How to Clean and Descale your Bathtub

We use our bathtubs everyday (hopefully), and often multiple times a day. What’s more relaxing than a long, hot bath or shower? But if we don’t clean our tubs properly and on a regular basis, it can lead to a nasty mess of limescale, soap scum, mildew, and rust stains. Also, bathtubs happen to be big, expensive, and difficult to replace. Thankfully, with a routine cleaning and a little bit of elbow grease, we can help extend the life of our tubs while keeping them fresh and sparkling.

Descaling Your Bathtub

Limescale is the chalky white stuff that builds up on the surface of your tub. It is a result of water evaporating, which leaves behind minerals like calcium and magnesium. It combines with soap scum and mildew and covers your tub in an unsightly white film. If left untreated, it will continue to accumulate and get progressively worse. Simply wiping it with a cloth won’t be enough to remove it, but with a few simple things you can find around the house, it’s easy to descale your tub and restore its nice, bright shine.

What You’ll Need:

  • Rubber Gloves
  • Spray Bottle
  • Vinegar
  • A cloth or sponge (Don’t use anything abrasive like a scouring pad or steel wool)
  • Paper Towels

The Descaling Process (Step-by-Step)

  • STEP 1

    First, proper ventilation is important, as the fumes could be irritating to your eyes, nose, and throat. You’ll want to open a window or turn on a fan. Also, be sure to use gloves to prevent your skin from becoming irritated. (This step is especially important if you choose to use any household or industrial cleaning products. Always follow the directions on the can and never mix them together.)

  • STEP 2

    Wipe the tub with a damp cloth to remove any excess residue. This will reveal the limescale and soap scum, and allow the vinegar to better penetrate and dissolve it.

  • STEP 3

    Fill the spray bottle with vinegar. You can dilute the vinegar down to about 50/50 with water if you wish, but the stronger the vinegar solution, the better it will be for dissolving hardened limescale.

  • STEP 4

    Spray the tub with vinegar and soak the affected areas. If the build-up is on the sides, causing a ring around the tub, place a paper towel over top of it and spray the paper towel until it sticks. This will prevent the vinegar from dripping down into the bottom of the tub, and also prevent it from evaporating.

  • STEP 5

    Allow the vinegar to sit for at least 30 minutes, reapplying as necessary to keep it from drying. The longer you leave it sit, the more chance the vinegar will have to break down and dissolve the grime, and descale the tub.

Additional Tips:

  • There are a number of products available on the market to help descale your bathtub, and remove calcium, grime, and rust, such as CLR, Tilex, Scrubbing Bubbles, etc. These products are convenient and work great; however, nothing is more economical than good old vinegar and a bit of scrubbing muscle.
  • A little preventative maintenance goes a long way. Wiping down the bathtub after every use and keeping it as dry as possible will prevent limescale and soap scum from ever appearing in the first place.
  • A paste made from borax and lemon juice, can be quite effective at removing rust stains. Simply sprinkle some borax on the stains and scrub it with lemon juice until a paste forms. Allow it to sit, then scrub it away.

Tired of the nasty limescale and soap scum build-up in your tub? Thinking about replacing your tub with a new one? Call Canuck Plumbing and Heating today with any questions you have! We’re always eager to help serve our customers in the Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan area with all their plumbing and heating needs.

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