How To Clean Your Bathtub And Get It White Again

Smartlydwelling is independent – we research, test, and rate the top products to help you make the right buying choice. We sometimes use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on your purchase. Learn more…

Soaking into the hot tub is such a joyful time spent well to relax. Cleaning a dirty bathtub? Not as much! Neglecting a dirty tub will only make it harder to clean, so it’s essential to find the number one remedy for getting rid of number two and all other numbers related to procrastination. With all the soap and water flowing around the tub, you might be thinking how clean it is, right? Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

Bathtubs are a hotspot for soap scum, mildew, grime. Not to mention stubborn stains that will keep you scratching your head. There are different types of stains caused by mineral deposits left from hard water. No matter the cause, throughout this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to clean a bathtub and keep it fresh the right way.

Table of Contents

Essential Bathtub Cleaning Supplies

  • Cleaning bucket
  • Dish soap
  • Toothbrush or Scrub brush
  • Sponges or cleaning cloths
  • White Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Tub and Tile cleaner
  • Grout Sealer
  • All-purpose bathroom cleaner or spray bottle of bleach
  • Hydrogen peroxide

So What is the Best Way to Clean a Bathtub?

The best way to clean a bathtub depends on how disgusting it is and the severity of stains. While you might need to opt for commercial cleaners rather than natural remedies, above the tub is where the first cleaning hack starts. It’s always best practice to start from top to bottom. Doing so, you’ll ensure that any dislodged mess from the top won’t end up on your already sparkling bathtub. Hence, to prevent this, remove all the items from the tub.

1. Remove All the Items From the Tub

You don’t want any cleaning products being applied to your items. Matter a fact, we all have empty products collecting dust, so now is a perfect time to throw away anything unuseful. With all the action going down in your tub, your toiletries, toys and bottles, and other essentials get a bit of slimy soap scum on them. Wipe the items as you remove them or throw them in the dishwasher, or just set them aside.

2. Cleaning The Tile Surround

You’ll want to create steam by running the shower on hot for a few minutes. With closed doors, the moisture will help release dirt and grime. Before applying any solution on your tiles, always pay attention to the label of the cleaner you chose to use.

Use cleaning cloths and all-purpose bathroom cleaners. If you’re dealing with mold and mildew, a spray bottle of bleach will work ideally for your walls. Once sprayed out, remove any remaining soap scum and dirt by giving the walls a good wipe down.

Grab a sponge and tile cleaner and work from top to bottom onto the tiles. Pay attention to mildew and dirt on the grout. You can also scrub the grout with an old toothbrush dipped in bleach. If you’re trying to avoid commercial cleaners at all costs, you can alternatively use a combination of white vinegar and water and make your own cleaning solution.

It’s very important to keep in mind that not all cleaners are compatible with each other. For example, ammonia shouldn’t be mixed with bleach. The same goes for vinegar. As soon as you have a satisfactory shine from the tiles, rinse them away to remove any cleaner residue. 

3. Seal The Grout

Once the tiles have dried out, seal the grout. It will help your bathroom stay moisture-free. A good rule to go by is sealing the grout at least once a year, so put it up on your schedule. Oil from your skin, bath, and soap scum from taking a shower whatever splashes on it is going to absorb into the grout, cement grout is actually porous, so if you don’t seal it, it’s very likely to grow mold. It might even start to give you bad odors, and that’s why we’ll go over some steps to avoid that with minimal costs.

  • For your convenience, a foam brush from a paint department should do the job along with a plastic container. Alternatively, use an old toothbrush.
  •  Dip the sealer into the plastic container. Apply it accurately from the top and work down to the tile slowly with smooth strokes. Let it absorb for about five minutes and then wipe off the excess with a towel.
  • You shouldn’t take a risk, so be sure to follow the sealer’s instructions on the label as you might need to protect your bathtub with a cover, especially if it’s an acrylic one.
  • Make sure you’re not sacrificing your health at the expense of a better-looking grout. Open a window or run a fan, even use a respirator if necessary to keep your bathroom well ventilated.

How to Get a Bathtub White Again?

After a long ruff day, there’s nothing worse than realizing your extremely old bathtub is badly stained, postponing your long-awaited shower. Learning how to clean a disgusting bathtub doesn’t have to go the hard way, but work is overdue, so let’s get scrubbing!

Step 1: Warmup The Surfaces

To make most of your products’ effect, always heat your tub and tile surfaces. Fill up a bucket of hot water and pour over your tub and the surface of your tiles as well. Few minutes down the process, and your surfaces are ready for cleaning!

Step 2: Use Baking Soda Paste

This cleaning staple does wonders for rust stains and is often used as a general cleaner. To make a paste of baking soda:

  1. Mix it by adding water to it until the substance looks like a paste.
  2. Apply the paste all over the wet tub areas you want to clean.
  3. Remove the stains with some elbow grease scrubbing before finishing off and rinsing the paste away.

If your tub has severe stains apply vinegar on top of the paste. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and then scrub with a sponge. This should successfully remove the stains, and you can rinse away the cleanser residue once finished.

Step 3: Pay Attention to Soap Scum

Usually found on the tub’s surface in dark color is where soap scum collects the most. Use an old toothbrush to tackle the corners and places where it looks like a buildup is forming. Gently scrub it and wipe it away.

Step 4: Give Your Bathtub a Good Scrubbing

Grab a bucket and fill it up with hot water mixed with a few tablespoons of dish soap. With a non-abrasive sponge, use the dish soap water and start scrubbing the tub thoroughly. Suppose the interior of your bathroom looks weird with suspicious forming rings. You might need some extra scrubbing effort to get it off and follow the types of bathtub stains section below. For another round of scrubbing or mold and mildew growing around the tub, it’s best to mix bleach with water and let it work for a few minutes before scrubbing again. Be sure to ventilate the place when using bleach and avoid mixing it with other chemicals.

Step 5: Rinse and Wipe the Tub to Give it a Shine

You don’t want the dirt and soap scum you’ve just scrubbed off to become sticky to your tub, so rinse it away as you clean. To do so, fill up a bucket or use a detachable shower head. You don’t want any water spots remaining on its surface so wipe it down thoroughly with a cleaning cloth. Ensure there’s no residue remaining in the tub after wiping it down.

Types of Stains and How to Tackle Them

Depending on what your bathtub is made of and what’s in your water will determine the color of the stain and what it is caused from. Don’t act too fast, and always take the time to read the label of your cleaning solution. Most bathtubs are made from porcelain. However, using abrasive cleaners can easily damage an acrylic tub. Local hardware stores are supplied with specifically designed products to clean stains, and we’ll look into a few ways to remove them.

Yellow Stains

Removing yellow stains shouldn’t be too tricky as it comes down to how to clean a bathtub with vinegar? Quickly enough, apply the vinegar over the stain(s) and let it sit to work its magic. Once the wait is over, use a sponge to wipe away the stain and follow up with a rinse of warm water.

Reddish Rusted stains

You might be surprised, but your cleaning solution for this instance is usually found in a medicine cabinet. Hydrogen peroxide! That’s right! Mix it with baking soda and freely apply a small amount to the stain unless your tub is acrylic. Let the paste sit for 20 to 30 minutes before scrubbing with a sponge to remove the stain. Creating a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide is one way to go. However, for additional cleaning power, you can create a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and borax.

Stubborn rust-colored stains

These blue-greenish stains are cured with an abrasive cleanser and a sponge. Acrylic tubs are not as tolerant, and this method shouldn’t be used on such or else you’ll end up with a scratched surface. Instead, for acrylic bathtubs, use something natural and better for the environment, the famous home remedy, and vinegar. Another nifty method you can use is a mix of table salt and lemons. Apply table salt on the stubborn rust stain and then pour some lemon juice over the salt. After a few hours of absorption, finish off with a rinse of hot water.

Sparkle The Tub Frequently

A pleasantly looking bathtub is the ultimate goal, and keeping it clean will only increase its longevity. Try making it a habit to maintain your bathtub. Wipe off excess from the tub and rinse the surface with hot water as often as possible. Doing so will prevent the buildup of soap scum mildew and grime. Ultimately it will reduce stress, elbow grease, and your hard efforts to battle stains. Once you’re done, don’t just stop there! Clean your shower head, glass shower door, or perhaps your clogged shower drain.