Spring Cleaning Challenge + Soap Scum Remover Recipe

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Soap Scum Remover - PINTEREST


Have you finished a few Spring Cleaning Challenges Today’s we’ll tackle one that’s probably pretty low on everyone’s to-do list, but it’ll feel so good when it’s done.  Grab your favorite cleaner and some rags (and maybe some disinfecting wipes . . . ) and do a thorough cleaning of your bathrooms.


To get you started, here’s a great tip for cleaning soap scum from PPP reader Brenda that I tried out last week and it works!  (I was so excited!) Make homemade soap scum remover that isn’t nearly as toxic as many of store bought cleaners.  Here’s how to mix it:


Soap Scum Cleaner

  • Heat vinegar in microwave until hot.
  • Add to spray bottle, then add equal part Dawn Dish soap.
  • Spray and let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe away soap scum (WOOHOO!)


Brenda says that it will keep in the bottle, and I’ve got mine ready to go for the next time I need to tackle it.  I used it in my shower and it worked so well… I was thrilled!  Thanks so much for the tip, Brenda. 🙂




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  1. Colleen B. says:

    I’ve done all 3 bathrooms, floors, dis infected toys, cleaned kitchen, dining room, dusted and cleaned the windows in all the doors today, and am drying the slip cover to my couch that apparently attacked by chocolate milk.

  2. I just did this two days ago! Would love to win the GC! Trying to save up Amazon bucks for something for Derek!

  3. lisa rupertus says:

    I use castile soap (liquid) instead of dawn and it works good too! I use it for everything around the house. I also add like a few teaspoons of borax just for kicks!! hehe!

  4. I have done my share of cleaning today for company this weekend. I’m excited to try this out on my tile shower! I can’t stand that strong chemical smell that last all day.

    • Jacqueline says:


  5. Cant wai it try this! I just attempted to clean my shower the other day – I ended up with the “chemical burned” smell from bleach and the soap scum is still there, ugh!

  6. I love this cleaner! It minimizes scrub time and works at room temp too.

  7. Love this mixture! If the vinegar smell bugs you, you can add a little lemon juice to cover it up a little.

  8. Love this cleaning solution! Had to go over my shower twice, but its jut because Ive neglected it lately. Will definitely try the lemon juice, as I am not a fan of the vinegar smell. Thanks for posting this solution!!

    • The vinegar smell was a little strong, I think I’ll try the lemon too! So glad it worked for you 🙂

  9. Got it done! Just keep forgetting to comment. 🙂

    • This was wonderful! I have asthma and hate chemical smells. Nothing was cleaning the shower and I was convinced we’d need a new shower stall. I read this last night and gave it a try tonight. My shower looks like new! 🙂

  10. Sarah J. says:

    This is my least favorite cleaning task. Thank you for the motivation to get it done though!

  11. Gettin ready to try this out. Must you use Dawn?

    • Every recipe I’ve seen says Dawn, so I went ahead and bought Dawn 🙂 I’m guessing something else would work, but have heard so many people talk about the wonders of Dawn that I felt like I should use it! Let me know if you try it with another dish soap how it works.

      • Mellany Kitchens says:

        And, did you know that you can bathe your animals in Dawn to get rid of fleas? My vet recommended that I bathe my 6 week old rescue kitty who was covered in fleas — and it worked! He is 1-1/2 years old now and NO fleas!

  12. Linda Burgoyne says:

    I like this idea. Will definitely be making up a batch of this cleaner. I am trying to get away from using bleach for cleaning. Old habits die hard. I have switched to white vinegar though for cleaning the windows and for cleaning my glass table top. Works great with a bit of elbow grease and a paper towel.

    • I think you’ll like it Linda – my mom has always used bleach for everything, but vinegar is my old standby! 🙂

    • I use coffee filters instead of paper towels when cleaning glass/mirrors. No streaks, and completely lint free. Also a lot more cost effective!

  13. Dawn is an exellent product. For cleaning windows I use newspapers instead of paper towels. Less streaking.

  14. Great idea! Worked well in the shower. Thanks so much for the tip.

  15. I’ve been using this homemade soap scum spray for a few months now, and I really think it works better than anything I’ve purchased – and you would think it would smell bad, but when you combine the dawn and the vinegar, it actually has a pleasing scent! This stuff is terrific, and my tubs/showers/sinks seem to stay scum-free longer after cleaning with it than with commercial products. YAY!

  16. WOW! I have 2 teenage boys and have been having a problem w even the name brand stuff that I hate using becase of the price and the cemicals. I only buy dawn any way as it is a degreaser and the best value I have found even when I run out and must pay full price (doesent happen offten) I also use vineager instead of bleach or other cemicals most of the time but for some reason it never occured to me to put them togather. I used much less Dawn than called for but I also use consentrated and I am truly amazed!!!

  17. 3 bathrooms so clean you can eat off the floor:)

  18. I used Palmolive Ultra Lavender in place of the Dawn and it worked great! It will also work to coat the surface of the shower and let it sit all night and when you shower the next morning it requires very little scrubbing. You just need to be sure to rinse the floor of the shower before you get in as it is very slippery with the soap solution on it. I put some of the cleaner in a dish scrubbing wand and use it to for the stubborn spots.

  19. I cleaned the tile shower today with the bleach stuff and it didn’t work too well. I am going to make a batch of this stuff and try it tomorrow! Can’t wait to see if it works!

    • Hope it works…. I really do love it! Be sure to get your vinegar good and warm and use Dawn ~ I definitely think it will be easier to work with than bleach (although it is a little on the stinky side with all the vinegar, so make sure your room is ventilated well!)

  20. No dawn 🙁 but heading out tomorrow to get some, really want to try this!!

    • I really do think it’s worth getting Dawn for it…. definitely seems to work the best (you want the blue bottle!) 🙂

  21. Like the vinegar in your original recipe, does the mixture need to be heated when reused?

    • Yes – I do warm it up in my microwave (I also now try to make it in smaller amounts so that I don’t have a ton extra.) Hope that helps Angela! 🙂

  22. I clean all of my counter tops with vinegar already and must trry this solution on the stubborn stains in our showers. I hate soap scum with a passion, it is so slick. Thanks for this wonderful tip.

  23. I sprayed my shower, then let it sit while I did some laundry. It worked great! I didn’t have to scrub as much, and he outcome was better than chemicals. Thanks for the tips!

  24. I have tried this and need some troubleshooting help. My sprayer will be working perfectly but when I put in the hot solution it quits spraying after the first pump and then the sprayer is useless for anything. Any advice? I would really love to use this on my disgusting bathtubs. I clean them but they never look “clean”.

    • Hmmmmm… I’ve never had that happen before, so I’m not sure! I wonder if since you can’t spray it you could put it on a dry rag and spread a good bit all over your tub, then let it soak for a few minutes? My water wasn’t boiling but it is hot, and I didn’t have any issues. (Also, be sure to shake well as the Dawn is so thick.) Hope that helps some Judith!

  25. Do you use 50% vinegar and 50% Dawn? This seems like a lot of soap. Has anyone tried it with less soap? And what was the result?

    • I do use 50% and 50%, but make a smaller amount usually (like I’ll use 1/2 cup each rather than making a huge batch.) If using less vinegar works I’d love to know!

  26. It’s probably the sprayer. They are fickle things. I finally put out money on one that is guaranteed to work.

  27. Danielle Davoli says:

    This worked so well! I have to make a bigger batch next time. So affordable, and it works better than other cleaners I have bought. I’m also 7 months pregnant, and can use it safely making sure our bathroom is sparkling! Once again, you have saved the day Passionate Penny Pincher! Now I am trying your ranch slow cooker pork chops for dinner as well!!!!

  28. michelle m says:

    I don’t have a microwave, does this HAVE to be heated? If so do you know why? Maybe I can heat it on my stove I guess? I really want to try this. Thank you for the post.

  29. What's the purpose of heating the vinegar? Does this mean you need to reheat it prior to each use?

  30. Worked ok The fumes were almost worst that store bought chemicals!

  31. Worked ok The fumes were almost worst that store bought chemicals!

  32. Novella Parsons says:

    I use this quite often. Used it yesterday at my mom’s new house. Did great. Had to use some baking soda on really bad spots, but I don’t think the tub or sink had been cleaned in YEARS.

    • Thanks so much for sharing Novella – I may try the baking soda too (I still have a few bad spots in mine, but most of it’s gone!)

  33. Why are no proportions given for the vinegar and dish soap – looks like nobody ever questioned this? It also looks like no one ever addressed the purpose of heating the vinegar and if reheating w/ each use would is necessary. Maybe I’m not seeing everything I should be seeing but these issues need to be addressed unless they already are.

    • Hi Bill! Like it says in the post, just add equal parts vinegar and Dawn. I usually only make enough for one batch (so I use about 1/4 cup Dawn and 1/4 cup vinegar), and then make a new batch when I need it a second time, but I’m betting you could re-heat it in the microwave and give it a good shake which would work too. Hope that helps! 🙂

  34. How much vinegar do you use to heat up?

  35. I do this, only I use the Dawn Platinum Power Clean. It worked really well!

  36. Deb Bingley Kelley says:

    I am going to try it today..I cant seem to get rid of the scum in my shower!! Plus I ordered the Staples paper towels!! Exciting day for me!!! THanks PPP

  37. Anita Hilliard says:

    I am going to try this soap scum idea this week!

  38. Used this on my bathroom shower and sinks and it was GREAT!! Love it!!!

  39. Maybe this is a silly question, but how does one eliminate soap scum by adding more soap to it? I’m assuming you have to do a good rinse after you spray this on and let it sit a bit? Please forgive my ignorance! 😉

    • That’s a great question Julie! I’m not really sure how it works (maybe the vinegar?) but it really does – I do give it a good rinse after washing with hot water which helps too. Hope that helps!

  40. I just scrubbed my shower with dawn sams the vinegar…I'm going to add it next time! My neighbor who knows I cannot deal with smells suggested it!

  41. It’s great to see everyone trying to avoid the harsh and toxic chemicals. If you haven’t heard of Norwex, you should check it out! No chemicals, no fumes, fast, fun, and easy! Remove soap scum with microfiber and water to get a true clean surface.

  42. Tried it & it works great !!! Thanks for the tip. Always like reading your cleaning tips 🙂

  43. Terry Neabel Tomasiewicz says:

    If you don't like strong smells, this may not be for you – quite fumy!!

  44. I just tried this…I kind of like the smell…I used Apple cider vinegar( thats what I have) I am pleased with this!!! Thanks!!!!!

  45. K.D Goon says:

    Tried it and it works great!

  46. I can't wait to try this I've used almost every kind of cleaner and nothing has worked!! Can't wait to try this. I have had many back surgeries and it's so hard to scrub this would be a great help.

  47. Jacquelyn L Whitsitt says:


  48. Jacquelyn L Whitsitt says:


  49. I will be trying this tomorrow. Our shower with glass doors is my least favorite thing to clean. Thanks for the tip.

  50. Linda Clark Rose says:

    I use white vinegar, it doesn't smell as strong as the cider vinegar.

  51. I used it and it didn't clean my hardcore soap scum, but maybe I didn't leave it soak long enough? Works great on the rest of the showe though!!

  52. Kat Wilson Sgiers says:

    Does it have to be reheated every time?

  53. Leslie Lewis Draney says:

    No, just shake it up and it's good to go.

  54. you said equal parts of dawn do you add any water or just vingar and dawn

  55. Rya Michele Eisma says:

    Don't know why but it only worked on some of my shower walls and left the rest looking barely touched =/

  56. Linda Thomas Matola says:

    Works wonderful on shower doors! Will try it on my fiberglass.

  57. Rochelle says:

    So, I had seen this post on another site and someone said you could put the mixture in a scrubbie and scrub it on – that doesn’t work, but the spray does.
    Thanks for the tip!!!! Now I just have to learn how to spray evenly! 😉

  58. Carmen Rudnick says:

    This stuff is so awesome! Thank you!

  59. Janet Armour says:

    Love this cleaning recipe! My sisters now use it, too. For really tough cleaning tasks (that ignored shower), it's best to use a fresh batch. Something about the warm vinegar helps loosen the crud. My recipen calls for 10 oz white vinegar (heated) and 10 ounces Dawn. My master bathroomis calling me!

  60. I tried this and it didn't work for my really bad soap scum. Do you have any other great ideas. My arms are killing me from scrubbing so hard.

  61. Janet Armour says:

    Nicole Gaston Neale, did you use white vinegar and the original Dawn? If that didn't work, try this one: 1 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon corn starch, 1 tablespoons original dawn dish soap.

  62. Janet Armour says:

    Nicole, that should say TWO (2) tablespoons original Dawn dish soap.

  63. Janet Armour says:

    Try this one: 1 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon corn starch, 2 tablespoons original Dawn dish soap. Mix it together in a spray bottle. Spray on the soap scum and let it set for a few minutes. Then scrub away.

  64. Janet Armour, I did try with original Dawn, but I'll try this new recipe. Thanks!

  65. Try the Dawn dish soap with the vinegar, but use a magic eraser to wipe away. I typically use a magic eraser and dawn pour on the area. It usually does the job.

  66. Raelyn Hickman says:

    I have not tried this exact recipe but all my other cleaning solutions that I use vinegar, I put lemon oil, or lavender oil in it to difuse the vinegar smell.

  67. Tonya Kuykendall says:

    Wow! I took advantage of the Dawn sale and made some of your cleaner. I was amazed. I will subscribe to learn more from you. Thanks.

  68. Kim moore says:

    If you can’t get dawn soap what else could you use instead please

  69. Thanks! That works great and I love short cuts that still work good!!

  70. Cindy W says:

    Being that it is 10:15 at night I can’t really clean any bathrooms right now but I promise I will be trying this tomorrow!!!!! 🙂

  71. Gwen Drake Sanders says:

    This mixture really works well. We use body wash instead of bar soap, and we don't have nearly as much soap build up in the tub. Also, you can use car wax to keep the gunk flowing on down the drain!

  72. This really works. I am not a fan of using chemicals for cleaning . Love this life hack. Thanks for sharing

  73. I use a different recipe for cleaning my bathroom that works great!! It calls for: 8 oz white vinegar, 4 oz lemon juice, 2 oz Dawn, 2 tsp baking soda and 10 oz water. Mix in a bowl, and then place in a professional spray bottle. Doesn’t smell like vinegar;) Removes soap scum with ease.

  74. I tried this tonight. It worked pretty well, but a few notes. 1. Dawn is very concentrated. I wouldn’t use a 1:1 ratio again because we it was a LOT of soap and gard to rinse away. I’ll probably do 2:1 vinegar:dawn next time. Also, I noticed it worked a lot better if I scrubbed while vinegar was still warn.

  75. This is the bomb!!! I have tried everything to get the discussing shower clean. Nothing worked. I hv used this twice. The second time I let it sit then rubbed some baking soda in with a 3m scrub pad and let sit again. Loving the results. Also worked on the hard water stains in the toilet.

  76. So, did I read that right? 1 to 1 for vinegar to dawn dish soap? that seems like a lot of dish soap, no? Do I add any water to the mixture? I’m going to try it as soon as someone enlightens me on the dish soap amount.

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