How to Remove Bathtub Appliques from an Old Bathtub

Bathtub appliques are made to prevent falls, but over time, they can become worn, outdated and unsightly. Removing appliques from an old bathtub can be a problem, if it's not done right. Not only could you damage the surface of your old bathtub by scratching or gouging the finish, you could be left with a very stubborn adhesive residue to contend with. Bathtub appliques are made in three layers: the top layer, a middle layer of Mylar film, and a bottom layer of adhesive. These must be removed in unison to avoid a sticky mess.

Remove old bathtub appliques.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic scraper

  • Cleaning solution

  • Plastic wrap or plastic lid

  • Baking soda

  • Washcloth or sponge

Step 1

Hold your plastic scraper at about a 5-degree angle and gently lift the edge of each bathtb applique.

Step 2

Grasp the peeled-up edge of the applique and pull slowly with your fingers, ensuring all three layers remain intact. Stop pulling if the layers begin to separate. Instead, position your scraper at the opposite edge of the applique and lift the edge enough so you can again grasp it with your fingers.

Step 3

Peel up the edge of the applique, working toward the center. If you still have a problem with the layers separating, perform Steps 4 to 6.

Step 4

Loosen and lift several edges of each applique with your plastic scraper. Stop as soon as the layers start to separate.

Step 5

Spray or pour a puddle of cleaner over each individual applique. Place a small piece of plastic wrap or a plastic container lid over each soaked applique to help prevent the excess from running off. Lightly mist your cleaning solution over the entire bottom of your old bathtub to prevent the cleanser's runoff from streaking the finish.

Step 6

Allow the appliques to soak in cleaner for about two hours. Carefully use your plastic scraper to finish removing appliques.

Step 7

Scrub any remaining applique residue with a soft washcloth or sponge. Rinse your bathtub thoroughly with water. Finally, use baking soda and water to scrub your tub until it looks new again.


Avoid gouging or scratching your tub's finish with the scraper. Don't use too much pressure or too steep an angle. Be careful to get underneath all three layers.


Before starting, test this method on an inconspicuous area to ensure it will not damage the surface of your old bathtub.

Do not mix different types of cleaning solutions to avoid creating and inhaling toxic fumes.

Do not use harsh abrasives on an old bathtub, to avoid damaging the surface.