How to Clean a Bathtub

3. Tub Cleaning Techniques

Once you’ve decided on a cleanser, it’s time to face the tub. Start by clearing everything off the edges so you have a clean slate.

Next, treat any stains. Then apply your chosen cleanser, spreading the paste in a circular motion or spraying the cleanser on the entire surface, starting from the rim of the tub, working along the sides and finishing at the bottom.

The next step is easy. According to Meg Roberts, president of Molly Maid, most people make the mistake of applying the cleanser and any stain treatment and then cleaning immediately, rather than giving them time to work. “We put too much elbow grease into it,” she says, noting that Molly Maid employees spray the wet surfaces, such as the tub and sink, then turn to cleaning the dry surfaces in the room. It may be half an hour before they return to cleaning the tub. You can follow that schedule or follow Roberts’ suggestion and spend the next hour playing with the dog, taking a walk or simply relaxing.

Once the cleanser has had time to work, scrub the sides and bottom of the tub, starting from the top and working your way down. For the least abrasive approach, choose a soft cloth or microfiber cloth. Other options include a soft-bristled scrub brush or one of the longer-handled shower and tub scrubbers that are designed to save you some back strain.

If you have an acrylic tub, use a cloth or scrubber that’s made from nylon, which won’t scratch the surface. “Researchers have found that even paper towels can scratch a plastic finish,” Uhl says. An old toothbrush is handy for cleaning around drains and other tight surfaces.

The next step is to rinse the tub thoroughly, either by spraying with the shower nozzle or rinsing with a bucket of clean water. This practice is often overlooked but essential, according to Uhl. He notes that while leaving a cleanser on for an hour is fine, leaving it on for a week can permanently harm the tub’s finish. He also suggests cleaning shower doors to remove any overspray from the cleanser.

Finally, dry the tub thoroughly with a soft cloth (microfiber works very well) so it shines. Roberts says this step doesn’t take long and is key for a polished look.

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