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How to Clean a Bathtub Without Harsh Chemicals

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How to Clean a Bathtub

If they’re not regularly cleaned, bathtubs can quickly become breeding grounds for bacteria and dirt. The use of multiple products and the high humidity levels in most bathrooms mean that your bathtub could be playing host to stubborn mildew, mold, soap scum stains and other bacteria. This leaves many wondering how to clean a bathtub?

When these problems begin to arise, it might be tempting to reach straight for the bleach or harsh chemical cleaning products; in this article, we are going to show you why this is not the best course of action!

With just a little elbow grease and the right tools and products, you can thoroughly deep clean your bathtub the natural way, leaving it sparkling clean and sanitized without bringing any potentially harmful chemicals into your home. 

Related: How to Clean a Plastic Shower Curtain & The Best Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner

How to Clean a Bathtub

Here is our step-by-step guide on how to clean a bathtub. Be aware, though, that not all of these products or tools will be suitable for use on all surface materials. We will explain this more thoroughly as we go through and if you’re still unsure, we recommend carrying out a small patch test on an inconspicuous area of the tub before covering the entire surface.

Step 1: Vinegar and Water

Start by mixing equal parts distilled water and white vinegar in a clean spray bottle. Distilled water won’t leave behind any watermarks and white vinegar is great for cutting through grease and grime, neutralizing odors, and is super effective when it comes to removing soap scum.

Spritz a generous amount of the vinegar solution all over the bathtub and leave this to soak for around five minutes.

White Vinegar is all-natural and is safe for use on almost all bathtub surfaces including acrylic, porcelain, and fiberglass.

However, white vinegar should not be used on stone resin bathtubs as the acidic formula can damage the surface of the tub. The next step, using baking soda, is also not suitable for these tubs, so if you have a stone resin bathtub, skip straight ahead to step three, or replace the white vinegar and baking soda with your preferred gentle, non-acidic detergent or liquid soap.  

Related: How to Clean a Jetted Tub

Step 2: Baking Soda

After allowing the white vinegar and water to soak for five minutes, sprinkle baking soda all over the tub, including the faucets and any hardware.

Again, baking soda is a super gentle, all-natural cleaning agent that is mildly abrasive but still gentle enough for use on most bathtubs and why we love using it in our how to clean a bathtub without chemical cleaners guide. As we stated above, however, baking soda is not suitable for use on stone resin bathtubs.

Leave the baking soda to soak for a further five minutes before going in with a gentle brush, sponge, or cloth (it is really important that you don’t use anything that is too abrasive, here, to avoid damaging the surface of the tub) and lightly scrub the surface, focusing particularly on any corners, crevices, or stubborn stains.

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Step 3: Rinse

After gently scrubbing the bathtub to remove any surface-level dirt, rinse it off with some warm water. To do this, you can use a wet cloth, bucket, or hand-held shower head.

Rinse until all of the cleaning solutions have been thoroughly washed away. The great thing about white vinegar and baking soda is that they are non-toxic and won’t cause any damage to your plumbing systems or waterways.

Step 4: Final Cleanse (optional)

After rinsing, you have the option to go back in with your choice of all-natural liquid soap or surface cleaner. Spray or wipe the cleaning agent all over the tub and use a cloth, brush, or sponge to work it into the surface before rinsing away. Again, take care not to use anything too abrasive on your bathtub to avoid leaving any scratches behind.

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Step 5: Polish and Dry

Finally, take a clean, dry microfiber cloth and dry and polish the bathtub to leave it sparkling clean and smudge-free.

Related: How to Keep Your Glass Shower Doors Sparkling Without Chemical Cleaners

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Removing Tough Stains

Once you have followed the steps on how to clean a bathtub without harsh chemicals for a deep clean, ideally, your bathtub will look as good as new and be free from any dirt or marks. But, if you find that you are left with some particularly stubborn stains that the previous method simply wasn’t tough enough to remove, there are some further steps you can take to get your bathtub gleaming once again.

Below, we have listed the three most common culprits when it comes to stubborn bathtub stains, as well as some advice on how best to tackle them. Unfortunately, these methods might not be suitable for stone resin bathtubs because of the use of naturally acidic ingredients.

If you’re working with a stone resin bathtub, swap the vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda for a gentle liquid soap and take a bristle brush to manually remove any stains before rinsing and wiping away.

Rust and Limescale

Rust and limescale can be really tough to remove, particularly on taps and hardware, but with the right products and a little elbow grease, it can be done!

Take the white vinegar and distilled water mixture we used earlier and add a generous amount of lemon juice (around half a lemon for every 500ml of solution). Spray this over the rust or limescale and allow it to stand for around 30 minutes. The lemon juice and vinegar are both super acidic and are really great for cutting through rust and limescale.

Wipe the solution away with a clean, damp cloth, and your bathtub hardware should be as good as new.

Related: Home Remedies for Limescale (Natural and Effective)

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Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew stains are extremely common in bathtubs because of the high levels of moisture and humidity in most bathrooms.

To remove these, you should start by safely removing any live mold spores using a damp cloth. Make sure you are wearing protective clothing and taking all necessary safety precautions to avoid further contamination within your home.

After this, you will probably be left with a black, pink, or green stain that might be pretty difficult to remove.

Go back in with your baking soda, sprinkling a generous amount over the stain and allowing this to soak for up to 30 minutes. Spritz over the white vinegar solution and allow this to sit for a further 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing and wiping away.

If this is not effective, you can also go in with some hydrogen peroxide which will effectively lift the stain and restore the whiteness of your tub. Be aware though, that hydrogen peroxide, although all-natural, is fairly harsh and can cause bleaching and surface damage to some bathtubs, so always read the bottle carefully and carry out a small patch test if you’re unsure.

Related: Pink Residue in Your Shower? What is it and How to Get Rid of It?

Mineral Deposit Stains

Hard water can leave behind lots of watermarks or white stains on your bathtub that might seem near impossible to remove, but they can be tackled using these simple steps…

Start by soaking a paper towel or clean cloth in some white vinegar and placing this directly over the stain. Let this soak for up to a couple of hours before removing and scrubbing once again with baking soda and a mildly abrasive brush or sponge. Finish by rinsing with distilled water to avoid creating more watermarks and then wipe clean with a dry microfiber cloth.

Related: The Best Natural Shower Cleaner: Non-Toxic Soap Scum Remover

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Final Thoughts on How to Clean a Bathtub Without Harsh Chemicals

Maintaining a sparkling clean bathtub can be pretty tricky, particularly if it is used frequently and if you have poor ventilation or high humidity levels in your bathroom. With that being said, using the simple steps and the all-natural products listed in this article on how to clean a bathtub, you can effectively deep clean your bathtub efficiently and without the need for any harsh, toxic cleaning chemicals.

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