Tub and Shower Soap Scum Buster

I have found some pretty amazing homemade cleaning products over the last year….and just when I think there can’t possibly be any more that I haven’t already heard of…I find something new! But more than finding something NEW…finding something that works as good or BETTER than any of the expensive name brand products is the icing on the cake!

Well Pinterest…you’ve done it again. Like I said, I see a LOT of homemade cleaning solutions in my online travels, but few make me stand up and take notice like this one did. My friend Julia (a recent Pinterest inductee/addict) posted it a few days ago and pretty much raved about it! And then today I’ve seen it pinned at least 2 or 3 more times!



So today I decided to mix up a batch (which is to say I added equal parts of two ingredients to an empty bottle…very tricky stuff!) and decided to give it a test drive.

It hadn’t occurred to me until today that I really didn’t have anything like it in my cleaning bag of tricks. I’ve used my “Miracle Cleaner” in the bathroom before, but it’s more effective on localized grime and gunk. Can’t really spray it on the whole tub or shower. I’ve also used my new AMAZING microfiber cleaning cloths to wipe down counter tops, sinks and mirrors with great success! But I really hadn’t found a spray that I could use on soap scum in my shower and bath.

I guess I really hadn’t thought much about it because we don’t have a big problem with it in my shower (since *I* use it, I’m more conscientious about wiping it down between showers.) But my boys bathtub/shower combo is another story! It had this dull layer of soap scum that nothing I tried got through.

Fortunately, soap scum on an off-white bathtub/shower enclosure isn’t very noticeable. UNfortunately, that is the same reason it’s hard to show in a photo. So here are a few “before” pictures that don’t really do the problem justice. Although the hardware does look pretty bad. If I had to explain it I would have to say it was lacking the shine or brightness that it originally had, and when you ran your fingers over it…it wasn’t smooth like is should be. There was scum, even if it was hard to see.

So I decided to give “Tub and Shower Magic” by Bobbin at Food.com a try:

You will need:

  • a 24 oz spray bottle
  • 12 ounces of Dawn dishwashing liquid
  • 12 ounces of white vinegar

That’s it!  Heat the vinegar in microwave until hot and pour into squirt bottle. Then add the Dawn soap. Put the lid on and gently shake to mix.

Easy enough. Now time to get to work.  I might have got a little carried away…because I ended up using the whole bottle! lol.  That’s my addictive personality at work….”Oh, a little works??  Then a whole LOT must work even BETTER!”  Doesn’t usually work out that way….BUT luckily in this case it turned out just fine.  (Even though it did look like some sort of nuclear accident had taken place!)

I ended up letting it sit for about an hour while I finished up some stuff…then I decided just to combine my morning shower with the scrubbing portion of this experiment. Sorry. No pictures are available. lol.

A few thoughts about this “magical” stuff:  it works! It definitely “ate through” the stubborn soap scum that was pretty much all over the enclosure. NOW when I rub my fingers over the surface, it’s once again smoooooth and clean feeling. And in these “after” pictures…you can actually see the restored SHINE.

tub and shower magic

A couple of words of caution however.  It is STRONG smelling!! Since I was using it in a fairly confined space with no window….and I used A LOT of it….I had to actually leave the bathroom a couple of times to get some “fresh air” (in the hallway).  Once I was done with the SPRAYING…I was fine. I even took a shower in the stuff and had no ill effects. I think it’s just when it was airborne that it got to me.

Also, it is VERY soapy/sudsy!! I think next time I find the need to mix up a batch I will cut back on the soap and replace with vinegar.  Maybe a 2 to 1 ratio rather than a 1 to 1 ratio. The extra soapiness wasn’t really a problem except that it took a good deal of rinsing to get it all off.

So, there you go. My LONG-WINDED review of the homemade tub and shower soap scum buster that seems to have lots of people talking (at least on Pinterest) lately. Hopefully someone will find something helpful in all of that! ;-)

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  1. Anonymous says

    Mine appears perfect on my iPhone. I just access from the panterest for the iPhone app and then click in to all other links and pages and it reads great on mine.

  2. Anonymous says

    Wow! Have I ever enjoyed your blog today! I will be stopping to pick up some spray bottles on my way home from work, and will be trying most of your cleaner recipes this week. I can hardly wait! Thanks so much. Not only do you provide a go-to place for home made cleaners that really work (I hope), but it is so entertaining to read through your posts! Who would have thought blogs about cleaning could make a person laugh?? Thanks for such good and fun info!!

    • says

      I made this solution up and used this at my son’s pizza business on the stainless stell sinks, dishwasher and anything that had soap scum on it. Unreal how clean and shiny everything was,it sure made a big difference on all the stainless steel

  3. talesofaformerteenagemom says

    Just reblogged this! I love reading your posts. :) Thanks for all the great ideas.

  4. Anonymous says

    Does anyone know any natural ways to get rust stains out of the bathtub, sink and white clothes? I have tried "Iron Out", but it doesn't take it all out and I am too sensitive to the smell.

    • Anna says

      Have you ever tried using a combo of vinegar and baking soda? Watch out for the volcano, but if you put whatever it is in the sink, or outside where it won’t make a mess, sprinkle baking soda over it and then use a squirt bottle filled with vinegar, then scrub with a toothbrush, rust should come out.

    • Jai says

      A mixture of cream of tartar powder & lemon juice will take out iron stains off of bathroom fixtures. With the lemon, it makes your bathroom smell great! Buying cream of tartar online in bulk & using bottled lemon concentrate is the most cost-effective way to make it. Those little containers from the grocery store get expensive. But if that’s what you have in the house, they’re good for experimenting with at first.

      Just mix a little lemon juice into the cream of tartar to make a paste. Apply to the stain, let it sit for a bit & scrub off with a scrubby sponge. I haven’t used it on laundry.

      A stronger, but *extremely* effective, commercial product is “Whink” liquid rust remover. It’s basic ingredient is hydrofluoric acid, so do follow label precautions – plenty of ventilation, avoid getting it on your skin, etc. It will remove rust stains in toilets, bathtubs & sinks like nobody’s business, virtually immediately! You can find it at Ace Hardware, along with many other local grocery or hardware stores, depending on your area.

      • Natalie says

        I’ve heard A LOT of people swearing by Coke! Coca cola seems to be the ‘go to’ when it comes to rust. I myself have not tried it, but know people who have used it with wonderful results. (and to think, people actually drink that stuff!)

      • Kathy Brooks says

        We used to use Coke (Coca Cola) for taking the rust off ice skate blades, so I would give it a try on rust stains. The only thing I wonder about is the caramel color they add–so test it first on the cloth to see if it stains.

    • Sherry says

      If you have not tried it and you can find some – BAR KEEPERS FRIEND is awesome for removing rust stains on everything!! On white clothes you make a paste and rub it on the spot and then rinse it out. If the stain is set you might have to do this several times. We bought a new house that someone else had planned to purchase and did not, and they had turned the water on and left it in pipes. I did not know this and put all of my husbands white shirts in the wash only to have them come out with rust all over them. I inquired at the local supermarket where I lived at the time and one of the employees told me about this. I bought it and sprinkled it all over the shirts and rewashed them and they came out white as ever. My dishwasher was also rusty from the water so I sprinkled this inside and ran the dishwasher – took all of the stains out. I always use this to clean tubs and sinks. You can usually find it at Food Lion stores.

      Hope this helps …

    • says

      Not really natural– but bar keeper’s friend works wonderful Also Comet– the powder that you have to scrub in.

    • Maria says

      To remove rust from tub, sink, toilet: Place the peels of 2 large oranges or 2 small grapefruits in a mason jar. Cover with white vinegar and cap tightly. Leave for 1 week. Use this solution to clean away rust marks.

    • mar9449 says

      Hello! I think a good way to get rust stains out of white clothes is to use a mix of lemon juice and salt, cover the stain and put the cloth under the sunlight (excuse my English, please) for a while and them wash it in the usual way. I hope this will help you.

    • Kitty says

      Have had pretty good luck with Mr Clean Magic Eraser.. Our seats are vinyl, don’t know if it will work on other fabrics.

      • Marce says

        Just did our pontoon boat seats…Get a bottle of “Awesome” from The Dollar Tree spray it on and rub it with Magic Eraser, comes right off ( notice I didn’t say scrub, yep it comes off that easy, in fact it is so addictive & exciting, you’ll be done in NO TIME) No kidding! I’ve been cleaning our boats for 30 years and this IS the truly the BEST combo.

      • Becky Stevens says

        Awesome is an awesome cleaner, pretty cheap, too! It’s like one of my favorite commercial cleaners.

  5. Anonymous says

    to Sandy aka Doris the Great, I found out the hard way that there are different kinds of caulking. Latex kind doesn't work around water. You have to find one for bathrooms.

  6. Anonymous says

    Thank you! I love your blog – please keep finding up great, non-toxic, cheap solutions for everything. You are a gem!
    I used mostly vinegar and a small amount of Dawn and it worked perfectly. And I had a lot of thick soap scum and it is all gone. So we can back way off the dish detergent, not much is needed.

  7. Anonymous says

    I live in a house that is twice my age and still has the original bathtub. While its great for its size, its not sealed and very pourus (sp) which never really comes clean. Magic erasers, bleach like toilet bowl cleaner, Shark steam cleaner…… u name it I have tried it. The toilet bowl cleaner has actually given my bathtub a zebra stripe effect. Relaxing baths just dont happen in my house! I am so excited to try this concoction that I will be headed to get more vinegar and Dawn now! I will keep ya posted on the results!
    ****For the record I am not a dirty person, I just dont have 2+ hours to spend solely on my bathtub every week!

    • Tan B. says

      If this didn’t work, I wanted to tell you that I had an old cast iron sink once and I would fill both sides to the rim with hot or cold water and bleach and let sit for awhile. It would get the stains right out. It was very porous as well. Hope this helps if you need help still

    • kate says

      If you used “The Works” or other “blue” toilet bowl cleaners on your tub, it probably etched it. That stuff is strong, and I have to use it in the toilet and NOT let it sit. Very quick to work!!!!

  8. Jill Nystul says

    carol….so far a "cure" for mildew has eluded me. I will redouble my efforts!! I know there has to be a non-toxic answer out there! (I'm pretty sure one of the amazing readers of this blog will know as well!)

    • Jenn says

      We’ve had good success with vinegar and sunlight for midew on a rug that got totally drenched when our basement flooded and then sat for 3 days (yuck!). We didn’t even have to throw it out!


  1. […] Deep clean the bathtub by using a vinegar and blue dawn solution once a month. Let the solution sit for as long as you can stand (the longer, the better). Wipe clean with a sponge. The solution mixture can be found here. […]