How to Remove Soap Scum & Prevent it in the Future

People ask me all the time, how to remove soap scum from their shower doors. They literally stop me while I’m shopping, or call me, just to ask me this question, so apparently it’s a bit of a problem!  I wrote a post about this last year but it was a “reverse Ask Anna” post and I was asking for help from you!  So now when I get asked the question “how do I get rid of my soap scum” I tell people, “Go to the post I wrote and read all the comments, my readers had some great tips!”  I don’t know why it took me so long, but I finally decided to compile all the best tips from my readers into one post, so that from now on when people ask me this question, I can just send them to this post!  Okay so here we go…

How to remove soap scum & prevent it in the future - Ask Anna

8 tips for how to remove soap scum

{given to me by my readers in the comments of this post}

#1 Bar Keepers Friend {Powder version}

What to do: Wet down the shower doors and a sponge, sprinkle Bar Keepers Friend on your sponge and then scrub scrub scrub.  Once the soap scum is gone rinse the shower doors with warm water and squeegee them dry.

#2 Ceramic Cook top Cleaner

What to do: Wet down the shower doors.  Squirt the cook top cleaner all over the doors and spread it around with a sponge.  Let it sit for 2 minutes, then wet the sponge and scrub the doors.  Once the soap scum is gone rinse the shower doors with warm water and squeegee them dry.

#2 1/2: I had one reader that suggested making a paste out of the Bar Keepers Friend and the ceramic cook top cleaner.  What have you got to lose, right?

#3 Toilet Bowl Cleaner

What to do: Wet down the shower doors.  Squirt the toilet bowl cleaner all over the doors and spread it around with a sponge.  Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then wet the sponge and scrub the doors.  Once the soap scum is gone rinse the shower doors with warm water and squeegee them dry.

#4 Scrubbing Bubbles

What to do: Spray shower doors with Scrubbing Bubbles.  Let it sit for 20 minutes.  Wet a sponge and scrub until the doors come clean.  Once the soap scum is gone rinse the shower doors with warm water and squeegee them dry.

#5 Clear Shampoo

What to do: Wet down the shower doors and a sponge.  Spread the clear shampoo all over the shower doors and then scrub scrub scrub with the sponge.  Once the soap scum is gone rinse the shower doors with warm water and squeegee them dry.

#6 Lemon Furniture Oil

What to do: Rub on the lemon furniture oil.  Let it sit for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle a mild detergent {like dishwasher detergent or the Bar Keepers Friend} on a wet sponge and then scrub the shower door.  Rinse and repeat until all the soap scum is gone.  The reader said, “It may take a few rounds but the citric acid will eat through the dried on soap scum.”  Once the soap scum is gone rinse the shower doors with warm water and squeegee them dry.

#7 Shout

What to do: Spray the shower doors with Shout {or another laundry stain remover}.  Let it sit for 30 minutes.  Using a wet sponge, scrub doors clean.  Once the soap scum is gone rinse the shower doors with warm water and squeegee them dry.

#8 Paint Scraper

Using a paint scraper, scrape the soap scum right off the doors.  Once the soap scum is gone rinse the shower doors with warm water and squeegee them dry.

Now that your shower doors are clean and soap scum free, here’s how to keep them that way and prevent soap scum in the future!

#1 Always use a squeegee, after every shower!  Using a squeegee to get all the water off the shower doors, will prevent future water stains and soap scum build up.

#2 Wipe shower doors with lemon oil every other week.  This will prevent anything (water, soap scum, shampoo residue) from sticking to the doors.

 #3 Treat shower doors with Rain-X once a month.  {This will do the same thing as the lemon oil, it’s just a different product that’s made for glass.}


Disclaimer – I have included a few affiliate links to the products I used in this project, if you buy through the link I get a small commission but you don’t pay a cent more than you normally would. Thank you for supporting Ask Anna!


About the Author

"Hi I'm Anna! Welcome to Ask Anna where I love to answer your household questions! I have always loved to clean, organize and decorate and this blog is a fun way for me to help you love it too! I am a busy mom of a beautiful little girl and I'm married to the love of my life. Together we fill our days with projects , laughter and love. I serve an incredible God and overall I'd say I'm truly blessed!"

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  1. Hi Anna! I totally needed this post! We have glass shower doors in our bathroom and I have a love/hate relationship with them. They look beautiful but are SO difficult to clean! Thanks for the help!

  2. Vinegar and blue Dawn (equal parts), so sparkly clear you won’t believe your eyes, just rub on, wait and wipe of, almost no scrubbing necessary! It’s a dream. I found it on pinterest
    It’s so easy and cheap.

    • I was just going to post this. It was amazing when I did this on my shower that had a textured bottom, so it got s mixture of hard water/soap scum/body gunk (Gross,I know) that turned the bottom of the tub greyish. I would use about two Mr. Clean sponges on it until this cheap and easy solution that took almost no elbow grease.

    • This is also how I clean my whole shower. Vinegar and blue Dawn. It is amazing how well it works. Spray on and leave for around 10 to 15 minutes, wipe with a clean towel and soap scum comes right off.

  3. ok here is a slightly related post about those pesky bathroom stains :) i have a rubber thing on the bottom of my shower door to prevent the water from escaping; i guess you could call it a seal? well inside it is black from mold. and i’ve tried every which way to get inside and clean it, to no avail. any hints or tips? thank you!!

    • I read on another blog (One Good Thing by Jillee) that the mold is actually in the caulking, and no amount of scrubbing can get the black out. You have to replace the caulking. I have it, too. It looks gross! She shows you how to replace the caulking.

  4. do the above ideas work on fiberglass tubs too?

  5. Kim Aguilar says:

    I hang a clear shower curtain inside the shower (behind the doors). I keep 2 on hand they are pretty inexpensive at walmart. Every couple of weeks I exchange the dirty one for a clean one. I put the shower curtain in the washing machine when I wash my towlels and then I hang dry the curtain. I only windex the shower doors and the track every so often.

  6. seriously, color me surprised that we’re not touting baking soda/ vinegar combo. lol. i use mostly conventional cleaners but i might try a baking soda/ lemon juice paste considering all the votes for barkeepers scour and citric acid. makes sense? someone, quick! test it for me? =D

  7. I recently found another solution which is worth trying because I love it. I use a lot of sugar scrub which is oily so not only do I get soap scum but I have an oily buildup too. Use equal parts of blue liquid dishwashing soap (like Dawn but it can be another store brand like Walmart sells) and warm vinegar – in a spray bottle. Shake it up and spray it on. Let is wait for about 30 minutes and then wipe it off, and rinse. Its like magic!

  8. It’s fun to see all the different tips. Magic erasers, or the generic equivalent, is all I ever seem to need. I like to use it along with scrubbing bubbles, but it doesn’t seem to matter if I have any cleaning product aside from the magic eraser. It is my best cleaning friend!

  9. Spray doors and tub/shower with Kaboom and let it set about 15 minutes. Go back and re-spray the Kaboom and scrub with a Magic Eraser. Dirt and soap scum comes right off!! This works on any surface, including a tub that has had the surface restored!! Then use a Dawn and vinegar, half and half solution to maintain a clean shower.

  10. I find best results are achieved by cleaning after someone’s taken a shower. If not, rinse the walls down with hot water, spray method’s tub & tile cleaner let sit for 2-3 mins then use a damp microfibre cloth to wipe down walls/tub., follow up with a hot rinse. Works each time and w/o elbow grease for me.

  11. The Happy Mother says:

    I’ve had a lot of success with a mixture of one part plain Dawn and one part hot vinegar. Put it in a spray bottle, spray down the shower, let it sit 30 minutes, then scrub off with a nylon scrubbie sponge.

  12. Ha, love this topic…now that I no longer have shower doors. Got rid of them with my last house. It was the first place I ever had glass shower doors and THE LAST. Battling soap scum was the pits. I like all the suggestions in your post, but I think you should’ve added one more and that would be…..GET RID OF YOUR SHOWER DOORS. When you do that you permanently get rid of your soap scum problem. LOL. Great post. Thanks!

  13. Hi Anna,

    I just started receiving your newsletter. I read on your website about keeping towels fluffy, soft & absorbent without the use of a fabric softener. Instead of printing it then, I got distracted & forgot to print it. Help, please.

    • Here’s the post you’re looking for:


      • I clean houses for a living and I can tell you people that live in areas with hard water is the worst! I have tried everything and this is what I have found:
        a lot of people think their problem is soap scum but its not, its hard water build up! bar keepers friend is great but doesn’t always do the job, I finally went to a window washing company and found a scrubber that is safe for using on glass and it takes it completely off! it is the best thing ever, it also takes soap scum off. They also sell hard water cleaners with it that are environmentally friendly and do help! Once I get it all cleaned off I put lemon oil on it.
        You have to be careful with rain- x and turtle wax since it can ruin granite or other porous stone.

  14. good hints for shower doors. i don’t have shower doors. I have soap scum on my cheap builder grade plastic or acrylic shower walls. I can’t use barkeepers friend, ti scratches. I will try these other things though. I did find out that the powdered soap off of an sos bad works great, but that is hard to get, lol and sos is kind of hazardous, I don’t want to be breathing that in. I;ll try some of these and see if it helps. Thanks! I enjoy your posts! oh, I also heard that once you get those doors clean, use some rainX on the… from the car store.

  15. There is a product out there to prevent water buildup and staining. I use it on granite, shower doors, whatever. It fills in the tiny little spots on the glass and granite surface to keep the buildup from having somewhere to ‘root’. It’s called Invisible Shield. Try it!

    Also, for removal, try spot x. Awesome on granite and glass. No scratching.


  16. sandra merritt says:

    I’ve used car paste wax on fiber glass tus/enclosures./ I think I will try using on my shower door also. After cleaning it good as you suggested.

  17. Have you ever tried Malamine foam??
    You will never need another cleaner again. It strips it straight off with no effort required.
    Just wet the foam and wipe over. The foam will rub away and you’ll need to replace them regulary, but well worth it.
    I buy it in bulk lots as its perfect for “almost” every household surface.

  18. Christine J says:

    I tried a lot of the things that are recommended here and what I settled on is vin/dawn solution and I use a cheap mesh scrubber. It seems to work better than any brush and won’t scratch. I also use this on the rubber thing that keeps the water in the shower. It works great and hasn’t damaged anything.

  19. Dr. Bronners. It does the trick. Get a sponge wet and soaked it in this soap. Smear it all over the shower. Leave it there for a little while. Scrub with the same sponge for a few minutes. It works like magic.

  20. also….sos scrubbing pads work!

  21. I have read that many people have had success with mixing blue Dawn with vinegar to remove soap scum in their showers. My question is does this cleaning combo require mixing Blue Dawn as opposed to Green Palmolive or any other dish soap?

    • Yes. I don’t know WHY but there is something unique about Blue Dawn dish soap. It actually works great for a lot of random uses that other dish soaps don’t, including killing flees. I should probably write a post about it someday… :)

      • Thank you Anna for your wonderful site and also for your reply. FYI: I went ahead and used green Dawn, because I already had it, mixed it with vinegar and it worked great! When I run out of what I have, I will buy the blue. This mixture works much better than all the other products I have purchased.
        Happy, healthy New Year to you and your family!

  22. Spirit Vinegar… Seriously, wet a cloth and wipe the surface if its been caked on there for a while you will need a scrubbing sponge and some good ole fashion elbow grease…

    I have done this vinegar was on sinks, stoves, microwaves, brushed steel fridges and anything else that has a tough to remove spot, even burnt on food in pots and pans…

    It does have a pungent smell so have lots of doors and windows open and wash your hands cos this stuff will dry out your nails and hands big time…

  23. I use scrubbing bubbles and a magic eraser. Works wonderfully! Easy peasy.

  24. Susan Gattman says:

    I have read all the suggestions on removing soap scum from shower doors. I have tried using blue dawn and vinager, but it has not worked on my glass doors. It worked well on the fiber glass walls, but my glass doors still have soap scum. I don’t have hard water either. I have tried using magic erasor, scrubbing bubbles, and cleaners that are made for removing soap scum. I recently bought some very expensive cleaner, but I still have soap scum!

  25. Carole Kittelmann says:

    Please DO NOT tell people to use toilet bowl cleaner as it discolors the metal trim and it will NEVER return to its original color. (This is from personal experience!)

  26. I know this post is from several years ago, sorry for coming in so late. All of these solutions seem to be for the shower doors. I have a horrible soap scum issue with the actual shower enclosure itself. Will these work on that as well?

  27. Hi. Great ideas for the soap scum. We have an old towel that we use to wipe off the water. That way, you can get the all the fixtures too.

  28. I love Melaleuca’s No work shower spray…..once a day keeps the build up at bay for about 2 weeks and no squeegie needed! Also love the fact it is natural & environmentally friendly.