How To Clean Years Of Soap Scum (Make Your Bathroom Shine!)

How To Clean Years Of Soap Scum (Make Your Bathroom Shine!)

When a guest unexpectedly pops by, do you shudder at the thought of them using the loo? If your bathroom looks messy and you don’t know what to do about it, you’ve come to the right place. The truth is that scum builds up over the years when you fail to clean your surfaces well. (There’s no shame in it — we’re all busy people!) But, unfortunately, that can make your bathroom look dirtier, especially if the scum has a brown or yellowish look.

Luckily, there’s a way that you can solve that problem. This guide will look at how to clean years of soap scum off your bathroom surfaces. You can use many natural cleaning approaches to get the job done. So whether you’re cleaning the shower door or sink, you can deal with that nasty build-up. So grab your rubber gloves and get to work now. Here’s everything you need to know to get started.

How to clean scum off shower doors

Let’s start with the most common place that soap scum builds up — shower doors. If you have glass doors, you might notice that they begin to look cloudy over time. That is because the soap scum has started to set on them. Leave that for too long, and you will see that the once transparent doors are now a solid colour. It’s not a good look.

Step 1: Make your solution

First, mix equal parts white wine vinegar and baking soda together to make a solution. This is one of the best ways to make a natural cleaning product. Use a plastic bowl to do the mixing. When you combine these two ingredients, you should find that you get a paste. You can then add lukewarm water to dilute the mixture before you use it in your bathroom cleaning. The paste should still be thick as you will need to coat the shower door with it.

Step 2: Cover the shower door

The best way to clean soap scum off a shower door is to use this paste. Note that the concoction may be slightly fizzy at first. Wear rubber gloves and use a sponge to coat the shower door with the mixture. When you have done that, you need to leave it for 15 minutes.

Step 3: Rinse and dry

Next up, you need to rinse the shower door. You may want to use a clean cloth to get the majority of the baking soda paste off first. You can then dip the cloth in clean water and scrum away any residue. As you do so, you should find that the scum starts to come off too. You may need to put some elbow grease into it when scrubbing the shower door.

Step 4: Make it shine!

While the above steps will help you make your shower door clean, you may want to go the extra mile. Grab some of The Pink Stuff paste and get to work. You can use a clean cloth to scoop up the cleaning product and use it directly on the shower door. Make sure that you are generous when you do so. Leave the solution for around 10 minutes and rinse. You might also want to replace your shower seal if it's more than 5 years old. 

How to clean years of soap scum off metal fixtures

Of course, it’s not merely the shower door that attracts soap scum. If your bathroom has metal fixtures, you may find they also have a build-up problem. Often, this will look like a dirty film on top of the metal. You might find this on your shower head, the taps or plug in your sink, or even on door handles. Whatever the case, you need to do something about it ASAP. Here’s how to get rid of soap scum from these metal fixtures.

Step 1: Make your cleaning solution

Before you get started, you will need to make your cleaning solution. You need a half-and-half mixture of white wine vinegar and natural water. Keep in mind that it may be harder to clean the metal fixtures if you have hard water where you live. You can combine these two ingredients in a plastic bowl before you start the cleaning process.

Step 2: Scrub the metal fixtures

Using a soft cloth, you should scrub the metal fixtures. Dip the cloth directly into the natural cleaning mixture. When you have done that, apply it to the metal pieces and clean well. You should ensure you get into all the corners and edges. These areas attract more scum, and you will see considerable build-up over a few years.

Step 3: Rinse the fixtures

After following the above steps, you should rinse the metal fixtures with warm water. When you do that, you should be able to see whether the solution has done the job. Often enough, you may need to carry out steps one and two again to get the results that you’re looking for. After that, rinse the area completely and dry when needed.

Extra tip: Use an old toothbrush

Are there some corners that you can’t reach? If the answer is yes, grab an old toothbrush, as it should do the trick. Ensure that the bristles are soft, so that they don’t damage the fixtures. Next, you can dip the toothbrush directly into the cleaning solution. Next, use the brush to get into the corners and any gaps. It makes a big difference!

How to clean soap scum off ceramic tiles

When soap scum builds up on ceramic tiles, it can look awful. Your once beautiful bathroom will constantly look dirty if you don’t fix this problem. Fortunately, learning how to clean years of soap scum off a tile is easy. You don’t need to be an expert cleaner to get this job done. Follow our straightforward steps to get started.

Step 1: Grab The Pink Stuff

Rather than making your cleaning solution here, you can use The Pink Stuff. The product works well on ceramic tiles and can help you to clean them easily in minutes.

Step 2: Use a soft-bristled brush

Get a soft-bristled brush before you get started. Make sure that it won’t scratch your tiles. You can dip the brush directly into The Pink Stuff and then get to work. First, scrub the area of the tiles where you can see a build-up. You might want to use circular motions here.

Step 3: Rinse and dry!

Leave the solution on the tiles for around 10 minutes after you have used the brush. When you have done that, grab a clean cloth and rinse the area with some water. If the tiles are in the shower, you may want to use the shower for the rinsing process. You should then grab a clean cloth and completely dry the area. It’s that simple!

Ready to get to work? This guide has told you how to clean years of soap scum off your bathroom surfaces in minutes. You don’t need any fancy expertise to get this part of the cleaning process right. Follow our easy steps to success!

If you want more cleaning hacks, check out our guide on getting rid of limescale in the toilet


Is there a burning question on your mind? Don’t panic. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about cleaning soap scum.

How do you dissolve thick soap scum?

If you want to get rid of thick soap scum, you can use a natural cleaning method. A combination of baking soda and white wine vinegar is the best soap scum remover. Make this product from scratch at home and then use it directly on the build-up.

Does vinegar melt soap scum?

If you want to get rid of soap scum, vinegar is one of the best cleaning products you can use. You may want to combine it with baking soda or simply some water. You can make it into a spray or mix it in a bowl. The choice is 100% yours!

Does Coke remove soap scum?

You may have heard rumours that Coke (or Coca-Cola!) removes soap scum. This is because the popular drink has a low PH level, which is quite acidic. That is why many people use it for cleaning. However, since it contains a lot of sugar, it’s not the best option. If you’re looking for similar results, you can use some fresh lemon or lime juice in your cleaning.

Do you have any tips for cleaning soap scum? Share them with our readers in the comments below!

Joanne A


Expert in finding beautiful solutions for small and rented spaces. Would happily spend the rest of my life shopping for homewares and watching Disney movies - I only wish I had Cinderella's army of mice to help me clean!

  1. Author Katy Ritchie on November 1, 2022 at 5:50 am

    Hello My kitchen tiles are a yellow colour & in between the times have also , so is there a cheap home made hack you could teach me pls as this is a council property I will be moving from soon as otherwise I would buy new . Thank you . Kty

    1. Author Joanne A on November 1, 2022 at 11:34 am

      Are you talking about the grout being a yellow colour? You could try a grout pen!

  2. Author Jimmy on May 3, 2023 at 3:02 am

    What is white wine vinegar?

    1. Author Joanne A on May 3, 2023 at 4:26 pm

      White wine vinegar is a type of vinegar made from white wine and vinegar bacteria. It is commonly used in cooking and food preparation for its tangy taste and versatile flavour.


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