There are very few things more satisfying than grabbing an arm full of cleaning products and tackling the grit and grime in your home. Spending a whole Saturday getting your windows and mirrors streak-free with glass cleaner, your dishes cleansed with a silicone sponge and counters sanitized with a cleaning wipe? Forget about it. Maybe I’m a cleaning freak, but I find it to be a truly joyous occasion. However, the tasks I just mentioned are the easy part, the breezy parts of cleaning. There are also the dark, dusty, grimey corners of your home that are the hardest to clean and the most avoided. They tend to accumulate the most dirt, mildew and disconcerting stains, and one of them is actually a place where you clean yourself if you can believe it. You know what I’m talking about — the bathtub.
There’s nothing worse than a disgusting bathtub, for obvious reasons, and for the fact that it’s a place where you’re supposed to get clean, relax and let the stress of the day melt away. That can’t happen with a weird ring around the drain, rust spots near the spout and mildew gathering in the corners. The bathtub is in the bathroom, so it’s typically a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, mildew and other growth because of the moisture. If your tub has tiles and grout, the grout creates even more of an opportunity for these things to thrive. Cleaning your bathtub often makes the work easier each time you do it, and keeps your zen tub environment calming rather than scary. Here’s your Spy guide for how to clean your bathtub, complete with products, tips and a step-by-step guide.
Why You Should Clean Your Bathtub:
The longer you wait to clean your bathtub, the worse it’s going to get. Because of the daily or weekly use it tends to get, mildew can grow rather quickly and you’ll want to tackle the problem before things get solidified, calcified and harder to scrub. Your primary goal in regular bathtub cleaning is to clean off soap scum that can build up after each shower or bath. If you’ve got tile in or around your tub this becomes even more important as cleaning grout can prevent the growth of bacteria on its infamously porous surface.
What to Consider Before Cleaning Your Bathtub:
The most important thing to consider before cleaning your bathtub is what it’s made out of, which will dictate the type of scrubbers you should use. Bathtubs made of acrylic, fiberglass or porcelain-enameled material are softer and more susceptible to scratches, so you should avoid using tough scrubby brushes and opt for rags and sponges instead. If you’ve got a stone-resin bathtub, however, feel free to go at it with the scrubbers because it’s a more durable material.
Basic Cleaning Necessities:
1. Baking Soda
Baking soda is going to be immensely helpful in dissolving stains and generally keeping your bathtub clean. Arm & Hammer’s the way to go for its effectiveness and affordability, and the fact that it’s an incredibly versatile cleaning product to have in your home. You can’t go wrong.
2. White Vinegar
White vinegar is another great cleaning product to have around the house, for a gentler clean that doesn’t involve harsh chemicals. Mixing this with water is a perfect way to clean a tub that doesn’t have any tough stains on it, and give a general cleansing that prevents mold and mildew growth. This is a concentrate that’s designed for cleaning and is 8x stronger than standard vinegar. Make sure you read the label carefully and keep it out of reach of children.
3. MR. SIGA Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
These microfiber cleaning cloths are made to not scratch, and are perfect for tubs and tile. They’re built to be long-lasting with reinforced edges, and are highly durable. They’re machine-washable in cold water, and are great for tackling a whole bunch of cleaning jobs.
4. Holikme Deep-Cleaning Brush Set
This brush cleaning set is exactly what you need to clean your tub. This set includes two scrub brushes, a tile line brush that’s great for cleaning grout, a groove gap brush and a scouring pad. The brushes have ergonomic handles that are easy to hold and this one set is perfect for tackling your tub from top to bottom.
5. Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges
These sponges are great for tackling everything from the dishes to bathroom sinks and your bathtub. They’ve got a scrubby and softer side so you can adjust based on what you’re cleaning, and they’re designed to remove stains 50% faster than other sponges. You can also sanitize these in the dishwasher and reuse them!
6. Scrubbing Bubbles Multi Purpose Bathroom Cleaner
If you’re going to go chemical, Scrubbing Bubbles is a great option. They make a great multi-purpose bath cleaner that’s tough on mildew, grime and stains in your toilet, shower and bathtub. This set comes with a spray bottle and two bottles of concentrate designed to cut down on plastic use by 78%. The trigger bottle is reusable and the cleaner has a nice citrus scent.
7. Kaboom Foam-Tastic Bathroom Cleaner
This bathroom cleaner has fantastic ratings for its ability to clean and tough formula on dirt and grime. It sprays on blue and turns white when it’s ready to be wiped away, and has a powerful formula with OxiClean that’s made to not require scrubbing. It’s got a light citrus scent and is very easy to use.
8. Clorox Clean-Up All Purpose Cleaner With Bleach
This Clorox all-purpose cleaner is made with bleach and is a hardcore disinfectant you can use anywhere in your home, especially in your bathtub. The formula is designed to kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, and can remove stains on any nonporous surface in your home. This set comes with a spray bottle as well as a refill bottle so you’ll be set for a while, and the bottle is built with smart tube technology so you get every last drop.
9. Better Life Natural Tub and Tile Cleaner
This tile and tub cleaner from Better Life is a plant-based alternative to some of the harsher chemicals the other cleaners are made with. It’s formulated to dissolve many of the common problems when it comes to cleaning tubs including soap scum, hard water stains and mineral deposits. It doesn’t contain synthetic fragrances but will leave your bathroom smelling fresh, and it’s non-toxic so it’s safe to use around kids and pets.
10. Borax Multi-Purpose Household Cleaner
Borax is an old school cleaner that’s still relevant and effective today, especially on rust which tends to accumulate in bathtubs. This Borax blend from 20 Mule Team is made up of an all-natural mineral that’s tough on soap scum, grease, grime and even hard water deposits. It can also help enhance your laundry detergent, clean your kitchen counters and freshen up the toilet.
How to Clean a Bathtub:
1) Pour water all over your bathtub, making sure every surface is wet before cleaning, and then fill a bucket with hot water and a few tablespoons of dish soap.
2) Sprinkle baking soda all over the tub, or spray one of the chemical cleaners above all over the tub if it’s dirtier.
3) Take your rag, sponge or even a scrubbing brush and scrub down all sides of the tub.
4) Continuously rinse out the sponge or brush using the water from the bucket and transfer all the suds into the tub so all surfaces get a good clean.
5) After you’ve scrubbed, rinse the entire tub with a hand sprayer or a combination of the faucet and bucket, and polish all handles and surfaces with a dry, clean cloth.
Bathtub Cleaning Tips:
Avoid mixing your cleaning products, as some combinations of vinegar and bleach can produce toxic odors that are bad to breathe in and can damage your skin. You’ll also want to make sure you’re cleaning in a well-ventilated area, especially if you’re using harsh chemicals that may be toxic to breathe in in large amounts.
Wear rubber gloves on your hands to protect your skin if you’re using harsh chemicals, and be sure to rinse away all of the cleaning products thoroughly so they don’t leave a residue behind.
If you’re looking to remove mild-medium stains and need a hack that goes beyond the simple cleaning routine above, sprinkle baking soda over the stains directly and then spray with a 1-1 solution of vinegar and water. Let this sit for 5-10 minutes and then rinse.
For removing tough stains, you’ll want to make a paste from hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and rub that directly onto the stains. Let that sit for about an hour, and then wipe it away.
If you’ve got some hard water stains that you want to remove, dipping paper towels in vinegar and draping them over the stains directly can prove very effective, especially if you leave them to sit for 1-2 hours before a rinse.
Removing rust might feel impossible, but a mixture of Borax and lemon can help! Sprinkle Borax over the rust and squeeze half a lemon onto it, leave that to sit for an hour and then rinse.
You’ll also want to avoid using steel wool or any cleaning products that are super abrasive, as these can damage the surface of your tub no matter what it’s made of.