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How Do You Clean A Bathtub Without Scrubbing?

Cleaning a bathtub is easy if it’s done regularly, which means at least every week. But depending on how many people use the tub and how often it gets used, getting it sparkling clean can be a major task. Using abrasive cleaners and scrubbing the bathtub will scratch and eventually seriously damage the surface, but how do you clean a bathtub without harmful scrubbing?

Using natural ingredients and mild chemicals can ensure your bath is clean and stain-free without harsh scrubbing. Whether it’s an old-fashioned cast-iron tub, glass fiber, plastic, or acrylic, the same ingredients will effectively remove grime, accumulated oils, and stains. 

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The main ingredient in cleaning your bathtub is elbow grease, otherwise known as hard work. We’ve detailed the six stages you need to complete to bring your bathtub back to as-new condition, or close to it, without irreversibly damaging the tub’s surface.    

clean bathtub that wasn't scrubbed

Step 1. Get Your Cleaning Materials Ready

This isn’t really a very messy task, but we suggest you get a towel to rest your knees on and that you wear your cleaning outfit. Then gather the following around the tub:

  • A bucket filled with warm water
  • A sponge or strong cloth – you won’t be scrubbing, but you will be rubbing!
  • White vinegar, preferably warmed
  • Baking soda or cream of tartar
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • A spray bottle
  • Hydrogen peroxide – optional for bad stains

Step2. Make A Stain-Removing Paste 

Assuming your bathtub is pretty badly stained (or you wouldn’t be reading these instructions!), the first cleaning process involves getting the worst stains off the surface of the tub. There are many recipes for this stain remover, and everyone has their own personal favorite, possibly handed down through the family.

While using white vinegar instead of hydrogen peroxide or cream of tartar in place of baking soda is the norm, our recipe for the paste is 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 2 parts cream of tartar. To confuse the issue, you can use borax as an alternative to baking soda, as it partly converts to peroxide when mixed with hot water.

Step 3. Apply The Paste

With the non-abrasive sponge or cloth, rub the stain-removing paste with circular movements over the whole inner surface of the tub. Don’t be gentle – a really firm rubbing motion will loosen hard-water residue, as well as dirt and grime. Leave the paste on for about thirty minutes, then with the wet sponge, cleaned regularly in a bucket of cold water, remove the paste, and then rinse the bathtub out with cold water.

Step 4. Washing With Vinegar and Dishwashing Liquid    

If your bath is already reasonably clean and unstained, this step may be the first in your cleaning program. The first three steps are necessary only if the tub is in really bad shape, without a good clean for months, if not years (it happens!)

So now take your spray bottle and fill it with a solution of dishwashing liquid (your usual brand will do the job, but blue Dawn dish soap is recommended) and white vinegar in equal parts (1cup of each should be ample). Swirl, but don’t shake it, to avoid too many soapy bubbles clogging up the tube. 

Spray the solution generously over the entire surface of the tub and leave for 30 minutes to an hour. Ensure that you spray the tricky hard-to-reach corners of the tub, especially the bottom of the tub, if it has a non-slip finish.  

Step 5. Rinsing Off The Dirt And Grime

With a cloth and a bucket of hot water to rinse it in, wipe down the surfaces of your bathtub. If you can leave the hot water running, so much the better, and if you have a shower head over your tub, it can be used very effectively to rinse the bath out thoroughly. 

Step 6. Dry The Bath And All Fittings

If you’re really keen to have your bath looking its best, use a clean cloth or towel to dry off the remaining water from the tub and give quick polish to the taps, handrails, and other fittings. 

And that’s how easy it is to have a sparkling clean bathtub!

Some Additional Tips To Make It Even Easier 

Just a few additional hints:

  • Try microwaving the white  vinegar  for 40 to 60 seconds before adding it to your spray bottle – it just makes it that much more effective (and the steam can be used to clean the inside of your microwave!)
  • If you have two bathrooms in your home (or more), make enough paste and spray liquid to do both at the same time – it minimizes the hassle factor.
  • If you’re lucky enough to have a jetted spa bath or a jacuzzi, the cleaning process is the same, but there’s one additional step – you should dismantle and clean the nozzles with a soft brush and then run hot water through the jets for ten to fifteen minutes before beginning to clean the tub. If you don’t want to dismantle the jets, use earbuds to clean them.
  • Don’t use the cheapest spray bottle you can find – they won’t do the job. Preferably get a wide-tubed bottle that won’t clog up halfway through the task.
  • We prefer not to use bleach in our mixture, but sometimes it’s the only way to remove stains. If you do use it, keep windows open, and extractors switched on to remove the fumes.

Reasons For Cleaning A Bathtub Without Scrubbing

Without going into too much detail, a bathtub is not the most hygienic part of your home. Apart from the dirt and oils you remove from your body when you bathe, there are also the oils and detergents contained in the soap you use, the dissolved salts and chemicals in the water, and various other contaminants.

Scrubbing the bathtub with an abrasive material, irrespective of the tub’s surface will eventually damage that surface. But there’s no question that bathtubs need to be cleaned regularly to prevent them from being unhealthy as well as unsightly.

In Closing

There’s no avoiding the fact that a fair amount of elbow grease is the main ingredient required to get your bathtub clean. But it’s not that difficult a task. In six easy steps, it can be restored to its hygienic, clean, and attractive original condition without scrubbing.

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