Written by Stacey Kelleher. Reviewed by Sean Busch.


A long soak at the end of the day is a great way to destress and clear the mind. For kids, bathtime is a chance to play and connect with mom and dad. But if you’re not giving your tub the attention it needs, you could be sharing your bath with invisible, uninvited guests like hair, dead skin cells, bacteria, fungus, and yeast.

You don’t need to spend hours at a time scrubbing your bathroom with toxic cleaning products. Here, we’ll show you how to clean a bathtub without using harsh chemicals in just a few steps.   

7 Steps for Cleaning a Bathtub 

The best way to clean a bathtub doesn’t take a bunch of time or energy. If you have a one-bathroom home that’s used by the whole family every day, consider doing a deep-clean every week (That also goes for kids' bath toys). For a tub that’s used far less often (maybe in a guest room), you might be able to push cleanings to once a month. 

Follow these simple tips for cleaning bathtub grime and you'll have it sparkling in just a few minutes.

1. Take Everything Out

To ensure you don’t miss any surface in and around your tub, remove everything from the area before you start cleaning. This includes toys, products, washcloths, and caddies. (We’ll clean those a bit later.) This is a good time to toss anything that's old or empty. When’s the last time you replaced your loofah, anyway? 

2. Wipe Down & Scrub Walls

how to clean bathtub stains

Using the showerhead or a bucket full of warm water, rinse the tub to remove any loose dirt and hair. Now it’s time to get to work, starting with the tub surround. Spray the walls or tiles with Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner, then wipe them down with a clean, dry microfiber cloth

To loosen dirt from grout lines, add a small amount of water to baking soda to form a paste, then apply it to the grout. Spray distilled white vinegar on the solution. Once it stops foaming, scrub it with a brush and rinse with water. While scrubbing grout, pay extra attention to especially grimy areas (e.g. corners) where water tends to pool. 

Pro tip: Paintbrushes and auto detailing brushes are great for cleaning grout and tough stains because of their soft-to-medium bristle hardness and long bristle length.

3. Check the Drain

If it takes a while for the water to drain after showers or baths, there's probably a clog (and it's probably hair — ew!). Unscrew the plug and remove any clumps of hair. If it's deep in the drain, you can use a deconstructed wire hanger to pull it out. 

Another tip for cleaning the bathtub drain: Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by ½ cup of white vinegar. Run the hot water for a few minutes to rinse the mixture  –and the mess – down the drain. Vinegar is a cheap, eco-friendly alternative to caustic drain cleaners

4. Scrub the Tub

Spray the bathtub with your multi-surface cleaner. Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it down with your microfiber cloth, working from top to bottom. Rinse once again with the showerhead or a clean bucket of water to remove 100% of all the residue and cleaning product. 

5. Tackle Any Build-up

Now it’s time to work on any stubborn stains left behind. Soap build-up, hard water stains, mold, or bottle rings may require a bit more effort. Start by spraying them with Puracy Natural Stain Remover and letting it sit for at least 15 minutes. Scrub them with a paintbrush, auto detailing brush, or toothbrush and rinse away any loosened grime. This method is just as effective as using chlorine bleach, but without the harsh fumes.

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easiest way to clean bathtub

6. Clean Items Before Putting them Back 

The same kinds of bacteria growing in your shower are probably hanging out on your shower items, too. That's why it’s important to clean them thoroughly before replacing them. This is also a great time to recycle empty product containers, wash/replace loofahs, scrubbers, and washcloths, and toss small bits of soap. 

To clean children’s tub toys, use Puracy Natural Dish Soap, equal parts vinegar and water, or toss them in the dishwasher (make sure they’re heat-safe). Whatever you choose, be sure to let them air dry after cleaning to inhibit mold growth. 

Tip: Natural loofahs are a breeding ground for fungus, so clean yours by washing it in the dishwasher at least once a week. Replace them every month or consider switching to a washcloth – it isn’t as porous and won’t collect as much bacteria. 

7. One Last Shine

Once you’ve done all the scrubbing, give your tub a final dry and shine. If you don’t have any major stains to scrub away, a few swipes with a clean microfiber cloth should leave your bathtub clean, bright, and ready for bubbles.

Puracy bath products

Can You Clean a Tub With Bleach? 

Often considered the ultimate dirt and germ-fighter for bathrooms, there are plenty of reasons to avoid bleach exposure, from eye, skin, and lung irritation to accidental ingestion. Mixing bleach with other chemicals can also be incredibly dangerous. You probably have a safer, natural bathtub cleaner in your home already. 

Cleaning a Bathtub With Vinegar 

Distilled white vinegar is a tried and true cleaning staple. Its cleaning and disinfecting power comes from acetic acid, which has antifungal and antibacterial properties. That acidic power is also able to break down substances like mineral deposits, grease, wax buildup, and bacteria.  

  1. Plug the drain and pour three cups of white vinegar into the tub. 
  2. Fill the rest of the tub with water and let the mixture soak for several hours. 
  3. If your tub has jets, make sure the water level is at least three inches above the jets and run them for 15 minutes before turning them off and draining the tub. 
  4. After you’ve drained the water, wipe down the entire bathtub with a damp, clean cloth. Stains, soap residue, and mildew should come off with ease! 

Pro tip: Avoid using vinegar on bathtubs, showers, vanities, and tile made of marble or semi-porous materials. It will etch the surface and leave it looking dull and stained.

clean bathtub before bath

Prevent Stains from Happening in First Place 

While cleaning the bathroom might not be your favorite way to spend an afternoon, there are things you can do to make the process much easier. Preventing bathtub stains before they can develop will save time and elbow grease. 

Rinse off First 

Rinse off in the shower before you take a bath. Just like you would rinse off before getting in a pool, you remove oil and dirt that soil the water. 

Invest in a Better Water Softener 

Invest in a whole home water softener. Not only do they reduce water spots, but soap produces more bubbles. That means less time spent cleaning and less money on grooming products. A good place to start is checking the water hardness in your area

Rinse the Tub After Use 

When you’re finished bathing, use fresh water to remove any residue. 

Choose High-Quality Personal Care Products

Puracy personal care products are formulated to leave zero residue behind, limiting the amount of scrubbing in your cleaning routine. 

From Tub to Tile, Puracy Multi-Purpose Spray Does it All  

When it comes to cleaning the bathroom, choose a product that makes quick work of dirt and grime. You don’t need a bucket full of pricy cleaners because Puracy All Purpose Cleaner is the best cleaner for your bathtub, sink, mirrors, and floors. And because it’s free of harsh sulfates, dyes, and other harsh chemicals, it’s safe for you, your entire family, and the planet.

For more natural cleaning tips, check out these earlier posts: 

Home Cleaning Routines for Allergy Sufferers to Consider

Your Step-by-Step Guide to Deep-Cleaning Your Bathroom

The Most Virus- and Germ-Laden Spots in Your Home (and How to Clean and Disinfect Them)