The BEST Soap Scum Remover {DIY Picture Tutorial}

March 14, 2014 32 Comments

Monica saw this on pinterest and asked me to try it out and let y’all know how I liked it. It is similar to the Tub/Shower cleaner but you don’t use as much soap. I had everything on hand so I made up a batch.

Here’s what you need:


1 cup white vinegar

1 tbsp. cornstarch

2 tbsp. dish soap

Spray bottle

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Add 1 tbsp of cornstarch to 1 cup of white vinegar. {Don’t add more cornstarch, the first time I made it I thought I was supposed to add 3 tbsp, it was so thick it wouldn’t even go down the funnel, much less spray from the spray bottle!}

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stir to combine, I used a fork

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You can tell it is already thickening up a bit.

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Microwave for 2 minutes

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Add 2 tbsp. of dish soap to your spray bottle. As you all know I prefer blue dawn, I think it is the best, but use what you have on hand.

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Take the vinegar/cornstarch mixture out of the microwave and stir a few times. It is more gel like.

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Add it to the spray bottle and shake gently to combine.

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I decided to try it on my dirty bathroom sink. Looks gross I know

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I sprayed {but forgot to take a picture, my 2 year old was trying to help} I let it sit for about 10 minutes then wiped it with a damp washcloth. Everything came right off an it looked nice and shiny.

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There weren’t a lot of suds to deal with either {like with the tub/shower cleaner}. I also cleaned my glass shower doors. I have a hard time getting them clean and shiny and getting the water spots off. I sprayed them down then left them for about an hour. I came back and wiped them down with a wet washcloth. I think next time I will only leave them for the most 30 minutes. The cleaner had dried on a bit and I had to apply more elbow grease than I did with the sink. I dumped water on them to rinse after I wiped them and they looked great. {I couldn’t get a good picture of my glass doors so you will just have to trust me.} I liked this cleaner a LOT. I also tried it on my kitchen sink and it was nice and shiny after I wiped it down. I loved that it was just 3 ingredients that I always have on hand. {Are you buying vinegar by the gallon yet? It is the only way to go!! If you haven’t noticed it is in most homemade cleaner recipes.}

Find more DIY cleaning Recipes:



  1. Rachel Moss says:

    What’s with all of this BioWorx crap? That guy is getting annoying and his repetitive plugging under different usernames is getting old. He was all over the other post about the best tub/shower cleaner too.

  2. I got overwhelmed by the steps…so, after scrubbing bubbles did zippo, I grabbed my toothpaste, a.k.a baking soda, and applied it directly and wiped off. Baking soda + water + minimal rubbing = clean bathtub. Works like a charm. Haha! :)

  3. Used this today and it worked like a charm. I hate trying different cleaners and prefer to just use household ingredients (for those who are trying to peddle a store bought cleaner, lay off! Some of us just don’t like to waste money on store bought cleaners when we can mix them at home!) Did take several times tossing water on the shower after wiping to get the last of the cleaner off. Well worth it in my opinion. Also helped remove some of the scum from my fixtures that have been there since before I moved in. I do agree that the smell is strong, but if you leave it on for about 20 minutes it at least dies down before you start wiping!

  4. If you are cleaning around children, or even just cleaning yourself, I would avoid this method. Dawn dish soap contains Alkyl Dimethyl
    Amine Oxide=NOT GOOD. Vinegar is just acetic acid and water. There are cleaners out there that do not use these hazardous methods and work much better. Also, you need a high pH to get rid of soap scum. Vinegar has a pH of around 1. WAY TOO LOW. Try a product like bioworx or something similar which is made for soap scum and does it safely.

    • Nice try, Jack S,

      You’re trying to sell a product rather than have people use the cheaper method of making it ourselves.

      For one, Alkyl Dimethyl is NOT hazardous in any way. Alkyl Dimethyl Amine Oxide is an anionic surfactant. In fact, it is so safe, that Dawn is used to clean the oil off animals after oil spills. It is because of the Alkyl Dimethyl that the oil comes off.

      For two, vinegar does NOT have a pH level of “around 1″. Stomach acid has a pH of 1; certainly not vinegar. Vinegar is at about 3 and is very safe. I checked the Bioworx website, and the acid used in their cleaner is citric acid. Citric acid has a pH of 2.2. This is still safe, but citric acid is lower (and more acidic) than vinegar. So don’t try to scare people into thinking that what they’re doing by mixing vinegar and dish soap is dangerous.

      Please don’t be ridiculous.

      • Hi Sarah. I apologize for coming off like I am trying to sell a product. The only reason i brought up bioworx is because somebody above me mentioned it. I have tested that product and it works, along with other products with a high pH like 409 but 409 contains alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride which i would not recommend getting on skin (Health Rating of 3). Lots of research has been done on trying to get rid of soap scum. It is hard because it is insoluble in water. A higher pH does work much better. There must be another DIY method which would have a higher pH.

        • I think you’re getting your pH mixed up. The lower the pH, the more acidic. The higher the pH, the more basic. The lower the pH, the better it would work well with getting rid of soap scum. So citric acid is technically more acid (lower pH) than vinegar. But vinegar and citric acid is so close that it would barely make a difference. The dish soap (surfactant) is what really helps to dissolve it.

          • Lower pH (acid) is better at dissolving scale. Higher pH (alkaline or basic) is better at getting rid of soap scum. Some cleaners have acids in them but then they are buffered to a higher pH for soap scum. This is why cleaners have a very hard time getting rid of scale and soap scum all in one because one works better at low pH and one works better at high pH. Dawn Dish soap has a pH of around 9. This is high and good but mixing with a weak acid buffers the pH incorrectly.

  5. I haven’t actually scrubbed yet… my “concoction” is sitting on my walls now. I just wanted to say one thing… USE AN INDUSTRIAL BOTTLE! Don’t be an idiot, like me, and use one of those extra little $1 bottles from the dollar store… they melt! Ha ha ha!

    I really hope this works, as my husband works in industrial work with rust and other black and red chemicals and he’s FILTHY every day he comes home… I cannot keep my shower clean.

    Also, the smell is terrible, so if you’re asthmatic and have twitchy lungs like me, at the least tie something over your face… the vinegar is strong. Here’s to hoping it works!!

  6. Does it have to be Dawn? Or can it be another dish soap like Sunlight? I have a HUGE amount of Sunlight because I can buy it cheap in bulk. I’d like to use that if it works rather than going out and buying Dawn.

  7. I absolutely love this! So much easier than store bought products and I feel I am being green! Thanks for the tips.

  8. Well, it worked well but wow was it stinky~ I don’t have a window in my bathroom so I was gagging! (store bought products would have been worse I’m sure)
    Thanks, it was cheap at least.

  9. chemicalbilly says:

    Soap scum is calcium stearate and magnesium stearate. Try using “green” soap scum cleaner. They have laboratory proof they dissolve soap scum. Showers also have what is called sebum which vinegar and most other homemade products can’t clean. Sebum is the waxy oil our bodies secrete. A good shower cleaner must remove soap scum, scale and sebum to be effective.

  10. This is amazing. The bottom of my shower was brown. I cleaner after cleaner that said they would work. No dice, It wasn’t until I tried this that my shower got clean. I am sold. Don’t care much for the smell, so next time will add some lemon juice

  11. I hate cleaning the shower stall. I’m excited to try this, sounds just like what I’m looking for. I’ve spent so much money by trying all the different products out there and not finding anything that works.

  12. I don’t use the cornstarch, nor do I heat anything up. I do add essential oil, though. Right now it’s a blend of clove, eucalyptus, lemon, thyme and cinnamon.

  13. Did this today, I doubled the recipe because of the big job I had. I did my master ….

    First – let me say I am a LAZY housewife, soap scum doesn’t completely do my shower justice, it was more like soap cement.
    Second – I DON’T SCRUB!

    I have not been able to get our shower door haze free in the 12 years we have lived in our house……except today!!! and no scrubbing!!! This worked much better than I expected on the tile, plexi-glass, mildew, and chrome all is sparklely. I am so so so tickled.

  14. Anybody have a good one for removing hard water deposits off clear shower door? And for the sink fixtures? I love the dawn, vinegar, cornstarch….works great for the soap scum!!

  15. I’ve been using the warmed vinegar and Dawn for quite some time and LOVE it! What does the cornstarch do to the equation? Also, I use about half as much Dawn because it was a little soapy when I made it the first time.
    To answer Athena’s question about adding water to fill up the bottle…NO!!!!
    Also as a note, the cleaner works just as good after it had cooled – once it is heated the first time, no need to reheat.

    • I’m not positive, but I would think the cornstarch is just to help it adhere to the surface (especially shower doors) without dripping down.

  16. So do you like this better than ‘The BEST Tub/Shower Cleaner’ or are you sticking to that one? These are great tips! Excited to try it (and bummed I just bought and used a new shower cleaner recently).

  17. Amanda Gomez says:

    I am letting this sit as we speak on my marble and stone in my daughters bathroom shower. Looks like it’s going to work!!

  18. I couldn’t figure out how cornstarch could be helpful but keeping the cleaner stuck to the walls of the shower? So Helpful! Thanks for the tip

  19. I’ll be sold when someone uses it on their tile shower and doesn’t end up with a sore neck from scrubbing soap scum. I detest this job, not just because it’s gross, but because it hurts my shoulder and neck!

  20. to be honest…the cheapest and easiest way to clean soap scum is to buy a cheap plastic shower pouf and lather it up with whatever soap you use when you shower. It removes the soap scum quick and easily. You can do it when you shower or at another time, but it really does work. You can buy a super cheap shampoo or bar soap instead if you like. I have tried them all. No mixing…

  21. I don’t have a microwave. So I will have to heat on stove until gel consistency. Any suggestions as to the particulars? Low heat? Tks.

    • I would do it on medium heat and just stir it constantly. Mine bubbled up in the microwave while it was cooking. Hope it works for yo!

  22. So do you just use the dish soap and vinegar and cornstarch mixture or are you supposed to add water to fill the bottle? Seems pretty thick to spray from a spray bottle without adding water.

    • It actually sprays just fine through the spray bottle. You want it to be gel like so it will cling to the sides of your tub or shower. Good luck!

    • A much easier, sure method would be to purchase shower soap scum remover. If you check their web site they have interesting proof thier product not only works but outperforms all other brands. I love it. It also does a nice job dissolving scale in my sinks.

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