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How do I get very heavy soap scum & dirt off of shower walls & bathtub?

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Manage My Life
Getting rid of soap scum in the bathroom can be a real challenge, especially when it has been ignored for a while. Soap scum becomes like concrete when it hasn’t been cleaned off on a regular basis. Always with cleaning, prevention is the best defense, but no matter how well we have learned that lesson, life seems to get in the way of the best intentions to keep the bathroom spotless. Here, we have given you a few tips for when you let things slide a little too long and several tips for preventing the problem from even starting.

You should take the time to wipe down the scum off of your tub or your shower after you get out of it, make sure to wipe down the sides and the bottom. This will make future cleanings easier.

Waxing the walls and hard shower doors with regular car wax will make the water bead up and slide off—preventing any soap scum build up. This only has to be done about once every six months and will also work on the stovetop. Obviously this won’t work on regular shower curtains but is safe on shower doors. Another product that works well for the walls, shower doors and even shower curtains is RainX ™. This is an automotive product found in most stores with automotive sections. The purpose of this product is to cause rain water to bead on cars—but works very well on shower water.

Mix one part ammonia with two parts water. Spray this solution onto the location and then wipe clean. You may need to rinse down the area thoroughly afterwards.

Warm up about two cups of vinegar slightly in your microwave. Pour it into a spray bottle. Spray directly onto the soap scum and allow it to work for a minute or so. You can usually wipe it clean within minutes.

Use a dryer sheet. You can rub these sheets right onto the walls and they will help to remove the scum.

Lemon oil (as in lemon furniture oil) will clean well and prevent further build up as well. Apply the lemon oil with an acrylic scrubby in a circular motion. Wipe away with a soft cotton cloth—cloth baby diapers work well for this. Borax works well as a scouring powder instead of harsher, chemically toxic cleaners. Just pour the Borax on a sponge and apply to the soap scum with a touch of water. Rinse well when soap scum is gone. Circular motions when cleaning soap scum always work better than the back and forth motion many of us use.

Baking soda is another non-toxic abrasive that can be used in the bathtub. Once you have rinsed the baking soda, follow it with a cup of white vinegar down the drain to clean the drain. Some people swear by laundry stain removers like Spray and Wash ™. Spray the liquid on and leave for 15 minutes, then rinse well. Laundry detergent—the powder kind, works well as a non-toxic cleaner. Just work into a paste and scrub in circular motion. A squeegee always helps just because it removes most of the water where the soap scum is.

Ammonia works on the worst soap scum build up but you must wear gloves to protect your hands. Use about 1/2 cup of ammonia to a gallon of water, spray and wipe away. Be sure to rinse well and keep the kids away from the ammonia. Straight white vinegar works well too. Just spray it on, use a plastic scrubby and work away the soap scum.



If you chose to go with a commercial product for cleaning the soap scum from your bathroom walls, you’ll want to make sure that you read the directions. Follow them closely for the best results. Using too much or too little will not give the best results.

It’s important to invest some time in keeping your shower and tub clean from soap scum. Leaving the soap scum on the walls will encourage the growth of mildew and mold. The scum holds bacteria, dead skin cells, and other media that are a breeding ground for more bacteria.
by Manage My Life
January 28th, 2010
Answered in 23 hours
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