How to clean a bathtub in 3 easy steps

Bathtub
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether you enjoy soaking in a bath, or have children who love fizzy bath bombs, you’ll need to know how to clean a bathtub. Typically, bathtubs are magnets for soap scum, grime, and stubborn stains caused by limescale or products. That’s why it’s so important to clean a bathtub regularly and keep bacteria at bay. What’s more, it’s the main feature of any bathroom, so a grimy tub is hardly appealing! But, if your bathroom cleaning products doesn't seem to be cutting through the grime, there is a much easier way to clean a bathtub. 

In fact, all you’ll need are a few basic household items that you probably already have in your kitchen. Best of all, it will take no time at all to clean, saving you on the elbow grease. In addition, it doesn’t involve bleach or other harsh chemicals that you’d find in commercial cleaners, and will save you money in the long run.
So, if you want to cut your scrubbing time in half, here’s how to clean a bathtub in 3 easy steps.

If you’re more a shower person however, check out how to clean a shower head and get rid of limescale.  And since you're already in the bathroom, check out how to clean grout on floor tiles to get rid of stains and how to unclog a drain without using a plunger

How to clean a bathtub with baking soda 

1. Sprinkle baking soda in the bathtub

Baking soda in kitchen

Baking soda in kitchen (Image credit: Shutterstock)

First, fill a bucket of hot water before pouring the water all over the bathtub. Then, sprinkle baking soda generously over the bathtub, and leave for about 20 minutes. The combination of water and baking soda should start to fizzle, which means it is doing its job to lift scum. 

2. Scrub clean with soft cloth

Cleaning bathtub with a soft cloth

Cleaning bathtub with a soft cloth (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Next, take a soft sponge or microfiber cloth to gently scrub the bathtub, and remove any soap scum or grime around the tub. Avoid using abrasive sponges, or cleaning materials that may scratch the surface. Fiberglass tubs in particular are prone to cracking, scratching, and fading over time. For stubborn stains, add a little baking soda to a toothbrush and gently scrub at the area to remove the stain.  

3. Rinse to remove grime

Rinsing bath with shower head

Rinsing bath with shower head (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Once the bathtub is all clean, rinse the bathtub well with a hand sprayer or shower head to remove all traces of dirt and baking soda residue.   

How to clean a bathtub with white vinegar or dish soap 

1. Fill a bathtub with water

Bath running

Bath running (Image credit: Kohler)

For a heavily soiled or grimy bathtub, put the plug in and fill the tub with hot water. Alternatively, you can just fill a spray bottle with a half-and-half solution of vinegar and warm water for mild stains.   

2. Pour vinegar into the bathtub

A bottle of white vinegar next to a sponge and a spray bottle

A bottle of white vinegar next to a sponge and a spray bottle (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Next, pour two cups of white vinegar or 4-6 squirts of dish soap into the bathtub. Leave the mixture to sit in the tub for about 15-20 minutes to effectively lift the grime off. You can leave for a little longer, depending on how grimy your tub is. 

3. Drain tub and scrub well

Scrubbing clean the bathtub

Scrubbing clean the bathtub (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Then, drain the tub of the mixture before scrubbing all surfaces clean with a microfiber cloth or soft sponge. Finally, rinse well with using a shower head or hand spray, until all residue is gone. 

 How to remove hardwater stains 

1. First, soak a cloth or paper towels in white vinegar before applying to the stained areas. Leave to sit for a couple of hours to allow it to work in lifting of the limescale. Or you can leave overnight for better results. 

2. Finally, scrub the area clean with a microfiber cloth or use a toothbrush for those awkward spots, to remove signs of limescale. If you’re tackling bathtub faucets, this Tik Tok lemon hack to remove limescale on faucets may do the trick. 

How often should you clean your bathtub?

Bathtub with tray on with oil diffuser and products

Bathtub with tray on with oil diffuser and products (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Ideally, you should clean a bathtub after each use to minimize the build-up of dirt and bacteria. However, it’s advised to do a deep clean at least once a week to keep it spotless and hygienic. The same applies for your shower.  


Check out these 10 things you didn't know you could clean with baking soda when you’re cleaning every room in your home. And bear in mind these 7 things not to clean with bleach to avoid major damage! You can also read about how this $3 tool helped me clean my bathroom in seconds.

Cynthia Lawrence
Homes Writer

Cynthia Lawrence specialises in Homes ecommerce, covering all things homes and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 


Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.


With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!