How to Clean Soap Scum from Tile and Grout (2 Simple Methods)

how to clean soap scum from tile and grout

We all have our bath every day, so you will undoubtedly come into contact with soap scum. It’s a cruel irony of housekeeping that a product that cleans you every day can make your shower or tub look so filthy.

Soap scum contains body oil, grime, dead skin parts, and bacteria. To make matters worse, if soap scum is allowed to develop, it is extremely tough to remove from your tub or shower.

And this is exactly why this post is interested in how to clean soap scum from tile and grout. A cleaning solution of white vinegar and baking soda can clean soap scum from tiles and grouts.

Read on as we explore effective methods of getting rid of soap scum from your tiles and grout.

What Exactly is Soap Scum?

Before we get into the various methods on how to clean soap scum from tile and grout, we should probably explain what soap scum is.

Soap scum occurs when the minerals in water and soap fat combine to produce a very unpleasant reaction.

The combination results in a whitish-yellow scaly crust that borders the walls of your shower and tub, as well as the shower doors.

It can also thicken with time, resulting in creating that unpleasant bathroom ring. Since not using soap or taking a shower isn’t an option, it’s necessary to learn how to clean up this challenging mess.

How to Clean Soap Scum from Tile and Grout

Is soap scum clinging to your ceramic tiles and grout? Follow our instructions to restore them to their former glory.

  1. To prepare a cleaning solution, combine baking soda and white vinegar. Remember that this can fizz up, so use a deep bucket to prevent it from overflowing.
  2. Dip a pumice stone into the solution while wearing rubber gloves.
  3. Rub the damp stone over the soap scum very carefully. Take care not to scratch the ceramic.
  4. Once the stone has a layer of soap scum on it, rinse it off, moisten it again, and continue to the next region.
  5. After that, clean the ceramic tiles with a stiff-bristled brush to remove the loosened soap scum.
  6. Wipe off the tiles and grout with distilled white vinegar to eliminate the soap scum residue
  7.  Using a different cloth to dry.

What Is the Best Homemade Soap Scum Remover?

If you prefer homemade cleaning, here are a handful of recipes to try.

1. Vinegar and Baking Soda Mixture

Combine a cup of baking soda and enough white vinegar to make a paste. When the mixture has stopped fizzing, apply it to your shower and tub with a sponge and let it sit for around 15 minutes. Wipe down the surfaces with a non-scratch sponge, then thoroughly rinse and dry.

2. Vinegar and Dish Detergent Mixture

Combine equal parts vinegar and water, then add one tablespoon dish detergent. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray on the affected areas.

Allow the solution to settle on the soap scum for around 15 minutes. Scrub it with a soft-bristle scrub brush and rinse with hot water, then dry thoroughly.

Related: How to make tile grout waterproof

Store-Bought Cleaners to Get Rid of Soap Scum

Some well-known commercial cleaning products have cracked the soap scum code. Scrubbing Bubbles is one of our favorite cleaning products because of its efficiency and ease of use—as well as its wide availability. You can get it on Amazon or at your local supermarket.

If you are interested in such products, the procedure is simple: Spray the product on your tub and shower walls and wait a few minutes for it to cut through the greasy muck of soap scum. Then, using a sponge, scrub brush, or towel, rinse and wipe off the surfaces.

After that, use a clean towel to dry everything off.

How to Get Rid of Years of Soap Scum

While the vinegar and baking soda mixture is a potent duo, sometimes it might not be able to cut into years of accumulated soap scum.

In such a situation, you will need a more potent cleaning which is hydrogen peroxide.

Hydrogen peroxide has all the strength of vinegar, but it also contains a bleaching ingredient that is fantastic for removing difficult stains. Follow these procedures to utilize this powerful DIY stain remover:

  • Combine 1 cup hydrogen peroxide + 2 cups baking soda.
  • Apply the paste on the soap scum using a cloth.
  • Allow it to work for at least an hour.
  • Add a splash of water.
  • Scrub the tub in circular motions with the brush, paying close attention to the thick soap scum.
  • For the toughest stain, add baking soda to the brush and give it a little elbow grease.
  • Rinse and repeat as needed until all of it is gone.

Read: Easy ways to clean grout without scrubbing


The trick to dealing with soap scum is by preventing it from settling on your tiles for a long time. As it has been said over time, prevention is better than cure.

For instance, to reduce the occurrence of soap scum, instead of bar soap, use liquid soap. Because the talc and fatty acids in bar soap generate soap scum, switching to liquid soap or shower gel should result in a large reduction of soap scum.

We hope this post on how to clean soap scum from tile and grout goes a long way in giving your shiny and clean bathroom.

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