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Can Bleach Damage A Bathtub?

We’ve all been there: Getting yellow or brown stains on your beautiful white colored bathtub after a while. Although several cleaning products and chemicals have been invented specifically for cleaning bathtubs, bleach has been well-known to be one of the more effective cleaning products. Can bleach damage a bathtub?

Whether or not bleach can damage a bathtub will depend on its material. Fiberglass, white porcelain, ceramic, stone, and cultured marble are bleach friendly and will not become damaged. Wooden, acrylic, cast iron, and copper bathtubs can not be cleaned with bleach, as they will become damaged.

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Although bleach is known to be one of the most effective cleaners, especially for bathrooms, it could damage the surface of your bathtub if its material is unsuitable and if you use it incorrectly. Does your bathtub need a deep cleaning? If so, this article is for you!

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Using Bleach To Clean Your Bathtub

Because bleach is highly corrosive, you must use it with caution. Bleach could do much more damage to your skin than your bathtubs, so remember that you must wear eye protection and thick rubber gloves when working with household bleach. 

Always keep your bathroom ventilated and avoid breathing in the fumes as much as possible. Never combine bleach with other bathroom cleaners, as it could cause toxic gasses. 

Always remove any towels, shower curtains, and rugs far away from your bathtub before cleaning it with bleach; all it takes is one drop to discolor your favorite decorations! 

A white-colored bathtub will occasionally benefit from a bleach cleansing, but it should be practiced in moderation. Bleach should always be diluted, as undiluted bleach could cause your bathtub to become damaged and discolored. 

What Types Of Bathtubs Can Be Cleaned With Bleach?

Before starting your bleach bathtub cleaning adventure, you will need to be aware of what kind of bathtub you have, as bleach could damage the surface of your bathtub to the point of no return. 

Let’s look at the following:

  • Fiberglass: Bleach-friendly when properly diluted.
  • Porcelain: If your bathtub is made of white porcelain, it’s bleach friendly. Any other colored porcelain will become damaged and discolored.
  • Ceramic: Safe to clean with bleach.
  • Stone Resin: Bleach friendly.
  • Cultured Marble: When properly diluted, safe to clean with bleach. Never use concentrated bleach with cultured marble, as it will damage the surface of your bathtub.
  • Acrylic: Never bleach an acrylic bathtub, as the coating will be removed and damaged.
  • Cast Iron: Cast iron bathtubs should never be cleaned with bleach, as it will leave red streaks all along the bathtub’s surface.
  • Copper: Most metallic substances, including copper, will stain when cleaned with bleach.
  • Wood: Bleach will corrode and eat through a wooden bathtub.

When Not To Bleach Your Bathtub

In some cases, you will need to avoid cleaning your bathtub with bleach altogether. If you have colored grout or colored tiles inside your bathtub, bleach will cause these pigments to fade permanently, even if the bleach is diluted. 

This applies if your bathtub is pigmented with colors other than white. It would be best to use oxygen bleach if you have a colored bathtub surface or on surrounding surfaces. 

Oxygen bleach uses soda ash and peroxide to disinfect, which will not cause any colors to fade. Oxygen bleach will be just as effective in cleaning your bathtub as traditional chlorine bleach, with much less risk for damage. 

How To Use Bleach To Avoid Damaging Your Bathtub

For a standard-sized bathtub, you will need at least half a gallon of bleach for the most effective cleaning. Follow the directions provided on the bleach bottle for precise measurements if you are concerned. Knowing how to clean your bathtub with bleach will minimalize the risk of damage and corrosion. 

Let’s look at the steps involved:

Step 1: Rinse Your Tub

Rinse any debris or dust from your bathtub using hot water. It’s always better if your bathtub’s surface is as clean as possible before working with bleach.

Step 2: Fill Your Bathtub With Boiling Water

You may decide to use the hot water from your bathtub’s faucet, but boiling water in a kettle would be best. Leave your bathtub’s water running until it gets as hot as possible. Fill your bathtub as much as possible, cautioning not to let it overflow.

Step 3: Pour Your Bleach Solution Into Your Bathtub

Check the instructions provided at the back of your bleach jug to find the proper instructions for usage and dilution. You will most likely need a few cups, especially if you have filled your bathtub to its maximum capacity.

Step 4: Wait For The Bleach To Work Its Magic

After adding your bleach solution and ensuring it’s diluted properly, allow the hot water and bleach solution to soak in your bathtub for about 10 to 15 minutes. 

You may also use a large spoon or tool to stir the bleach into the tub, making sure it becomes integrated with the water.

Step 5: Drain The Water

After 10 to 15 minutes, allow all the water to drain. Before placing your hands in the water, ensure the water has cooled enough not to burn you, and always remember to wear gloves, as bleach could damage your skin. 

If some stubborn spots remain on the bathtub’s surface that didn’t come off, you could also make an additional water and bleach solution in a spray bottle. Spray these spots and give them an extra scrub.

Step 6: Properly Rinse Your Bathtub

Because bleach is such a strong chemical, you need to rinse your entire bathtub and any surrounding surfaces with which the bleach has come into contact. You don’t need anything in particular to do this. Hot water and an old rag or cloth will be more than sufficient.


Knowing how to use bleach properly and if it is compatible with your specific bathtub is crucial to ensuring it doesn’t get damaged. Always use bleach sparingly, no matter what type of bleach you use. Remember that bleaching your bathtub too often can cause corrosion over time, especially on enamel-coated and acrylic tubs.

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