Soap scum can make an otherwise clean, pleasant, and spa-like bathroom look and feel like a yucky mess. Fortunately, there are plenty of soap scum removers on the market that are easy to apply, cut through even built-up soap scum and hard water deposits, and also leave a fresh scent. When using them, or sprucing up your bathroom in any way really, Krissia Garcia, CEO and founder of KrissKlean, recommends using warm water. We also recommend testing a new cleaner in an inconspicuous area first and checking the label on your product to make sure it’s suitable for your surface type.
Here are the best soap scum removers.
Rejuvenate No Scrub Soap Scum Remover
Effective without scrubbing
Safe for almost all surfaces
Free of harsh chemicals
For the best clean on tile, showers, tubs, and glass, we recommend Rejuvenate’s soap scum remover. It is an effective formula that breaks up soap scum and hard water deposits without any scrubbing. It is safe for almost all surfaces you can find in your bathroom, including glass, ceramic tile, chrome, plastic, fiberglass, natural stone, and porcelain. We always recommend testing it on an inconspicuous area first, but have used Rejuvenate soap scum remover on a variety of bathroom surfaces without issues.
This formula is made in the United States, which may mean it's easy to find in a variety of online and brick-and-mortar retailers. It is made without chemicals that can be irritating in enclosed areas, such as bathrooms. This also makes it safe for use on delicate surfaces, such as natural stone and grout.
You will need to be able to rinse the cleaner off of your surface after it has done its work. If you have a removable shower head, this is the easiest and fastest way to reveal the soap scum-free surface after it has been cleaned. If not, you may need to use a wet cloth or paper towel. You still shouldn’t need to scrub; just wipe the excess away to get rid of any residue. All you’re left with is a streak-free shine and a sparkling clean bathroom.
Price at time of publish: $10
Type: Spray | Amount: 24 fluid ounces | Safe for Use On: Glass, ceramic tile, chrome, plastic, fiberglass, natural stone, and porcelain | Scent: Unscented
Soft Scrub Cleanser with Bleach
Kills almost all germs
Brightens as it cleans
Strong chemical-based formula with bleach
Top can lead to spills
Should rinse after application
It’s hard to beat the affordable price and effectiveness of the Soft Scrub cleanser. It kills 99.9 percent of germs on surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom, according to the brand. This is a slightly stronger cleaning formula that uses bleach, which may not be safe for all surfaces and does require extra precautions. If you have small children or pets, it is best to keep this cleaner locked away and rinse surfaces that they may come in contact with after using it. It is also strong when you apply it. Ventilate your room, use rubber gloves and goggles to keep it from irritating your skin or eyes, and never mix cleaners, especially those containing bleach—doing so is extremely hazardous.
However, this formula is very effective at getting rid of soap scum and hard water stains. To use it, apply the liquid directly to your surface or to a cloth, and then scrub it on. This is a liquid cleaner and might be harder to use on vertical surfaces, such as showers and doors. The flip top can be hard to open and sometimes results in spills, as well. We recommend opening it inside the tub basin to keep from spilling it on other surfaces.
Price at time of publish: $12
Type: Liquid | Amount: 24 fluid ounces | Safe for Use On: Showers, sinks, toilets | Scent: Unscented
Kaboom Shower, Tub & Tile Cleaner With OxiClean
No scrubbing needed
Easy to find in the store
Strong cleaning chemicals
May not be good for natural stone
This effective cleaner works on tile, tubs, and showers. It creates tiny bubbles to get rid of stains, grime, and soap scum. This means you don’t have to scrub, because the cleaning solution gets things up on its own. You will need to wipe the excess away. For really tough stains or deposits that have been sitting for a long time, let the formula soak in for a few minutes before wiping it away.
The cleaner is scented and the fresh scent can be quite powerful. It doesn’t use chlorine or bleach to clean, but we still recommend wearing gloves and goggles to protect your skin and eyes from the cleaner. It is also a good idea to vent the room using a window or bathroom fan if possible. It is safe for a variety of surfaces, but you should test it on natural stone before applying it to the entire area. It can cause scratching or discoloration in some cases.
Price at time of publish: $17
Type: Spray | Amount: 32 fluid ounces | Safe for Use On: Chrome, glass, glazed ceramic, glazed porcelain, glazed tile, plastic laminate, sealed marble and granite, and stainless steel | Scent: Fresh scent
Method Bathroom Cleaner Tub + Tile Eucalyptus Mint Spray
Plant-based cleaning ingredients
Fragrance from essential oils
A little bit pricey
May require more scrubbing
This cleaner uses plant-based ingredients that are safer for homes with kids and pets, and are more gentle on your senses. The pleasant fragrance of eucalyptus mint comes from essential oils rather than harsh chemicals. It is non-abrasive and safe for most bathroom surfaces, although we always recommend testing before use. It is not specifically formulated for use on natural stone in particular.
In addition, you may need to do a bit more scrubbing with this gentler formula than some harsher chemical-based cleaners. It does foam up and can lift up a lot of soap scum and grime, if you let it sit for a few minutes before starting to scrub. It is also a little more expensive than some other options, although still an affordable cleaning product that has plenty of applications.
Price at time of publish: $23
Type: Spray | Amount: 28 fluid ounces | Safe for Use On: Glass, fiberglass, ceramic, porcelain, tile, chrome, and metal | Scent: Eucalyptus mint
Best for Shower Walls
Wet & Forget Shower Weekly Shower Cleaner
No scrubbing needed
Safe for many surfaces
Works on vertical surfaces
Just requires rinsing
Not for natural stone
May need light scrubbing for tough calcium deposits
This no-scrub formula is perfect for vertical spaces like shower walls, because it clings to the surface while getting rid of soap scum, grime, oil, and hard water deposits. It can be effective on calcium deposits, but may require some scrubbing, depending on how long they have been on the shower walls. To use, just spray and let it sit for between eight and 12 hours. Rinse the cleaner away, and all of the gross stuff that was built-up on your shower walls goes down the drain with it.
This is safe for many surfaces, including glass, fiberglass, porcelain, and metal. But, it can damage some natural stone, such as marble. Always test it on a small surface, before applying it to your entire shower. Make sure when you test it that you let it set on the surface for a full 12 hours to see if there is any discoloration or scratching. Once you know it is good for your shower, apply it weekly for the best results and minimal in-between cleaning.
Price at time of publish: $20
Type: Liquid | Amount: 64 fluid ounces | Safe for Use On: Glass, fiberglass, porcelain, and metal | Scent: Vanilla
Best for Tile
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for Bathroom and Shower
Plenty of control
Safe for tile and grout
Can be used on multiple surfaces
May not be safe for natural stone
While this cleaner is designed to be used in a scrubbing motion, it is very effective and offers plenty of control. This can be helpful when cleaning hard-to-reach or uneven surfaces, such as corners and tile surfaces. All you need to do to use it is add water from your bathroom sink or shower. Just a few drops activates the cleaning agents. You can use it on tile, grout, glass shower doors, fiberglass showers, and countertops, without switching between products.
The scrubs are safe for grout and tile, but test it on a small area first to be sure. This is especially important if you are using them on natural stone, such as granite or marble. The Febreze lavender scent can also be overwhelming for those with sensitivities to chemical fragrances. It does dissipate quickly, but you may want to ventilate your room or run the bathroom fan while using the eraser.
Price at time of publish: $14
Type: Sponge | Amount: 10 | Safe for Use On: Glass, fiberglass, stone, and grout | Scent: Lavender
Best for Natural Stone
Granite Gold Shower Cleaner
Gets rid of soap scum and water spots
Protects surface from future soap scum
Safe for a variety of surfaces
Streak-free cleaning even on glass
Deep cleaning requires extra scrubbing
The pH-balanced formula of Granite Gold shower cleaner spray is gentle enough to use on granite, marble, limestone, travertine, ceramic, and glass tiles. It is also safe for fixtures and mirrors. With routine use, the Granite Gold spray actually creates a protective barrier that reduces soap scum and makes cleaning easier and faster.
If you have built-up soap scum or hard water stains, you may need to do more scrubbing. Rather than use a stronger cleaning formula, put in some elbow grease or let the Granite Gold formula sit for a few minutes to penetrate the soap scum. If you opt for a harsher cleaning agent, especially those with citric acid, it can damage the finish of natural stone.
Price at time of publish: $13
Type: Spray | Amount: 24 fluid ounces | Safe for Use On: Granite, marble, limestone, travertine, ceramic and glass | Scent: Unscented
Our top pick is Rejuvenate Scrub Free Soap Scum Remover. It is very effective on almost all bathroom surfaces, and lifts soap scum without scrubbing. For a budget-friendly cleaning formula, consider Soft Scrub Cleanser with Bleach. It is a bit stronger, which means it may not be good for natural stone, but delivers a powerful clean.
What to Look for in a Soap Scum Remover
Type and Amount
There are several types of soap scum removers on the market. Sprays tend to be the easiest to apply and can be used all around the bathroom, including on the sink and fixtures. Some soap scum removers come in liquid form, which is then applied directly to the surface via a cloth. These can be tricky to use on vertical surfaces, such as shower doors, since they tend to drip. Pastes, wipes, and scrubs stay in place, but often require more manual labor to get the same clean.
When shopping, you’ll also want to consider how much cleaning product you need. For formulas that can be used less frequently or have targeted applications, such as those for shower doors, a smaller container may be okay. You may prefer sticking with the larger size and just restocking less often. You can go through small bottles of daily cleaners faster, but the smaller size does make them more portable and easier to use. Look for ones that offer refill packages you can use to refill your smaller spray bottle.
Formula and Ingredients
Strong chemical-based cleaners tend to work the fastest and are the most effective on tough stains and a lot of soap scum buildup. These often mean less scrubbing for you. The downside is that they are not safe for all surfaces, especially natural stone. “Marble is very delicate,” says Krissia Garcia, CEO and founder of KrissKlean. “We can only use soap, warm water, and a non-scratch sponge,” she adds, so they don’t damage the surface. When cleaning natural stone, it is critical to look for gentle ingredients that are pH-balanced.
Stronger chemical-based cleaners also require some personal protective gear, such as gloves and goggles, as well as adequate ventilation. You should also never mix cleaners, especially if they’re bleach-based. More eco-friendly or mild products, like Method’s Tub and Tile Bathroom Cleaner, are easier on you during application, but might need more scrubbing to get the same results as their bleach-based counterparts.
Bathrooms tend to be small, enclosed rooms, so strong, chemical fragrances can be especially powerful and overwhelming in these areas. Many cleaners recommend ventilation during application. If you are sensitive to fragrances or just want something milder, look for a product that uses essential oils for scent or one that is unscented.
What dissolves soap scum quickly?
The strongest cleaners use ammonia or bleach to get rid of soap scum. However, these may not be safe for all surfaces, and require preparation and care when handling. Plant-based cleaners can also lift soap scum away with a foaming agent, and DIY options include baking soda and white vinegar to dissolve soap scum. Finally, some old-fashioned elbow grease can scrub away a layer of soap scum, although cleaning solutions make this task easier and more effective.
What is the best homemade soap scum remover?
White vinegar and baking soda is an effective soap scum remover on many surfaces. This homemade cleaner can be used on a variety of bathroom surfaces, including glass, tile, and fixtures. It is a good idea to test it on an inconspicuous area first, since it might be too abrasive for things like fiberglass or natural stone.
Does a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser remove soap scum?
Yes, Mr. Clean makes a Magic Eraser specifically to target soap scum and hard water deposits. We recommend it for use on tile—not only for its effectiveness, but the added control that using a sponge offers. This can be helpful when cleaning uneven surfaces or hard-to-reach corners. It is also safe for use on glass, fiberglass, and grout.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Katie Begley, a freelance writer specializing in home and family products. Katie has been writing for The Spruce since 2019. When compiling this list, she looked at the products she has relied on for years on a daily basis, as well as those meant for more intense deep cleaning. She also talked to Krissia Garcia, CEO and founder of KrissKlean, about the best tips and tricks for cleaning delicate surfaces, such as natural stone.