How to Clean Soap Scum, Easily, Naturally (And How to Prevent it in the First Place)

Cleaning the tub and shower used to be my least favorite housekeeping chores, mostly because I don't like all that scrubbing. But then I learned two very easy ways to clean up soap scum in a snap.

Method 1: Borax

Borax is a natural mineral commonly found in the laundry section of grocery and drug stores. (It should not be confused with boric acid.) It's often used in homemade laundry detergent recipes - and it happens to do a splendid job of cleaning up soap scum!

To use borax as a soap scum remover, you can either:

* Sprinkle it lightly over the scum scum-infested surface and use a wet sponge to wipe it clean.

* Pour some borax in a bowl and add a little bit of water, making a paste. Apply the paste with a sponge. Wipe clean.

See the photo to the right? That's me cleaning my husband's very neglected shower with borax. The clean streak you see there is just one swipe with a borax-coated sponge.

I should note that there's some debate about how safe it is to handle borax. To read up on this, I recommend Getting to the Bottom of Borax: Is it Safe or Not? The problem is mostly about contact dermatitis, which can be prevented simply by wearing rubber gloves while handling the stuff.

Method 2: Mr. Clean Eraser

Ah, the mighty Mr. Clean Eraser. Yes, it cleans up crayon, scuffs, grease, and general grime like a dream. And soap scum? It's no match for a Mr. Clean Eraser, either.

To use, just dampen a Mr. Clean Eraser (or generic alternative) and scrub over the soap scummed surface.

How to Prevent Soap Scum in the First Place

Having a quick, easy way to clean stuff is always a great thing - but preventing the need to clean in the first place is even better.

Lots of things affect how much soap scum ends up in your bathroom, including how many people use the shower or tub; what type of soap, shampoo, and other products you use; whether your tub/shower has been resurfaced; and whether you take any preventative steps.

I've blogged before about how great I think Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner is. But if you want something more economical and natural, simply spraying some white vinegar will do the trick. Keep a spray bottle filled with ordinary white vinegar in the shower or tub area. When you're done bathing, spray the surfaces of the tub or shower with the vinegar. Do not rinse.

If you hate the smell of vinegar, you can use 1/3 cup of household rubbing alcohol and 1 cup of water instead. Again, don't rinse after spraying.

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