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There are many multi-purpose bathroom cleaners that will clean a bathtub, but to really get your tub clean, you need the right formula for the job—especially if you’re trying to target something specific like buildup from hard water or mold on tricky tiled surfaces. And don’t just reach for a bottle of bleach, which can damage a bathtub if it’s porcelain or acrylic. “It isn't immediate. It happens over time, but bleach can create an unsightly stain on a bathtub,” says Gabby Martin, supervisor from Bio Recovery, a company that cleans residential and commercial properties after extreme situations like hoarding, crime scenes, and other serious biohazards.
To help you in your search, we researched the best bathtub cleaners, evaluating each product on ease of use, effectiveness, and value.
Our favorite bathtub cleaner, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber Sponge, contains a soap scum-eliminating solution that activates with water. It’s extremely effective and reusable.
Below, the best bathtub cleaners on the market.
Best Overall: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber Sponge
Who else recommends it? Bustle and Insider both picked the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber Sponge.
What do buyers say? 86% of 600+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
No sprays or liquids involved
Easy to use
The sponge tends to disintegrate as you use it
These magical sponges make cleaning the bathroom incredibly quick and efficient—and who doesn’t love that? The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber Sponges are larger than the beloved Magic Erasers, so you can cover more surface area (and clean your tub more quickly). Plus, they’re infused with foaming cleansers to help remove soap scum, stains, and other dirt and grime from the walls of your tub.
With these sponges, you don’t have to deal with any messy spray or liquid. To activate, you simply add water and get to work. The sponge has a contoured shape that makes it easier to hold than a traditional sponge, and it’s textured so it can erase those really tough spots, like hard water stains. It also has a nice fresh scent that helps make the entire bathroom feel just as clean as it looks. A nice bonus: You can use the sponge on just about any surface in the bathroom, so it’s versatile, too.
There is one downside worth knowing about: Like the standard Magic Eraser, the bath scrubber sponge does flake apart as you use it. However, you'll still get multiple uses from each sponge—especially if you start by using the corner and then work your way down the sponge once it starts to thin.
Best for Hard Water: Bio-Clean Hard Water Stain Remover
If you have hard water—water that contains a high amount of dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium—you know it can leave behind buildup and tough stains. To save yourself some elbow grease, a tough cleaner like Bio-Clean is a must for cleaning hard water stains. This liquid formula is made specifically for hard water and the problems that come along with it, like rust, mildew, and mold. It even works on long-standing stains, so if you’ve ignored your bathtub in the past, now is the time to eradicate those stains.
A little bit goes a long way, so even though the cleaner is relatively pricey, it offers a good value in the end. What’s more, you can use the formula beyond your bathtub, too. Polish brass, remove gummy sticker residue, clean burnt-on grime from glass stove tops, and even scrub down stained pool walls with this highly versatile cleaner.
In case it doesn’t leave your surfaces looking brand new, the manufacturer offers a 100 percent money-back guarantee.
Best With No Scrubbing: The Bucko Soap Scum and Grime Remover
Doesn’t require scrubbing
Light, fresh scent
No spray top
If you’re looking for a quick solution for a dirty bathtub, the Bucko Soap and Scum Grime Remover is about to be your new best friend—particularly if you’re regularly bathing kids or pets. The formula, which has a fresh lemon water scent, dissolves light soap scum and dirt without the need for scrubbing. (That means less work for you.) Just spray it on, let it sit a few minutes, then wipe the gunk away. For tougher jobs, you can let the formula sit for longer and then use a brush to tackle what you need to.
Though it lacks a targeted spray top for precision, we love the versatility of this cleaner. You can use it to clean your outdoor furniture, kitchen, cars, and more—just don’t use it on wood, painted surfaces, natural marble, stone, brass, or colored grout.
Best for Mold and Mildew: RMR Brands RMR-86 Instant Mold and Mildew Stain Remover Spray
Mold infestations not only look unsightly, they can also pose a major health issue if left untreated. If you’re experiencing mold growth in your tub, it’s vital to get a cleaner that can eradicate the problem quickly and effectively. That’s exactly what you’ll get with the RMR-86 Instant Mold Stain & Mildew Stain Remover. The bleach-based formula works on most surfaces (grout, tile, fiberglass, and wood) and removes stains, including tough mildew and mold coverage, in 15 seconds flat. You don’t even have to scrub it.
There’s a sacrifice to be made for this efficiency—and that's the smell. Though unscented, the formula itself has an incredibly powerful bleach-type aroma. For safety, wear a mask while using this product. And you may even want to consider planning your cleaning for a day when you can open the windows to air things out.
Best Scent: Method Bathroom Cleaner Tub + Tile Eucalyptus Mint Spray
Great spray power
Not great for tough jobs
This cleaner from Method has just about everything going for it. Though it’s a plant-derived formula, it’s triclosan- and paraben-free, plus biodegradable and vegan. The spray effectively tackles light layers of soap scum and grime without too much rubbing and scrubbing. It also has a vertical spray nozzle, so you can precisely target areas of concern, including hard-to-reach corners and around knobs and dials. What’s more, the spray has a very fresh (and not at all overpowering) eucalyptus-mint scent that will leave your bathroom smelling ultra-clean.
However, this cleaner isn’t great for tough mold and mildew stains, because it doesn’t adequately foam and doesn’t contain harsh ingredients like bleach. For a long-standing stain or other issue, you may need to use something just a bit tougher.
Best for Soap Scum: CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner Enhanced Formula
Meets EPA Safer Choice standards
Doesn’t tackle all stains
CLR is the go-to brand for areas that are prone to soap scum, rust, and hard water spots (like the seams in your bathtub and grout lines between floor and wall tile). This CLR spray is easy to use, too: Just spray it on any area where these tough stains and spots have accumulated—ceramic tile, shower doors, sinks, bathtubs, white grout and caulk, toilet bowls, and more—and then wipe clean. You can even use it in your kitchen. (Just don’t use it on vinyl, marble, mirrors, plastic laminates, wood, fabrics, painted surfaces, colored grout, or wall coverings.)
Despite its efficacy, the biodegradable formula doesn’t contain any bleach or ammonia, and it meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Product standards. That's why it’s an excellent choice for use in kids' bathrooms. Fair warning for tough stains: You may need to use another product, like a Magic Eraser, in tandem to remove set stains and spots.
Best Eco-Friendly: Puracy Organic Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner
No harsh chemicals or fumes
Safe for use on multiple surfaces
Leaves streaks on some surfaces
The most powerful cleaners may eliminate soap scum and grime, but they’re also typically packed with harsh chemicals. This cleaner from Puracy is a good option for anyone who's concerned about the ingredients in their everyday cleaning products, because it’s made from naturally derived ingredients, but it still has impressive cleaning prowess and smells incredibly fresh.
This cleaner will tackle your tub stains, but it can also be used around the house. It’s a great overall cleaner for everything from hardwood floors in your living room to the countertops in your kitchen. Don’t expect it to work miracles on tough hard water stains, though. While Puracy removed surface dirt, shampoo, and conditioner residue, water spots and rust remained on our product tester’s shower doors, and it did little to clean dirty grout.
Best for Drains: Drano Max Gel Clog Remover
Coats pipes for prevention
Hard to measure
No matter how sparkling you keep your tub, the drain is bound to get clogged with hair and soap scum over time, so it’s important to stock a high-quality drain cleaner. This one by Drano stands out among others because it effectively clears debris you’ll find in shower drains, and it will also be useful for other drains and disposals in your home, whether in the kitchen or laundry room.
It’s highly concentrated, so it does have a very pungent chemical smell, but it’s also highly effective—it can remove buildup and clear drains in a matter of minutes. The process is a breeze: Pour one-fifth of the bottle into your drain, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then flush the drain with hot water. (Heavy clogs may require longer wait times—even overnight—and repeat applications.) A nice bonus: In addition to remedying your clog, this gel-based formula helps coat pipes to protect them against corrosion over time.
Our top pick for cleaning bathtubs is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber Sponge. It’s formulated with a built-in cleaner, so you can tackle hard water stains, soap scum, and other dirt and grime with a single product. If you're looking for something more powerful to eliminate a long-standing problem like mold or mildew, try RMR-86 Instant Mold and Mildew Stain Remover Spray. Though it has a very strong chemical smell, it’s fast-acting and highly effective on tough spots.
What to Look for in a Bathtub Cleaner
Many bathtub cleaners come in liquid form. Some have spray nozzles for targeted application; others require a separate bucket and a sponge. Sprays are more convenient, because they require less time and precision—just spray and wipe. However, if you have really tough spots, like hard water stains or mildew spots, a bucket and sponge may serve you better, since you can dip an abrasive tool (like a brush) into the solution and then apply it directly to the affected spot. There are also some combination products, like the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber Sponge, that act as both a scrubbing tool and the cleaning formula. These are the most convenient options, but they typically aren’t as abrasive as other liquid cleaners.
Bathtub cleaners that are capable of tackling the toughest stains—like mold and mildew—usually contain harsh ingredients like bleach and ammonia. While these ingredients may be effective for removing particularly tough stains, they should be handled with extreme care and kept out of children’s reach. If you’re concerned about the ingredients in the products you’re using, look for the EPA’s Safer Choice program seal on the cleaner in question. Products with this seal are gentle and safe but still effective.
In general, bathtubs are typically either acrylic or porcelain. It pays to know what type of tub you have before selecting your go-to cleaning solution. Certain ingredients can damage these materials. For example, bleach and ammonia can cause acrylic to crack over time. If you’re not sure, Martin says to give your tub a knock. “You'll know your bathtub is porcelain if the surface is very hard—think as hard as marble or steel,” she says. Acrylic, on the other hand, will sound hollow.
Any scented cleaning product may get its aroma from synthetic fragrances, so if you have any sensitivities to these types of ingredients, look for plant-derived formulas—just note that they might not be as strong as conventional ingredients. And remember: Even some unscented products, like bleach-based cleaners, may have a very harsh chemical smell. For those types of products, it’s always safest to wear a mask while cleaning.
Can bleach damage a bathtub?
“Yes, bleach can damage a bathtub,” says Gabby Martin, supervisor from Bio Recovery, a company that cleans residential and commercial properties after extreme situations like hoarding, crime scenes, and other serious biohazards. “The chlorine and chemical compounds can break down the surface of porcelain or acrylic to the point the structure of the material is compromised, starts to flake, or weakens completely.” Typically, this deterioration isn’t immediate. It happens over time, but in the short term can create an unsightly stain on the bathtub.
How can you tell if your bathtub is acrylic or porcelain?
“Acrylic is generally more durable than porcelain,” says Martin. You'll know your bathtub is porcelain if the surface is as hard as marble or steel. How can you tell? “Give it a knock,” says Martin. “If it is as solid as marble, it's likely porcelain. Acrylic feels more hollow.”
How do you get old stains out of a bathtub?
For tough stains, try a strong, targeted formula like RMR. “You can also try a DIY solution,” says Martin, who suggests a 1:5 formula of water and white vinegar or soap. If that (combined with a little elbow grease) doesn't displace the stain, try ammonia with baking soda, she says. But be sparing with the baking soda—too much can scratch the surface of porcelain.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This roundup was written by Brigitt Earley, a freelance writer and editor with nearly 15 years of experience. She has written extensively about cleaning products, including bathroom cleaners, for various publications like The Spruce. She has personally tested a number of products on this list. That experience, combined with hours of research reviewing bestseller lists and reading hundreds of product reviews, helped inform her choices for this list. Brigitt also spoke to Gabby Martin, a supervisor for Bio Recovery, a cleaning company that specializes in biohazards, and Justin Carpenter, the CEO of a national house cleaning service.
Additional reporting was done by Julie Evans. For additional background on bathtub cleaners, she spoke to Christine McNerney, senior director of merchandising (non-food) at Thrive Market.