Are your shower doors clean? Do they glisten in the light and make your shower feel like a refreshing oasis? If you have hard water, probably not. Instead of doors that sparkle, you may have shower doors that are covered in an unappealing white or gray film that doesn't want to budge. To learn more about how soap scum forms and how to get rid of it, read the information and cleaning recipes below.
What is soap scum?
Despite its name, soap isn't the only culprit when it comes to creating soap scum. It is the result of calcium and magnesium ions in hard water bonding with soap molecules. This combination of ions and soap creates the greasy, sticky film that clings to your bathroom surfaces. As if that isn't unpleasant enough, the scaly buildup on your shower doors and walls can also include dirt, hair, oils, and dead skin cells.
What's the best way to get rid of soap scum?
The key to getting rid of soap scum and preventing its recurrence is regular cleaning. Wipe down your shower doors at least once a week with a cleaning solution and damp cloth. Most cleaners that remove soap scum use vinegar or lemon juice. These ingredients dissolve mineral deposits and cut through grease. Remember to wear gloves when cleaning to protect your skin from irritants.
Two-Ingredient Soap Scum Buster
You can make a powerful and effective soap scum fighter from just two ingredients: dishwashing liquid and white distilled vinegar. Generally, homemakers prefer the blue Dawn dishwashing liquid, but it makes sense to try your own preferred brand first to see if it's effective. Heat the vinegar in the microwave until hot but not boiling. Pour the vinegar and an equal amount of dishwashing liquid in an empty spray bottle.
Spray the solution on your shower door and let it sit for a few minutes. Wipe the door using a soft, wet cloth. You may need to wipe the door down quite a bit to remove the mixture because it's incredibly clingy. If your shower has a removable shower nozzle, even better. Just spray the door down after you've wiped most of the mixture off.
Note: This cleaner has a strong vinegar odor because the vinegar is heated. It disappears after about an hour and even faster if your bathroom is well ventilated.
Vinegar and Dish Soap Variation
Some people find that the above recipe is too sudsy for their showers. If you experience this problem, try this recipe instead. Mix one tablespoon of cornstarch into one cup of vinegar. The mixture will be thick and gel-like. Heat the mixture, pour it into a bottle, and add two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid. Shake the bottle to combine all the ingredients, and apply as before. Do not leave the mixture on long enough to dry; this can make it tough to clean off.
A Simple Scrub for Tough Stains
The above cleaner works great on most shower doors, but let's face it—some shower doors have been grimy for a long time. Tough buildup will require a bit of scrubbing if you can't get it off the first time.
For a simple scrubber with a pleasant smell, slice a lemon in half and dip the side with the exposed lemon into a cup of kosher salt. The salt acts as an abrasive to loosen the scum while the lemon helps cut through oil and leaves behind a fresh lemon scent. If you don't have kosher salt, baking soda, sea salt, or cream of tartar will substitute.
Although commercial cleaners that promise to get rid of soap scum line the shelves of your local stores, you don't have to use harsh chemicals to cut through the grime. One of the gentle cleaners listed here will do the trick without introducing unwanted chemicals into your home.
If that scum refuses to budge and you're thinking of investing in a new shower door, click here for more information.