Everything You Need to Know About Soap Scum

What Is Soap Scum?

If not properly washed away, soapy water that travels through your pipes can leave behind a hard, white residue that is capable of blocking pipes and clogging drains. Soap scum is a term that refers to this buildup of leftover soap on surfaces and inside pipes.

Why Should I Be Worried About It?

While it may not seem like much, soap scum can build up over time and cause blockages. This can in turn lead to slow draining water, backflow, and other larger issues.

Additionally, soap scum is an ideal breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can exacerbate clogs and pose a serious health risk to you and your loved ones.

What Does Soap Scum Look Like?

If you have a problem with soap scum, it can usually be identified by a whitish residue on the surfaces surrounding your drains, such as sinks, showers, and bathtubs.

However, there is always a chance that soap scum is hiding in your pipes, where you can’t see it. If that’s the case, watch out for the telltale signs of a clogged pipe such as slow drains and low water pressure.

How Do I Prevent It?

The good news is that soap scum is primarily associated with certain types of soap. Bar soap is the most common cause of soap scum, so switching to liquid hand soap can help you avoid it. However, hard water, which is common in American households, can also cause soap scum.

Diminish the risk by using mesh drain traps and making sure other substances like hair, food, or toothpaste aren’t going down your drain and making clogs worse.

Getting Rid of Soap Scum

In most cases, you can get rid of a soap scum clog without needing a professional plumber or specialized cleaning products. In fact, the best soap scum solutions are likely already present in your home!

Pouring boiling water or a mixture of water and baking soda (1 teaspoon per gallon of water should do the trick) down your drains is usually enough to break up soap scum clogs. If that doesn’t work, ammonia can be used to clear away any remaining residue but be careful not to inhale any fumes.

If you need help dealing with soap scum in your home, call our plumbers at (818) 650-4883 to get more professional advice!
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