Bathtub cleaning tips and tricks
Find everything you need to know to keep your tub sparkling.
Soap and water: Don’t you feel clean just thinking about the two? Sorry to burst your bubble, but over time, minerals in H2O combine with soap molecules to form that layer of grime we all know (and loathe) as soap scum. Feel like you’ve tried every cleaner in the cabinet but nothing works? That’s because most household cleaners are slightly alkaline, which enables them to cut through grease – but soap scum itself is also alkaline, so it renders them ineffective. Turn to naturally acidic vinegar: Mix it with equal parts warm water in a spray bottle, spritz the tub generously and leave on for 15 minutes. Scrub the surface with a soft sponge and rinse well. For an extra boost, sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the sponge first.
What's your type?
Get to know what your bathtub is made of so you can clean it properly.
- Acrylic: Highly resistant to damage, including staining, cracking, chipping and fading; however, it can scratch.
- Fibreglass: Stain resistant but prone to scratching, cracking and, over time, discolouration.
- Porcelain enamel: Durable so it can handle heavy abrasion, but vulnerable to chipping, which can cause the metal underneath (cast iron or steel) to rust. Bleach is a strict no-no, as it will cause discolouration.
Much ado about mildew
Caulking is a hot spot for mildew, so keep it clean and dry. A bit of mould can be eradicated – spray bleach on the area, leave for 15 minutes, scrub with a soft-bristled brush and rinse – but if the issue is rampant or your bathtub is enamelled (read: unbleachable), you will need to recaulk it completely.
Down the drain
Oils and stray hair can accumulate in your drain. To prevent a clog, every few months pour half a cup of baking soda, then half a cup of white vinegar down the drain. Leave for a few minutes. Flush with hot water.
Did you know?
Primping products can help with tub care: Shampoo can stand in for cleaning solution, and painting the bottom edge of a metal shaving cream can with nail polish will keep it from leaving a rust ring.
Dos and Don'ts
- Do: Rinse your tub after each use. To totally prevent soap scum, mildew and hard water deposits, wipe it dry with a towel.
- Don't: Forget to turn on the bathroom fan; in fact, leave it on for about half an hour after showering.
Clean soap scum and other grime with these three effective products.
- Powder: This all-natural, all-purpose powder makes a powerful paste when combined with water. Superscrub powder, , $10.
- Sponge: No need to add a cleanser – just wet this melamine foam sponge and get wiping. Magic Eraser bath scrubber sponge, , $5 per pack of 2.
- Spray: Scented with botanical extracts, this plant-derived spray cuts through scum. Seventh Generation tub & tile natural cleaner spray, , $6.