No one wants to soak in a dirty soaking tub. Periodic exposure to moisture allows bacteria and mold to accumulate on the tub walls, creating unhealthy and, of course, unsightly dirt. Keeping the tub clean is the best way to prevent the development of dirt and stains. However, sometimes you do need to take more serious steps to remove large, stubborn stains. Luckily, with the help of basic household products and a little effort, you can still get stubborn stains out of your tub.
Method 1 of 3: Removing Stains from an Acrylic Soak
Step 1. Avoid using abrasive chemical cleaning products
When cleaning an acrylic bath, avoid using harsh astringent powders (eg Comet and Ajax), as well as harsh chemical products such as bleach. Acrylic is a delicate material so it is easily damaged. The use of these products can almost always damage the outer layer of the soaking tub.
In general, it's a good idea to use the mildest cleaning solution and gradually go for the harder options if mild cleaning products don't remove the stain effectively
Step 2. Spray the stain with vinegar
White vinegar can be a great natural cleaning solution, especially for smooth surfaces like acrylic that can easily remove stains. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and always have it on hand for regular bathroom cleaning. Spray vinegar liberally to cover the stained area.
If available in the refrigerator, lime juice can be a good substitute for vinegar
Step 3. Let the vinegar sit for 10-20 minutes
When left on, the acid in the vinegar will break down mold, dirt, and discolored stains for easy cleaning or wiping. You may be able to see the stain begin to fall off and wash away on its own, even before the stain has been brushed off.
- Make sure you let it sit long enough for the vinegar to work.
- For stubborn stains, sprinkle some baking soda after the vinegar has been sprayed.
Step 4. Clean the stain with a soft sponge
You can use the yellow part of the dishwashing sponge for this step. After soaking with vinegar, dirt and stains can be removed easily. Brush the stain in a fast back and forth motion, and keep cleaning the stained area until it's gone.
You can also use special tools or brushes, such as Mr. Clean Magic Eraser made of porous melamine foam for added stain removal power
Step 5. Rinse the inside of the soaking tub
Open the faucet for a few minutes to rinse off any loose stains and dirty vinegar solution. If you are cleaning a soaking tub with an adjustable shower head, turn on the shower and direct the flow of water over the areas that have been cleaned. After cleaning, dry the soaking tub so that the stain-causing bacteria does not return.
- Most stains on a soaking tub are caused by dirt that produces a layer of residue after the dirt builds up.
- Open the shower curtain and turn on the fan to give the tub a steady flow of air.
Method 2 of 3: Removing Stains from an Enamel Soak
Step 1. Try cleaning the tub with vinegar first
Although classified as a mild natural cleaning agent, vinegar is usually strong enough to handle most stains when used in large quantities and left on for a sufficient amount of time. Spray the tub thoroughly with vinegar, let it sit for a few minutes, then brush the stain with a sponge or hard-bristled brush. If you find that using vinegar is not getting the results you want, you can switch to a more intensive method.
At one point, adding more vinegar may not be enough to remove the stain
Step 2. Use a bleach-free cleaning spray
Products such as Lysol All Purpose Cleaner, Kaboom, Shout! and Scrubbing Bubbles Shower Cleaner is suitable for removing stubborn stains, without damaging smooth surfaces. Since most such products contain similar combinations of ingredients, they are more or less effective. Make sure the product you are using does not contain bleach, as this can thin the outer enamel of the bath.
Only buy cleaning products that are designed for enamel-coated bathroom surfaces. Make sure you check the label carefully before buying a particular product so that you can get the right product
Step 3. Make your own natural cleaning mixture
If you don't want to go shopping, you can make an all-purpose bathroom cleaner at home by mixing warm water, baking soda, a mild soap (eg Castile soap), and essential oils in a spray bottle. All of these ingredients are usually readily available and safe to use, but can be quite a powerful cleaning mixture when combined. Once thoroughly mixed, spray the mixture on the stained surface and let it work for a few minutes before brushing off the stain.
- If you're having trouble finding a mild soap product like Castile soap, hydrogen peroxide can be a great substitute.
- Essential oils such as tea tree oil and peppermint can act as natural disinfectants.
Step 4. Wet and soak the stained area for a few minutes
Spray the mixture on the stained area and let it sit. Pay attention to the areas that have a lot of stains and discoloration. The cleaning mixture usually destroys the stains right away.
- The longer you let it sit, the more effective the mixture will be at removing any long-standing stains.
- Put on gloves and make or use a chemical cleaning solution in a well-ventilated area.
Step 5. Carefully brush the stain
Use a soft sponge or microfiber towel to avoid stains or scratches. Brush the stain in a gentle circular motion. When finished, rinse off any remaining dirt and cleaning solution, then dry the soaking tub.
- If necessary, re-spray the cleaning solution. Clean and repeat the process until the stain has been removed from the enamel.
- Using a cleaning tool harder than a sponge to scrub the enamel can thin or damage the outer layer of the tub.
Method 3 of 3: Removing Stains from a Porcelain Soak
Step 1. Prepare a tube of abrasive cleaning powder
For dirt that has accumulated on the porcelain surface, you will need to use a tougher product. Use a powder cleaning product like Comet or Ajax. Small particles of powder can seep deeper in order to lift stains that have been stuck for a long time on the surface of the soaking tub.
- Powdered cleaning products contain surfactant chemicals that are mildly abrasive. Products like this can remove the remaining dirt and stains that are hardened or stubborn more effectively.
- Use abrasive cleaning products sparingly. Usually, one tube is enough for a thorough cleaning of one tub.
Step 2. If you need to use alternative products, use natural cleaning agents as much as possible
Stubborn stains such as rust and lime water can be removed with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and cream of tartar. Mix the two ingredients and apply directly to the stain. After 10 minutes, scrub the stain with a nylon brush or pumice stone until the stain is completely removed.
- Homemade mixtures such as hydrogen peroxide solution and cream of tartar may be a better choice if you are concerned about the health and environmental effects of chemical cleaning products.
- Hydrogen peroxide can also reverse age-related discoloration and brighten the outer layer of the bath.
Step 3. Sprinkle cleaning powder around the soaking tub
The use of cleaning powder in moderation is enough to deal with stains or dirt. The cleaning powder itself won't stick to the porcelain surface, but when combined with liquid, it will form a paste that you can apply directly to the stain.
Make sure you cover the bottom of the tub, as mold buildup can pose a risk of slipping
Step 4. Add enough water to make a paste
Pour pure water or plain water on the cleaning powder. With added moisture, the powder will turn into a thick, foamy paste. Apply this paste on the stain and let it sit for half an hour for it to work.
- You can also moisten a clean sponge or washcloth and use it to rub the cleaning product against the walls of the tub until the powder thickens.
- Be careful not to add too much water. If the mixture is too runny, the product will not be able to remove the stain effectively.
Step 5. Scrub the stain with a strong scrubbing tool
Since porcelain has a tough and durable outer layer, you can safely scrub it with an abrasive brush without leaving streaks. For best results, use a pumice stone or a hard-bristled scrubbing brush. Clean the stain until it is completely lifted, then rinse the soaking tub with clean water and dry it before use.
- If you don't have a special scrubbing brush, you can use the rough (green) side of a kitchen sponge.
- Never use steel wool or similar materials to brush the inside of a porcelain sink. Even if they are scratch-resistant, such equipment can still cause permanent damage to the outer layer of the tub.
- Make a schedule to clean the tub regularly (ideally, once every few weeks) so you don't have to spend more time doing a deeper cleaning.
- Always use cleaning products that are safe to use for the type of bath material.
- Regular shampoo can also be used to clean light stains because shampoo products are designed to remove dirt and oil.
- Open the bathroom door before you go to work to let fresh air in.
- Keep a set of cleaning supplies in or near the bathroom so you always have supplies.
- Purchase a long scrubbing brush to prevent muscle soreness from bending over or kneeling when cleaning a tub.
- Do not mix different chemical cleaning agents, such as ammonia and bleach. When mixed, the two ingredients will produce a sharp vapor that is harmful if inhaled or in contact with the skin.
- Test the stain removal method on a small, inconspicuous area of the tub before doing a more thorough cleaning to avoid damaging the outer layer of the tub if the method or product used is not suitable.
- Harsh chemicals can stain synthetic materials, such as acrylic. Since these stains can change the color of the outer layer, they cannot actually be removed.