How to Make Ugly Soap Scum, Mildew and Water Marks Disappear Like Magic

When all three messages landed in my inbox on the same day, the problem of soap scum, mildew and hard water buildup grabbed my attention. I’ve been told that if one person actually writes to me with a problem, that represents a thousand with a similar situation. Three in one day tells me this is a common problem.

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We recently remodeled our kitchen with stainless appliances. We have treated well water. The very first week we had a large water stain in water dispenser area that I can’t get off. It looks terrible! Is there anyway to remove it? Help! Pat

How do you remove hard water spots from shower doors? Diane

My shower mat has turned almost black. I have tried to clean it, but unsuccessfully. Can you help me? Ronnie

Quite possibly one of the best tips to ever land my mailbox came from a guy who is a professional property manager. He handles rental apartments, and lots of them. As an apartment is vacated, his job is to see that it is thoroughly cleaned and made ready for the next occupants. 

He told me that the biggest challenge is always the bathroom, specifically the tub and shower. He kindly left specific details up to my imagination but let me know that “gross” is not strong enough to describe what he often finds. And that’s when he gave me his super magical potion—the only product he uses to return showers, tubs, tile, enclosures, faucets and doors to their sparkling clean and sanitized condition.

I gave his unbelievably simple recipe a try. In what has to be at least 20 years since I got that letter, I’ve used nothing else to clean tubs, showers, sinks, toilets, patio furniture—just about anything that will stand still long enough to get sprayed, and can be rinsed easily. This product must be rinsed off.

To make your own Tub, Tile and Shower Cleaner you will need three things:

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An empty spray bottleDawn dishwashing liquid (any variation as long as it is Dawn and it is blue) and white vinegar.

TO MAKE: Pour one cup blue Dawn into a 32-ounce spray bottle (1/2 cup Dawn if you are using a 16-ounce bottle). Fill the bottle the rest of the way with white vinegar. Apply sprayer top; shake gently to mix.

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TO USE: Spray liberally on the area to be cleaned. Allow to sit from 30 minutes up to overnight, depending on the severity of the problem. All of the offensive gunk and grime will break down and become soft and gooey. Simply rinse it away. For especially challenging situations—or if this is the initial treatment—use a sponge or brush to gently scrub the surfaces before rinsing.

TO TREAT MILDEW, MOLD. While the Tub, Tile and Shower Cleaner works to loosen and remove most mildew, if you see a lot of black growth you will want to pretreat with full strength liquid chlorine bleach before proceeding as above. CAUTION: Never, ever allow chlorine bleach to come in contact with other products, especially vinegar. This could produce chlorine gas, which is deadly. Don’t panic. Simply make sure you rinse the chlorine bleach away completely before proceeding to clean with the homemade tub and tile cleaner.

TO MAINTAIN: Here’s the best thing about this cleaner—if you use it weekly you will never have to scrub again. Here’s what I do: Once each week I spray down the walls, doors, tracks, faucets, shampoo caddy—everything within reach—with this magical cleaner while I am in the shower. Before I step out, I use the handheld sprayer to rinse it all away. No scrubbing required. It dries sparkling clean without using a squeegee or wiping down with a towel. And not a water mark to be seen. Simply brilliant! 

I use this stuff in the kitchen, too—on my appliances, stainless steel sink and faucets (never on the granite counter tops), but only where it can be rinsed away. That means I don’t spray it on the floor or into the air. That would create a slippery, soapy mess.

I can’t wait to get your feedback once you give this super simple cleaning and maintenance method a try. Before and after pictures would be great!

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