How to Remove and Prevent Soap Scum on a Shower Curtain

Lead Image for How to Remove and Prevent Soap Scum on a Shower Curtain

Soap scum, along with mold and mildew, can render a shower curtain revolting in no time. If you have a shower curtain rather than a door, you will probably have to deal with this problem sooner or later.

Once you learn the causes of soap scum, you can learn clean it and prevent soap scum buildup. The techniques work equally well on both plastic and vinyl curtains. Soap scum is caused by hard water, bar soap, and ineffective rinsing of the shower area after use.

Step 1 - Hard Water and What to Do About It

Hard water can be spotted by looking for mineral deposits around taps and faucets. Water softening is no longer recommended, as it damages plumbing and increases the sodium content of municipal water supplies. Instead, use a cleaner that removes calcium, lime, and rust on the tub, taps, and shower curtain once a month. Twice a year, clean the shower head with this product.

Step 2 - Use Proven Cleaning Products and Techniques

Mix a mild solution of ammonia and water in a spray bottle and apply it to the tub wall and the shower curtain after each shower. Leave the bathroom vent fan running while cleaning with the ammonia. Clean the outside face of the curtain too, from the hem up 12-inches. Rinse the solution using the shower spray or a clean, damp cloth.

You can also scrub the shower curtain and tub twice a week with a stain eraser. They are excellent for any dirty substance that is stuck to tiles and curtains. Scrub the tub and curtain with baking soda twice a month. Baking sodas is an environmentally friendly cleaner. You can also wash the shower curtain once a month in a solution of hot water, laundry detergent, and bleach. Get it squeaky clean. Also recommended for shower curtains is to add ½ cup of vinegar to the laundry detergent.

Hang up the shower curtain to dry. Add detergent and bleach to the washing machine first, then run water before putting the shower curtain in the machine to avoid white spots from bleach splashes.

Step 3 - Reduce Soap Scum Formation

Instead of bar soap, use a liquid soap or body wash, which rinses away thoroughly. Use a washcloth or shower puff with bar and liquid soaps to save soap and keep the shower area cleaner. Avoid using heavy cream soaps, which adhere firmly to everything in the shower and eventually block the shower drain.

Convert your fixed shower head to a handheld spray nozzle to rinse the shower area more effectively. Pour furniture-quality lemon oil onto a sponge or cloth and wipe the shower curtain, shower tiles, and tub walls once a week. As an alternative, rub car wax onto your plastic or vinyl shower curtain every few months. Reapply the lemon oil or wax when water no longer beads on the surface.

Hints and help

Additional info