How to Clean a Painted Bathtub? (Tips and Tricks)


Your bathtub is supposed to be a haven for your sudsy soaks. You deserve a sparkling, freshly painted tub clean enough for therapeutic baths.  But how to clean a painted bathtub for maximum effect?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to clean your bathtub properly, let’s discuss why painted bathtubs are prone to damage and what cleaning methods you should avoid.

Why are Painted Bathtubs Prone to Damage? 

Painted bathtubs are prone to damage due to their porous nature. Paints and other finishes used on tubs are designed to stick well.  But in the process, these finishes are not impermeable and can easily be damaged by harsh chemicals or abrasive materials.

Over time, the finish on your tub will wear away and become discolored, chipped, and dingy. In addition to this wear and tear, painted bathtubs can become stained from dirt, mold, and soap scum. 

All of this can make your tub look less than appealing. You’ll want to take special care when cleaning it to ensure you don’t damage the finish further.

How to Clean a Painted Bathtub?

Now that you know why painted bathtubs are prone to damage, let’s dive into the steps for how to clean a painted bathtub.

Preparing the bathtub 

The first step in cleaning your tub is preparing it. Before you start scrubbing away all of that dirt and grime, you’ll want to make sure that everything is in order.

Gather all the supplies needed for cleaning your bathtub, such as a mild detergent or cleaner, a nylon brush or sponge, and a clean towel. Remove any accessories or objects from the tub so they don’t get damaged during cleaning. 

Fill the tub with water to loosen any dirt and stains that have accumulated on its surface. The water should be comfortable so it’s not too hot or cold while cleaning.

Cleaning the Bathtub

Now that your tub is ready to go, it’s time to start the actual cleaning process.

Applying cleaning product

Apply a mild detergent or cleaning product to the tub. Pay special attention to any areas that appear stained or have visible gunk buildup. Allow the cleaner to sit for a few minutes before continuing to the next step.  The products should bubble up and help lift dirt and oils from the surface of the tub.

When using any cleaning product, make sure to read the instructions carefully.  Some products may require you to leave them on for long periods or be rinsed off after a certain time.

Scrubbing the tub

Once the cleaning product has had time to work its magic, it’s time to start scrubbing. Use a nylon brush or sponge to loosen any remaining dirt and stains on the tub. Make sure to move in circular motions so you don’t leave any streaks.

A sponge works best if you have a delicate bathtub finish. If the dirty areas are more stubborn, use a brush to get into those hard-to-reach spots. The finish on painted bathtubs can be easily scratched and damaged, so use a gentle touch.

Rinsing the tub

Once you’re done scrubbing, run the water and rinse off the cleaning product. You want to ensure you remove all traces of the detergent before drying the tub.

Drying the tub

After you’re done cleaning, there are a few finishing touches that need to be completed before calling it a day. Dry the bathtub with a clean towel, making sure to get into all of those hard-to-reach spots. Replace any accessories in the tub so they don’t get damaged.

What Cleaning Method Should You Avoid?

When cleaning a painted bathtub, there are certain methods you should avoid to protect its finish.

Avoid harsh chemicals

Using harsh chemicals on your tub can strip the finish and cause discoloration.  Even products marketed as “gentle” can be too harsh for a painted bathtub. Cleaners that contain bleach or abrasive ingredients like sodium hypochlorite can damage the paint. In addition, be mindful of products that contain solvents or are petroleum-based, as they can cause damage to the finish.

Avoid using an abrasive cleaner

Using an abrasive cleaner on your tub can cause scratches in the paint and damage its surface. These cleaners often contain gritty particles that can easily scratch even the toughest paints. 

So, avoiding this cleaning product when dealing with a painted bathtub is best. You’ll want to stick with mild, non-abrasive detergents designed specifically for painted surfaces.

Avoid steam cleaning

Steam cleaning is a great way to sanitize your tub but it can damage the paint. The heat from the steam can cause the paint to blister or fade, so you want to avoid this cleaning method. The glossy finish can also be stripped away by steam, leaving your tub dull and discolored.

Avoid using power washers

Power washers can easily strip away the paint on a bathtub, so avoid this cleaning method altogether. The high-pressure water spray can cause scratches in the paint and damage any delicate detailing on the tub. It’s also important to note that power washers can be dangerous and should only be used by professionals.

Avoid using a wire brush or steel wool

Scouring pads and wire brushes are too abrasive for painted bathtubs. The metal bristles can easily scratch the delicate finish, leaving behind scratches and dents. Steel wool is particularly damaging to painted surfaces, so avoiding this method when cleaning a bathtub is best. Stick with nylon brushes or sponges for the best results.

Tips  for Maintaining a Painted Bathtub

Cleaning your bathtub is just one part of caring for its finish. Here are some tips to help you keep your tub looking great and lasting longer!

Dry the tub after each use to prevent water spots

Nobody likes the look of water spots in their tub.   When you’re done with your bath or shower, take a few moments to dry off the tub. This will help prevent any water spots from forming and marring its finish. This is especially important if you have a painted tub, as the paint can start to peel over time with too much moisture.

Apply a sealant every few months to protect the paint

Sealants are an important step for maintaining the finish of your bathtub. They form a protective layer that prevents water from seeping into the paint and causing damage. 

Be sure to choose a sealant designed for painted surfaces and apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Doing this will help keep your tub looking nice and extend its lifespan.

Controlling Moisture in the Bathroom to Keep Your Tub Clean

The moisture in the bathroom is one of the biggest factors that can contribute to long-term damage to your painted bathtub. Moisture can encourage mildew growth and other bacteria, damaging your paint. 

To combat this, ensure proper ventilation in your bathroom, such as a window or fan. You should also use an exhaust fan during and after showers to help reduce moisture levels.

Clean up any spills immediately to prevent staining

Spills can be a real problem for painted bathtubs, as they can seep into the paint and cause staining. To avoid this, clean up any spills right away using a mild cleaner and lint-free cloth.  Doing this will help keep your tub looking great and prevent any permanent damage from occurring.

Regularly inspect the tub for any signs of wear and tear

Regularly inspecting your bathtub can help you spot any potential problems before they worsen. Look for any chipping or peeling in the paint and any cracks or other damage that may have occurred over time. If you notice anything, you can fix it quickly to prevent further wear and tear. 

Follow these tips, and you’ll have a nicely maintained painted bathtub in no time.

Read More:

Read more about How to Get Pumpkin Stain Out of Carpet

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you clean a newly reglazed tub?

The best way to clean a newly reglazed tub is to use a pH-neutral, non-abrasive cleaner like dish soap. It’s important to avoid any harsh chemicals or abrasives because they could damage the new finish. You should never scrub with a wire brush, steel wool, or scrubby pads because they could scratch the surface.

Can you use magic eraser on refinished tub?

No, you should never use a magic eraser on your refinished tub. Magic erasers are too abrasive and could cause damage to the new finish. The best cleaning method is to use a non-abrasive cleaner like dish soap and warm water.

Can I use vinegar on refinished tub?

Yes and no. While vinegar is a great natural cleaner, you should not use it on your refinished tub daily. Vinegar is acidic and could damage the new finish over time. If you do decide to use it, be sure to dilute it with water and only use it occasionally.

What whitens a tub?

There are a few different methods for whitening a tub. If your tub is already refinished, you can use a combination of baking soda and lemon juice to create an abrasive paste that will help remove any stains or discoloration. You can also use mild dish soap, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to create a cleaner that will help whiten your tub.

What not to use to clean a tub?

Most definitely stay away from any harsh, abrasive cleaners when it comes to cleaning a tub. Steel wool and scouring pads should be avoided because they can scratch the surface of your tub, leaving it looking worse than before you cleaned it. The bleach you use to do laundry should also not be used in a tub.


Now that you know how to clean a painted bathtub, you can keep it looking shiny and new for months.  Giving your tub a quick wipe-down once a week is a good idea to keep the grime at bay.

But if you ever need to do a deep clean, just follow the steps above, and your painted bathtub will look good as new.  The best part is that you don’t need harsh chemicals to get the job done, so you can keep your tub clean without worrying about damaging it.

So, say goodbye to dull and grimy bathtubs forever; with just a little TLC, you can have a sparkling tub all year round.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply

      Shopping cart