Let’s face it – bathtubs get downright nasty over time. All it takes is a little neglect for soap scum, mildew, mold, rust, and mineral deposits to build up, leaving you with a bathroom fixture that’s simply disgusting. If your tub has seen better days and is an eyesore or causes embarrassment when guests visit, it’s time for a deep clean.
Cleaning a filthy, bacteria-laden tub may seem like an awful chore, but restoring it to a sparkling, fresh, sanitary condition is very satisfying. This article will provide step-by-step instructions for how to scrub every inch, kill germs, remove tough stains, and prevent future disgusting build-up in your bathtub.
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Why It’s Important to Clean a Disgusting Bathtub
A bath that looks and feels dirty is unpleasant to bathe in. When grime builds up, it not only looks unattractive, but it also harbors mold, bacteria, and germs that can make you sick. A clean tub is essential for good hygiene and health.
In addition to health concerns, a spotless bathtub also has aesthetic value. Guests will be impressed and more comfortable using a tub that appears well-cared for. And since the tub is a focal point in the bathroom, a pristine white tub (or a tub cleaned to look its best) will make the entire room look crisp and inviting.
If the current condition of your tub makes you cringe, let those reasons motivate you to get scrubbing!
Supplies Needed to Clean a Disgusting Bathtub
Cleaning a filthy tub is an intensive project that requires heavy duty supplies. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Scrub brushes: stiff-bristled brushes in various sizes to scour every surface
- Scrapers: to help chip off sticky gunk or mineral deposits
- Old rags: for wiping down surfaces
- Pumice stone: to rub off tough stains
- Goggles: to protect eyes from splashing cleaning products
- bucket for rinse water
- Tub and tile cleaner: opt for a mildew-fighting, heavy-duty cleaner. View On Amazon
- Bleach or another disinfectant. View On Amazon
- Baking soda is a gentle scrubbing powder. View On Amazon
- Vinegar helps dissolve soap scum and mineral deposits.
- Mineral deposit removers.
- Rust removers.
- Grout cleaner. View On Amazon
It’s better to have all the supplies you need before getting started so you can work efficiently. Clearing out space around the tub will also make the process easier.
Steps for How to Clean a Disgusting Bathtub?
Follow these steps to get your filthy tub sparkling clean.
1. Prepare the Disgusting Bathtub
Start by clearing away any bath toys, shampoos, or other products from the tub area so you can access all surfaces. Remove the shower curtain and liner and wash separately if needed. Drain any standing water from the bottom of the tub.
Check for areas with heavy grime or soap buildup and let them soak for 10–20 minutes with a tub cleaning spray before scrubbing. This helps soften the gunk, making it easier to remove. Open a window or turn on the bathroom fan – you’re going to get up close and personal with that dirty tub, so ventilation helps!
2. Scrub Every Inch of the Disgusting Bathtub
This is the labor-intensive step, but it’s what it takes to remove layers of filth. Use a tub cleaning brush or an old rag dipped in heavy-duty tub cleaner and scrub every surface of the tub, including:
- Bathtub floor and walls
- Faucets, handles and spout
- Shower head connection
- Overflow drain cover
- Bottom rim of sliding doors
- Curtain rod brackets
- Corner seams and crevices
- Soap dish and shelves
Take your time and scrub thoroughly to lift away the built-up residue. Rinse scrubbed areas with hot water and repeat scrubbing as needed on tough gunk. Replace the rag or scrub brush head frequently so you’re not just moving dirt around.
For soap scum rings, use a pumice stone after scrubbing to rub away any leftover residue. Vinegar, baking soda, or disinfectant can also help cut through soap scum.
Following are the three guides that can help you clean the bathtub perfectly.
- Can I Clean My Bathtub with Baking Soda?
- Cleaning Bathtub with Baking Soda?
- Can You Use Clorox Toilet Wand On Bathtub?
If the base of the bathtub feels like sandpaper, use a mineral deposit remover to smooth it out. Let it soak for 10-20 minutes before scrubbing.
Remove all standing water and continue rinsing, scrubbing, and wiping down surfaces until the tub basin is clean.
3. Disinfect the Disgusting Bathtub
After scrubbing up a storm, disinfect the tub to kill any lingering bacteria. This prevents mold and mildew growth.
Make a dilute bleach solution with 3/4 cup of bleach per gallon of water. Spray or wipe down all surfaces with the bleach solution and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing. Vinegar is also a natural disinfectant.
If the tub caulking looks black with mildew, spray it with full-strength bleach. Let it sit briefly before rinsing.
4. Rinse Away Cleaning Residue
It’s imperative to rinse the tub thoroughly several times with hot water after cleaning. This removes all chemical residue that could be harmful to the skin.
Take your time rinsing, and wipe down walls and fixtures with a clean, wet rag as you go. Fully drying the tub after cleansing prevents water spots or new mildew growth.
5. Remove the remaining stains and Discoloration
- Rust stains – Use a rust removal chemical and scrub with a brush. Let it sit before rinsing.
- Mineral deposits – Apply vinegar and scrub with a pumice stone.
- Soap scum – Use baking soda paste and scrub.
- Mildew stains – Use bleach or oxygen bleach cleaners and re-scrub.
For extra-tough stains, you may need to reapply stain removers and scrub vigorously multiple times to fully lift the discoloration.
Prevent Repeat Disgusting Bathtub Buildup
Prevention is the best way to avoid a repeat cleaning nightmare. Here are some tips:
- Squeegee the tub after each use to wipe away excess water.
- Hang shower curtains inside the tub after use so they are fully dry.
- Use bathroom ventilation fans during and after bathing.
- Clean the tub weekly by spraying down surfaces.
- Scrub mildew-prone areas like caulk regularly.
- Rinse soap dishes and shelves often.
- Recaulk when old caulk becomes stained and grimy.
Regular light cleaning prevents soap scum, mildew, and mineral deposits from building up again. It’s much easier to maintain a clean tub than tackle heavy grime buildup again later.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you clean a bathtub with baking soda?
Sprinkle baking soda generously over tub surfaces, spray with vinegar, let bubble for 5 minutes, then scrub and rinse clean.
What removes soap scum from bathtubs?
Vinegar, baking soda, scrubbing with a pumice stone, and commercial soap scum remover products help dissolve and scrub away soap scum.
How do you unclog a bathtub drain naturally?
Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, followed by 1/2 cup vinegar. Cover and let sit 15 minutes, then rinse with hot water.
How do you naturally disinfect a bathtub?
Spray the tub with a vinegar solution (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water), let sit for 10 minutes, then scrub and rinse away germs.
What setting on a pressure washer cleans bathtubs?
Use a pressure washer at 1,500-2,000 PSI with a 15-25 degree nozzle 8-10 inches away to clean bathtub surfaces.
While cleaning a disgustingly dirty bathtub is a big undertaking, it’s doable with some determination and elbow grease. The right cleaning tools and products are essential to break down layers of gunk and disinfecting everything. Follow these steps to get your tub looking like new.
Remember to rinse thoroughly after using heavy-duty cleaners. Your tub should emerge fresh, sanitary, and free of stains when the job is done right. Then implement preventive cleaning habits so it stays clean and white for longer.
We’d love to hear if these tips helped transform your disgusting tub! Share before and after photos of your tub cleaning success.
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.