it’s a non-toxic and non-abrasive formula that keeps you, your family, and your surfaces safe. You can use this on glass, ceramic tile, chrome, plastic, and many more surfaces.
It’s also free of added fragrances. If you experience headaches or irritation from artificial or even natural scents, then this is a great option to consider.
There’s a reason this is an award-winning cleaner!
- Bleach-free, non-toxic cleaner.
- No scrubbing required, you can save time and energy.
- No added fragrance — skip the irritation.
- Dissolves soap scum and leaves behind a streak-free finish.
- You may need to scrub if you have heavy build-up.
- It may lighten stone after repeated use.
|Surface||Glass, ceramic tile, fiberglass, natural stone, and more|
|Removes What Stains||Soap scum|
3. The Bucko Soap Scum and Grime Cleaner
While many of our product recommendations are non-toxic, we have another one you can add to the pile. The Bucko Soap Scum and Grime cleaner is a non-toxic and septic safe liquid that is gentle on your surfaces but tough on your dirt. It contains no bleach, no strong acids, and no harsh chemicals.
You can use it for heavy-duty jobs, or daily maintenance.
It works without the need for any scrubbing, so you can leave the elbow grease in the past. It also leaves a streak-free finish on your surfaces, so you’ll never know that there was any evidence of dirt at all.
Although it’s an eco-friendly formula, it’s a commercial strength product. It can dissolve tough soap scum and grime, leaving behind a sparkling shine. Use this to remove hard water stains from glass shower doors, acrylic tubs, chrome fixtures, tile, grout, sinks, and even wheel rims!
- Lemon scent for a fresh-smelling home.
- Scrub-free cleaning.
- Multi-purpose — more bang for your buck.
- Non-toxic formula, safe for kids and pets.
- The scent is quite strong and overpowering.
- It’s on the pricier side.
|Surface||Shower, tub, tiles, grout, fiberglass, chrome wheel rims, and more|
|Removes What Stains||Soap scum and grime|
4. Tilex Disinfecting Soap Scum Remover Spray
Give your tiles new life with the Tilex soap scum remover spray. Soap scum can scruff up your shower tiles and make your whole bathing area look really grimey — not relaxing at all.
With this spray, not only are you removing soap scum stains, but you’re also disinfecting. It kills 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria, leaving your bathroom as clean as can be.
It also removes tough mold and mildew, substances nobody wants in their bathroom. Another awesome feature is that it brightens and whitens tile and grout. Of course, if your tile and grout aren’t white, test in an inconspicuous area first to ensure that it doesn’t bleach a colored bathroom.
This product uses a bactericidal formula to lift soap scum, leaving your surfaces sparkling clean. It also deodorizes surfaces, so if you’ve got a bad bathroom smell you can’t budge, this might be just the product.
- Works well on a variety of surfaces.
- Cleans soap scum, mold, mildew, and deodorizes surfaces.
- Kills 99.9 percent of bacteria.
- Smart Tube technology to get every last drop of cleaner out of the bottle.
- Some customers had issues with the bottle leaking.
- It may whiten your colored tiles.
|Surface||Ceramic tile, grout, fiberglass, shower doors, and more|
|Scented||Clean fresh scent|
|Removes What Stains||Soap scum, mold, and mildew|
|Toxicity||It does contain harsh chemicals|
5. ForceField ScumBlaster Industrial Strength
Spritz, spritz! If you’re looking for a spray option, this ForceField ScumBlaster is a great one to have on hand. It comes with a spray bottle, plus a concentrated refill for when you run out.
It even comes with a grout brush for deep cleaning in between tiles and other hard-to-reach places. Remove every last speck of soap scum with this cleaner.
We love how versatile this product is. You can use it on a huge range of surfaces. This includes fiberglass, acrylic, plastic, glass, porcelain, vinyl, shower doors, grout, bathtubs, and much more.
The professional strength formula works to remove soap scum. It also removes hard water stains, mildew stains, and rust. So your bathroom will be so much cleaner than before, giving you back your favorite spa-like atmosphere.
You’ll also be happy to know that this is an eco-friendly formula that works up to professional standards. It’s made without bleach or corrosive acids. Instead, it’s made with organic salt that works well to clean but is also safe for septic tanks.
- Long-lasting formula with included refill — save more money.
- Professional grade cleaner.
- Works on a variety of surfaces to remove a variety of stains.
- Eco-friendly formula.
- The smell is overwhelming.
- It requires quite a bit of elbow grease.
|Type||Spray with liquid refill|
|Surface||Many including acrylic, plastic, glass, porcelain, vinyl, and more|
|Scented||Overwhelming scent, fragrance not specified|
|Removes What Stains||Soap scum, hard water stains, rust, mildew|
6. Bio Clean: Eco Friendly Hard Water Stain Remover
The Bio Clean eco-friendly stain remover is a very popular choice, especially for a liquid option. We love that it’s eco-friendly and non-toxic so you can tackle hard stains without harsh chemicals tackling you back.
So if you’re looking for a safe but effective way to bring life back to stained surfaces, this is an awesome product.
It can remove years of hard water and mineral stains, as well as soap scum build-up. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by these stains, put this product to the test. It works for limescale, phosphorus, calcium, iron, acid rain, and paint stains, too! And with minimal scrubbing, so you don’t have to break an arm trying to remove the stains.
This works on shower doors, windows, tubs, and shower pans, as well as brick, concrete, tile, and grout. Its versatility is a huge bonus! You can even use this on glass stovetops to get rid of other stains, too.
Overall, this is a safe, effective and non-toxic way to blast away soap scum and hard water stains.
- Eco-friendly and non-toxic.
- It can remove years of build-up.
- Works on hard water stains, soap scum, and other stains.
- Works on a variety of surfaces.
- Strong medicinal smells customers aren’t a huge fan of.
- It’s not very effective on shower doors.
|Surface||Shower doors (though not very effective), windows, tubs, shower pans, brick, concrete, tile, and grout|
|Scented||Scent not specified, hit or miss for customers|
|Removes What Stains||Hard water, soap scum, limescale, phosphorous, calcium, and more|
7. Better Life Natural Tub and Tile Cleaner
You may notice the price of soap scum removers is a little high in the market of cleaning products. If you’re on a tighter budget, we can recommend the Better Life natural cleaner which is slightly cheaper when you look at the cost per fluid ounce even though you’re not buying it in bulk. So it’s not a huge upfront cost, but you’re still making good savings over time.
This dissolves hard water and soap scum stains on tubs and tiles, while also brightening your bathroom. You’ll walk in your bathroom next time and just be wowed by how spotless it looks!
One of the coolest things about this product is that even though it’s budget-friendly, it’s also made with plant-powered ingredients. No more harsh chemicals. This is made from plant-derived cleaning agents from coconut, corn, and citrus. It doesn’t contain any alcohols, petroleum solvents, synthetic fragrances, dyes, chlorine, bleach, SLS, or SLES.
- Plant-powered ingredients, more eco-friendly.
- Dissolves soap scum, hard water, and mineral deposits.
- Removes mold, mildew, and rust stains.
- A lot of customers disliked the scent.
- It requires quite a bit of scrubbing.
|Type||Spray with liquid refill|
|Surface||Tub and tile|
|Scented||Tea tree and eucalyptus|
|Removes What Stains||Soap scum, hard water, mineral deposits, mold, mildew, and rust|
|Toxicity||Non-toxic, naturally derived ingredients|
8. Bring It On Cleaner
Take those glass shower doors from opaque to translucent with the Bring It On cleaner. This is specifically designed to work super well on shower doors, as well as other surfaces.
It’s been created to remove even the toughest of stains, including hard water build-up, soap scum, and more. Finally, you can say goodbye to these stains and enjoy a spotless bathroom, once again.
As well as hard water and soap scum, this product also removes calcium, mineral, and rust stains. So if you notice a build-up of these stains around your bathroom, you can use this product to remove them.
How does the product work? It’s an innovative cleaner that uses oxygen bleach as its active ingredient. Unlike chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach is non-toxic and safe for use on multiple surfaces. You can even use it around kids and pets.
Lastly, enjoy the fresh mint scent this cleaner has to offer. Not only will your bathroom look good, but it’ll also smell good, too.
- Multi-use cleaner that can be used on a range of surfaces.
- Removes many different types of stains.
- It works on tile and grout.
- Fresh mint scent.
- It requires a bit of scrubbing and elbow grease.
- The consistency is strange and thick. You should test in an inconspicuous spot as it is a bit abrasive.
|Surface||Showers, tubs, sinks, window, stone, and more|
|Removes What Stains||Soap scum, hard water, calcium, rust, and grime|
9. Lifvean Hard Water Stain Remover
Many of our suggestions are versatile products that can be put to use on all kinds of surfaces to tackle all kinds of stains. The Lifvean stain remover is another to add to your watch list.
It is designed for just about any bathroom surface. This includes glass shower doors, mirrors, windows, tiles, toilets, stainless steel, granite, and more. So you can spruce up the whole bathroom with just this one product.
It uses bio-enzyme power to effectively remove hard water stains and soap scum easily. Just apply it to the area, firmly scrub and then rinse away. You’ll be super impressed with the spotless results.
Customers love how quickly this product works, even on surfaces with years of build-up. If you think your shower doors, or other surfaces, are past the point of repair, then think again, because this product can change the game.
- Versatile product which works on many surface types.
- Bio-enzyme cleaning power.
- Works quickly.
- It’s great for heavy build-up.
- You may have to repeat the process a few times for extremely heavy build-up.
- The liquid may harden in the bottle, as reported by a few customers.
|Surface||Most bathroom surfaces|
|Removes What Stains||Hard water and soap scum stains|
10. Ettore Water Spot Remover Paste
The Ettore Water Spot Remover Paste is a handy product if you prefer a paste cleaner.
It’s designed to remove water spots and soap scum, so if you live in a hard water area — this may be your lifesaver! It works on glass, shower doors, windows, tile, porcelain, and chrome. This is very versatile, so you’ll get a lot of use out of this one product.
Simply apply the paste onto the affected area with a damp cloth and rub quickly in circular motions. Rinse off with water. Keep in mind it is mildly abrasive so test in an inconspicuous spot first to be sure to avoid damage.
Customers have used this on heavy-duty stains and found that with repeated use and elbow grease, the surface has looked as good as new. So yes, it does require a little extra work, but if you want a paste — this is the way to go.
- Removes hard water spots and soap scum.
- It works on a variety of surfaces.
- Easy to apply with a damp cloth.
- Requires quite a bit of elbow grease, and sometimes, repeated use.
- Slightly abrasive so you do need to test in an inconspicuous spot.
|Surface||Glass, shower doors, windows, tile, porcelain, and chrome|
|Removes What Stains||Hard water and soap scum stains|
|Toxicity||Ingredients not specified|
|Product||Best||Type||Surface||Scented||Removes What Stains||Toxicity|
|CLR Pro Calcium & Lime Remover||Heavy Soap Scum||Liquid||Multi-purpose, such as stainless steel, countertops, tubs, showers, & tile||Lemon||Calcium, lime, hard water deposits, soap scum, discoloration & dirt||Eco-friendly|
|Rejuvenate Scrub Free Soap Remover||No Scrub||Liquid||Glass, ceramic tile, fiberglass, natural stone, & more||Unscented||Soap scum||Non-toxic|
|The Bucko Soap Scum Cleaner||Non-Toxic||Liquid||Shower, tub, tiles, grout, fiberglass, chrome wheel rims, & more||Lemon||Soap scum & grime||Non-toxic|
|Tilex Disinfecting Soap Spray||Tiles||Spray||Ceramic tile, grout, fiberglass, shower doors, & more||Clean fresh scent||Soap scum, mold & mildew||Non-toxic|
|ForceField ScumBlaster||Spray Soap||Spray||Many including acrylic, plastic, glass, porcelain, vinyl & more||N/A||Soap scum, hard water stains, rust, mildew||Eco-friendly|
|Bio-Clean: Eco-Friendly Stain Remover||Liquid Soap||Liquid||Shower doors (though not very effective), windows, tubs, shower pans, brick, concrete, tile & grout||N/A||Hard water, soap scum, limescale, phosphorous, calcium, & more||Eco-friendly|
|Better Life Tub & Tile Cleaner||Budget Pick||Spray||Tub & tile||Tea tree & eucalyptus||Soap scum, hard water, mineral deposits, mold, mildew & rust||Non-toxic|
|Bring It On Cleaner||Glass Shower Doors||Liquid||Showers, tubs, sinks, window, stone & more||Fresh mint||Soap scum, hard water, calcium, rust, & grime||Non-toxic|
|Lifvean Hard Water Stain Remover||Versatile Soap||Liquid||Most bathroom surfaces||Unscented||Hard water & soap scum stains||Non-toxic|
|Ettore Water Spot Remover Paste||Paste Soap||Paste||Glass, shower doors, windows, tile, porcelain & chrome||Unscented||Hard water & soap scum stains||N/A|
FAQs About Soap Scum Removers
What Color Is Soap Scum?
Soap scum is a white or gray color. It has a chalky filmy texture.
How Do You Get Rid of Pink Soap Scum?
This pink stuff that looks a bit like soap scum is actually called Serratia marcescens and it’s a biofilm formed by colonies of bacterium (2). It’s mostly harmless but you probably still don’t want it there. There are a few different methods to get rid of it, but here’s one we think you’ll benefit from.
- Wear protective gloves, long sleeves, and protective glasses. You want to avoid getting the substance on your skin if possible. If you have a protective mask, that would be great, too.
- Mix together ¼ cup of baking soda and a tablespoon of dish soap in a bowl.
- Use a soft-bristled brush to apply the paste to the biofilm. Scrub vigorously. Elbow grease is key here.
- Rinse away the loosened biofilm with a wet towel or use direct spray from the shower head. Let it go down the drain.
- Now you need to disinfect the surface. You can use an antibacterial spray or bleach. This will help to kill the bacteria and remove stubborn stains. Let your chosen cleaner sit on the surface for 10 minutes.
- Scrub well with a soft-bristled brush.
- Rinse thoroughly afterwards.
- Dry the area with a clean towel.
Does Shampoo Cause Soap Scum?
Yes, any type of soap you use in the shower can cause soap scum. It’s more likely with liquid products such as soap, body wash, and shampoo. Shampoo or soap bars may reduce the build up of soap scum.
Does Steam Cleaning Remove Soap Scum?
Steam cleaning is a great way to remove stubborn bits of soap scum, specifically on natural stone. It can loosen up dirt and soap scum. Combine that with a cloth or bristled brush and this is a good way to clean soap scum — and without harsh chemicals!
Does Vinegar Remove Soap Scum?
Vinegar is a wonder product when it comes to cleaning. And yes, it can remove soap scum. Try this method:
- Heat up ½ cup of distilled white vinegar in the microwave.
- Pour it into a spray bottle.
- Spray it over the soap scum and let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Dip a cloth into salt so that your cloth is now slightly abrasive. Scrub the soap scum areas to loosen the scum.
- Wipe down the areas with a damp cloth.
- Rinse well.
- Dry completely.
See Ya, Soap Scum
Nobody wants soap scum building up in their beautiful bathrooms. The best way to tackle soap scum is to keep your shower and bathroom clean, but sometimes, build-up happens anyway. While there are lots of ways to remove soap scum with natural remedies, sometimes you need a heavy-duty remover.
Our list of these 10 awesome products will help to tackle your soap scum issues in no time. Just remember, when shopping, to consider important details. This includes what type of cleaner it is, what surface it works on, what types of stains it removes if its scented, and how toxic the product is.
With all this in mind, you’ll find a fantastic product that impresses you and fights the soap scum.