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Surprising Ways To Clean A Bathtub

Posted By Tipnut On May 31, 2010 @ 4:20 am In General | 43 Comments

Think your old, grungy bathtub is beyond repair? Then this is the tip is for you! If nothing seems to bring it to a shine, you can try spraying a layer of oven cleaner on the surface.

YardI have an old bottle of Easy-Off in my chemical crate and the back label reads:

…is ideal for barbecue grills, NON-ALUMINUM and NON-CHROME pots, pans, skillets, fryers, drip pans, etc.

Also cleans surfaces of porcelain enamel, stainless steel, undecorated ceramics, and concrete.

  • For white porcelain surfaces that are hopelessly stained and you don’t have the cash for a refinishing job, I found this does do a good job lifting grime. Make sure you open the bathroom window first to ventilate the room as much as possible and wear a face mask if you find the fumes overwhelming.
  • You will see the foam ooze out black and brown grime. Let it work for a few hours before rinsing off.
  • The chemicals are very harsh so I would only use this if nothing else works. I did use this myself once on a 20 year old tub that was deeply stained and it worked like a charm. I can’t say if it damaged the finish at all or if it had any undesirable long term results but as a non-expert, I didn’t notice any ill effects.

I don’t know if this is safe to use on colored porcelain, but you can test a small area if you’d like to find out.

Tip: If it’s a plastic or acrylic bathtub that has hard to remove stains, try soaking laundry detergent in it for a few hours–this can do wonders too!

Update: Here’s a cautionary note sent in from a reader:

I used three fourths of a can (Easy Off) making sure every inch was was covered and it didn’t work at all and it took off all the color on my new brass colored drains on the tub, making them all turn black.

Although none of the hardware discolored when I used this method, it’s something to be aware of (test a small area first just to be sure).

Kickin Soak

Here’s a “miracle paste” you can try plus details for using a laundry detergent soak.

  • Fill the tub with hot water and add 2 to 3 cups of powdered laundry detergent. Soak overnight. Drain then wipe down with a hot, wet sponge.

Laundry detergents that work well for this task:

Tide, Ivory Snow, Cheer or any detergent that has enzymes.

Miracle Paste

If things are particularly grimy, here’s a paste you can try*:

  • Make a paste with baking soda and bleach, then apply to wet sponge to scrub off grime.
  • Rinse well then voila! grime-free and sparkling.
  • To scrub down the shower walls and tiles, use the bleach and baking soda paste with a nylon scrubber, rinse well.

*Don’t use if you’ve applied ammonia or ammonia based solutions to the tub.


Peeling off old decals reveals a sticky mess or dark dried up glue underneath. Here are a few different methods to remove them, get that gunk up and surfaces back to a shine.

  • If the decals don’t pull off easily, fill the tub with very hot water about 1″ deep with a cup of white vinegar poured in, soak for several minutes until the water has cooled enough to comfortably put your hands in (but still very warm). Then take a plastic scraper (or old credit card) and gently try prying an edge of the decal up and then pulling it off completely. Drain the water and dry the surface.
  • You could also try heating each decal with a hair dryer and then pulling it up once the glue has melted underneath. *DO NOT DO THIS* if there is any water in the tub! Gah! I feel silly just typing that–but–you know.

How To Remove The Residue

Method #1

  • Cover each gunk spot with a paper towel, then saturate the towel with vinegar. Press the towel firmly on each spot to make sure the gunk is soaking in the vinegar. Leave alone for a few hours (keep pouring on vinegar if the paper towel starts drying) then remove and rub each spot gently with baking soda and a wet cloth. The gunk should wipe up easily.

Method #2

  • Rub in petroleum jelly and leave it sit for an hour. Then take a hot, wet cloth and work the jelly in and then wipe up.

Method #3

  • Slather mayonnaise on each spot, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for a few hours. Wipe away mayo and if some residue is still stubborn–rub gently with some baking soda.

Method #4

  • Make a thick paste of cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide, slather it on decal residue. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to sit for an hour. Then take a wet cloth and work in the paste until residue is gone.

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