How To Clean A Fiberglass Tub With A Textured Bottom

Benjamin Panico
by Benjamin Panico

Textured shower pans provide extra friction to help you not slip and fall in your wet shower. Unfortunately, they also create nooks and crannies in which soap scum can build up. The texture makes it harder to clean than smooth shower surfaces, so here are some creative solutions.

The best way to clean a fiberglass tub with a textured bottom is to used baking soda and water. Use a scrub brush to scrub the baking soda into the surface. You can also use vinegar, or an oven cleaner to break down soap scum. For stubborn stains, use a toilet brush for scrubbing.

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Step One: Loosen Up the Grime

Turn on the shower as hot as possible for five to ten minutes. The hot water will loosen up the grime and soap scum sitting in your shower pan.

Step Two: Use a Household Cleaner

There are plenty of household products that work well against soap scum. If you don’t have luck with one, you can move on and try the next one. You may also find that you need to repeat the process a couple of times to clean a dirtier shower.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a popular solution for cleaning showers since most people already have it in the house. It does a great job of breaking down scum. Baking soda is also an odor neutralizer, itself odor-free, and perfectly safe to use.

Add just enough water to the baking soda to create a paste. You want it to be thick enough that it will settle into the crevices in your textured tub. Apply it liberally to your tub, and let it sit for one to two hours.

Once the baking soda has sat and broken down the scum, you can rinse it down the drain. Turn on the showerhead and let it rinse away the paste. The baking soda should also help with any stains or discoloration to get your fiberglass tub white again.

White Vinegar

Another simple household solution is white vinegar. This is a particularly good option is you also have an odor issue, since vinegar neutralizes smells. Baking soda also neutralizes odors, but unlike baking soda, vinegar has a smell of its own. It is a good idea to dilute vinegar so that your bathroom does not become overpowered by the vinegar’s smell.

You will need to first close the tub’s drain, so the vinegar does not drain away immediately. You can mix the vinegar and baking soda solutions if one isn’t enough. Pour an even layer of vinegar and then sprinkle baking soda over it all. Allow the baking soda to bubble and then sit for a few minutes before rinsing the solution away with hot water.

Oven Cleaner

You can actually use an oven cleaner to clean a fiberglass tub! It is a very strong stain remover that does not require any scrubbing. Simply let it sit for about an hour, wipe it off with a sponge or cloth, and rinse the shower out.

Because oven cleaners have dangerous fumes, make sure to ventilate the bathroom while doing this. Open windows if you have them and turn on the bathroom fan. You can also buy a fume-free oven cleaner for a safer solution.

Step 3: Get Scrubbing

A Word of Warning

While a rougher scrubber would get the scum out of your textured shower pan faster, it will also destroy the shower pan. The protective coating on fiberglass tubs is fragile against steel wool and the like. Too abrasive a cleaning material can easily damage fiberglass tubs, especially textured ones.

It is best to be patient and go through multiple rounds of cleaning if necessary. Try different solutions to see what works best. Let the cleaning products sit for longer than the instructions specify if they are not doing a good enough job.

Toilet Brush

Keeping this in mind, there are a few options for scrubbers that can help. The first is a toilet brush. The plastic bristles are strong but not too abrasive for showers. The separate bristles are able to get into the crevices of textured tubs better than sponges.

Hand Broom

Similar to the toilet brush, a hand broom is a great solution for non-abrasive scrubbing. Make sure to use one with shorter bristles, since longer ones will bend too much. It is also a good idea to buy a new broom specifically for this project. It will likely get scummy and not be useful for other purposes.

Foam Sponges

Finally, any sponge will allow you to scrub the cleaning product into your shower. Even better, though, is a foam sponge with a chemical cleaning product in it. This can be used with just water, as it releases its cleaning solution once wet.

You will need to use some muscle to get at the set-in scum in your textured shower pan. Keep in mind that the textured bottom of your shower pan will wear away the sponge. You might go through a couple of sponges during a deep clean.

Step 4: Rinse and Repeat

With all of these cleaning products and techniques, you need to make sure to thoroughly rinse out the shower when you are done. These cleaning solutions should not sit in your shower for longer than a few hours. Some of them have the potential to wear away at the fiberglass’s finish.

Once you have let the products soak and scrubbed if necessary, turn the shower on hot. Let the water rinse out the shower and send all the grime down the drain. Make sure to keep the water on until what is going down the drain is just water, no bubbles.

Run your finger over your fiberglass tub to make sure it doesn’t feel slick. You may need to wipe it down with a wet cloth if the cleaner will not rinse off easily. If you see that there is still grime or stains present, try another round of cleaning to get it spotless.

Step 5: Prevent Future Buildup

Finally, this last step is a tip for keeping your shower clean. A lot of us turn off the water as soon as we have finished rinsing ourselves off. But an extra thirty seconds to clean the shower makes a huge difference in the long run.

Before you get out of the shower, stick around to make sure all the soapsuds go down the drain. Kick the hot water around with your foot to ensure it gets in all corners of your shower pan. With a textured bottom, you might even want to rub your foot over the pan to check if it is slimy.

Adding this cleaning ritual into your daily shower routine doesn’t take very long, and it will pay off. Cleaning the shower every day while you are using it is the easiest way to maximize the time between larger cleaning jobs.

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Related Questions

Will vinegar damage fiberglass tubs?

No, vinegar is a great solution for cleaning out bathtubs. However, you cannot leave it in the tub for too long, otherwise, it can wear away at the tub’s coating. Additionally, it can leave behind strong smells, especially in small spaces like bathrooms. You can dilute the vinegar in hot water to avoid this.

How do I get my fiberglass tub white again?

There are a few different products you can use to get stains and discoloration out of your tub. If baking soda doesn’t seem strong enough, bleach is a great alternative. If you use bleach, be sure to ventilate your space well. A foam cleaning sponge will also do the trick if you add in a little elbow grease.

Benjamin Panico
Benjamin Panico

Benjamin is a freelance writer and graphic designer. He is passionate about DIY projects and finding creative ways to upcycle things headed for the landfill. Based in Oakland, CA, Benjamin enjoys playing guitar and gardening.

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