How to clean a bathtub the proper and safe way

A step-by-step guide to a sparkling bathtub

Find a bathroom cleaning service

Last Updated on

When it comes to cleaning bathtubs, it’s important to know the right cleaning materials to use, how to get rid of stains, and even how to do deep cleaning. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to clean different types of tubs safely. Learn all about cleaning products to use and avoid, whether you can safely use bleach or white vinegar, and more pointers for scrubbing the tub.

Bathtub cleaning tips for different kinds of tubs 

  • Plastic: Mix warm water and mild dish soap, and then scrub the plastic tub with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth. Rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda and vinegar can also be used on plastic bathtubs. 

  • Porcelain: Avoid harsh cleaners like powder chemicals and metal sponges. Vinegar may be too harsh for porcelain bathtubs too. Instead, try a mixture of lemon oil, hot water, and soap. 

  • Acrylic: These are sturdy tubs, but make sure to avoid abrasive scrubbing pads or brushes when cleaning. You can apply wax on the tub’s surface after cleaning to achieve a spotless look! 

  • Enamel: Avoid harsh chemicals and scrub stains with a soft sponge.

  • Fibreglass: Like enamel tubs, fibreglass bathtubs don’t take kindly to harsh cleaners. A baking soda or soap-based cleaner should be enough to keep this type of tub clean.

This guide will focus on tub cleaning tips and methods that are safe for most tubs. 

How to clean a bathtub 

Step 1: Determine the type of tub you have

The first step to knowing the best way to clean your bathtub is to find out what it’s made of. Check if it’s made of fibreglass, acrylic, porcelain-enamelled steel, or stone resin. Then, check the manufacturer’s instructions for the materials you can safely use on your tub, as well as what to avoid using.

Step 2: Gather the right cleaning materials

Bathtub cleaning materials on bathroom floor, barefoot man cleaning bathtub

Gather your materials based on the type of tub you have. Some common bathtub cleaning materials include cleaning gloves, face masks, safety glasses, baking soda, dish soap, and a tub-and-tile cleaner. You’ll also need soft cleaning microfibre cloths, sponges, a spray bottle, and a bucket. When using store-bought cleaners, make sure they’re appropriate for use on your tub.

Step 3: Remove clutter 

Is the edge of your tub full of bottles and tubes? Get these out of the way before you clean. You can even opt to have a separate rack in your bathroom for your toiletries. Not only does this save you time when cleaning, but this also prevents residue from building up on the side of your tub.

Step 4: Clean your bathtub

How to clean bathtub scum? Spray or sprinkle tub cleaner all over the tub to remove soap scum. For mildly dirty tubs, you can use tub cleaners like baking soda or dish soap. Or use a tub-and-tile cleaner if you want a deeper clean. Then, use a damp microfibre cloth or sponge to rub the cleaner on the surface. 

Here’s a bathtub cleaning hack to thoroughly clean your bathtub: 

Bathtub being filled with tap water for cleaning

  1. Fill the bathtub with about an inch (2.5 cm) of water, enough to cover the bottom.

  2. Add the cleaning solution to the water.

  3. Use a scrub brush to clean the sides of the bathtub, making sure to reach every surface and remove any dirt or grime.

  4. Drain the water from the tub.

  5. Use the scrub brush to clean the bottom of the bathtub, focusing on any areas you may have missed earlier.

  6. Drain the water from the tub completely.

Step 5: Clean stains 

Here’s how to clean tough bathtub stains: First, let the cleaner sit for 15-20 minutes, then start scrubbing. For extra-stubborn spots, try scrubbing with tub-and-tile cleaner; just make sure it’s the right type for your tub!

Step 6: Clean the fixtures

Cleaning bathtub hose with a sponge

Don’t forget the fixtures on your bathtub. To get the faucets, showerhead, and hose nice and sparkly again, simply give them a good wipe with a damp rag or cloth. 

Here’s another bathtub cleaning hack: If your fixtures are full of hard water deposits, pour some white vinegar and wrap a plastic bag around the fixtures. Leave this on for 15-30 minutes, then rinse. Your faucets will be extra shiny afterwards!

Step 7: Rinse and wipe

Rinse the tub with clean water, then wipe with a clean rag. You can actually do this after every use! A helpful bathtub cleaning hack is to get a damp rag or cloth to wipe down your tub after each use. Doing this will prevent residue build-up and make bathtub maintenance easier.

Step 8: Clean the tiles, grout, and caulk around the tub

Brushing mould and mildew from tile joints around bathtub

Don’t forget to clean the area around the bathtub. Get a tile cleaner or make a paste from baking soda and water. Apply it to the entire floor area (including the grout and caulk), let it sit for around 10 minutes, and then use a grout brush to scrub and rinse clean. Scrub any stains or hard water deposits as well. 

How to clean a bathtub drain

Drains can get quite gross over time, so paying special attention to them when cleaning your sinks and tubs is essential. To do this, put on some cleaning gloves and make a hooked wire out of an old hanger. 

  1. Fish out any blockages from the drain and set them aside. 

  2. Pour hot water down the drain to clear it. 

  3. Follow up with 1 cup of baking soda, then 1 cup of vinegar. 

  4. After 15 minutes, flush the drain again with hot water. 

How to deep clean a bathtub

Deep cleaning is an important part of household chores, and yes, your tub should be deep cleaned too!

When deep cleaning your tub, you want to tackle mould, mildew, and other stains. You can do this by mixing a 1:1 solution of baking soda and dish soap. Mix until it becomes foamy, then coat your entire tub. Let the cleaning solution sit for 30 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing. 

For stubborn stains that won’t come off even with deep cleaning, you can spot-clean with baking soda and white vinegar or lemon juice. For delicate porcelain and enamel tubs, try spot-testing or diluting the vinegar or lemon juice first to avoid damaging your tub. 

How to clean bathtub stains

How to get a bathtub white again is a question some of us might ask a couple of years into owning a tub. To get rid of stubborn spots, you can: 

  • Apply a mixture of vinegar or lemon juice plus baking soda. For more delicate materials like porcelain and enamel, spot-test first or dilute the vinegar or lemon juice in water.

  • Use a clean, soft rag to wipe the stain away. 

  • Rinse well to make sure the vinegar or lemon juice is washed off. 

Efficient cleaning for busy schedules

If you don’t have the time to deep clean your bathtub or the rest of your bathroom, you can still enjoy the perks of a squeaky-clean home when you book a local house cleaner. You can even check house cleaning prices before you get started, so you get an idea of how much it will cost. 

Conquer your busy schedule by hiring a cleaner whenever you need one!

Find shower cleaners, fast

Find a shower cleaner

FAQs on bathtub cleaning

The easiest way to clean a bathtub is to make a solution of dish soap plus white vinegar or lemon juice, microwave it for 30 seconds, and then spray this all over your tub. Let it sit for 30 minutes, give it a light scrub with a damp rag or sponge, then rinse thoroughly with cold water. 

Note: As vinegar may be too harsh for porcelain and enamel, diluted vinegar or lemon juice may be a safer option. Spot-test your cleaning solution first before trying this on your entire tub!

Make sure you’re using the right cleaning materials for your bathtub to prevent damage. For example, you should avoid using harsh cleaners and scouring pads on a porcelain tub. Enamel tubs should only be cleaned with a soft sponge – no nylon brushes! As the proper cleaning products can vary from case to case, it’s best to check with your bathtub’s manual or manufacturer for cleaning instructions. 

Technically, after each use! Here’s how to quickly clean your bathtub daily: Give it a quick rinse and wipe it down after each bath. You should also get the tub cleaned at least once a week to avoid nasty stains and build-up. 

If you have a combined shower and tub, the cleaning steps are pretty much the same. You’ll need to declutter, spritz on your cleaner of choice, and scrub the dirt away before giving the area a final rinse. If you don’t have the time or energy to do this regularly, you can hire a cleaner to scrub the tub for you. 

Vinegar and baking soda are popular cleaning materials you can use all over your home! Here are two ways you can use them for cleaning your tub: 

  • Mix vinegar with soap and essential oils to make a cleaning solution safe for most tubs.

  • Pour some baking soda down the drain to clear it, then follow up with vinegar and hot water. 

Vinegar may be too harsh for some tubs, so you can opt to dilute it with water or swap it for a less acidic option, like lemon juice.

Vinegar will not harm fibreglass tubs if you use it properly. That means avoiding abrasives such as scouring pads, steel wool, or gritty cleaning solutions since vinegar is already quite strong. 

To create a vinegar-based bathtub cleaner that’s strong enough for dirt but safe for your tub, mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water.

Related articles

Related price guides

Let's do this!

It's free and takes only a minute.