When you bathe in a tub that's visibly dirty, it doesn't truly feel like you're getting clean, despite all the soap and water that you're using. Therefore, you should clean the bathtub regularly to keep surface grime at bay, and then give it a deeper scrubbing at least once a month to make sure it's truly clean. Getting your tub free of limescale, soap scum, mineral deposits, and dirt can seem like a tough job, but in just a few steps you can get your bathtub squeaky clean.
How Often to Clean a Bathtub
The frequency of bathtub cleaning is, in some respects, a judgment call. A tub that's used regularly by four people in a one-bathroom home will need to be cleaned more often than a tub used infrequently by someone who lives alone. If you use the bathtub regularly, give it a cleaning once a week and a deep clean that has a lot of scrubbing power behind it once a month.
What You Need
How to Clean a Bathtub
Do your due diligence prior to cleaning to make sure that you have the right products for your particular bathtub. For example, if your bathtub is acrylic, be careful not to damage with scrubbers with any metal parts. Even enamel bathtubs can be damaged by using the wrong type of brush.
Wear gloves to protect your hands and skin, and ventilate the bathroom anytime you are using cleaning products to protect your lungs.
Remove everything from the tub
Prior to cleaning, remove all toiletries, toys, bottles, and loofahs—you don't want to get any cleaning products on them. This is a great time to toss anything that is empty, broken, or not going to be used anymore. Wipe down all the items that you have removed; after all, slimy soap scum can build up on these items, too. You can put bath toys in the dishwasher to get them squeaky-clean, too. If you don't need to do that, set them aside to be placed back in the bathtub later.
Clean the tiles and walls around the tub
If your grout is mildewed and dirty, use a tile cleaner and grout brush. Work from top to bottom, following the instructions on your tile cleaner, and then fully rinse away any tile cleaner residue. Spray down the walls with an all-purpose cleaner or cleaner that's formulated for your tub surround. Wipe down the walls thoroughly, paying special attention to any sticky or obviously dirty areas. Ventilate the area with an open window or fan if your cleaner is bleach-based or has any other strong scent.
Clear out the drain
If you think there's a clog in your bathtub drain or it's been a while since the drain has been cleaned, pour a half-cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a half-cup of white distilled vinegar. Let it sit for a couple of minutes to work out the clog, and then flush it with hot water.
Apply an all-purpose or tub cleaner to the interior of the bathtub.
Let the cleaner sit for three to five minutes to allow it power through much of the grime, making your job easier. After, begin working from top to bottom wiping down the tub. Rinse this area thoroughly.
Get rid of soap scum
Tackle soap scum with an old toothbrush or other small cleaning brush. Begin scrubbing the corners where the tub meets the wall. Watch out for other places where soap scum has been collecting. The soap scum might be a darkened color or it might just feel like buildup in your tub. Take the time to gently scrub it away.
Scrub away any stains
A stained ring may form around the interior of the bathtub. This will need special attention with a scrub brush and cleanser. You might need to really scrub to get this fully removed. Rinse thoroughly.
Wipe everything down again one last time
Dry out the bathtub by wiping it down with a clean towel or cleaning cloth, making sure no water spots or residue remain in the bathtub.
Tips for Keeping the Tub Clean Longer
- Every time you take a bath, rinse the tub's surface and wipe off excess moisture. This can help prevent mildew, soap scum, and grime from building up on the surface.
- Dish soap can clean the most stubborn, slimy of soap buildups.
- Keep an eye on mildew growth on the caulk, quickly get rid of it with a bleach-based spray so it doesn't spread and cause a bigger problem.