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Learn How to Clean a Bathtub Effectively

In this quick, comprehensive guide you will learn how to clean a bathtub effectively using both natural ingredients you may have lying around the house as well as top-of-the-line products you can buy at your favorite chain store.

 How to Clean a Bathtub

With just a few steps, and know-how, you’ll be on your way to a sparkling clean bath!

Knowing how to clean a bathtub is important, and this simple, straightforward, and 100% natural method for cleaning the bathtub works well, especially if you do it regularly.

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Whether or not your bathtub actually looks dirty, this method is 100% natural and effective for day-to-day grime.

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These stains shown in these photos are recent; rings and lines that have been sitting on the tub surface for weeks, months, or even years will take more applications to see a difference.

How to Clean a Bathtub with Baking Soda

Step 1. Wet the Bathtub Walls

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Begin by rinsing down the entire inner surface of the tub, including the tub walls. Don’t dry the tub since we need a slightly wet tub for the baking soda to stick on. 

A baking soda and water paste will clean stuck-on gunk in the shower and tub (use vinegar instead of water for really tough stains)

Step 2. Apply a Thin Layer of Baking Soda

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In this method, a soaking mixture made of baking soda and water will be used to clean stuck-on gunk in the shower and tub. Use vinegar instead of water for tough stains. 

Grab a box of baking soda.

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Sprinkle baking soda over the entire inner surface of the tub.

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Allow the baking soda to sit for a while. Note: Remember not to dry the tub after rinsing it with water since we want to have a little bit of water for the baking soda to stick with.

Step 3. Mix Baking Soda and Water into Paste (For Tough Stains)

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Vertical surfaces are harder to get to, no matter how well you initially wet them down. Areas with tough stains will also need a little more oomph in the cleansing power department. 

So instead of simply sprinkling baking soda on these problem areas, a paste made of baking soda and water will be the go-to option. 

Mix baking soda and water in a container until you get a paste-like consistency like the one shown above. 

Step 4. Apply Mixture to Stains

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Apply the baking soda + water mixture on bathtub walls and on problem areas with tough stains.  

Allow the paste to sit on top of the stains for at least 5 minutes.

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Step 5. Fill a Spray Bottle with Vinegar

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While the paste is left hanging out for a few minutes, the next thing you need to do is to grab a spray bottle and fill it with vinegar. 

Pro Tip: If you’re into natural house cleaning, we ecommend keeping some white vinegar in a spray bottle and having it handy at all times.  

Step 6. Spray White Vinegar on Tub

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Spray vinegar all over the insides of the tub, especially on top of baking soda-sprinkled and -pasted areas. 

Let it fizzle. 

Step 7. Wet an Old Rag

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Grab an old, clean white rag and wet it. 

Pro Tip: If you don’t have a rag hanging around, cut-up t-shirts would work also work great for this. 

Step 8. Begin Wiping

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Start wiping up the baking soda-vinegar solution. 

Note: Work from the top of the tub wall down into the tub floor, for efficiency’s sake.

Related: How To Clean A Jetted Tub

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Rinse your rag out often.

Keep wiping and rinsing until the tub is clean. You might want to use a soft-bristled brush or a cleaning toothbrush for some stubborn spots.

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Step 9. Keep Repeating

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Repeat this process regularly and/or frequently for better results.

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Let’s take a second to remember where we started, and admire where we ended up. That’s quite a difference.

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Why You Should Know How to Clean a Bathtub

Assuming that a bathtub is always clean after the dirty water goes down the drain is the same as assuming that a towel will always be clean just because you use it on a clean body every time.

However, a study conducted by the American Society for Microbiology has revealed that there are plenty of microorganisms surrounding your bathtub.

Exposure to these different types of bacteria can lead to multiple health problems, from pneumonia to urinary tract infections. However, cleaning your bathtub can prevent exposure to these microorganisms that can lead to so many different health problems.

Both the bathtub and the shower curtain need to be disinfected once every week.

How to Clean a Disgusting Bathtub

Is your bathroom absolutely disgusting? When this is the case, the normal processes of cleaning your bathroom may not work. You’ll have to pull out these special instructions to be able to clean an especially disgusting bathtub.

Be aware this is a process with several steps that will likely consume most of your day. But at least you will end the day with a clean bathtub.

Materials

  • Hot water
  • Baking Soda
  • Bleach
  • Safety Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Sponge
  • 2 Buckets

Steps for How to Clean a Disgusting Bathtub

Step 1: Rinse the Tub

Turn on your shower to high heat, and let it spray on the bathtub for 15 minutes. For those without a shower tub combo, you can achieve the same pre-steaming of the tub by filling it with hot water, letting it sit for 15 minutes, then draining the tub.

Step 2: Protect Yourself

When working with bleach you will always want to wear protective gloves and goggles. Put these on now.

Step 3: Mix Your Cleaning Agents

While the tub is being preheated, mix ½ cup of bleach in a bucket with one gallon of water. In a separate bucket, mix baking soda with bleach to make a paste.

Step 4: Wipe Down the Tub

Wipe down the entire tub by dipping a sponge into your bleach mixture. Let it dry for 30 minutes.

Step 5: Rinse Tub

Rinse your tub out, taking note of any spots that didn’t come out.

Step 6: Apply Paste to Trouble Spots

Apply the bleach/baking soda mixture to any of the tough spots that remain. It should sit for 30 minutes.

Step 7: Rinse with Cold Water

Rinse the tub a second time with cold water. All of the spots should come off and the tub should be clean. If not, repeat steps 3-7 until the tub is clean.

How to Deep Clean a Bathtub

Sometimes, your bathtub may not have visible rings on it, but it still may need a deep clean. Most people choose to do this at least twice a year, once during spring cleaning, and once in the fall around the time the school year begins.

Materials

  • Cleaning Gloves
  • Baking Soda
  • Lemon Juice
  • Dish Soap
  • Scrub Brush
  • Sponge
  • Bucket

How to Deep Clean a Bathtub Steps

Step 1: Mix Your Cleaner

In the bucket, mix baking soda and dish soap together in an equal ratio, then add a few drops of lemon juice. The mixture should become a foam.

Step 2: Put on Gloves

Although this cleaning process doesn’t involve bleach, dish soap and baking soda can be hard on the hands so you will want to put on gloves before touching the mixture you have created.

Step 3: Coat the Tub

Cover your entire tub in the mixture using a sponge. If there are any particularly difficult spots, scrub with a brush.

Step 4: Wash with a Wet Sponge

Clean your sponge, then soak in water and rinse the tub using the sponge. Allow dirty water to go into the drain and not in the bucket where you are getting your water from.

Step 5: Rinse the Tub

Rinse your entire tub with cold water. If spots remain, you can repeat all of the above steps a second time.

How to Clean a Bathtub with Vinegar

Cleaning products can have a strong scent and damage your skin if not used properly, therefore many people prefer to use a more natural cleaning product in their bathtub. If this sounds like you, then check out these instructions for cleaning your bathtub with vinegar.

Materials

  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Towel
  • Baking Soda

Steps for How to Clean a Bathtub with Vinegar

Step 1: Create Your Solution

In a spray bottle, you will want to combine vinegar and water in a 2:1 ratio (two parts vinegar for every part water).

Step 2: Spray the Tub

Spray your entire tub with the vinegar solution and allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes.

Step 3: Rinse the Tub

Rinse your tub with cold water. If there are still stains, proceed to step 4.

Step 4: Address the Tough Stains

Soak a towel in a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, then set it on the tough stains. Leave it there for one hour, then rinse. The stain should come right off.

How to Clean a Bathtub with Bleach

As much as you may wish to clean your bathtub with something more natural like vinegar and lemon juice, there are times when this will not be enough to do the trick. Here are the instructions for cleaning your bathtub using bleach.

Be sure to always use personal protective equipment when working with bleach.

Materials

  • Bleach
  • Spray bottle
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Sponge

How to Clean a Bathtub with Bleach Steps

Step 1: Rinse the Tub

Fill the tub with warm water, let it sit for 15 minutes, then drain the tub to rid it of any loose grime.

Step 2: Put on Protection

Put on your gloves and eye protection before pulling out the bleach. Ensure your bathroom is well ventilated.

Step 3: Fill the Tub

Fill the tub once again with water, adding the recommended amount of bleach on the bottle for the depth of your tub. Leave the water to sit for 20 minutes.

Step 4: Spray the Edges

While the water sits in the tub, mix bleach and water in a spray bottle and spray this on the edges of the tub where the water doesn’t quite reach. Scrub with the sponge.

Step 5: Scrub the Tough Spots

Take your sponge and gently scrub any scum or dirty spots, they should come right off. Remember not to dip your hands in the bleach water without gloves.

Step 6: Drain the Tub

Drain the tub completely, then rinse with a fresh round of water. Let the tub dry for a few hours before its next use.

How to Clear a Clogged Bathtub Drain

Maybe your bathtub is dirty because the drain is clogged. When this is the case, you can clean your tub all you want but it will just get dirty again until you clear the clogged drain. Follow the steps below to clear your clogged bathroom drain.

Materials

  • Gloves
  • Screwdriver
  • Drain claw
  • Baking Soda
  • Bucket
  • Stove Safe Pot
  • Vinegar
  • Plunger
  • Drain Cleaning Product

Steps

Step 1: Put on Gloves

Your drain isn’t going to be clogged by something you want to be touching, so start by putting on your gloves, and perhaps protective wear for your clothes if necessary.

Step 2: Remove the Drain Cover

Remove the drain cover from the drain. Sometimes these pop off easily, and other times they will need to be unscrewed using a screw driver.

Step 3: Remove Visible Blockages

Once the cover is off, use your hand to remove any easily visible blockages within the reach of your fingers.

Step 4: Use the Claw

Push the drain claw as far as you can into the drain, then pull it back out again. Repeat this process a few times.

Step 5: Boil Some Water

Boil some water on the stove. While this is boiling, prepare one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar.

Step 6: Pour Contents into Drain

Pour the water in first, followed by the baking soda and vinegar. Wait 20 minutes for this solution to clear the blockage. Rinse the drain with water.

Step 7: Use a Plunger

At this point, it is likely your drain has been cleared. If not, it’s time to pull out that plunger. Fill the bathtub with a few inches of water and plunge away.

Step 8: Remove Clumps

If done properly, your plunger will bring up chunks of gunk from the drain. Use your gloved hand to remove these and toss them in the trash.

Step 9: Rinse the Tub

Rinse the tub again, if a blockage still exists, continue to step 10.

Step 10: Use a Drain Cleaning Product

Pour a drain cleaning product down the drain following the instructions on the bottle. If it is still clogged after this, it’s time to call in a professional to take a look.

Benefits of Vinegar & Baking Soda

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a wide range of chemicals and store-bought products to actually clean the bathtub. You can do so even by using products that you can find around the house, such as vinegar and baking soda.

To better understand why these two products can do wonders, let’s look at the benefits that each of these items can provide.

You want to clean your bathtub with vinegar because:

  • Unlike chemical products that you purchase in stores, vinegar doesn’t contain any chemicals that you can potentially inhale. That makes it safer to use to clean the bathtub especially if you have children and a hard time keeping them away from the bathroom while you’re cleaning it.
  • Vinegar is very efficient against soap scum build-up.
  • It has very high acidity and can be very efficient to clean a bathtub. However, diluting it with water is a much better idea if you have a bathtub with a strong enamel finish.

If you want to buy some vinegar to clean your bathtub, you can opt for this one from the Green Gobbler Store. This is a naturally-derived alternative to chemically-rich products that you currently find in stores.

It comes with one gallon of vinegar that can be used for the bathtub, but also for other surfaces. It is made with corn-distilled alcohol and doesn’t contain any chemicals.

Baking soda is also useful for cleaning your bathtub because:

  • Baking soda is another cheap and non-toxic alternative to chemical-based solutions found in stores. It is also safe to use on a wide range of surfaces, making it a very versatile ingredient.
  • As a mildly-abrasive ingredient, it is a good idea to mix baking soda with vinegar to make it less damaging to surfaces, which can inevitably occur after intense scrubbing.

If you’re interested in purchasing some baking soda that’s really good for cleaning the bathtub, Arm & Hammer is a brand that doesn’t disappoint. You can purchase a pack of three or six boxes, with each box containing eight ounces of products each.

It is one of the best-selling products in its category and can be used hundreds of times before you need to purchase a new batch.

Best Bathtub Cleaners

Not into the DIY natural cleaner option? Consider store bought optios. Before buying a bathtub cleaner, there are a few things that you need to know about this type of product. This will help you distinguish good products from the bad, so here are the main things to look out for when you’re on the market looking for such a product:

  • List of ingredients: This is important for a variety of different reasons. First of all, some chemicals can be really irritating when you inhale them, which is sometimes inevitable when you’re scrubbing the tub. Try to use products that are very rich in bleaching agents and try to focus on naturally-derived products.
  • Low-acid content: If you use cleaners that are rich in acid ingredients, they might seriously damage the surface of the bathtub. In general, you want to opt for a product with an acidic content that’s lower than 5 percent.
  • Stain-focus: Not all cleaners are good for all types of bathtub stains, which means that you might need to search for very specific products depending on what you’re dealing with. For instance, some products are really efficient against mildew stains, others remove hard-water stains, and others are better for limescale.
  • Quantity required: How much product you’ll actually need to clean the bathtub once matters. A solution should be strong enough as to not require too much product when you’re cleaning. If you have to use a lot of products for a single cleaning session, it’s most likely not a very efficient cleaner, to begin with.

Best Bathtub Cleaner Products

Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser Premixed Formula

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This product is described as being a soft cleanser that works on multiple surfaces like ceramic, porcelain, copper alloys, stainless steel, and others. When you want to use this cleanser, you have to first shake the product, apply a little bit of it onto a damp sponge or the wet bathtub and scrub gently to clean the tub.

Make sure that you rinse it thoroughly about one minute after application. The solution is a mixture of citrus fragrance, surfactant, oxalic acid, citric acid, mineral abrasive, and water.

Lime-A-Way Bathroom Cleaner

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Calcium and lime are also a danger for your bathtub, and rust is something that can affect your drain and your bathtub hardware, which also requires cleaning just as often as the tub itself.

This is a sprayer bottle that is useful for spot cleaning, for tubs and tiles, sinks, fixtures, showers, and glass. It promises to remove even the toughest limescale stains without the need for too much elbow grease.

Best Bathtub Cleaner Brush

The second thing you’re going to need when cleaning the bathtub is a good brush. As you’re about to see, some brushes will require putting in some scrubbing effort, while others are battery-powered devices that do almost the entire work for you. Ready to shop for a bathtub cleaning brush?

OXO Good Grips All Purpose Scrub Brush

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Inexpensive, easy to hold, and with a very long lifespan: this is how we would describe this OXO brush. It comes with a contour handle that protects the knuckles and makes it very easy to maneuver the brush while you’re cleaning your bathtub.

The non-slip feature makes it easy to hold the brush even if your hands get wet. The stiff bristles happen to be very gentle and that makes it easy to remove dirt and grime without scratching the surface of the bathtub.

OXO Good Grips Extendable Tub and Tile Scrubber

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What makes this a good product is the fact that you won’t have to lean over the bathtub and put too much strain on your back while you’re trying to clean a specific surface. It comes with a handle that can extend from 26 to 42 inches with a mere twist.

The shape of the product makes it easy to clean even corners of your bathroom when needed, being a great product to use even on other surfaces inside the house. The steel pole is lightweight and easy to hold thanks to the non-slip construction.

Dremel Versa Cleaning Tool- Grout Brush

Dremel Versa Cleaning Tool- Grout BrushView in gallery

Dremel is a brand with a reputation, but how many of you did you know that it makes efficient cleaning tools as well? This is a battery-powered product that comes with a li-ion battery which can be used for about 25 minutes before the battery needs recharging.

It comes with multiple cleaning accessories that can be really efficient in cleaning not just the bathtub, but also other surfaces inside the house. It has a waterproof construction and comes with an erased pad, a non-scratch pad, a bristle brush, and a heavy-duty pad.

Drillbrush 4 Piece Nylon Power Brush

Drillbrush 4 Piece Nylon Power BrushView in gallery

The best way to describe this product is like a hand drill equipped with brush heads. You basically get a lot of torque to clean multiple bathroom surfaces, including the dreaded tub which is often filled with microorganisms.

This kit is equipped with medium-stiffness nylon brushes and a cordless drill that work together to efficiently scrub surfaces without too much effort on your behalf.  There are four different brush heads in this kit, with every brush being designed to withstand indoor and outdoor use.

Tilswall Electric Spin Scrubber

Tilswall Electric Spin ScrubberView in gallery

The last cleaning brush that we wanted to talk to you about is another product focused on minimizing elbow grease to make cleaning less of a chore. It comes with a rechargeable battery system that can provide up to 180 minutes of continuous working power so that you can clean the tub, as well as other surfaces inside the house.

The bristles are designed to be strong enough to actually remove dirt, but soft enough as to avoid scratching any surfaces. With a single press of a button, you can extend the handle from 27.6 inches to 43.3 inches, which means less bending over and less strain on your lower back.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How to Clean Bathtub Jets

Clean bathtub jets can help you enjoy a relaxing bath time.

If for some reason your bathtub faucets are clogged, and you do not know how to clean them, below is a simple step-by-step guide on how to clean those bathtub water jets.

1. Fill your tub with hot water until just above the jets.
2. Add 2 tbsp of dishwashing liquid and half a cup of vinegar into the water.
3. Run the jets for at least 15 mins.
4. Drain your bathtub and this time, fill it with cold water.
5. Run the jets for another 15 mins.
6. Drain the bathtub and rinse it thoroughly.
7. Deep clean the jets using a brush and a non-abrasive piece of cloth.

How to Clean Mold and Mildew from Bathtub?

The steps in cleaning mold and mildew from the bathtub are pretty much the same as the steps on how to clean bathtub stains.

All you need to do is to combine 2 parts water with 1 parts vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray this solution on problem areas. Let the solution sit for 15 minutes.

You can see the mold and mildew slowly fading away within that 15 minutes.

However, if there are still stubborn mold and mildew left after 15 minutes, what you need to do is to scrub those areas with an old toothbrush or any brush you have.

How to Clean Bathtub Fixtures?

For the faucets, you’ll prepare a baggie of white vinegar up over your faucet and tightly secure it in place with a rubber band. Let the faucet soak for at least 30 minutes.

To clean the surface of bathtub fixtures, what you’ll need is a mixture of lemon and baking soda. Apply this mixture on the bathtub fixtures using a soft cloth and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.

How to Clean Plastic Bathtub?

Instead of using the typical bathtub cleaning products, the best product to use when cleaning a plastic bathtub is rubbing alcohol.

What you need to do first is to flush the tub with hot water and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.

Wipe the entire tub with rubbing alcohol using a damp cloth to remove stains and mildew.

How to Clean A Bathtub: Conclusion

Cleaning a bathtub is something that should be part of a weekly ritual for hygiene and aesthetic purposes. 

One of the most important aspects of knowing how to clean a bathtub is making sure that you use the best products when cleaning your bathtub and the steps to ensure a deep clean. This guide will show you how to do just that! So, keep it handy and get to cleaning!