How To Clean A Disgusting Bathtub (In 5 Easy Steps)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

As someone who’s had friends who didn’t really understand the concepts of cleanliness, I’ve seen some pretty gnarly rooms. The worst rooms I’ve seen are, invariably, bathrooms and kitchens. I’ve even refused to bathe in a friend’s home because their bathtub was so gross. Believe it or not, if you’ve neglected cleaning your bathroom for that long, you can still clean a disgusting bathtub with a few tips.

To clean a disgusting bathtub, use equal parts of dish soap and vinegar and let it sit for at least an hour before scrubbing. You can also use bleach to tackle stubborn stains or try commercial products if you haven’t cleaned the tub in a while. Lemon juice can help remove soap scum and stains, and a Magic Eraser can clean the grout and area around the faucet handles.

A disgusting bathtub isn’t just something embarrassing when guests are over. It’s a serious health hazard and can eventually cause permanent damage to your home. Thankfully, as a clean freak, this process has never steered me wrong when I was working on my tub…

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How To Clean A Disgusting Bathtub

It can be depressing to look at a bathtub that’s covered in stains. But, that’s what cleaning is for, isn’t it? The beautiful thing about cleaning a disgusting bathtub is that you can always make things look good as new. Here’s how you can give your tub the love it deserves:

  • Turn the shower on and set it on high heat. Leave the shower on for five to 15 minutes. The steam will help loosen up the grime.
  • Fill the tub with hot water and splash some on the surfaces. After a few minutes, the surfaces will be heated up and ready for cleaning. Pre-heating your tub with hot water and steam prior to cleaning is a great trick to make your cleaning products more effective.
  • Next, choose a cleaning agent. Most people will do well with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap. I usually go for bleach or a specialty tub cleaner. (Bleach is my go-to whenever I get concerned about mold or hair dye.) Whatever you choose, just make sure that it’s strong enough to handle your bathtub’s mess levels.

Products To Clean A Disgusting Bathtub

When choosing what cleaner to use, if you opt for vinegar and dish soap (Dawn works well), spray equal parts all over your tub. Let it sit for an hour, then scrub with a scrubbing brush. You might need to repeat the process, but this method works great against soap scum.

If you decide to go with the bleach and baking soda method, rinse the tub first with warm water and remove as much grime as possible. Make sure to wear safety goggles, gloves, and a mask when working with bleach.

Mix a 1/2 cup bleach in one gallon of water and wipe down the entire tub using a sponge. Let the black remain on the tub for about 30 minutes, then clean the tub with water. Next, blend bleach and baking soda into a paste and apply it over extra-grimy spots, letting it sit for several minutes.

Clean the tub with cold water to rinse away the paste. If you prefer to skip the bleach, you can just use baking soda and dish soap, rinse and spread warm water all over the tub. Sprinkle baking soda all over the bathtub, then blend one tablespoon of dish soap in 2 gallons of water.

Scrub the entire tub with the soapy water and scrub extra-tough spots with a scrubbing brush. Finally, rinse the entire tub with clean water.

The Next Steps To Clean A Disgusting Bathtub

  • Spray your cleaning agent and let it sit. Make sure that the surface is evenly coated in cleaner by using a sponge or cloth to spread it around. The vast majority of cleaners on the market need at least five minutes to work their way through the grime. So, take this time to read a cool article or scrub down the sink. Try to wait between five and 15 minutes, and as noted above, some products might call for waiting an hour.
  • Take a sponge and scrub away. If you’re using any harsh chemicals, make sure that you wear rubber gloves to protect your hands while cleaning. I suggest using a scrubbing sponge or a brush to tackle bigger stains. It may take some effort, but you should be able to see a massive improvement after scrubbing heavily.
  • Rinse your tub off using the shower. Make sure all the grime goes down the drain.

Other Tips For Cleaning A Disgusting Bathtub

With most bathtub messes, you should be able to see great results doing this alone. However, there can be moments where you might need additional help. These super-hardworking tricks can help you make the most of your cleaning time.

Use A Magic Eraser

Magic Erasers are amazing tools for the bathroom, and not just because they can clean grout like a master. They are designed to work on any surface that could need serious help cutting through mold and mildew. Anecdotal evidence shows they are one of the few items that can clear rust out of a neglected bathtub. So, if you have rust problems, give this tool a try after giving your tub an initial cleaning attempt.

Cleaning Grout

In addition to using Magic Erasers, there are a number of other effective methods for cleaning the grout in your bathtub. While there are plenty of commercial cleaning products designed specifically for grout, you can use lemon juice and an old toothbrush for a more natural alternative. Simply saturate the brush and lemon juice and give the grout a good scrub. Additionally, a mixture of baking soda and water can make an effective paste for scrubbing your grout clean.

Finally, if you aren’t having any luck with just water and baking soda, you can try to make a paste with baking soda and white vinegar. Apply this to the grout, let it rest for a few minutes, and then scrub it clean.

Remove Drain Stains

Do you have rust stains around the drain? I won’t judge, but I will gladly help you learn how to get rid of them. Most stains can be taken care of via a Magic Eraser or through the use of rust removal products from your local hardware.

If you’re low on cash, you can also just cover the stain with table salt and add lemon juice to it. After you scrub this mix into the stain, you’ll see the rust vanish.

Use Dish Detergent In A Jacuzzi Tub

If you have a jacuzzi or a jet tub, then you might have a quick internet fix to get rid of grime. Just add two cups of Cascade Complete to a tub filled with hot water, and turn on the jets. The detergent cuts through biofilm quickly and also disinfects your tub.

Use Detergent Pods

Though I’ve never personally used this trick, I’ve heard it works wonders and am more than willing to offer it up so that others can test it out for themselves. There are now bathtub cleaning pods that are designed to clean your tub. All you have to do is buy some, run the tub, add a pod, and then run the jets.

Use The Broom Trick

The Broom Trick made its rounds on the internet, and I’m a huge fan. This cleaning trick is better for maintenance than it is for super-gross tubs, but it still works well enough for me to include it as a potential fix for most people’s tubs. Here’s how to do it:

  • Go to your local grocery store and get a new, clean broom. Plastic bristles that are pretty strong are ideal.
  • If you are low on supplies, pick up white vinegar and dish soap. Any brand works here.
  • Go to the bathroom and splash some vinegar and dish soap on the tub. Have a little fun with it, if you want to.
  • Use the broom to scrub away at the grime. This means you don’t have to bend down to get a clean tub!
  • Rinse your tub. You should be able to see most of the biofilm leave the tub down the drain. If you need to make sure it’s cleaned properly, test the surface of your tub with a finger.

Use A Drill Brush

This is something that should be reserved for grout and extremely dirty tubs, where regular scrubbing is not good enough to work. Drill brushes are exactly what they sound like. They’re drill extensions that have brushes. To use one, just hook up the extension, add cleaner, and turn on the drill brush. Maximum scrubbing power!

Commercial Products For Cleaning A Disgusting Bathtub

If you opt to clean your tub with commercial products, try these for your specific needs:

  • Magic Eraser Bathtub Scrubber
  • CLR, Pro Calcium, Lime, and Rust Remover
  • Clorox Plus Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover

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Our Final Take

When it comes to a matter as commonplace as cleaning a bathtub, you have a lot of options to explore. There are tons of detergents, detergent pods, as well as DIY detergents you can use. Heck, even household chemicals like hydrogen peroxide can help you whiten and brighten your tub. It’s all about making sure that you use the right technique when you’re cleaning out your tub.

Truth be told, there’s no reason for anyone to have a truly gnarly, grimy, disgusting tub. If you use the Broom Trick, cleaning your bathtub can literally be a matter of seconds. If you don’t feel like scrubbing away for the better part of half an hour or having to prime your bathtub with steam, the best thing you can do is a quick, routine clean.

Keeping your bathtub clean isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. By making a point of having a routine involving cleaning your tub, you won’t end up dealing with black grime and rust rings too often.

Related Questions

What can I use to get rust stains out of my bathtub?

Believe it or not, you can use Coca-Cola as a natural method for cleaning rust stains from your bathtub. Since Coke is carbonated, it allows it to dissolve with metal oxides and break up rust on a variety of surfaces. The phosphoric acid also further contributes to rust removal while citric acid is known to be an effective stain remover.Simply pour the soda on the affected areas and allow it to soak in overnight (or even longer, if possible). Then, give the Coca-Cola a good scrub and rinse clean.Hydrogen peroxide can also work against rust and other biological stains on your tub. It is one of the best whitening and disinfecting agents money can buy, and it’s so darn cheap, too. In fact, most people have this common household chemical lying around their homes.To use this cleaner, just pour peroxide over problem areas and let it sit. Then, scrub away whatever gets lifted. For additional cleaning power, you can try adding some borax.

Can I just soak my tub in bleach overnight?

No, this is not a good idea. It is too harsh and can damage your tub if left that long. Plus, bleach can do what it needs to within 15 to 20 minutes.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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