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How to Clean Your Bathtub so it Looks Brand New

By the Vevano Home Team
July 20, 2021

Cleaning a bathtub usually isn’t anyone’s favorite task on their cleaning to-do list. Whether you’re unsure of how to make your bathtub sparkly white again, or you just need some bathtub cleaning tips, we’re here to help you get your tub looking brand new.

Not only will we walk you through the steps of how to clean a bathtub, but we’ll also share how to clean the bathtub drain and how to know when a tub is past the point of no return—or, in other words, when it’s time for you to get a new bathtub.

Know the Material Your Tub is Made Out Of

Before you start cleaning, be mindful of your bathtub’s material and how your cleaning methods might affect it. For example, acrylic and fiberglass tubs are especially susceptible to scratches and are easily damaged by abrasive chemicals and cleaning supplies. On the other hand, porcelain-enameled steel and cast iron tubs are more scratch- and stain-resistant than acrylic and fiberglass tubs, but abrasive and highly acidic cleaners, like white vinegar, can still damage the finish.

bathtub lifestyle

In general, always use gentle, non-abrasive cleansers and supplies when cleaning any bathtub material. However, it never hurts to check with your tub’s manufacturer for specific cleaning instructions and considerations, especially if you own a natural stone or stone resin tub.

Bathtub Cleaning Basics

You don’t need to use commercial cleaning products like Soft Scrub or Clorox bleach to clean your tub. Instead, you’ll most likely already have the products you need at home! The following steps are safe on almost all tubs, mainly acrylic, porcelain-enameled, and fiberglass tubs:

There are many methods to clean bathtubs, so if the above process did not remove the grime and stains you had hoped it would, try using tub and tile cleaner instead of baking soda. For any leftover stubborn stains, put additional baking soda on the surface and continue scrubbing.

  1. Gather the materials that you will need to make your tub clean again. You will need baking soda, white vinegar, a sponge or cleaning brush, and a washable rag or cloth (preferably microfiber).
  2. Heat ¼ cup of white vinegar in a microwavable bowl so that it is hot but not boiling. This will take about one minute.
  3. Pour dish soap all over your bathtub. You’ll want to be able to lather the soap all over your tub, so it is nice and bubbly.
  4. Pour your hot white vinegar in the bathtub on top of the soap and let it sit for a couple of minutes. If your tub is porcelain-enameled, skip the white vinegar and just pour hot water.
  5. Sprinkle 4–5 tablespoons of baking soda in your bathtub.
  6. Now you’re ready to scrub! You can wear gloves if you’d like, but these chemicals are harmless. Try to cover the entire surface area of your tub and focus on the extra dirty or rusty spots.
  7. After you’ve scrubbed, let your cleaning mixture sit on your tub for 30–60 minutes so it can have more time to break down the dirt and grime that has built up on your tub’s surface.
  8. Using your rag, wipe down your tub, and then rinse it with warm water.
  9. If you have any remaining stains, repeat the above steps for a sparkly white shine.

There are many methods to clean bathtubs, so if the above process did not remove the grime and stains you had hoped it would, try using tub and tile cleaner instead of baking soda. For any leftover stubborn stains, put additional baking soda on the surface and continue scrubbing.

bathtub lifestyle

If your bathtub has mold or mildew buildup, try spraying your tub with hot water mixed with bleach in a spray bottle. Allow a few minutes for the solution to soak in and then thoroughly rinse your tub. Do NOT immediately follow your bleach treatment with vinegar or another cleaning solution, as the combination can be deadly.

Bleach can discolor your tub over time, so use this mixture sparingly, and always make sure to dilute the bleach in water before applying it to your tub’s surface. Even so, enameled cast iron and acrylic tubs are especially susceptible to damage and discoloration from bleach, so we recommend using a mild commercial cleaner specifically made for this tub material.

How to Clean and Unclog a Bathtub Drain

We know cleaning and unclogging your bathtub drain is no fun, but trust us when we say you do not want to put it off. A dirty, clogged drain can render your bathtub completely unusable, and water that won’t drain can lead to serious mold and mildew problems. Follow these steps to have a clean bathtub drain:

  1. Start by removing the stopper and removing any easy-to-clean gunk.
  2. Next, pour a pot of boiling water down the drain.
  3. Then, pour a mixture of one cup of baking soda and one cup of white vinegar into the drain and wait for 5–10 minutes.
  4. To finish, pour another pot of boiling water down the drain to rinse the solution down the drain.

There you have it! You can have a clean, unclogged bathtub drain in under 30 minutes and just four easy steps. Do this whenever your bathtub is not draining correctly or when any unpleasant smells come from the drain.

How to Maintain a Clean Bathtub

bathtub lifestyle

There are a few dos and don'ts about how to keep your bathtub clean. If you take good care of your tub and don’t go too long without cleaning it, there will be little maintenance that you’ll have to do. To maintain a clean tub without damaging the surface, keep these tips in mind:

Do:

  • Use soft, clean cloths for wiping, cleaning, and drying, like a microfiber cloth.
  • Use mild or gentle soaps for regular cleaning, if needed.
  • Rinse the tub after each use.
  • Wipe the tub dry when finished using—this is especially important for stone resin or natural stone tubs.

Do Not:

  • Use abrasive cleaners, sponges, scrubbers, and other harsh materials—no steel wool necessary.
  • Ignore special care instructions that apply to your bathtub material.

Adhering to these basic tips will ensure that your bathtub is clean and beautiful. As mentioned initially, each bathtub material has unique characteristics that may require a different cleaning approach. Make sure to check with the manufacturer to see if your tub included specific cleaning instructions.

Happy Cleaning!

freestanding bathtubs lifestyle

We hope that the above tips on how to clean a bathtub are helpful for you in understanding how to clean your bathtub most effectively. Make sure you know what your tub is made of, clean with the above-listed cleaning products, take good care of your tub to maintain a spotless shine, and replace your tub if you cannot fully clean it or face other problems.

If you think it’s time for a new tub, our Vevano Home design consultants can help. Looking for a total bathroom remodel? Our interior designers can help with that too. We offer free consultations with 3D rendering, and we’d love to help you design your dream bathroom or replace your bathtub!

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