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How to Remove Soap Scum from Tile
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Soap scum is a typical household problem. It is made up of dried out, dirty suds, dirt, mineral deposits, dead skin cells, body oils, and bacteria. Just any two of these elements are enough to make for a difficult removal process, but the combination of them all creates a truly serious problem.
Removing soap scum may take some effort, but it can be done and your tile will look new once again. Here's how to get rid of your soap scum problem.
Easy Steps for Eliminating Soap Scum
Open the bathroom door and turn on the fans before you begin. This gets air circulating throughout the area which is always a good idea when cleaning. You may also want to invest in a good pair of rubber gloves for doing this sort of work.
Fill a bucket or basin with warm or hot water. The ideal time to scrub down soap scum is right after a bath or shower, as the residue will be loosened up and more prone to come off with a minimum of effort. Use some grease-cutting dish soap applied to a scrubbing style sponge or magic eraser. Wet the sponge and begin scrubbing the affected area. Use circular motions and repeat as often as possible until all the soap scum traces have come up.
When this process is completed, rinse down the tile with water. Usually the showerhead is sufficient for this purpose, and it's even better if the showerhead is detachable (as this allows you to hit those hard to reach areas). You also have the option of wiping down the walls with a squeegee or rinsing with clear water and a soap-free sponge.
Tips for Stubborn Soap Scum and Cleaning Other Materials
What about those soap scum elements that just won’t budge? Well, in cases like this, a tile scraper may be called for. Use it gently but firmly, and go over it again with the scrubbing sponge to make sure all remaining deposits have been taken up.
Marble, slate, or granite tile may present their own problems, since natural stone tile is softer and more porous than finished ceramics. They will require a gentle, non-acidic cleaner to handle soap scum, and they may be damaged by rough abrasives. A regular, soft kitchen sponge will be perfectly acceptable for cleaning these surfaces.
Of course, you will want to do what you can to prevent future buildups of soap scum. Lose the bar of soap in the shower and go to liquid soap that leaves fewer residues. Squeegee your shower tiles often to prevent buildup. Coat your tiles with lemon oil; this will cause soapy water to bead up and run off.
How to Remove Soap Scum from Showers
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