White bathtubs are popular for a reason. They give off a clean, sleek, inviting look that elevates the style of any bathroom. But what happens when your white bathtub starts to look a little less bright than it once did?
If your white bathtub is getting dingy or stained from use, don't worry—you can restore it to its former glory in no time with a simple but effective 7-step deep cleaning technique.
In just a second we'll go over what's involved in making your bathtub white again—so you can enjoy that clean, fresh look once again. But first, a quick explanation of why your tub has likely lost its shine.
Why don't white bathtubs stay white?
White bathtubs are notoriously hard to keep clean and white. They look great in the showroom when you are designing your dream bathroom, but they are a pain to keep that way unless you have a good cleaning regimen.
The combination of simply regular use, different soaps or products that you use in the tub, bacteria, as well as things like hard water all can have an impact on how long your bathtub stays white and bright.
Even if you clean your tub regularly, you still may find that your white bathtub starts to look yellowish or brownish over time. This staining is normal and to be expected.
How do I make my white bathtub white again?
Although there are plenty of bathtub cleaning products on the market that promise to get your bathtub as white as the day you bought it, they are not all created equal.
Some of those products contain bleach and other chemicals which can not only be toxic when mixed with other cleaners, but could also damage some bathtubs depending on what material they are made out of.
You might be surprised to find that the best thing to return your white bathtub to showroom quality can be found right in your kitchen cabinet.
Vinegar and baking soda is the best combination to help keep your white bathtub white. It is a nontoxic cleaner that is gentle on the environment, but incredibly powerful on even the toughest bathtub stains.
The best part is that this mixture can be used on virtually all bathtubs, so you don't have to worry about reading labels to see if the products can be used on your specific type of tub.
Here is everything you need to know to whiten your bathtub and get that sparkle back:
What you need
- White vinegar (like this Heinz one)
- Baking soda
- Soft-bristled scrub brush
- Mix equal parts white vinegar and baking soda in a large glass bowl: This mixture shouldn't react, but mixing it in a large bowl will make stirring and application easier. Measurements do not have to be exact.
- Mix the vinegar and baking soda together until a paste begins to form: As you stir the ingredients together you will notice it start to thicken up and form a toothpaste-like consistency.
- Rinse the inside of your bathtub with water: This will remove any stray debris inside your tub and prepare the surface to be cleaned. Make sure all areas of your tub you wish to clean and whiten are wet.
- Apply the paste to your bathtub: Using a brush or your hands, apply a thin layer of the vinegar and baking soda paste to your bathtub surface.
- Scrub stained areas: Using some pressure, scrub the paste into the areas where staining is the most significant to work the paste into the surface and deep clean.
- Allow the paste to dry for a few minutes: Let the paste sit on your bathtub surface for a few minutes (about 10 minutes) until it appears dry and crumbly.
- Rinse the bathtub and scrub the remaining paste away: Using the scrub brush and water, scrub and rinse away the remaining paste to reveal your clean, white bathtub.
This simple technique should be enough to get most yellowing tubs back to white again.
What do I do if my bathtub is still stained after treating it?
Sometimes stubborn stains may take more than one treatment to be fully removed. If you notice that your bathtub is still not as white as you would like after having completed the above steps, you can repeat the same process again to break down more of the dirt and staining that's causing the discoloration.
You could also consider treating the stain with other household products. If you have a stubborn yellow-stained bathtub, using hydrogen peroxide or warm lemon water may help to lift the stain as well.
As a final option, if your tub is old and the stains are deeply ingrained to the point where they are not responding to deep cleaning, you can always reglaze the tub in a bright white color.
This is a multi-step process, but it can be done DIY, and fairly cheaply if you want to put in the time. It will cost more than vinegar and baking soda—but certainly a lot less than buying a whole new tub.
How often should I whiten my bathtub?
Many people choose to repeat the vinegar and baking soda whitening process when they notice that their bathtub is looking a little bit dirty. If you start to notice rusty brown stains or a yellow cast on your white bathtub, it's probably time to do this treatment. Of course, the exact length of time between cleans will depend on the usage of your tub.
If preventative maintenance is more your style, you could consider doing the whitening steps on your bathtub once per month as well. Deep-cleaning your tub with vinegar and baking soda on a regular basis not only makes sure it's incredibly clean, but will help keep stains at bay as well—eliminating the need for you to ever see that discoloration start to spoil your bathroom aesthetic.