The BEST Soap Scum Remover {DIY Picture Tutorial}

April 18, 2016 102 Comments | Disclosure

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.}

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  1. 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!

      • Hi, so I have a question do you think this would work on yhe walls in the bath tub. We have the paneling type in the bathtub if you get what I’m talking about…lol…and they have little specks in it(it’s the design and I dislike it!!) I’ve tried vinegar and dawn soap mixed with water but doesn’t seem like it helps alot. I need something powerful!! Help, tia!

    • Virginia says:

      Used the cleaner and it works great. I used the dawn, vinegar and cornstarch but can you make a double or triple batch and can you just store it in the cabinet?

      • I don’t see why that would make a difference, but maybe start by doubling it, and making sure you don’t have any unforeseen complications. I’m excited to see how it turns out for you!

      • Not sure if this has been answered already but because the vinegar needs to be microwaved, what happens if we make too much and do not use it all? Can we then microwave the mixed contents the next time or toss it and make a new batch?

        • I think it can safely be used without microwaving it a 2nd time! It just might not cling as well, so you might have to scrub a little more 😀

    • I am a single father of 2 teenage boys. Normally when I clean the scum off our shower, I feel as though I have been through a 30 workout. Not so now! This recipe works great, is easy to mix, use and does a terrific job making a task I hate, much easier. Thank You!

    • I wiped it on with a cloth. This really worked!

  2. 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!

    • I just tried this and forgot to microwave it. Still works, just might not be as gelled. Still clings enough to be effective without cooking it. It even took rust stains off my shower walls! Great stuff.

  3. 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…

    • great idea! Thanks for sharing! I will have to try that!

    • I just tried this and forgot to microwave it. It still clings well & WOW does it work! It even took off months of rust stains from our well water!

    • I thought you can’t use vintage on natural stone. Looking for a soap scum remove that I don’t have to worry about coming in contact with my tavertine in my shower. Suggestions?

  4. 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!

  5. 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

  6. 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!!

  7. 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).

  8. 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.

    • i dont have corn starch at home. Is there anything i can replace with corn starch? i recently tried to remove stain marks on wood cabinets by combining dish soap, white vinegar nd warm water. the results are not so great…

      • This is a soap scum remover, not stain remover…
        The corn starch does thicken it up, so it doesn’t drip. It’s super cheap at the store, or Amazon will deliver it to your house! 😀 But if you really want to get rid of the scum, you need the cornstarch to thicken it up so it won’t just drip down and not do the job. 🙁

  9. 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!!

    • This worked on the calcium deposits in my shower head and around the base of the shower door.

    • I use a rag with straight white vinegar and it takes the hard water spots right off my shower doors! Once clean I use Scotguard glass door cleaner or Rain-Xonce a week. Then after each shower we squeegee the doors dry. If your doors are etched from the hard water they will be clean but never look clear.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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!!

    • Stephanie says:

      OMG thank you I thought I had accidentally put bleach in there the smell is so terrible I could barely breath!!

  18. 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!

  19. 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! 🙂

  20. 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.

  21. Sloan Jackson says:

    Well… I never thought that would work, but it sure did!

  22. Melissa J says:

    So, I have tried scrubbing bubbles, cleanser (scratched my tub…grrrr), bleach, a kitchen scrubby with other cleaners and STILL had horrible soap scum issues. I admit that scrubbing the tub is NOT one of my favorite things and it kills my back so I always end up waiting TOO long and it’s usually pretty gross. I don’t understand how you stand in a shower and CLEAN yourself with soap and water and RINSE it down the drain, and yet your tub is disgusting…BAFFLES me! lol

    ANYWAY, sorry for the digression. The point being, I have tried everything and nothing seems to work and that is why I hate cleaning the tub! Today, I finally decided there had to have been SOMETHING that would work on soap scum, so I did what everyone probably does…I Google’d it! That is how I found this “recipe” and boy am I glad I did!!!

    Can I just say, SERIOUSLY??? Really, it’s THAT easy to get rid of soap scum? This worked like a charm and yes, the vinegar odor is SUPER strong (use your bathroom fan), but it is no worse than many of the other cleaners I’ve tried. The only difference between them and this was that THIS WORKED!!! Literally, I sprayed it on and left it for about 20-30 mins and grabbed a kitchen scrubby expecting to use some elbow grease, but NONE NEEDED!!! I mean…yes I wiped it down with the scrubby and yes there were 2 little spots that needed another round of the spray, but within 45 mins to an hour I had a clean tub!!!!

    I am in shock and awe at how amazing this works! I might have to google “how to get rid of a yard full of dandelions” next!

    Thank you for posting this. I am SO happy (and not JUST from the fumes!) lol 🙂

  23. Deb Palen says:

    This stuff is magic!! I mixed up a batch and sprayed it on the shower doors, let it work for 30 minutes, and it cleaned them right up. I then mixed up another batch, and tackled the tub…magic again. My tub sparkles. I also don’t like to use harsh chemicals, and make my own cleansers. This one is definitely a keeper.

  24. What is the difference between this and the DIY Tub/Shower cleaner?

  25. Does this keep in the bottle for what you do not use or do you make a mixture every time you want to clean?

  26. I made this recipe today could not spray this . In stead I poorer it on a rag an spread it all over now I’m waiting for it to dry to see if it worked or not . Will get back to you soon to let you no .

  27. Just could not spray it from the spray bottle . I got a rag an poured it on . Then wiped all the walls an tub area with it . Now waiting a little to see my results . Will let you no one way or another .

  28. Just could not spray it from the spray bottle . I got a rag an poured it on . Then wiped all the walls an tub area with it . Now waiting a little to see my results . Will let you no one way or another . After waiting for 10 min I rinsed it off an wala it works very well . Did it twice an very clean . Very impressed with the job it has done . I could not spray it so I used a rag an spread it on .

  29. You are my new hero!!! My husband works in an auto body shop so you can imagine what our shower looks like!! I have tried EVERYTHING to get it Clean…you just saved me hours of scrubbing!! THANK YOU!!!

  30. This stuff worked like magic getting hard water stains of my windows!

  31. I am excited to try this formula! I have been scrubbing the scummy shower door today but didn’t get it completely clean. Plus I am pregnant & wasn’t thrilled with having to use harsh cleaners. When I go to store tomorrow, I’m gonna buy a spray bottle & try this out. Thanks for the safe & “green” formula:)

  32. I have been using this “recipe” for several years and love it! Just wanted to add that I keep mine in one of those scrub brushes that has a soap dispenser built into the handle. It has a scrubby end that works perfectly on shower walls and the cleaner is already in it. We leave ours on the shower caddy in the shower – makes cleaning easier! 🙂

  33. Does it leave an after scent?

    The reason I ask is because I am using it on a glass soap dish and I would hate for an after scent to stay with the dish to get into the soap.

    Otherwise, I can’t wait to try it. I’ve used so many things in the past and nothing has worked.


    • The overwhelming scent is of vinegar. As with all cleaners, ventilate the room. Vinegar does have an odor to accompany it many many uses, but one of the reasons I use vinegar is because the odor fades as soon as it dries. I even use plain vinegar to rinse my girls’ hair during active lice infestations within their school. No worries about your soap smelling like vinegar!

  34. Thank you so much. I don’t think my shower has ever looked so good.

  35. I used 1 tbsp cornstarch with 1 cup of vinegar and microwaved it for a total of 2 minutes. I had to stop the microwave and stir in between, otherwise it would have boiled over. I didn’t use a funnel. I added 2 tbsps dish soap to the hot gel and stirred with a little wire whisk. I poured the gel from a glass cup to the spray bottle. It was very thick that I was only able to use the spray with just few squirts. I poured the gel into a brush and brushed it on the surface. I noticed that it was effective when it was still hot but not when the gel cooled down. The thickness made it hard to remove the gel from the surface. I think it would have been better if the cornstarch is cut down to either 2 teaspoons or 1-1/2 teaspoons, instead of 1 tablespoon.

  36. felicia says:

    This didn’t work for me. It didn’t remove the soap scum an it wasn’t enough to even spray out of the bottle so I had to pour it out of the spray bottle an apply directly. I will try again since I bought all the ingredients.

  37. It really works! The corn starch did the trick, the vinegar didn’t just run and dried quickly as it usually does, so it was wet long enough to really soak the scum. Thank you!

  38. I just tried this on the bathroom sink that had horrible hard water stain and followed the directions to the letter and did not water it down as someone else asked and I let it sit for only 5 minutes and HOLY WOW! this stuff is AMAZING! I wish I could post a photo of the difference!

  39. This is just unbelievable! I warmed up vinegar and starch on the stove ( no microwave) , sprayed on the gross tub ( I scrubbed it with all kinds of commercial cleaners) waited 15 min and the scum is just coming off, no need for scrubbing. I still don’t believe! Thanks to the sun and the moon 🙂

  40. Buy the Cleaning Vinegar at Walmart 3.25 a Gallon. Just a little bit stronger but cheaper then the It is found in the cleaning products not grocery section. Cleaning Vinegar ask for it by name if you don’t see it.

  41. Charlotte says:

    Just found this post and tried your recipe exactly as it is. It works like a dream! Yes, the smell will make you gag. I’m going to add some essential oil to it next time to try to help with that. I’m curious if you have a post about how to prevent soap scum in the future. I tried searching your website but didn’t find anything. If you can point me in the right direction, I’d appreciate it.

    • Charlotte – I’m so glad it worked for you! Essential oils are a great idea! I think a post on how to prevent soap scum is a great idea!

  42. I used the exact measurements but replaced white vinegar with Cleaning Vinegar made by Heinz (could only find it at my local grocery store near cleaning products). I followed the instructions to a tee. This worked like a charm!!!!

  43. I make a big batch of this concoction but use more cornstarch to thicken it. I keep it in old dishwashing soap containers and apply the thick goop to my shower walls with a sponge. It may not be quite as convenient as a spray bottle BUT by not using a sprayer, the vinegar odor is greatly reduced as it’s not being aerolized. My husband hates the smell of vinegar so it’s my compromise and it’s not as “breathtaking” for me either! This is also a marvelous degreaser for range hoods etc. However if you are working on a hood over a stainless stove top, put a few sheets of newspaper over it to protect the finish. This works great on stainless BUT if a few droplets land on the stainless and sit for long you’ll get brownish spots of discoloration. Definitely don’t leave this on a stainless surface unless it’s spread across the whole thing.

  44. I’ve made the vinegar quite thick as my well water is hard water and leave white deposits on the taps and hard scale in the toilet. Because it’s thick it’s very slow to succumb to gravity and does a great job after about 10 min. As for the toilet bowl, I plunge most of the water out then apply the mix to the scale then place a paper towel on it to help it stay in place. This works better than the harsh toilet chemicals.

  45. Hello. Thank you so much for sharing… I wanted to try it right away but I have only some white vinegar and apple cider vinegar. Would that work as well, or does it have to be just white vinegar?

    Thank you! Can’t wait to try it! Maria

  46. I tried it and it didn’t work for me… it loosened it a bit but not enough.. so I will try again tomorrow… 🙂

    • I bet it you let it sit a little longer, it’ll take care of it!

      • I did.. for about 1 hr.. still some areas loosened but not much else… 🙁

      • Oh, another update… I tried it again for the 3rd time but I didn’t use the starch… still worked the same… softened it a bit but hard to clean.. I finally got some of it off by scrubbing hard and even using a plastic spatula I have… Well, needless to say, I think I need to find something else for that.. however, I tried it on my other bathroom and MAGIC!! It worked perfectly. The other bathroom seems to have a thicker “film” of soap scum so I may have to go to a store and get me a commercial type cleaner for it. I got really tired scrubbing some of it off 🙁

        • I’m glad it worked in the 2nd bathroom!! If you use essential oils, you might try pure CPTG lemon oil on the grime… it is an amazing gunk be gone!

        • I had that same “thickness” problem. I made the solution as directed, sprayed it on and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then made a fresh batch and sprayed on another coat and let it sit for 20 minutes. Used a brush on it after that and most of it came off. I think it’s best to get it on the soap while it is hot too – but that may just be my imagination. Good luck,

  47. As the vinegar works on hard water scale it absorbs it and becomes more alkaline. It’s done all it can do in about 20 min. then needs to be refreshed.

  48. Jeanette V. says:

    Do you have anything to use for hard water on windows?

  49. Wow, wow, wow it actually works, I’ve tried everything but nothing worked like this does. Almost effortlessly

  50. In the past, I have literally had to scrape soap scum cement off my shower with a plastic scraper (it came off looking like bar soap shavings).

    This weekend, I was so desperate I even tried using a rotating paint scraper attachment in my cordless drill. When it became clear that wasn’t a viable solution and I was faced with scraping by hand again, I finally said to myself “There has to be a better way..!”.

    At that point, I searched and Google sent me here. Thank God it did! I This stuff works like a charm! I had to use a brush, but was a piece of cake compared to scraping. Thanks y’all!

  51. EDIE Gardner says:

    how do you print these off

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