How to Clean the Bathtub
Nothing makes my back ache more than cleaning the bathtub! Even thinking about it causes me to grimace.
This is the time I wish I was like Samantha, the witch. Just wiggle my nose and presto, change-o! The grime's gone! Boy, wouldn’t that help this old gal’s body?
Lacking the power of witchcraft, I've learned the tips and tricks to cleaning the bathtub and keeping it clean. So, I'll give you the power of knowledge instead, which is just as good... and though it might take a little longer than twitching your nose, is just as effective too.
Here are some practical tips that will make it a little easier on your back and help you to make your bathroom shine.
Are you ready then? Let’s clean your dirty bathtub!
Assemble your Cleaning Tools and Supplies
- liquid detergent
- spray bottle
- protective gloves
- mild abrasive cleansing product
- scrubber, brush or sponge
Bathtub Cleaner Recipe:
Mix a solution of a degreasing liquid detergent and water in a spray bottle (Palmolive ® or Dawn Dishwashing Liquid are good ones, earth friendly, with nice scents).
Mix together in a spray bottle:
- 1 cup liquid detergent
- 3 cups hot water
Long Handled Bathtub Cleaning Tool
I have a tool that almost eliminates the need for bending over the tub. It’s kind of like a sponge mop; it has a thick, square sponge at the end of an extended handle. It easily reaches the whole tub and conforms to the rounded corners.
It's easy to rinse out as you simply stick it under the faucet and squeeze it several times until clean.
I love mine and I’ve had it for years. I don’t remember where I bought it and there is no name on it; people still email me asking where to get one and I could never find one, but now I see Mr. Clean has a similar product that I can point you to.
Sponge or Scrubber
If you don't have one of those tools, you will have to use a larger household sponge, bend over and do it the old fashioned way. After going over the surface completely, rinse thoroughly and check for stubborn areas.
First pick up and put away all your bottles of shampoo and conditioner, soap, etc. Your work will be easier and faster if these things are out of the way.
- Before you start the heavy scrubbing, wet the bathtub down and sprinkle or spray the detergent and water cleaner.
- Then lightly scrub at the heavily grimed up areas of the tub.
- Now let your cleaner sit on the dirt and grime and allow it to work for 10 minutes or so. This way the detergent can begin breaking down the grime.
- When the time is up, go back to scrubbing, and the dirt should come off fairly easily.
- After cleaning a section, spray or splash with clean water to mark your progress.
- If the dirt is still not coming off easily you can spray the area with a more heavy duty cleaner like Tilex ® and let it sit for a few minutes before you tackle it again.
- Rinse the tub with clean water to remove any soap residue and avoid streaking.
When it's all done, practice regular maintenance, like wiping down the bathtub after using it. Doing this in between regular cleanings helps keep the dirt and soap scum from becoming a dirty mess again.
If you love to take a bath you can spray a little of your degreasing cleaning solution to the bath water when you’re done using it. I swish it around and rub along the water’s edge before draining.
This helps keep the "ring around the tub" from forming.
Keeping Bathtubs/Shower Stalls Cleaner for Longer
If water is wiped from the surface of your tub and shower, there will be no water stains, no soap scum, and no oily grime buildup.
Maintenance is important to keeping tubs and showers clean. All you need to do is wipe down the wet surfaces after a shower. Use a squeegee on flat surfaces and a towel on the rest.
You should, however, give your shower a good cleaning and treat with a sanitizer (to avoid mildew in hidden places) every 6 weeks or so.
Bathtubs and showers are not alike. A wax type water repellant like Gel-Gloss® is a great product for polishing and finishing vinyl or acrylic showers and tubs.
Gel-gloss is a white, milky cleaner/polish much like automotive wax which, with a little rubbing, will remove most stains and discoloration.
When it dries to a light, powdery residue, buff the surface with a clean cloth. Gel-Gloss leaves a smooth, sealed surface that resists water spotting and stains by causing water to bead up and run off. If hard water stains are not present, dirt and mildew will not build up, and the tub stays clean.
To prevent soap scum and hard water deposits, you can use Rain-X ® or a product called Clean Shower ®, which you lightly mist on the shower walls, glass door, curtain and fixtures after a shower.
Just spray and walk away. No scrubbing or rinsing. It makes water "sheet" and run off quickly so the shower stays clean.
Preventing Soap Scum Build Up
An ounce of prevention is worth many hours of scrubbing nasty soap scum!
- Using a liquid shower gel instead of bar soap often eliminates the stubborn, greasy soap scum that is the bane of not only our maids, but cleaners in every home.
- The talc in bar soap combines with body oils and minerals from the water, it dries to a cement-like deposit. Over time if not cleaned regularly, soap scum can be hard to remove.
- There are many commercial cleaners available for soap scum. The secret is to apply them, then give the product time to dissolve the soap scum.
- Reapplications may be necessary for severe buildup. Janitorial supply stores carry strong, alkaline degreasers for oily, soap scum removal.
- Automatic dishwasher detergent works very well as a degreaser.
Cleaning Hard Water Spots / Mineral Deposits:
For severe mineral deposits, commercial products are available to remove calcium, lime, or rust.
Whatever cleaner you decide to use, be sure to give the product or solution time to dissolve to effectively degrease shower walls and bathtubs.
- Mix about 3/4 cup automatic dishwasher detergent to one gallon of water.
- Sponge solution on and allow to set 15 minutes, keeping surfaces wet, in order to dissolve spots.
- Rub with a scrub brush or white or green scrubby.
- Repeat applications may be necessary.
- Rinse and dry.
Natural Cleaners and Deodorizers:
- Common baking soda and water paste makes an effective scum remover, fights odor and mildew.
- Spraying hot white vinegar on surfaces is effective on scum, sanitizes and removes odor. Do not use vinegar on stone surfaces such as marble, travertine, or granite as it will damage and permanently etch the surface.
Now you have the tricks and tips for cleaning your tub and keeping it clean. After you have removed all the dirt and grime, it all comes down to drying the bathtub or shower after you have used it.
Soap residue and the minerals naturally present in water won't stick around and make your tub grimy again.