How to clean and remove soap scum on a fiberglass shower pan.
Tile and Grout Sealing Tips
By Troy Cantini
Soap scum, hard water deposits and other stains can make fiberglass shower pans look ugly and unsanitary. Cleaning a fiberglass shower pan requires using aggressive scour pads, powerful soap scum removers and a lot of elbow grease. Since fiberglass shower pans are through body materials the soap scum is able to grab on tight and get deep into the fiberglass.
The good thing about fiberglass shower pans is that you can typically use aggressive scour pads on them without damaging the finish of the fiberglass. An aggressive scrub pad works best for scrubbing fiberglass shower pans. If your arms get sore scrubbing the soap scum you can usually put the scrub pad under your shoe and scrub with your foot. This technique makes it much easier on your arms and legs when trying to remove multiple layers of soap scum.
If you have ever had your shower pan painted or refinished then your will need to use softer non-abrasive scrub pads that will not scratch the refinished coating. If the shower pan has been refinished then the soap scum will usually be easier to remove so aggressive scour pads may not be necessary anyways. You should always test any type of cleaning product first before using it on a refinished shower pan.
A professional level acidic tile cleaner is the best product to use for dissolving away and loosening up soap scum. Stonetech's restore acidic cleaner works great to loosen up and dissolve soap scum. The acidic cleaner can be used in ceramic and porcelain tile showers but it should not be used in any type of stone tile shower installation. Acidic products and cleaners can etch the stone so it is best to never use acidic cleaners in a stone tile shower. Ceramic and porcelain tiles will not be damaged by acidic cleaners so it is safe to use acidic cleaners on ceramic and porcelain tiles.
If you have a stone tile shower then a professional level non-acidic soap scum remover like MB-3 must be used to dissolve away and loosen up the soap scum. MB-3 is a professional non-acidic soap scum remover that is made specifically for cleaning up soap scum in stone tile showers. You can use this product to remove the soap scum on the stone tile shower walls while you are cleaning the fiberglass shower pan. You can also use MB-3 on ceramic and porcelain tile showers to remove soap scum but it is not as effective at removing soap scum as an acidic tile cleaning product.
You should pour the acidic cleaner or the MB-3 directly on the shower pan and allow it to dwell there for 15-20 minutes or longer. It will not damage the shower pan but you should not allow the cleaning products to dry on the shower pan. Keep adding the cleaning products as needed so they do not dry on the shower pan. It is best to allow the soap scum removers ample dwell time to loosen up the soap scum so that it will be easier to scrub away and remove later.
When you see that the soap scum is starting to loosen up the you should start scrubbing it away with an aggressive scrub pad. Make sure you wear knee pads and rubber gloves while scrubbing the shower pan. Scrub aggressively and for as long as it takes to remove the soap scum and discolorations on the shower pan. Scrubbing in multiple directions helps to remove all traces of soap scum. You may need to rinse the floor and inspect it to ensure that the shower pan has been totally cleaned. It may be necessary to reapply the soap scum remover a couple of times and scrub away at the more highly stained areas of the shower pan till it is totally clean.
After cleaning the shower and and removing the soap scum then be sure to rinse away the excess cleaning agents and wipe down the shower. If the shower walls need cleaned, sealed or re-caulked then it may be a good time to do this work also. It is best to clean the fiberglass shower pan on a regular basis so that the soap scum and hard water deposits do not accumulate. Using a liquid soap when showering will not allow as much soap scum to accumulate in the shower as a bar soap will.
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