A family is only as clean as its bathroom, which is why keeping a spotless tub is so important. But with so many products out there, knowing what to use and what to stay away from can be overwhelming. If you find yourself hesitating to use your Magic Eraser sponge on your dirty acrylic tub, you’re not alone. Thankfully, we’ve done all the research into the right cleaning products, so you don’t have to worry about your hard work going down the drain.
Here’s what you need to consider when picking a cleaning product:
- What material your tub is made of
- What the best cleaning products are for your tub
- What products might damage your tub
In general, if you have an acrylic tub, it’s best to use non-abrasive cleaners such as dish soap, Clorox wipes, or a mixture of vinegar and water. Do not try bleach or abrasive cleaners like steel wool on the tub. However, the Magic Eraser from Mr. Clean® is a safe option as long as you are gentle when scrubbing.
That was a pretty brief synopsis, so it’s understandable if you need a little more information. That’s why this guide breaks it down further for more in-depth answers to your questions.
How do you tell if a bathtub is made of fiberglass or acrylic?
Before digging through your cleaning products, you should first determine what kind of tub you own. Some flexibility noticed when you press on the side of your tub, or visible scratches and cracks in the surface indicate fiberglass or acrylic materials. A heavy and sturdy or chipped tub is likely made of porcelain or enamel. For more information about cleaning this type of tub, see the section here titled, "How do you clean tubs made of other materials?"
Narrowing it down further, fiberglass tubs commonly have faded bottoms compared to their sides, while acrylic tubs tend to be heavier and more durable. If you still aren’t sure, you can always call the manufacturer or visit their site to check.
What cleaners can be used on acrylic tubs?
Now that you know your tub is acrylic, you can begin to consider what products are safe to clean it with. Since acrylic is plastic-based, it is fairly damage-resistant compared to its porcelain or enamel counterparts. Still, gentle is the way to go when it comes to cleaning supplies.
Delta, a company that manufactures kitchen and bathroom appliances, recommends its customers use products such as dishwashing detergent and Formula 409® to keep their acrylic showers or bathtubs clean. In addition, most natural cleaners are also safe to use on acrylic tubs.
When in doubt, check the product’s label for warnings against using on acrylic or plastic surfaces. Stay away from stronger cleaners such as bleach or Lysol, which can be damaging over time.
Will vinegar damage an acrylic tub?
Vinegar won’t damage an acrylic tub but can leave an odor and require a lot of manual labor.
To be on the safe side, luxury bathroom company Badeloft® suggests diluting vinegar with warm water before cleaning your tub. Using a washcloth or a Magic Eraser for bathrooms, gently scrub dirty spots with the vinegar solution. If you still have trouble removing stains, you can add baking soda to the mixture to create a more successful acid cleaner. For a stuck-on rust stain, try "2 Fool-Proof Methods To Remove Rust Stains From An Acrylic Tub Or Shower."
For the vinegar mixture to be effective, a lot of scrubbing is needed. Acrylic can be easily scratched, so this method is not our first pick. However, since the supplies are cheap and easy to come by, it may be a good option for a quick wash. Just be sure to remain gentle and stay away from abrasive scrubbing tools like steel wool.
Can you use Clorox wipes on acrylic?
Yes! Clorox® wipes are a bleach-free cleaning product that is absolutely safe to use on an acrylic tub. According to their website, the wipes can be used on a variety of surfaces, including “bathroom [and] household surfaces.” Since the wipes can be irritating to the skin, Clorox suggests rinsing the surface after cleaning to remove any residue.
For even more excellent acrylic cleaning products, check out "10 Of The Best Cleaners For Acrylic Tub."
How do you clean other types of tubs?
If you started reading this guide only to learn that your tub isn’t made of acrylic, don’t worry, we still have your back.
How do you know if your bathtub is porcelain or enamel?
Just like with the plastic acrylic and fiberglass tubs, it can be difficult to tell a porcelain tub from an enamel tub. This is important, though, since true porcelain bathtubs can handle harder cleaners than enamel-coated metal tubs.
Unlike with the plastic tubs, there is a foolhardy way to tell these two types apart. Simply hold a magnet up to the side of your bathtub. The magnet will be attracted to an enamel tub since there is either steel or cast iron underneath but will fall right off a solid porcelain tub.
What cleaning products can you use on a porcelain tub?
Many of the same cleaners that are safe to use on acrylic tubs are also safe for porcelain tubs. Dish soap and natural cleaners like the vinegar and water solution are great options, as well as a homemade baking soda and vinegar paste.
In addition, true porcelain can handle harsher cleaning products. As long as your bath is white and not colored or vintage porcelain, you can give it an occasional bleach wash. However, refrain from doing this regularly as the bleach can damage the finish.
What cleaning products can you use on an enamel tub?
Enamel bathtubs require much gentler treatment than true porcelain tubs. Dish soap is recommended by both Home Depot and the Nation Association of Realtors as a safe product for your enamel tub. Just add soap to a warm water bath and rub with a cloth or Magic Eraser.
Another option for a more stubborn stain is to soak the dirty area in hydrogen peroxide for five minutes before rinsing with the soap and water mixture.
As previously mentioned, enamel tubs aren’t as hardy as their porcelain lookalikes. Do not use bleach or vinegar on enamel since it may lead to deterioration.
Now that you’ve got all the information, it’s time to dig under the sink for your Magic Eraser and Clorox wipes and get to work! Don’t forget to reward yourself afterward with a nice, long soak in your sparkling tub. Just, maybe light a candle so you don’t smell like vinegar.