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Remove Soap Scum Without Harsh Chemicals With This DIY Shower Cleaner

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Remove Soap Scum Without Harsh Chemicals With This DIY Shower Cleaner


Soap scum is a stubborn and unsightly buildup that can accumulate on shower surfaces, leaving a dull and grimy appearance. While many commercial cleaners promise to tackle this problem, they often contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to the environment and human health. Fortunately, there is a simple and effective DIY solution that can help you remove soap scum without relying on these harsh chemicals.

What is Soap Scum?

Soap scum is a residue that forms when soap or detergent reacts with hard water minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. This reaction creates a sticky film that adheres to surfaces like shower tiles, curtains, and doors. Soap scum can be challenging to remove, especially if it has been allowed to build up over time.

The Problem with Harsh Chemicals

Many commercial cleaners designed to remove soap scum contain strong acids, such as hydrochloric acid or sulfamic acid, as well as other harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia. While these cleaners may be effective at cutting through soap scum, they can also pose risks to human health and the environment.

Inhaling the fumes from these chemicals can cause respiratory irritation, and prolonged exposure can lead to more serious health issues. Additionally, these chemicals can be harmful to aquatic life if they are not properly disposed of and end up in waterways.

The DIY Shower Cleaner Solution

The DIY shower cleaner solution I recommend is a combination of simple, natural ingredients that are both effective and gentle on surfaces. The primary ingredients are:

  1. White vinegar
  2. Baking soda
  3. Lemon juice (optional)

White vinegar is a mild acid that can help dissolve soap scum, while baking soda is a gentle abrasive that can help scrub away stubborn buildup. Lemon juice is an optional ingredient that can add a fresh scent and provide additional cleaning power.


To prepare the DIY shower cleaner, you will need:

  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of baking soda
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice (optional)
  • A spray bottle
  • A scrub brush or sponge

  • Combine the white vinegar and lemon juice (if using) in the spray bottle.

  • Sprinkle the baking soda over the surfaces you want to clean.


  1. Spray the vinegar solution onto the baking soda-covered surfaces.
  2. Allow the mixture to sit for several minutes to allow the chemical reaction to take place.
  3. Use the scrub brush or sponge to gently scrub the surfaces, focusing on areas with heavy soap scum buildup.
  4. Rinse the surfaces thoroughly with clean water.

Benefits of the DIY Shower Cleaner

Using this DIY shower cleaner has several benefits:

  1. Environmentally friendly: The ingredients are natural and biodegradable, making this solution eco-friendly.
  2. Cost-effective: The ingredients are readily available and inexpensive, making this a budget-friendly option.
  3. Safe for surfaces: Unlike harsh chemicals, this solution is gentle and won’t damage surfaces like tiles, grout, or shower doors.
  4. Versatile: This cleaner can be used on various surfaces, including tubs, sinks, and countertops.

Case Study: Revitalizing a Neglected Shower

To illustrate the effectiveness of this DIY shower cleaner, let’s consider a case study of a neglected shower that had accumulated significant soap scum buildup.

The Problem

A rental property had been vacant for several months, and the shower in the bathroom had been left uncleaned. The tiles, grout, and shower door were coated in a thick layer of soap scum, making the entire area look grimy and uninviting.

The Solution

The property manager decided to try the DIY shower cleaner solution before resorting to harsh commercial cleaners. Following the instructions above, they prepared the mixture and applied it to the affected surfaces.

After allowing the solution to sit for a few minutes, they used a scrub brush to gently work the mixture into the soap scum buildup. With some elbow grease, the soap scum began to dissolve and lift away from the surfaces.

The Result

With a thorough rinsing, the shower area was transformed. The tiles and grout regained their original shine, and the shower door was clear and streak-free. The property manager was amazed at the effectiveness of this simple, affordable, and eco-friendly solution.

Comparison: DIY Shower Cleaner vs. Commercial Cleaners

To further illustrate the benefits of the DIY shower cleaner, let’s compare it to some popular commercial cleaning products:

DIY Shower Cleaner Commercial Cleaners
Ingredients: White vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice (optional) Ingredients: Harsh chemicals like acids, bleach, ammonia
Cost: Inexpensive, readily available ingredients Cost: Varying, but generally more expensive
Safety: Safe for humans, pets, and the environment Safety: Can be harmful if inhaled or ingested
Surface Impact: Gentle, won’t damage surfaces Surface Impact: Can damage certain surfaces over time
Versatility: Can be used on various surfaces Versatility: Often designed for specific surfaces

As you can see, the DIY shower cleaner offers a safe, cost-effective, and versatile alternative to commercial cleaners, without compromising on cleaning power.


Removing soap scum from your shower doesn’t have to involve harsh chemicals or expensive cleaning products. By using this simple DIY shower cleaner made from natural ingredients like white vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice, you can effectively tackle soap scum buildup while avoiding potential harm to your health and the environment.

Give this DIY solution a try, and experience the satisfying transformation of a clean, fresh, and revitalized shower area. Not only will your shower look and feel cleaner, but you’ll also have the peace of mind knowing that you’ve taken a more eco-friendly and cost-effective approach to maintaining a sparkling clean bathroom.

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