Understanding Corrosion in Water Pipelines: A Guide for Pipeline Designers


Soap Scum

Last updated: April 9, 2018

What Does Soap Scum Mean?

This is a white or gray layer of accumulation that results from the reaction of soap with salts and minerals (calcium and magnesium) left when hard water evaporates. It makes a glass door look frosted when it accumulates on its surface or forms a cloudy or creamy gaze in vertical surfaces. It is also known as a multifarious sludge or lime scale, thus forming a layer of scaliness, odors and discolorations of surfaces.


Corrosionpedia Explains Soap Scum

When hard water evaporates when it settles on surfaces, lime scale is left when the solvent (water) evaporates. These deposits of minerals increase the development of scum and adhesion to a surface. It is an accumulation of a variety of components and thus thickens when hard water becomes the solvent. Other components that make up soap scum include:

  • Mildew, algae or mold
  • Mineral deposits
  • Soap talc
  • Body oils
  • Dirt-dead skin and hair

A longer accumulation of soap scum makes it concrete and eventually becomes hard to remove. Baking soda, ammonia, vinegar, degreasing agents and lemon oil are among the most used soap scum removers in households. It disintegrates when exposed to acidic conditions. Household soaps are known for soap scum due to the presence of talc ingredient in them, so liquid soaps are the best when prevention is required.

Prevention has been required since the accumulation of soap scum in pits and holes accelerate the rate of corrosion of untreated glass and metals.


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