What Causes Soap Scum To Build Up?

Have you noticed something different on your shower curtain? As if there are unusual wavy designs on them that you haven’t seen before. Or have you noticed some discoloration on your bathroom fixtures, bathtubs, and even your bathroom tiles? This can be troublesome, as it can make your bathroom fixtures look old within a month of buying them. While you know for a fact that by the time you purchased them from the store, those were not their original colors and design.

Now, to think that our bathroom and laundry areas could be one of the cleanest parts of our house, then you better have second thoughts about this. Even though we clean our bodies in a bathroom and wash our clothes in a laundry area, these places are not guaranteed to be dirt-free, or more specifically, soap scum-free.

All these unusual wavy designs on them that are off-white or gray chalky colored are called soap scum. These soap scums, or sometimes called lime soaps, are the white solid deposits that are composed of calcium stearate, magnesium stearate, and other alkali products of fatty acids. Soap scums usually cover surfaces where soap is commonly used, like in the bathroom and laundry. 

Now that you have an idea about soap scum, the next thing you should know is what causes them to build up. After learning these things, you can easily remove those pesky soap scum or prevent them from building up. To know these things, try to check them below for more insight.

Cause of Soap Scum Build Up

The main culprit here of soap scum buildup is hard water. Hard water is commonly found in tap water coming from a typical residential faucet or showerhead, where the water supply is not treated. So when soap is mixed with hard water, then it will result in the formation of soap scum.

Formation of Hard Water

So what’s with hard water for soap scum to build up? Despite being in liquid form, water can be called “hard” if it has some added properties in them. Hard water is water with contents high in minerals such as calcium and magnesium. And they are formed when water flows through large deposits of calcium and magnesium carbonates, bicarbonates, and sulfates, which are commonly seen in chalks, gypsums, or limestones.

Drinking hard water might give a person some health benefits. On the other hand, utilizing hard water as a cleaning ingredient or as a medium in industrial settings will cause serious problems. Large equipment will have a costly breakdown that sometimes requires long repairs and expensive replacement of certain parts. Now, to avoid such incidents for using hard water, the water supply is being treated. This treatment is called water softening.

Treating Hard Water

Water softening is a type of water treatment to reduce the hardness of the water, and it is commonly used in industrial settings to protect machines. While in residential areas, water softening treatment is rare because of the added space it requires and the cost of equipment needed to install.

Effects of Soap Scum

Whether in an industrial setting or in a regular household, soap scum can be irritating. When mixed with hard water, these scums will start to form on surfaces.

The problem with soap scums, they can be sneaky since they are blended with water that you normally use for cleaning. And if these soap scums are left unchecked for a long time, they will start to buildup on the surface of your bathroom tiles, floors, and fixtures. Then, if they are not removed at an early stage, soap scums will start to hard themselves on the surface.

In some cases, soap scums mix up with mold and mild dew that causes discoloration of most surfaces, or worst it can also result in unusual odor in your bathroom or laundry areas. In rare cases, they can be as hard as concretes that it will be difficult for you to remove them.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. To prevent all these hassles, try to remove these soap scums when you first notice them, or you can also try to clean your bathroom and laundry area regularly and always dry them up with a dry cloth.