How we test bathroom cleaners

Here's how we get the results that help you choose the best bathroom cleaner.

Say goodbye to soap scum

Let's face it; no one enjoys cleaning their bathroom, that's why you want the right cleaner to make this chore as pain-free as possible. You'll need a product that can tackle all the grimy mess that builds up in your bathroom; one that can remove soap scum from tiles and glass as well as shower heads, bath tubs and taps.

Our expert testers

We select a range of bathroom cleaners that you can buy at major supermarkets and send them to a laboratory for testing. In-house, we work out the value for money of each product by measuring how much detergent comes out with each pump of the trigger.

How we choose what we test

With a range of products on the market, what makes us choose one bathroom cleaner to test over another? As with most of our product testing, our aim is to test the most popular brands on the market and what you're most likely to see in stores.

We first check out the products you can buy in-store and then survey manufacturers to find out about their range of products. From this information we put together a final list that goes to our buyers. They then head out to the retailers and buy each product, just as a normal consumer would. We do this so we can be sure they're the same as any consumer would find them and not 'tweaked' in any way.

How we test

Our overall score is a measure of soap scum removal, which is assessed by testing how well each bathroom cleaner removes soap scum in soft and hard water areas. The testing lab follows the manufacturer's instructions for application times. This is how the lab synthesises the soap scum:

Soft soap scum is a combination of a variety of hard soaps, synthetic sebum (bodily oils) and carbon black (which provides the dark colour so soil removal can be measured). This is to simulate the effect of hard soaps combining with body oils to form sticky deposits (important in soft water areas and bathtubs). This is applied to tiles and baked on at 80°C for one hour. It is then scrubbed with 10 strokes of the scrub tester before soil removal is measured.

Hard soap scum is calcium stearate combined with carbon black. Calcium stearate is the most common hard soap scum and is created by the reaction of soap ingredients with calcium ions in tap water. In hard water areas, deposits are more likely to be mostly hard soap scum. The solution is applied to tiles and baked on at 180°C for one hour to simulate a tough soap scum. It is then scrubbed with 20 strokes of the scrub tester before soil removal is measured.

Test criteria explained

Overall score

The overall score is made up of:

  • Soft soap scum removal (80%)
  • Hard soap scum removal (20%)

The majority of the population lives in soft water areas, making soft soap scum the more common type we'd usually need to tackle, so we've weighted our overall score to consider this.

Ready to buy?

Take a look at our bathroom cleaner reviews for full test results.

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