Cleaning a bathtub has to be one of the worst chores on your chores list. It’s awkward to crouch over and try and fit yourself in the tub. And it takes a lot of elbow grease to get rid of stubborn stains and soap scum.
Because we know how annoying cleaning a tub can be, we put together a step-by-step guide of how to clean and get a bathtub white again with minimal effort.
Note: Don’t want to make your own DIY bathtub cleaner? Pick up Better Life’s Natural Tub and Tile Cleaner, made with tea tree and eucalyptus, this tub cleaner works against hard-set stains.
Otherwise, read on to learn how to make our own cleaning solution, and get your bathtub clean again.
1. Gather Your Materials
Start your bathtub cleaning process by getting everything you need in one place:
- Baking soda.
- Dish soap.
- White Vinegar.
- A sponge or scrub brush.
- Papers towels or washable microfiber cloth.
- Rubber gloves (optional, but it’s nice to avoid that vinegar smell on your hands).
2. Microwave the Vinegar
Pour ¼ cup of white vinegar into a microwave-safe bowl and put it in the microwave for no more than 90 seconds. You want warm water, not boiling hot water.
3. Pour Dish Soap Over the Tub
Take dish soap and pour it (or squirt it) over the surface of the tub. You don’t need it to be covered in soap but you want to be able to cover the entire surface with lather once you start scrubbing.
4. Add warm vinegar
Take your cup of warm white vinegar and pour that over the soap. Don’t scrub just yet.
5. Add baking soda
Take around four tablespoons of baking soda and sprinkle that over the tub. Now you have your baking soda layered on top of your soap which is layered over the tub.
You’ve basically have created a cleaning solution over your entire tub.
6. Scrub that tub
This will (hopefully) be the hardest you have to work. Take the rough side of your sponge and scrub your tub down. Try to cover every inch of your tub but really focus on the dirty/soiled parts. These parts will need a little extra elbow grease.
After you’ve scrubbed it down, let this lathery solution sit for about thirty minutes to an hour. You’re letting the mixture really break down any grime, stains, or mineral deposits.
Note: If you’re looking to get
7. Wipe down it down and rinse
After the time is up, take your paper towels or washable cloth and wipe down your tub. The grime and stains should be lifting right off. Then you can rinse the entire tub down by running your faucet and using a cup to collect water and then spill it over your entire tub.
If your tub still has some stains, it might need another round of cleaning.
How to Clean Shower Heads and the Tub Faucet
Despite what you’d think, showerheads can get very dirty. This is mainly an issue in homes hard water causes mineral deposits in your shower head nozzles. This results in uneven and weak water flow. In short, your dirty shower head is giving you a lackluster shower experience.
Luckily, there’s an easy fix.
- Take a zip-lock bag from your kitchen and grab a rubber band. The bag needs to be big enough to fit over the showerhead but not so big that the cleaning solution you’re about to make won’t work.
- Fill up your zip-lock bag with a cleaning solution. We recommend white vinegar but if you want you can use a store-bought cleaner that is designed to remove build-ups such as calcium, magnesium, and rust.
- Put the showerhead into the zip-lock bag. You want the showerhead’s entire front face submerged into the mixture. Then you use your rubber bands to secure the bag to the showerhead.
- Let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Once the time is up, remove the bag and throw it away. Then wipe down down the showerhead with a washable cloth and then turn it on the faucet. Enjoy your new, even and powerful water flow.
Note: If your showerhead is clean but still giving your poor flow, it might be time for a new one. If you want to learn more, we put together a list of the best showerheads.
How to Bleach a Bathtub to Remove Mold and Mildew
Sometimes just cleaning your bathtub isn’t enough – no matter how hard you scrub. Plus, it’s good to, every now and then, use bleach to clean your bathtub because bleach kills mildew and mold.
A lot of commercial bathtub cleaners will use a little bit of bleach in their formula.
But sometimes the cheapest – and most effective – way to bleach a bathtub is just to use pure bleach and water.
This mixture will remove bacteria from your tub while whitening the enamel surface.
In this post, we’re going to show you how to bleach a bathtub in 7 steps. Before we get started, some things to know:
- We’re handling bleach, so please wear cleaning gloves and some kind of protective eyewear (even sunglasses are better than nothing, you don’t want to splash bleach into your eyes).
- You’ll need an empty spray bottle, a sponge, bleach (we like Clorox but any brand of bleach will work), and water.
- We recommend you do this at night so your bathtub will be ready to use the next morning.
1. Make sure you can ventilate your bathroom
Bleach fumes are potent. If you’ve ever cleaned with bleach before your eyes have probably teared up. If you’re cleaning a really dirty tub with bleach, then you’re going to be close to the bleach while you scrub.
Instead of coughing up bleach flumes, make sure your bathroom has good air circulation going.
If you have a window, open it up.
If you don’t have a window, make sure the bathroom fan is on and the bathroom door is open.
If you feel lightheaded or sick after breathing in bleach fumes, take a break.
2. Prepare your tub for a deep-bleach clean
This means take out shampoo bottles, any loofahs, shower caddies, soap dishes. If you have an anti-slip mat, remove that.
All you want in your tub are the stains and mold and mildew that you’re going to clean away with bleach.
3. Fill the tub with two gallons of water
First, rinse out the tub, getting any loose hairs or dirt out of the way.
Then fill the tub up with two gallons of water.
Note: If you don’t have an empty gallon container ready to use, just leave your bathroom faucet running for anywhere between 1 to 2 minutes. As most faucets pump out water 2.2 gallons per minute.
After you’ve filled the tub with water it’s time to . . .
4. Add the bleach
The ratio of bleach to water should be 1:1. So one cup of bleach for every gallon of water. In this case, add two cups of bleach.
However, if you have a really dirty tub that needs a deep clean, then you can add more bleach using a 1:2 ratio.
But keep in mind that this means the beach fumes will be stronger.
5. Spray down the tub walls
Take an empty water bottle and fill it up with equal amounts of bleach and water. Then spray this mixture over the tub walls.
Let the tub and walls soak up the bleach for at least 15 minutes.
6. Scrub down the walls and tub
After those 15 minutes have passed, put back on your gloves and protective eyewear, and scrub down the tub walls and the tub itself with a sponge. We like this special bathtub sponge because it has a handle, making it easy to get a good grip.
In our experience, you shouldn’t spend more than five minutes scrubbing.
If you’re scrubbing hard for five minutes and there are stains still not coming off, we’ve had some luck using Mr. Clean Magic Erasers on tough to remove stains.
7. Wash the filth away!
Open up your drain, letting the bleach and dirty water run down the drain. Then take your shower head and wash down the tub. Or if it’s not removable, then fill up a large cup with water and rinse off the walls and the tub.
Leave the fan, the window open, and the door open to let the bleach fumes dissipate out of your bathroom.
What is the best bathtub cleaner?
We like the simple, non-abrasive solution in our list above. But if you need something more heavy-duty, check out our list of the best bathtub cleaners of 2022.
Is my tub porcelain or enamel?
To figure out if your tub is porcelain or enamel, just stick a refrigerator magnet on the side. If it’s enamel, your magnet will stick to the side. If it’s porcelain, the magnet won’t stick.
Can you use bleach on a bathtub?
Yes, bleach is great at killing mold, mildew, and other bacteria.
You don’t need to use bleach every time you clean your bathtub, but it’s a good idea to bleach a bathtub every now and again or bleach a bathtub when you move into a new home to make sure you’re using a clean and healthy tub.
For more house cleaning tips and home improvement guides, see our posts on:
- How to clean your toilet
- How to clean your grout (with baking soda)
- Steam clean vs. shampoo carpet: which is better?
- How to shampoo your carpet (without a machine)
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