How to Clean a Bathtub!

Cleaning your bathtub can seem like a scary, overwhelming, even back-breaking chore—but it doesn’t have to be! In this video, Melissa Maker shows us a quick bathtub cleaning routine that will make this job so much easier.

One important thing to note is to not to use a heavy hand with abrasive materials—whether your tub is enameled, acrylic, or fiberglass, tub finishes tend to be delicate, so always work with gentle cleansers and a non-scratching sponge.

I like to start with equal parts dish soap and baking soda in a little bowl—about 1/4 cup each will do it. Another nice inclusion is an essential oil; I use grapefruit here, for its clean scent, but also for the fact that citrus helps dissolve soap scum.

Fold a towel a few times to give your knees a nice cushion to rest on, and then dip a damp sponge into the solution and spread it all over the tub. Let it sit for 10 minutes.

Now wet the sponge again, and use the scrubby side to gently agitate the cleaning solution until you work the soap scum free (you can feel with your hand to make sure it’s gone). Rinse the tub well, using a detachable shower head, or a container of warm water.

Finally, use a squeegee or a thick microfiber towel to dry it off. Your tub will absolutely sparkle.

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


    • I think you can rinse it and then microwave it for 2 mins on high, lay it out to dry, and then store it in a place for bathroom cleaning supplies.

  1. I love your idea to fold a towel and kneel on it to help us stay comfortable as we clean the tub. Taking a bath after a long day is one of my favorite things, so I’m thinking about investing in nice, new bathtub soon. Thanks for sharing this article and teaching me how to keep the new bathtub clean after I buy it and have it installed!

    • You can add a teaspoon of cornstarch. Also, make sure you are using a good flat-weave microfiber cloth or else the cloth can be creating the streaks.

  2. You had me until you folded a soft towel to kneel on. I had two knee replacements and cannot kneel plus I am under five feet tall and cannot reach across the tub easily. Do you have any tips for me?

    • Hi Ann – There are a number of products on the market which are essentially a pole with a sponge on the end, perfect for your situation. Check our Amazon for examples!

  3. Last year we moved into a town home, the prior resident was evicted and clearly cleaning was not a priority. I was able to recover most areas but the shower and tub floors just WOULD NOT come completely clean. There was ground in dirt staining the bottom. I used everything to try to get it out, even oven cleaner, it always left those darn stains. I used your solution with a scrub brush and still nothing! Fortunately I used way to much soap and found that I needed to use a towel to wipe some of it off. I used a microfiber cloth and without even trying to scrub it came totally clean! All this time and the one thing I had in my cupboard the whole time made all the difference. Thank you for the microfiber cloth tips along with this mixture, it’s magic when you do it right. 🙂

    • Don’t ever use oven cleaner on a bathtub. It will destroy the finish and eat away at the enamel or any other coating it may have.

  4. When I applied the baking soda-detergent mixture, my entire bathroom started smelling like ammonia. Is this because I didn’t add the essential oils or could the baking soda be reacting to something in the bathtub? Please advise. Thanks.

    • Hi Amie! Adding the essential oils should help with that. It may have to do with the type of detergent you’re using or what was previously on your tub. I would rinse it all out and try to see if it makes a difference.

  5. No, soap scum has a much more specific meaning than you gave it. It’s made of the lime soaps that form when soap reacts with water “hardness”, and while it MAY include additional dirt (and certainly will if it occurs in a bath used for washing), it can form even without any additional dirt if soap is allowed to dissolve in “hard” water and then settle there. Shampoo won’t leave soap scum unless the shampoo is made out of soap, and even then it won’t if the shampoo contains additional surfactants that prevent lime soaps from depositing; in fact most shampoos could be used in bath water to PREVENT scum.

    Also, washing soda would be more effective than baking soda in removing soap scum.


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