​Acid Based Bathroom Cleaner to the Rescue: How to Remove Soap Scum

Author: John Fay   Date Posted:16 January 2015 

How to Remove Soap ScumDo you notice a white film forming on your bathroom walls and shower curtains? There is a possibility that it might be soap scum. Many are troubled with solutions to remove soap scum as most bathroom cleaners do not work. The first thing to find the solution is to discover what it’s made of.

Soap scum is the result of soap residues mixing with hard water, which contains calcium or magnesium ions that create lime soaps, or what you might call soap scum. Sodium ions are replaced with calcium ions and it would require a huge amount of soap or shampoo to work up a lather when using hard water. This leaves clumps of soap scum in your hair, on your body, or in your bathroom shower. This is generally considered a nuisance, and the best way to remove soap scum is through an acid-based bathroom cleaner.

What should be remembered when finding the right products remove soap scum is that soap is a base, or a solution with a pH levels higher than 7. Most bathroom cleaners today are alkaline-based, meaning that their pH levels are at 7 and will do no good in removing soap scum. Bases can only be broken down and neutralized using acids. Soap scum is a base, and therefore can only be removed using acid-based bathroom cleaners.

Taking the time to remove soap scum is important because the film may be a breeding place for bacteria that may carry diseases. Those on vinyl shower curtains, in particular, have a rich microbial biofilm. Soap scum is not just displeasing or gross, it may also pose health risks to your home. Cleaning it up right away is also necessary as the longer it settles on the surface, the harder it will be to remove.

There are bathroom cleaner solutions that effectively remove soap scum, hard water marks, and is very user friendly. It also cleans and sanitizing the bathroom all around and can be used safely on different surfaces with various concentrations. Some cleaners emit harsh odors, while there are those with long-lasting, pleasing floral fragrance. Acid-based bathroom cleaners usually have an amount of phosphoric acid in their formulation.

To avoid injuries, it is necessary to avoid contact of the product with eyes and skin. It is therefore advised to wear suitable, protective clothing, gloves, and protection for one’s eyes and face. The cleaning solution must be kept away from those who are unprotected and should not be ingested.

There are various ways to use acid-based bathroom cleaners to remove soap sum, depending on the surface it will be used on. Nonetheless, the effects are all the same.

To use on toilets and urinals, apply the product undiluted over the entire surface of the toilet or urinal. Cover entire surface inside and out to ensure cleanliness. Leave the product on for as long as possible and flush or rinse afterwards. You may then scrub off any stubborn stains that remain. There are products that serve as all-around cleaners as well.

To remove soap scum from washrooms and ceramic surfaces such as tiles, some solutions need to be diluted in water.  The diluted solution is then applied to the affected surface using an applicator or a mop, making sure that all the surfaces are covered. The soap scum should come off easily as you rinse or wipe it off.

Other resources may recommend using the undiluted solution directly. Considering the goal is to use the acid in the product to neutralize the soap scum, it is a more advisable option. Dilution may be 

the choice to remove soap scum from more sensitive surfaces. Apply the solution on the surface generously for better results.

Immediate rinsing, however, may not be able to remove stubborn soap scum. Instead, it is advisable to leave the solution on for at least fifteen minutes but not more than one hour to allow the acid in the solution to properly break down the soap scum. Once it is broken down, it will be easier to clean. Make sure that the surface is still wet with the solution before cleaning it.

Afterwards, scrub or rub it off the surface. You may want to avoid scratching or dulling the surface you will be working on, so remember to use soft scrub pads, clean cloths, or sponges. Remember to rinse the surface with warm water and wash your hands afterwards for your safety. Use a squeegee to remove excess water from the surface you have cleaned and towel dry to remove all water.

To avoid further buildup of soap scum in your bathroom, consider using a water softener that replaces the calcium ions in your water with sodium ions. Using liquid gel cleanser or body wash will also help since they are not soaps and will not react that way with hard water. Rinsing your bathroom after every use also helps avoid the soap from reacting to hard water and becoming soap scum. Do not forget to squeegee or towel dry your shower or bathing area after rinsing to avoid hard water stains.

A fair warning: do not use acid-based bathroom cleaners on stone surfaces such as marble as it may damage the surface. If absolutely necessary, use a dilution. Regardless, cleaners like the Sweetpea Bathroom Cleaner are safe to use on stainless steel, ceramic tiles, wash basins, and all hard surfaces; and are perfect for all-around use in the bathroom.

Results may vary, but acid-based bathroom cleaners are your best bet to remove soap scum from your bathroom.


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