How to clean a bathtub: an easy method for the best results

Want to know how to clean a bathtub? Here are the quickest ways to remove limescale, dirty water lines and soap grime...

How to clean a bathtub: an easy method for the best results
(Image credit: Katie Lee)

Knowing how to clean a bathtub is a must for anyone who enjoys a good soak. After all, no one wants to lie back and relax in a bath that has limescale around the taps or a grubby water ring around the top. Luckily, the easiest way to tackle most dirt and grime in and around your bath is with homemade cleaners which are cheaper and more eco-friendly than harsh shop-bought chemicals. Follow our step-by-step guide and make your bathroom a place to pamper...

For more inspiring bathroom ideas head to our feature which is full of ideas and information on everything from design to bathroom decor. If you want more cleaning tips head to our guide on how to clean a bathroom

How to clean an acrylic bathtub

Although less prone to damage than enamel, acrylic can still scratch so avoid the use of abrasive cleaners or scourers, so when cleaning an acrylic bath a soft cloth or sponge is best. Also, avoid a build-up of grime by rinsing the bath of soap residue after every use. 

How to clean a bathtub with vinegar

1. Make your own bath cleaning solution in a plastic spray bottle by simply diluting equal parts of white wine vinegar with water.

2. Spray onto the surface of your bath and simply wipe the dirt away using a sponge or soft cloth.

3. For a deeper clean, leave the vinegar and water solution on the bath for 15 minutes before wiping away. 

Catchpole & Rye white themed bathroom

(Image credit: Catchpole & Rye)

How to clean a bathtub with bicarbonate of soda

This is another cheap, easy and environmentally friendly way to clean a bathtub. It is perfect for unclogging the drain, getting rid of unpleasant smells and removing any gunk.

1. For stubborn stains sprinkle baking soda around your bath and then spray your vinegar and water solution over the top of the bicarb. 

2. The mixture will begin to bubble. Leave it fizzing for five minutes and then scrub with a sponge until a paste forms.

3. Leave the paste for a further 10 minutes then wipe away all residue with a soft cloth and rinse clean with water.

How to clean an enamel bathtub

The key with enamel is to clean little and often, simply using a damp cloth to wipe away all soap when the bath is still warm after use. When you do come to clean it, follow these tips.

  • Never use abrasive cleaners to clean an enamel bath, avoid scouring powders and steel wool on an enamel bath as they will damage the finish.
  • Don’t use acidic products, even vinegar, as they could wear away the enamel, which makes it unpleasant to touch and prone to discolouration. 
  • Stop your taps dripping and remove your plug. This will prevent staining from persistent dripping or standing water.
  • For a deep clean fill your bath with warm water and add washing up liquid. Allow the bath to soak in the mixture for 30 minutes. Empty the bath, rinse with water and use a non-abrasive cloth to dry. 

How to get rid of mould and mildew around the bath and sealant

To remove very stubborn mould from the grout and sealant around your bath use neat bleach on an old toothbrush and scrub well. Make sure you rinse away any bleach immediately with water afterwards.

For a softer approach apply a mix of bicarbonate of soda and water to the mould – two parts bicarb to one-part water – leave for 15 minutes and scrub away with the toothbrush. Rinse with water and wipe with a soft dry cloth. Alternatively, a steam cleaner is a great, chemical-free way to clean grout. Check out our pick of the best steam cleaners if you are thinking about investing. 

To reduce the risk of mould, always let steam out of your bathroom and let fresh air circulate. Damp, badly ventilated rooms are the ideal breeding ground for mould and mildew.

For more tips on how to get rid of mould and mildew check out our guide. 

freestanding bathroom with decorative autumn leaves and pictures

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

How to clean the bath drain

The quickest and safest way to clean the drain in a bath is to pour six tablespoons (4fl oz/ half a cup) of bicarbonate of soda straight down the plug hole followed by an equal measure of white vinegar.

This mixture will bubble and foam in the plug, breaking down any blockages.
Finally pour boiling water down the drain to rinse the solution away.

How to clean bath taps

Although high quality bath taps will shine for many years and are extremely durable, you need to clean them regularly to make them sparkle.

Avoid using any harsh chemicals when cleaning your taps as they could damage the surface. Lemon juice is the perfect solution for dissolving limescale and tackling water build-up.

1. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a bowl.

2. Take one half of the lemon and shove it onto the spout of your tap, twisting gently until it stays in place. Leave it to work its magic.

3. Meanwhile soak cotton wool pads in the lemon juice you collected and wrap the pads around the parts of the taps most affected by limescale.

4. Wait an hour then rinse with cold water and wipe clean.

5. You may need to scrub gently with a scourer to loosen any stubborn bits of limescale, you can replace the lemon for longer if required and then scrub again.

A neutral green bathroom with freestanding roll-top bath and wood effect flooring

(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

How to clean bath jets

Before cleaning your bath jets for the first time, check the manufacturer's manual. Some manufacturers recommend closing the air controls, while others recommend leaving them open during cleaning and certain manufacturers recommend specific cleansers for their jets.

1. Fill the bath until the jets are covered by 5-8cm of hot water.

2. Add 2 tablespoons of low-foaming dishwasher powder and four tablespoons of white vinegar.

3. Run the jets for 15 minutes.

4. Empty the bath, and refill it (cold water is fine this time) let the jets run for 10 minutes more and then drain fully.

5. Rinse well and use a nonabrasive cloth to remove any gunk off.

6. If there's still dirt around the jet covers, try using dental floss to get behind them.

How to clean limescale from the bathtub

If your bath is made of enamel, swerve neat vinegar. You could try a half and half white vinegar and water solution, but make sure you apply it to the limescale only (not the surrounding areas of bath) using a soft cloth. Keep rinsing and re-applying and rinse again thoroughly when you’re done. For acrylic baths, and basins, apply a half and half solution of vinegar and water from a spray bottle, leave for 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

Tips to keep your bath clean

  • To keep your bath sparkling rinse out any leftover soap and shampoo immediately every time you use it.
  • Oil based products leave a dark ring around the top which is difficult to remove when left overnight or longer. Quickly wipe down with vinegar and a sponge following every oil-based soak.
  • Always remove hair and leftover soap from the bath drain on a regular basis to help the water flow away quickly.
  • Avoid using steel wool, abrasive brushes and scouring powders when cleaning your bath, as these can scratch the surface making it harder to clean.
  • Never mix cleaning products. Certain combinations of chemicals such as chlorine, bleach and ammonia can create toxic fumes and even burn your skin.

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