How To Keep Soap Scum From Sticking To Your Bathtub

Soaking in the bathtub is a great way to decompress, relieve tense muscles, and reconnect with yourself after a long and tiring day. So naturally, you want your sanctuary to look pristine and not develop a questionable whitish-yellow or gray crusty layer, known as soap scum. Soap scum appears when the talc, fatty acids, and paraffin from your bar of soap combine with the minerals (calcium and magnesium) in your tap water, especially hard water. Fortunately, you can keep soap scum from taking over your bathtub if you clean it regularly and apply some car wax after.

If left untreated, soap scum can lead to unpleasant smells from your bathtub and can even attract mold. Moreover, soap scum is a serious hygiene issue as the grimy layer contains dirt, dead skin cells, and bacteria from your previous baths, which will then contaminate the water of your next bath — not what you want during some well-deserved me-time. Thus, removing the scum and taking preventative measures is necessary to keep your bathroom looking its best.

Remove existing soap scum

The first step to preventing soap scum is removing the current grimy layer from your bathtub. You can use a cleansing solution formulated specifically to remove this buildup or prepare a DIY mix. If you go with the bathroom cleaner, follow the instructions on the package and give the cleaner some time to absorb and do its job. For those with a natural stone bathtub, be sure to use a non-acidic formula to avoid damaging it.

If you're looking for a budget-friendly cleaner, you can prepare one by adding a small cup (around 200 grams) of baking soda to a bowl and pouring enough white vinegar (about ½ cup) to create a paste. If you don't have baking soda at hand, you can even mix vinegar and water in equal amounts and add 1 tablespoon of dish soap. Use a sponge or rag to apply the paste on the scum and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Then use a clean sponge to wipe your bathtub, wash it with water, and then dry it with a soft cloth.

Tips to prevent soap scum

Even if you clean your bathtub regularly, soap scum is a menace that will keep marring your bathtub's surface unless you take some steps to prevent it. The most effective way is to apply some car wax or Gel Gloss to your bathtub using a cloth after it's clean. The polished surface will make it difficult for soap scum to stick to your bathtub. Further, you can add a cup of Epsom salt (about 200 grams) to your bath to soften the water and encourage the soap residue to directly go down the drain rather than sticking to your bathtub — this is a win-win, as adding Epsom salt to your bathwater will also soothe your tense muscles.

Other long-term methods to prevent soap scum include switching to liquid soap or body wash since they're more soluble and don't contain fatty acids. You can even invest in a water softener if you live in an area with overly hard water, which will remove the mineral deposits before they reach your bathtub.