Is there anything grosser than stepping barefoot into a bathtub that's caked with scum and grime? That tub has got to gleam if you're going to step out feeling clean, but store-bought cleansers are packed with chemicals that you can't help but breathe in while cleaning a small space. Happily, your home is probably already stocked with any number of products that are up for this job. With these 10 household ingredients, ridding your dirty bathtub of stains and scum is as easy as making a trip to the kitchen. A word of caution, though: Using anything abrasive on an acrylic tub can damage it. If your tub looks like it was made from plastic, it's probably acrylic — stick to gentle cleansers only.
1. Baking Soda
Is there anything baking soda can't do? It makes your muffins rise and your bathtub shine. First, make sure the tub is slightly damp. Sprinkle baking soda over the entire surface and let it sit for about 10 minutes, then scrub away with a sponge and rinse.
Of all the kitchen ingredients that double as cleansers, basic white vinegar might be the most versatile. Using it to clean your bathtub is as easy as filling a spray bottle with equal parts white vinegar and water. Spray the solution over the entire tub and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing it away. To tackle noticeable stains, try sprinkling baking soda over them first and then spritzing the area with vinegar to create a foaming reaction.
Salt is abrasive, so it can be really effective at removing stains and soap scum in your tub. There are a few ways to use salt in this task. Some people suggest combining salt with vinegar, baking soda or even turpentine to make a kind of paste that is then rubbed over the tub. An easier method, and one that makes your bathroom smell spa-like, is to coat the cut side of a half grapefruit with salt and use that to scrub the tub clean.
4. Liquid Dish Soap
Just as it cuts through grease and grime in your kitchen, liquid dish soap can cut through whatever's hanging out in your bathtub. Drizzle the soap all over the inside of the tub and use a brush or sponge to work it all across the surface. Rinse thoroughly to remove any slippery residue. This is one cleaning method that's gentle enough for even acrylic tubs.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
White vinegar is one cleaning staple. But if your kitchen holds only apple cider vinegar, no problem: It will do the job just about as well as white vinegar would. Use apple cider vinegar to make a simple cleaning spray with water, or use it in conjunction with baking soda if the tub needs extra TLC.
6. Hydrogen Peroxide
Have you checked your first-aid kit lately? It might be hiding a bottle of hydrogen peroxide. Commonly used as an antiseptic for cuts, hydrogen peroxide can also be combined with baking soda to treat really stubborn bathtub stains. Make a paste with peroxide and baking soda to rub over any problem areas.
7. Lemon Peel
When you think "lemon peel" and "bathtub," you might picture taking a refreshing citrus-scented soak at a luxury spa. But in your own bathroom, a simple lemon can actually erase stains and scum. Cut a lemon in half and rub it over the tub, using the peel side as a scrubber to loosen any debris. It's the best-smelling cleaning hack you'll try this week.
8. Castile Soap
Castile soap is one of those products that a lot of people have heard of but many people can't define. It's a kind of all-purpose soap made from vegetable oils, and comes in both bar and solid forms. Liquid Castile soap makes a great base for a natural homemade tub cleaning solution, especially when combined with vinegar and baking soda for maximum effectiveness.
Well, this one is a bit of head scratcher. Sure, shampoo is safe for your tub — but isn't it also partially responsible for the scummy buildup that you're trying to clean? Actually, shampoo makes a safe cleanser when it's rubbed directly onto the tub's surface. This is one strategy to try when you're scrambling to clean the tub in a hurry.
10. Cream of Tartar
Cream of tartar is normally used in the kitchen as an acidic element. It's key to stabilizing beaten egg whites, for one. Cream of tartar and baking soda function differently in the kitchen but can be used in about the same ways while cleaning a bathtub. If you don't have baking soda on hand, use cream of tartar to make a paste with hydrogen peroxide instead.