Dear Home-Ec 101,
How do I remove built up soap scum from my acrylic tub?
Scummed in Scuddy
Soap scum is a generic term for that funky film that is created by soap and hard water creating a loving bond with your tub or shower.
It’s ugly and a pain in the rear to remove without scratching the surface you’re trying to clean. Once you scratch your tub or its surround, you create all kinds of new nicks and crevices for the next layer of soap scum to adhere to, which lets soap scum build up even faster.
Why? It’s cheap and effective. Barkeeper’s friend relies on oxalyic acid to clean. This is a mild acid that you can find in foods like spinach and tea.
*Do not apply with steel wool or a honey badger, even if he don’t care.
As a consumer you may find the liquid version of Bar Keepers Friend easier to apply to vertical surfaces like the side of your acrylic tub or the shower doors. But if you only have the can lying around, just make a paste and gently apply.
Do not use Bar Keepers Friend or any acidic cleanser on natural stone, it’s a bad idea. Try not to get acidic cleansers on your grout or it will need to be resealed more often -use the water bead test to check.
Yes, you still need to use common sense when you use Bar Keepers Friend and not rub it in your eyes -ever squirt a lemon in your eye? It’s not pleasant, is it? And you probably should wear gloves if you’re going to be in contact with Bar Keepers Friend more than incidentally. Why? Acids aren’t great for your skin. You’ll get raw hands if you spend a lot of time, cutting up fruit, too.
And finally, don’t let your kids or pets eat your cleaning products.
Got it? Good.
If you want to prevent soap scum, use a squeegee on your tub after use.
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PS Thank you all for sending in these great questions. You’re helping me get back into the habit of writing consistently and often which is good for both Home Ec 101 and me. It is deeply appreciated. <3