3 ways to clean tough stains in a bathtub

3 ways to clean tough stains in a bathtub
3 ways to clean tough stains in a bathtub

No one likes the idea of ​​taking a bath in a completely dirty tub. Since it is constantly exposed to moisture, bacteria and mold can build up on its walls, which is both ugly and unsanitary. The best way to avoid having a too dirty tub is to clean it regularly, but sometimes you have to go to great lengths to deal with large, very stubborn spots. Fortunately, this is usually possible with a few simple household products and a little elbow grease!


Method 1 of 3: Remove stains from an acrylic bathtub

Clean Tough Stains from a Bathtub Step 1

Step 1. Avoid harsh chemicals

If you're cleaning an acrylic bathtub, don't use abrasive powder like Ajax scouring powder, or harsh products like bleach. Acrylic is a soft material that is easily damaged and these products will certainly damage its finish.

In general, it is advisable to start with the mildest cleaning solution possible and switch to increasingly aggressive substances only if the first one does not work

Clean Tough Stains from a Bathtub Step 2

Step 2. Apply vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is an excellent natural cleaner, especially for smooth surfaces like acrylic, which are easy to get rid of stains. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and keep it in the bathroom for regular cleaning. Apply a generous amount to the stained area, covering it completely.

If you have lemon juice in the fridge, this is a great alternative to vinegar

Clean Tough Stains from a Bathtub Step 3

Step 3. Let sit

Leave the vinegar on for 10 to 20 minutes. During this time, the acid it contains will attack mold, dirt and other traces so that you can easily remove them. You may even see the stains dissolve and start to flow before you start rubbing them.

  • Make sure you wait long enough for the vinegar to work.
  • For very stubborn stains, sprinkle a little baking soda on the vinegar when you let it sit.
Clean Tough Stains from a Bathtub Step 4

Step 4. Wipe off the dirt

Rub the traces with a soft sponge. The yellow side of a classic sponge should do the trick. After soaking in the vinegar, the stains should come off easily. Rub them quickly back and forth until the dirt is completely gone.

To clean dirt more effectively, you can also use a specialized scouring tool, such as a Mr Clean magic eraser made from porous melamine foam

Clean Tough Stains from a Bathtub Step 5

Step 5. Rinse the tub

Run the tap water for a few minutes to remove all traces of dirt and vinegar. If your tub has a shower, use it by directing the stream of water at the surfaces you've cleaned. Once clean, allow the tub to dry to prevent stain-causing bacteria from returning.

  • Most stains in bathtubs are caused by bacteria that accumulate and form a film on the surface.
  • Leave the shower curtain closed and turn on the ceiling fan so that the tub receives a constant flow of air.

Method 2 of 3: Remove stains from an enamel bathtub

Clean Tough Stains from a Bathtub Step 6

Step 1. Try vinegar

Although this is a gentle natural cleanser, it is generally strong enough to remove most streaks when applied liberally and given time to work. Spray a generous amount of vinegar on the surface of the tub and let it sit for several minutes before scrubbing the stains with a scouring sponge or stiff bristle brush. If you don't get the result you want, try a more aggressive method.

There comes a point where it doesn't help to add more and more vinegar

Clean Tough Stains from a Bathtub Step 7

Step 2. Use a commercial detergent

Take a commercial chlorine-free cleaning spray. The bleach-free cleaning products from brands like Cif, St Marc or Sanytol attack stubborn marks without damaging delicate surfaces. Since most of them are similar in composition, they should all be equally effective. Just make sure the one you buy is free of chlorine, as it can seriously damage the enamel.

Use only detergent suitable for enamel surfaces in bathrooms. Read the label carefully before purchasing a product to make sure it is suitable for the intended use

Clean Tough Stains from a Bathtub Step 8

Step 3. Make a natural detergent

If you don't want to buy one, you can make your own bathroom cleaner by mixing hot water, baking soda, castile soap, and essential oils in a spray bottle. All of these ingredients are easily found and can be used safely, but they are still potent when mixed together. Shake them together and spray them on the stained surface. Leave the mixture on for a few minutes before wiping it off.

  • If you have trouble finding Castile soap, you can substitute it with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Essential oils like tea tree oil or peppermint oil are also natural disinfectants.
Clean Tough Stains from a Bathtub Step 9

Step 4. Soak heavily soiled parts

Spray the cleaning solution and let it sit. Pay particular attention to heavily stained or dirty surfaces. The detergent should start attacking them immediately.

  • The longer you let the product sit, the more effective it will be at removing stains that have had time to set in.
  • Wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area when using chemical detergents.
Clean Tough Stains from a Bathtub Step 10

Step 5. Gently rub the traces

Use a soft sponge or microfiber cloth to avoid scratching or staining the enamel. Gently rub the dirty areas in circular motions. When you're done, rinse the tub to remove dirt and cleaner residue, then let it dry.

  • If necessary, apply the cleaning solution a second time. Wipe off the stained area and repeat the process until the surface of the tub is clean.
  • If you use something more abrasive than a soft sponge to scrub the enamel, you may damage the finish.

Method 3 of 3: Remove stains from a porcelain tub

Clean Tough Stains from a Bathtub Step 11

Step 1. Take some abrasive powder

To remove heavy residue from porcelain, you need to use something a little more aggressive than for other surfaces. Buy a cleanser in powder form from a brand like Ajax or Econet. Small particles will be able to penetrate deeper into the traces accumulated on the surface of the porcelain in order to detach them.

  • Scouring powders contain mildly abrasive chemicals called "surfactants" or "surfactants", making them much more effective at attacking hardened and stuck-on residue.
  • Apply abrasive products sparingly. In most cases, a single box is sufficient for thorough cleaning.
Clean Tough Stains from a Bathtub Step 12

Step 2. Try natural alternatives

Stubborn marks like rust and lime can be treated with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and cream of tartar. Mix the two products until you get a frosting consistency and spread the paste directly on the stains. After about ten minutes, scrub the stained areas with a nylon brush or pumice stone until the dirt is completely gone.

  • Products like hydrogen peroxide and cream of tartar are preferable for those who do not wish to use chemical detergents that are bad for health and the environment.
  • The hydrogen peroxide also helps treat the yellow streaks caused by age and make the finish of the tub lighter.
Clean Tough Stains from a Bathtub Step 13

Step 3. Apply the abrasive powder

If you use scouring powder, sprinkle it on the stained tub. An average amount should be sufficient to treat most traces. It won't adhere to porcelain on its own, but when you mix it with liquid, it will form a paste that can spread directly onto dirty surfaces.

Be sure to cover the bottom of the tub, as built-up mold can make it slippery

Clean Tough Stains from a Bathtub Step 14

Step 4. Add water

Add enough to form a paste. Spray purified water or tap water on the scouring powder. This will take on a thick and frothy consistency. Use this paste to rub the stains, then let it sit for about half an hour to give it time to work.

  • You can also wet a clean sponge or washcloth and use it to rub the porcelain with the abrasive paste until it becomes thick.
  • Be careful not to add too much water. If the dough is too runny, it won't be as effective.
Clean Tough Stains from a Bathtub Step 15

Step 5. Scour the stains

Since porcelain has a tough, tough finish, you can rub it with an abrasive object without risking scratching it. For best results, use a stiff bristle brush or pumice stone. Scrub dirty areas until they are completely clean, then rinse the tub with clean water and allow it to dry before using it again.

  • If you don't have a scrub brush, you can use the abrasive side of a sponge.
  • Never use steel wool or the like to clean a porcelain tub. This material may be tough, it can be permanently scratched by these very abrasive objects.


  • Try to clean your tub surface regularly (ideally every two weeks) so you don't have to spend time deep cleaning later.
  • Always use cleaning products that can be applied to the material your tub is made of without damaging it.
  • Regular shampoo can be helpful in cleaning up light marks, as it is formulated to remove dirt and oil.
  • Leave the bathroom door open while you work so fresh air can circulate.
  • Keep a stock of basic cleaning supplies in or near the bathroom so you always have them on hand.
  • Buy a scrub brush with a long handle so you don't have to kneel or bend down when cleaning the tub.


  • Avoid mixing different chemicals like ammonia and bleach. These mixtures can produce caustic gases which can be dangerous if you inhale them or touch your skin.
  • Harsh chemicals can stain synthetic materials such as acrylic. Since these stains change the very color of the finish, they are virtually impossible to remove.
  • Test the stain removers on a small, inconspicuous area of ​​the tub before treating it all to avoid damaging the finish.

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