For most families, soap scum is an inevitable fact of life. The nasty film–which forms whenever the chemicals in soap meet the minerals in hard water–appears as if by evil magic on bathroom surfaces of every kind. Worse yet, some products designed to combat soap scum contain harsh chemicals.
If you feel as if you’re fighting an endless battle against soap scum, take heart. You can keep your bathtubs, showers, and sinks sparkling using natural ingredients you probably already have around the house.
We’ve collected some of the best soap scum cleaning hacks using natural ingredients and shared them below.
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5 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Soap Scum
1. Vinegar-filled plastic bag for chrome or stainless steel showerheads (via Better Homes & Gardens)
To remove soap scum or lime buildup from chrome or stainless steel showerheads, fill a small plastic bag with vinegar and attach it to the showerhead. Let it soak for at least an hour, then rinse by turning on the shower. Caution: Don’t use this method for unprotected metal finishes, such as oil-rubbed bronze or brass.
2. Dishwashing liquid and white vinegar (via One Good Thing by Jillee)
I can’t even count how many great cleaning hacks I’ve learned from Jill Nystul’s wonderful blog, “One Good Thing by Jillee.” This simple, natural DIY shower cleaner is one of them. Use a mild liquid dish soap, such as Dawn. If you prefer, you can substitute castile soap for the dishwashing liquid.
3. Grapefruit and salt (via Organization Junkie)
Rub half of the grapefruit over soap scum and hard water stains in your bathtub. Sprinkle with salt (coarse Kosher salt works best because the grains are bigger, giving them more scrubbing power). Use the grapefruit half to scrub the salt into the stains, then rinse.
4. Tea tree oil, vinegar, and water for plastic shower curtain liners (via Bright Nest)
Tea tree oil has natural disinfectant properties, but you should use it with caution because it can be toxic, especially to children and pets. I personally don’t use tea tree oil on my shower curtains, because I have two cats who love to lick anything plastic (bags, shower curtain liners, you name it). If you do decide to use it, be sure to use only the few drops recommended, rinse the curtain and any other treated areas thoroughly, and store the bottle in a safe, child- and pet-proof place.
5. Rubbing alcohol and castile soap (essential oils optional) for granite surfaces (via Root & Revel)
Natural stone showers require a gentler touch than other bathroom surfaces, and should never be cleaned with anything containing acid, such as vinegar or citrus fruit juice. Instead, use 70% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, combined with a gentle liquid soap such as castile soap.