Written by Stacey Kelleher. Reviewed by Sean Busch.
Whether you’re destressing after a long day or connecting with your kids during bathtime, your bathtub is an important part of your daily life. But if you don’t give it the right attention, you might be sharing your bath with invisible, uninvited guests like hair, dead skin cells, bacteria, fungus, and yeast.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to break out the caustic cleaners to keep things sparkling. There are a handful of products – and seven methods – to get it done right.
7 Natural Ways to Clean a Bathtub
In just a few minutes, these simple tips provide the best way to cleаn a bathtub.
1. Take Everything Out
To prevent you from missing surfaces in and around your tub, remove everything before you start cleaning. This includes toys, products, washcloths, and caddies. (We’ll clean those a bit later.) Recycle empty product containers, wash/replace washcloths, and toss small bits of soap. When’s the last time you replaced your loofah, anyway?
2. Wipe Down & Scrub Walls
Using the showerhead or a bucket full of warm water, rinse the tub to remove any loose dirt and hair. Get to work, spraying the walls or tiles with our Multi-Surface Cleaner, then wipe them down with a clean, dry microfiber cloth.
Loosen dirt from grout lines by adding a small amount of water to baking soda until it forms a paste. Apply it to grout and spray with distilled white vinegar. 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.
Note: 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.
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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, try using a deconstructed wire hanger to pull it out.
A natural bathtub drain cleaner includes: Pouring 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 and let it sit for 1-2 minutes before wiping it down with your microfiber cloth (working from top to bottom). Remove the remaining residue with the showerhead or a clean bucket of water.
5. Tackle Build-up
Now it’s time to work on any stubborn stains left behind. Soap build-up, hard water stains, mold, and bottle rings may require a bit more elbow grease. Spray them with Puracy Natural Stain Remover, letting the product sit for at least 15 minutes. Scrub them with a paintbrush, auto detailing brush, or toothbrush, then rinse away any loosened grime. This method is just as effective as using chlorine bleach – but without the harsh fumes.
6. Clean Items Before Putting them Back
The bacteria that’s growing in your shower is probably hanging out on your shower items, too. It’s important to clean them thoroughly before replacing them.
To clean children’s tub toys, use natural dish soap, equal parts vinegar and water, or toss them on the top shelf of the dishwasher (make sure they’re heat-safe). Whatever you choose, be sure to let them air dry after cleaning to inhibit mold growth.
Note: Natural loofahs are a breeding ground for fungus, it’s recommended to throw them in the dishwasher at least once a week. Replace them every month or consider switching to a washcloth since they aren’t as porous and won’t harbor as much bacteria.
7. Make It Shine
Once the scrubbing is out of the way, give your tub a final dry and shine. Even a few swipes with a clean microfiber cloth should leave your bathtub clean, bright, and ready for use.
Can I Clean a Bathtub With Vinegar?
Distilled white vinegar is a tried and true cleaning staple. Its cleaning and disinfecting power comes from the antifungal and antibacterial properties of acetic acid (which breaks down substances like mineral deposits, grease, wax buildup, and bacteria).
- Plug the drain and pour three cups of white vinegar into the tub.
- Fill the rest of the tub with water and let the mixture soak for several hours.
- If your tub has jets, make sure the water level is at least three inches above them, then run them for about 15 minutes before draining the tub.
- After you’ve drained the water, wipe down the entire bathtub with a damp microfiber towel. Stains, soap residue, and mildew should come off easily.
Note: Avoid using vinegar on bathtubs, showers, vanities, and tile made of marble or other semi-porous materials. This can etch surfaces and leave them looking dull and stained.
How to Disinfect a Bathtub Without 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. It can also be incredibly dangerous to mix bleach with other chemicals.
Developed to clean, sanitize, and disinfect home surfaces, our Disinfecting Surface Cleaner harnesses the power of hydrogen peroxide to kill more than 99.9% of germs. Simply spray your bathtub until it’s thoroughly wet, let it stand for 10 minutes, and wipe it clean with a microfiber towel. Since it’s naturally biodegradable, this product is safe for greywater and septic systems.
Note: Just like vinegar, we don’t recommend our hydrogen peroxide disinfecting spray to be used on porous surfaces like soapstone, marble, and wood.
Frequent Care Is Easy Care: Prevent Bathtub Stains
Though cleaning the bathroom isn’t the best way to spend an afternoon, you can make the process much easier by preventing bathtub stains before happen.
Take a Shower Before Bathing
Just like you would rinse off before getting in a pool, taking a quick shower can help remove oil and dirt.
Rinse the Tub After Use
When you’re finished bathing, use fresh water to remove any residue. If you’re dealing with a particularly muddy situation, this is a no-brainer situation.
Invest in a Better Water Softener
Not only do whole home water softeners reduce water spots, but your soap will also produce more bubbles. That means less time spent cleaning and less money on grooming products. Do you need a water softener? Start by checking the water hardness in your area.
Choose Higher-Quality Personal Care Products
Our biodegradable, plant-based personal care products are formulated to leave zero residue behind. This limits 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, you don’t need a bucket full of bulky cleaners. Our Multi-Surface Cleaner provides everything you need to tackle your bathtub, sink, mirrors, floors, and more. No caustics or fumes – and no dirt or grime!