How to Clean a Reglazed or Refinished Bathtub

refinished bathtub

The Spruce / Autumn Wood

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Now that you have a newly refinished bathtub, how do you clean the new sleek and shiny paint or commercial coating? Reglazed coatings need to be cleaned frequently with mild cleaners and soft sponges. That way, you won't end up back with the pitted and discolored tub that you probably just refinished.

Why Liquid Non-Abrasives Work Best

Whether you're the owner of a DIY-finished or professionally finished tub, it's best to use only soft liquid cleansers to clean and maintain the coating. The reason is that a refinished tub coating is layers of specialized paint that can be nicked or scratched without care, so it's best to stick to non-abrasive cleaners. However, for non-abrasive cleaners to work effectively, you will need to clean the tub frequently before soap scum or hard water deposits develop. Stick to a strict cleaning schedule and non-abrasive cleansers will work fine on a reglazed or refinished tub. Most refinishing companies and DIY tub coating manufacturers seem to agree on a few commercial cleaners that are safe to use on refinished tubs, including:

  • Scrubbing Bubbles
  • Formula 409 (without bleach)
  • Lysol Basin Tub and Tile Cleaner

Use Dish Soap in a Pinch

You can safely use gentle liquid dish soap, such as Dawn, Palmolive, or Ajax to clean a refinished tub.

Avoid These Cleaning Methods for Reglazed Tubs

Though it could be tempting at times, steer clear from cleaning your new glossy finish with the following techniques.

Do Not Use Abrasives

Abrasives include harsh or gritty cleaners as well as rough sponges, like Scotch-Brite pads, steel wool soap pads, or sponges with an abrasive layer on one side. Most tub refinishers and tub coating manufacturers also warn against any products containing bleach or ammonia. Avoid using these common cleansers when cleaning a reglazed tub:

  • Powdered cleanser, like Ajax or Comet
  • Bar Keepers Friend
  • Any cleaners containing ammonia
  • Household bleach or cleaners boosted with bleach
  • Abrasive cream cleansers, even if they claim to be "soft"

Do Not Steam Clean

A household steam cleaner with a scrubbing attachment may seem like a good way to get rid of all that dirt and soap gunk without using abrasives. Unfortunately, steam doesn't get the job done when it comes to reglazed tub finishes, and it could quickly damage the finish, especially if it gets underneath the coating or through any cracks.

Do Not Power Wash

Power washing old or original tile in a tub and shower can be done, but never attempt it on a reglazed surface because the action is simply too powerful for the coating to withstand. Power washing a reglazed surface could easily lead to peeling or other damage to the coating. It would also void the warranty on a professional refinishing job.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Bucket or container for rinse water

Materials

  • Non-abrasive cleaner
  • Sponge, microfiber cloth, or soft-bristle nylon brush
  • Soft towel or rag

Instructions

safe items for cleaning a refinished tub
The Spruce / Autumn Wood 

Instructions

  1. Rinse the Tub

    Rinse the tub with warm water to remove hair and excess soap residue.

  2. Apply the Cleaner

    Liberally apply the cleaner of your choice to all surfaces of the tub. Spread or spray the cleaner all around to give it a chance to work on every area of the tub. If you're using dish soap, pour some onto the surface and spread it with a sponge.

  3. Let the Cleaner Sit

    Leave the cleaner in place for about 5 minutes. This helps to cut through remaining soap residue and oils. It also gives a disinfectant cleaner time to disinfect. (Wiping it off too quickly doesn't allow the cleaner to disinfect properly.)

  4. Scrub Without Abrasives

    Scrub the entire tub surface with a standard cellulose sponge (without any scouring material on either side of the sponge) or a microfiber cloth. If the tub has a non-slip surface, you can scrub this area with a soft, nylon-bristle brush.

  5. Rinse Again

    Thoroughly rinse the tub, leaving no traces of cleaner. This is especially important when using dish soap, which can be dangerously slippery if left on a tub surface. Also, any cleaner can damage a tub's finish if it's allowed to dry on the surface.

  6. Dry the Tub

    Wipe the tub dry with a soft towel or cloth to remove water droplets. Then buff the finish to a like-new shine. You don't need to buff the surface after every cleaning, but it's an easy way to restore the shine.

Tips for Maintaining a Reglazed or Refinished Bathtub

To maintain the coating, refrain from adding a bath mat or appliques with suction cups to your tub's surface. The suction cups could damage the coating and void your warranty. If you choose a non-slip bathmat without suction cups, only use it when in the bathtub, remove it from the tub after use, and hang it up to let it dry.