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Articles : Home : Decorating Last Updated: Mar 19th, 2010 - 11:39:35

Cleaning Soap and Scum: Tips and Tools for Minimizing Buildup
By vincent
Apr 28, 2007, 07:31

One of the most unpleasant cleaning chores can be cleaning soap and scum buildup. If the buildup is quite bad, the process of cleaning soap and scum take a few cleaning applications. However, there are some tips to preventing soap scum and some methods to remove it quickly and easily.

Soap scum and buildup develops from the ingredients in hard soaps (bars) and the dirt and minerals that are removed when showering and bathing. Soap is made from sodium or potassium fatty acids and created through a process called saponification. The result is an emulsifying substance that can separate dirt and oil in water so that these can be removed from items such as clothing. One problem with soap is that they can be converted into fatty acids that form soap scum. This is a particular problem with hard water. The mineral talc is also used in soaps. The talc helps the minerals adhere to the shower, and before you know it, a buildup of soap scum develops, and cleaning soap and scum is required.

For cleaning soap and scum, a commercial product specifically designed for this purpose is recommended. These products are chemically designed to clean the components of soap scum. For built up soap scum, it may be necessary to repeat the process a few times. For cleaning soap and scum, the product must "sit" on the problem area. This works fine for the edges of a bathtub, for example, but can create a problem on walls. As such, a foaming product is best, as the foam will stay on the problem area longer than a liquid. Follow the directions on the label for how long to keep the soap scum remover on the problem area. All types of dried on soap scum will require the use of a sponge or brush to remove. The extra friction helps remove the buildup. If the dried on soap scum is thick, a stiff-bristled brush may be necessary for thoroughly cleaning soap and scum. If the soap scum buildup is on a flat surface, a razor blade is also very effective--and more dangerous, of course, so exercise caution when using this tool. For lesser buildup, a standard sponge with a scouring side and soft side should do the trick for cleaning soap and scum that is not thick.

After removing dried on soap scum with a soap scum remover, regular maintenance and prevention is key. When shopping for products for cleaning soap and scum, look for a product that includes some type of barrier protection. These create a wax-like barrier on your tub and shower wall that helps prevent soap scum from adhering to the surface. Although everyone is busy these days, a quick, two-step process can help prevent the build-up of dried on soap scum and will save time later when you are doing other things rather than cleaning soap and scum! First, after every shower or bath, use a squeegee or cloth to remove soap residue. Follow this by spraying the shower and tub with a product for cleaning soap and scum. Avoid spraying the bottom of the tub as this can make it very slippery. This daily routine will save a lot of time later. Cleaning soap and scum in this manner prevents the long-term buildup that can take hours to clean. If you are cleaning your tub and shower in this manner on a daily basis, a weekly, thorough clean with a soap scum remover should keep the problem in check.


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