how to clean a bahtub

How to Clean a Bathtub and Keep it Sparkling

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Cleaning your bathtub isn’t the most fun way to enjoy your bathroom, but staying on top of this task will allow you to relax in luxury with a hot bubble bath anytime you need it. Here are some tips and tricks for how to clean a bathtub like the pros

how to clean a bathtub

Supplies for Cleaning a Bathtub

Before you begin, be sure you have everything you will need. Collect the following items:

  • A wash bucket
  • Scrub brush
  • Cleaning solution
  • A soft sponge or microfiber cloth
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Empty spray bottle
  • Rubber gloves
  • Disinfectant
  • Old toothbrush

This should suffice for regular cleaning. You may need heavier-duty tools if you have neglected your tub for a while and need to tackle tough stains.

How to Clean a Bathtub Effectively

A thorough bathtub cleaning isn’t a speedy job, but it isn’t overly difficult. Follow these steps for a fresh, clean bathtub you can be proud of.

Prep the Tub for Cleaning

Before the cleaning begins, remove any obstacles from the area. For example, remove shampoo bottles, razors, and the shower curtain from the bathtub ledge. Open a window for ventilation and keep pets or children out of the area. You could get wet, so wear something you don’t mind cleaning in.

Pre-Rinse the Bathtub

First, grab your scrubbing brush and quickly pass over the tub’s surfaces to remove any loose debris, hair, or other dirt. Then turn the faucet or shower head on and give everything a rinse. 

Clean the Surrounding Bath or Shower Walls

You want to start from top to bottom, so you are working with gravity down toward the bathtub drain. Start by spraying your cleaning solution on the tile, caulk, and showerhead in your bath box. You might use a store-bought cleaning product, homemade solution, or simply a vinegar spray, depending on the amount of filth you are dealing with. Let your solution sit for the appropriate amount of time, then scrub away while rinsing with the shower head or wash bucket. 

Wipe and Scrub the Bathtub

Once the walls are finished, it’s time for the main event. Again, apply your cleaning solution (which may differ from your tile cleaner) thoroughly to all bath surfaces. Follow the instructions as far as mixing with water or leaving to soak. When that is finished, get your scrubbing brush and some elbow grease and scrub away any buildup like residue, dirt, water spots, soap scum, or microscopic germs. For corners and other tough-to-reach areas, switch to your pliable sponge.  

Scrub the Drain

Next, move on to the drain. You shouldn’t need to reapply tub cleaner as you should have in the previous step, and everything washes over the drain anyway. The problem is sometimes dirt particles, and other gunk can collect around the drain without going down it. Give the area another quick scrub to remove or wash away anything left behind. You might also disassemble the drain plug to remove any trapped hair or other filth trapped here that may clog in the future.

Tackle Stubborn Bathtub Stains and Grime

Take a step back to admire your hard work and see if you missed any spots. If you notice any mineral deposits or other discoloration, you may need to bring in a different product to finish the job. For example, iron remover can break up stubborn stains (like rust from well water), while bleach is effective in killing mold. Avoid mixing cleaning chemicals and always use appropriate safety equipment and ventilation (ideally, with the window open and the bathroom fan on) to avoid toxic fumes.

Rinse the tub and Wipe Down again

Once you are done, use the shower head or your bucket once again to rinse away all the soap and chemicals, so the shower is ready to use again. If you don’t rinse thoroughly, you may leave streaks or discoloration from your cleaning products. 

Cleaning Different Types of Bathtubs

Not all bathtubs are the same, so pay attention to these cleaning tips for your tub type to make things go smoothly and avoid potential damage. 

Acrylic Tub

acrylic bathtub

The finish on acrylic bathtubs isn’t as durable as a porcelain tub. As a result, be careful using abrasive cleaners that you make or buy from the store. They can dull the finish and damage the tub over time. Instead, use mild cleaners like dish soap, vinegar, and baking soda, and be sure to rinse thoroughly.

Fiberglass Tub

Fiberglass tubs are pretty tough but not as tough as porcelain. Read the label on store-bought products to ensure they are safe for use on fiberglass. For at-home cleaning mixtures, dilute them with more water than usual. For example, one cup of vinegar to two cups of cold water instead of a solution of vinegar and equal parts water. 

Porcelain-Enameled Tub

Porcelain is the gold standard for bathtubs because they are extremely durable and easy to clean. All store-bought bathroom cleaners should be safe to use on a porcelain-enamel bathtub, so long as you follow the directions. Bleach is also safe when diluted adequately (about a half-cup per gallon of warm water).

Stone Resin Tub

stone resin bathtub

For stone baths, you want to avoid harsh chemicals and brushes that might scratch or wear away the tub surface. Instead, opt for granite countertop cleaners, dish soap, or a simple baking soda and vinegar solution. Use a sponge instead of a scrubbing brush to avoid leaving scratches and discoloration. 

How Often You Should Clean Your Bathtub

It is generally a good idea to clean your bathtub as part of your weekly routine. Even if it doesn’t look dirty, staying on top of it will ensure each cleaning is quick and easy. If you wait until your dirty bathtub starts to get gross, you will have to spend extra time cleaning it anyway.

Call a Cleaning Service if You Need Assistance

If you’re having trouble keeping your bathtub clean or need some help after a period of neglect, our expert cleaners will be happy to take on the challenge. Whether you want us to take on your weekly routine or just need a hand before a special event, our expert maid service knows how to clean a bathtub better than anybody!


What should you not clean your bathtub with?

Be careful to only use cleaning solutions formulated for your bathtub material. For example, potent porcelain cleaning agents or bleach on an acrylic tub may damage the finish. Also, consider that the remnants of anything you use will get into your bathwater to some extent. Don’t use chemicals you wouldn’t want to bathe in. 

What products to use to clean a bathtub?

There is a myriad of store-bought products specifically designed to clean showers and baths without causing harm to the finish or your family. Green cleaning remedies include dish soap, baking soda, white vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide, though these will be less effective than specially formulated solutions like scrubbing bubbles

What is the best cleaner for a very dirty bathtub?

When cleaning a bathtub, you want something tough on grime and mildew that won’t damage the finish of your tub. One of the best cleaners for this job is baking soda and vinegar. Sprinkle baking soda over the entire tub, then spray vinegar over the baking soda until it fizzes. 

Let the mixture sit for a few minutes, then scrub the tub with a brush or sponge and rinse with water. You can also try using a commercial tub and tile cleaner, but follow the instructions carefully and test it in a small area first.

Will baking soda damage a tub?

Baking soda is not a harsh cleaner and should not be abrasive enough to damage bathtubs with normal use. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly after use. 

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