A shiny, clean bathtub is everyone’s dream. But getting your tub to sparkle can be a challenge, with soap scum, hard water stains, and mildew putting up a fight. Fortunately, with the right techniques and products, you can win the battle against bathtub grime.

We’re sharing our top secrets for getting your tub gleaming and keeping it that way. With a little effort, you’ll be able to soak in a tub that looks brand new. Keep reading for tips on cleaning, preventing buildup, and maintaining that shine between scrubdowns.

Deep Clean for a Sparkling Start

The first step to tub shine is giving it a deep clean to remove any existing dirt, soap scum, or stains. This gives you a blank slate so you can keep your tub pristine going forward.

Supplies You’ll Need

  • Tub and tile cleaner – Look for a formula designed to cut through soap scum, hard water stains, and mildew.
  • Scrub brush or scouring pad – Choose a brush with stiff, sturdy bristles or an abrasive sponge.
  • Gloves – Protect your hands from harsh cleaners.
  • Old toothbrush – For scrubbing crevices and fixtures.
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Bucket

Steps for Deep Cleaning

  1. Remove any bath toys or accessories – Give yourself a clear workspace.
  2. Spray tub and tile cleaner over surface – Cover all walls, fixtures, bottom and sides of tub.
  3. Let sit 5-10 minutes – This gives the cleaner time to work on buildup.
  4. Scrub entire tub and tiles – Apply pressure and scrub in circles to lift grime. Get into crevices with toothbrush.
  5. Rinse thoroughly – Use a detachable showerhead if you have one to power rinse.
  6. Wipe down with microfiber cloths – Buff surface completely dry to prevent water spots.
  7. Inspect for any remaining grime – Re-scrub those areas until your tub sparkles!

With some good ol’ fashioned elbow grease, you can blast away layers of built-up gunk. A sparkling clean bathtub provides the perfect foundation for keeping it that way.

Daily Preventative Care

Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to bathtub maintenance. With simple daily steps, you can stop soap scum, hard water deposits, and mildew from taking hold in the first place.

Remove Excess Water

The #1 thing you can do is wipe down your tub after every use. Water allows deposits to adhere and bacteria/mold to grow.

Use a squeegee or towel to remove all standing water from the bottom of the tub, walls, and fixtures. Buff dry any wet surfaces.

This takes 30 seconds but prevents nearly all buildup issues down the road.

Rinse Away Residue

Any residue left behind from soap, shampoo, and other bath products can lead to soap scum.

Rinsing your tub thoroughly after bathing helps wash away this residue before it has a chance to stick and build up.

Aim your showerhead at the walls and bottom of the tub for a quick rinse. This prevents the need for heavy scrubbing later.

Disinfect Weekly

Giving your tub a quick disinfecting once a week helps prevent mildew growth.

Spray down surfaces with a mildew-fighting bathroom cleaner. Let it sit briefly before rinsing.

Or do a wipe down with a Lysol Disinfecting Wipe or similar product. This kills mold spores and bacteria.

Staying on top of disinfecting keeps your tub fresh and mildew-free.

Remove Stains Safely

Even with great preventative care, stains can still happen from time to time. Knowing how to remove them safely is key.

Baking Soda for Rust

Rust stains in the tub can occur when metal fixtures start corroding. Baking soda is a gentle abrasive that lifts rust away.

Make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply to rust spots and let sit 1-2 hours. Scrub and rinse. Repeat if needed.

Vinegar for Hard Water

Hard water deposits leave cloudy spots and rings. Vinegar’s acidity dissolve mineral deposits for easy removal.

Fill a spray bottle with equal parts white vinegar and water. Spray over deposits and let sit 30 minutes before rinsing.

Hydrogen Peroxide for Mildew

Hydrogen peroxide naturally kills mold and mildew discoloration.

Use full strength 3% hydrogen peroxide. Apply to affected areas and let bubble for 10 minutes before rinsing.

Repeat every few days until stain is fully removed.

Lemon Juice for Soap Scum

Lemon juice contains citric acid that cuts through soap scum buildup.

Dip half a lemon in salt then scrub over scum. Let sit 10 minutes before rinsing clean.

Natural acid in lemon juice dissolves soap scum without harsh chemicals.

Maintaining That Sparkle

Once you get your tub gleaming, maintaining that luster takes only minutes a week. Stay on top of these tasks to keep your bathtub pristine.

Weekly Scrubbing

Set aside 5-10 minutes per week for tub scrub time. Use a mild soap scum remover or baking soda scrub.

Focus on high buildup areas like fixtures, seams, bottom/sides of the tub. This prevents heavy staining.

Always follow with a thorough rinse and buff dry.

Self-Cleaning Options

For minimal maintenance, install a self-cleaning tub insert that uses jet bubbles to prevent buildup.

Or try a tub caddy designed to slowly dispense cleansing tablets with each bath. No scrubbing required.

Re-caulk Yearly

Replacing old mildewed caulk yearly keeps joints waterproof and your tub looking fresh.

Use 100% silicone caulk designed for wet areas. A continuous bead of caulk prevents water seeping underneath.

Deep Clean Every 6 Months

Even with regular care, tubs need the occasional deep cleanse.

Set a reminder to give your tub the full scrub treatment every 6 months. Tackle buildup in neglected corners and restore shine.

FAQs: Bathtub Cleaning Made Simple

Still have questions about getting your bathtub spotless? Here are some common bathroom cleaning FAQs:

How can I remove stubborn mildew stains from my tub?

Tough mildew call for the cleaning power of chlorine bleach. Make a spray of 1 part bleach to 4 parts water. Apply to mildew stains, let sit 5-10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Never mix bleach with other cleaners. Ventilate the area.

What is the fastest way to get soap scum off my bathtub?

For super-fast soap scum removal, grab a Magic Eraser! Dampen one of these melamine foam pads and gently rub over any buildup. Rinse clean for instant results. No other scrubbing required!

Why does my bathtub get rust stains even after cleaning?

If rust keeps reappearing, the issue is corrosion of your metal fixtures. Remove fixtures and scrub away all rust. Apply etching primer then paint with rustproof enamel paint. Re-caulk joints. This stops rust at the source.

What natural ingredient works best for shining a porcelain tub?

For a super-shiny porcelain finish, reach for lemons! Rub a halved lemon over dull areas, let sit a few minutes, then rinse. Acid in lemon juice removes soap scum buildup and leaves porcelain gleaming naturally.

How do I prevent mildew from growing in my shower caulk?

The key is keeping caulk joints clean and dry. After showering, wipe down all caulk lines and spray with a bathroom disinfectant. Make sure joints are fully dry. Re-caulk yearly. Use mildew-resistant 100% silicone caulk in wet areas.

What causes cloudy film on my bathtub?

Cloudy film is typically hard water deposits left behind after the water evaporates. Remove deposits by filling a spray bottle with 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water. Spray over film and scrub lightly with a sponge. The vinegar dissolves the minerals causing the cloudy film.


While bathtub cleaning can seem daunting, a sparkling tub is possible with the right techniques. Focus on daily prevention like wiping down after use and rinsing away residue. Safely remove occasional stains with natural options like lemon juice or baking soda. And give your tub some weekly TLC with scrubbing and disinfecting.

Stay diligent with little daily and weekly steps, and you can maintain a shiny clean tub with minimal effort. Use these secrets to get your bathtub gleaming like new again.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Deep clean regularly to remove buildup and provide a clean slate. Use a tub and tile cleaner along with some elbow grease.
  • Prevent buildup between deep cleans through quick daily steps like wiping away excess water, rinsing residue, and weekly disinfecting.
  • Remove occasional stains safely using natural options like lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide.
  • Maintain your tub’s shine with weekly light scrubbing, replacing caulk yearly, and deep cleaning every 6 months.
  • Ask an expert or do some online research if tough tub cleaning questions arise. Arm yourself with the right knowledge.

Do you have any other tips or tricks for getting a bathtub spotless? Let us know in the comments!