Bathtubs can be breeding grounds for all kinds of dirt, grime, and buildup that is hard to remove with basic cleaning methods. Mildew, soap scum, mineral deposits, and rings around the tub can make your bathroom seem dull and dirty, no matter how much you scrub.
Luckily, there are some clever cleaning hacks and habits you can use to get your bathtub sparkling clean with less effort.
You might be interested in How to Clean Your Bathtub Without Bending Over?
Why do bathtubs get so dirty?
There are several culprits that make bathtubs notoriously hard to clean:
This buildup comes from residues of soap, shampoo, and even body oils that coat the tub surface.
Hard water stains
Minerals like calcium and magnesium in water leave behind a chalky residue.
Mildew and mold
Wet, damp environments breed mold and mildew, especially in crevices.
Accumulation of hair and dirt
Shedding hair and dirt that rinses off our bodies can cling to tub surfaces.
Heavy mineral content in water leaves cloudy, sticky deposits.
Grimy rings around the tub
Rings of dirt and oil mark the tide lines and are hard to remove.
Many bathroom cleaners only temporarily hide this grime buildup rather than removing it. But with the right techniques, you can break down these stubborn deposits for a deeply cleaned tub.
Everyday Cleaning Hacks
Here are some handy bathtub cleaning hacks you can use on a regular basis to keep your tub looking cleaner between deep cleans. For fast bathtub cleaning, read this guide or check out this guide on homemade tub cleaners.
White vinegar is mildly acidic, which helps it dissolve soap scum with ease. It also breaks down some hard water stains and mineral deposits. Simply mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray down the tub and let it sit for several minutes before rinsing – no heavy scrubbing needed! It’s cheap, non-toxic, and helps eliminate that dirty bathtub ring.
Dish soap like Dawn is formulated to cut through kitchen oils and grease. This makes it great for breaking up the oils that accumulate on bathtub surfaces. Just spray on your favorite dish soap, let it soak for a few minutes, and rinse clean – no scrubbing necessary! It cleans soap scum and oils without scratching or damaging tub surfaces.
This popular cleaning tool works well to lightly scrub and remove soap scum from bathtubs. Its texture lifts away buildup without damaging the tub. Dampen the magic eraser, then wipe down walls and floors. Rinse thoroughly after use. It takes little effort to quickly refresh your tub’s surfaces between deep cleans.
A shower squeegee is a must-have for preventing soap scum and mineral buildup. After each shower or bath, simply wipe the walls and doors down using the squeegee – this removes standing water quickly. Doing this daily keeps hard water deposits and mildew at bay between thorough cleanings.
Deep Cleaning Hacks
When it comes time for a deep clean to remove stubborn gunk in the tub, try these handy tricks:
Baking Soda Scrub
Baking soda works as a gentle abrasive to lift dirt from surfaces. It also neutralizes odors that build up over time. Make a paste by mixing baking soda with just enough water to form a thick scrub. Spread over tough stains and rings, let sit for 5 minutes, then rinse clean. The baking soda paste cleans and deodorizes without harsh chemicals.
Used dryer sheets are great for wiping away built up soap scum and hard water stains. Simply dampen a couple sheets, then scrub the tub in circular motions. Rinse thoroughly after scrubbing. Dryer sheets leave behind a fresh scent too! Use this tip on shower doors and bathroom mirrors too.
This naturally occurring powder has antibacterial properties, making it great for cleaning and disinfecting tubs. Make a paste with warm water and spread it over any stains. Let it sit overnight before rinsing to remove tough stains. It also kills mold and mildew growth. Just avoid getting borax near your eyes.
This lightweight volcanic stone is affordable and perfect for scrubbing away stubborn rings, hard water deposits, and discoloration in tubs. It won’t scratch surfaces, and it rinses easily. Dip the pumice stone in warm water before use to prevent clogging. Rub gently over stained areas using a circular motion until they are removed.
Toxic Chemicals to Avoid
When looking for cleaning solutions, steer clear of products with the following harsh chemicals:
- Bleach – too harsh for most bathtub surfaces and can cause breathing issues
- Ammonia – can create toxic fumes when mixed with other cleaners
- Acid-based cleaners – can etch or damage the tub surface
- Anything with strong fumes – causes headaches and ventilation issues
- Products not specifically made for bathrooms – may scratch or stain
Stick to natural, non-toxic ingredients whenever possible. Never mix cleaners or products containing bleach or ammonia; this creates toxic gases.
Better Daily Cleaning Habits
Prevention is the best way to keep your bathtub clean with less effort. Follow these habits:
- Spray the tub down with a daily shower cleaner after each use. This prevents buildup between deep cleans.
- Use a squeegee on the walls and doors after showering to remove excess water and residue.
- Do a monthly deep cleaning session targeting soap scum, mildew, and stains.
- Immediately treat any areas of mold and mildew growth to prevent spreading.
- Limit products like conditioners and bath oils that leave behind residue.
Table: Safe Bathtub Cleaning Ingredients
|White Vinegar||Dissolving soap scum, removes stains|
|Baking Soda||Deodorizes and lifts dirt|
|Hydrogen Peroxide||Disinfects and whitens|
|Liquid Dish Soap||Cuts through grease and oils|
|Borax||Disinfects and removes tough stains|
A little effort each day prevents having to scrub for hours less often. Follow these bathtub cleaning hacks for a fresh, sparkling clean tub with less hassle. For cleaning or removing rust, read this List Of The Best Bathtub Rust Removers.
What is the fastest way to clean a bathtub?
Use a daily shower spray cleaner after each use to prevent buildup. Squeegee the walls and doors when done.
What removes soap scum easily?
Vinegar, dish soap, baking soda, and pumice stones dissolve and scrub away soap scum.
How do you unclog a bathtub drain without chemicals?
Use a zip-it drain cleaner, or baking soda and vinegar to break up hair and soap buildup.
How do you deep clean a bathtub naturally?
Make a paste of baking soda and water to scrub away grime. Let borax sit overnight on tough stains.
How often should you deep clean a bathtub?
Deep clean bathtubs monthly to prevent permanent stains and mildew growth. Do light cleaning weekly.
- Can Mice Come Up The Bathtub Drain?
- Are Acrylic Bathtubs Good?
- Can You Put Tile Directly On A Bathtub?
William J. Bullock is a licensed plumber with over 15 years of experience installing and repairing bathtubs. He runs his own plumbing company in Greenville and serves residential and commercial clients. William is dedicated to providing honest, transparent advice to help homeowners make informed decisions about their bathroom renovations.
He has established expertise in selecting bathtubs, planning custom installations, diagnosing issues, and completing repairs. William aims to share practical tips and reliable recommendations based on extensive hands-on work. When he isn’t on a job site, William enjoys spending time with his family and volunteering at local community events. He takes pride in delivering quality service and enjoys helping people upgrade their homes.