How to Clean Bathtub Stains

clean bathtub stains

Tired of seeing stains on your bathtub floor? Feel like all you do is scrub your tub, only to end up with the same gunk at the bottom? There are a number of ways to get rid of tub stains, depending on how severe they are and how old your bathtub is. Here are some different options to keep in mind.

Stubborn Surface Stains (Above The Sealant)

If you have built-up soap scum that you just can’t seem to get off, you can make a solution with basic household items to break up the grime and clean the surface. Combine vinegar and water in a spray bottle at a 1:1 ratio. Sprinkle baking soda onto the floor of the bathtub and then spray the vinegar mixture on top. The combination should begin to bubble as it breaks up the stains. Let that set for a couple minutes, and then use a soft-bristled brush or textured cloth to mix the two together and rub them into the stains. Leave the paste alone for about 15 minutes, and then wipe it away with a cloth or paper towels. Rinse the bathtub off after wiping most of the paste away to reveal your new stain-free surface.

Deep Bathtub Stains And Worn Finishes

If you have deep bathtub stains that will not go away with basic cleaning, you may consider getting your bathtub refinished. This is an affordable alternative to bathtub replacement that will give you the look of a new tub without actually buying one. During the bathtub refinishing process, workers will apply a new coat of paint and sealant to your bathtub surface to revitalize it and cover the old stains completely. They can do this for the tile around the tub as well, covering those stubborn grout lines and giving you a fresh new bathroom to call your own.

Keep in mind that your bathtub will need to be structurally sound in order for the refinishing process to work. Small cracks on the surface can be patched, but large cracks from extensive aging or damage may require you to replace your bathtub entirely. Talk to a bathtub refinishing company in your area about requesting a quote and see what your options are.

Temporary Solution: Bathmats

As a temporary solution, you could get a bathmat to use at the bottom of your tub. This may not cover the entire stained area, but it could detract from some of the staining until you can refinish the tub or replace it. Just keep in mind that you will need to wash the bottom of the mat and the bottom of your tub regularly, as bathmats are known to trap water that eventually leads to mold and mildew. This can become a hassle over time, but it can offer a quick fix if you just want to cover up your unsightly tub stains.

How to Prevent Bathtub Stains in the Future

In order to preserve your newly cleaned tub, here are some tips for preventing bathtub stains:


  • Wipe down the sides of the bathtub and tile when you finish taking a bath or shower. You can use the same towel you dried off with, just as long as you get most of the surface water off.
  • Clean your bathtub with the vinegar/baking soda solution described above at least once a month, or more often if your tub gets used frequently.
  • Keep metal cans (like shaving cream) off the edge and base of the bathtub. This can result in rust rings that are difficult to get rid of.
  • Get a water softener for your home water supply to prevent hard water deposits from forming.
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