How to clean a bathtub the proper and safe way

A step-by-step guide to a sparkling bathtub

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Let’s be honest: when was the last time you really cleaned your tub? We know – it’s a hassle figuring out how to clean a bathtub without ruining it. Also, it takes time to get the stains out and clean the surrounding area. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to properly and safely clean your bathtub. Before you know it, you’ll be sitting back and relaxing in your squeaky-clean tub once again! 

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, 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

Spraying liquid detergent on bathtub, cleaning bathtub with cloth

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 fixturesCleaning bathtub spray 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 tubBrushing 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: 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 despite a busy schedule

No time to scrub the tub? No worries, you can still get your bathtub clean and mould-free. Simply book a house cleaner near you. You may soon find trusted Taskers ready to help with your bathroom cleaning and maintenance chores.

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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 the solution 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. Always spot-test your cleaning solution before trying it on your entire tub!

If you want to skip the scrubbing, you’ll need a strong yet safe tub cleaner. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Mix 1/4 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup dish soap in a spray bottle.

  2. Spray this solution all over the tiles and let it sit for 20 minutes or even a few hours.

  3. Rinse to release all the dirt.

Note: Vinegar may be too harsh for some tubs, so you can swap it out for lemon juice or dilute it in water. Or better yet, spot-test the cleaning solution before spraying it all over the tub.

Here’s how to clean a jacuzzi bathtub:

  1. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda all over your tub, then scrub the sides and bottom.

  2. Next, fill your tub with hot water all the way up to the jets.

  3. Add 3 cups of vinegar, then turn the jets on.

  4. Leave the jacuzzi to run for 5 minutes before draining.

  5. Use a toothbrush to remove build-up in the grooves of your tub. 

  6. Next, fill the tub with clean water and run the jets again to rinse the build-up.

  7. Finally, drain the jacuzzi and wipe it dry with a clean cloth. 

If you tried to use bleach to get rid of rust stains and ended up with yellow stains, the bleach most likely reacted with the rust.

Here’s how to fix this: 

  1. First, open the windows and make sure the bathroom is well-ventilated. Put on some gloves as well to protect your skin from chemical reactions.

  2. Then, use baking soda, lemon water, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide to treat the stains.

  3. Let your stain remover of choice sit on the yellow spots, then scrub and rinse. 

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. 

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.

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