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How to Clean a Scummy Shower Floor

Fact: Unless your showers are strictly conversation pieces, you will eventually notice soap scum forming on the floor of the shower.

This white, filmy side-effect of getting clean every morning is a foul combination of water minerals, dirt, body oil, skin cells and soap lather. It can get on your shower door, shower walls and most famously, the shower floor. It’s especially quick to form in homes that have hard water due to its high mineral content.A sudsy white soap bar sitting on a bath shelf

The good news is that if you take the right approach, it doesn’t have to be a major job to keep soap scum from ruining the look and comfort of your showers.

How to Clean Shower Floor

How to clean your shower floor depends on the material it’s made from. Generally speaking, we recommend using baking soda and vinegar as a gentle and natural cleaner that is also tough on soap scum and hard water buildup.

Keep reading for specific recommendations for each type of shower floor.

How to Remove Soap Scum from Tile Showers

For shower surfaces that are tile, the answer to soap scum includes:

  • Applying one of several mild, cleaning solutions
  • A handy abrasive sponge or scrubbing pad
  • A little elbow grease

If you don’t have a household cleaner on hand, or you would like something with fewer chemicals, you can make your own nontoxic cleaner by mixing baking soda and vinegar into a paste. Then apply with a soft sponge and let set for a half-hour. Spray area with 100% warm vinegar before scrubbing in a circular motion to remove the scum.

Special tips: To make the job even easier – especially for advanced soap scum situations – take a hot shower first. The heat and moisture will make the unsightly nuisance more responsive to cleaning. Also, you can attack big jobs first with a plastic putty knife to scrape away thick accumulations.

How to Clean Stone Surface Showers

Soap scum really penetrates natural stone, which is more porous than ceramic or porcelain shower tile and absorbs minerals and soap lather. If grimy soap scum builds up in your stone shower, it might take a professional to remove it. If you have a natural stone shower – limestone, granite, travertine or marble – it’s best to prevent soap scum to begin with:

  • Wipe down your shower with a towel after each use
  • Use a squeegee to get clinging water off surfaces and down the drain
  • Seal and re-seal regularly 

If and when you do need to remove soap scum from a natural stone shower, seek out non-acidic options before you call in professional help – vinegar will not do! Many types of stone require special pH-neutral cleaning products. For a homemade, nontoxic option, mix equal parts water and rubbing alcohol (or vodka, if that’s what you have on hand).

How to Clean Fiberglass and Acrylic Showers

For these types of showers (and shower doors), use a non-abrasive cleaner like all-purpose bathroom cleaner, pine oil or light baking soda solution, which offers some gentle grit and helps reduce the need for elbow grease!

Attempts to remove soap scum with overly abrasive solutions and abrasive scrubbing pads, however, will scratch the fiberglass and acrylic surface.

How to Clean Glass Shower Doors

When soap scum starts to accumulate on your glass shower door, use full-strength white vinegar. No dilution. No funny business. You may also try this other nontoxic method: mix one cup of Dawn detergent and one cup of warm vinegar (heat in the microwave before adding soap). Then scrub with a soft sponge.

If not 100% satisfied with these two, usually effective nontoxic approaches to soap scum removal, consider a commercial lime and scale remover.

Let Someone Else Do the Cleaning

As home cleaning professionals, we clean showers, bathtubs and shower doors for our clients using the cleaning products of their choice. Showers are not the only things that need regular cleaning and you have better things to do than clean all those messes around your home or apartment. That’s precisely why we exist. Let us handle the cleaning while you spend your time the way you want to. Contact your local Molly Maid, a Neighborly company or call (800) 654-9647 to ask questions and discuss a custom cleaning plan that meets your schedule, budget, and needs.