Chemists of AskMe, help me clean my shower
June 27, 2011 5:26 PM   Subscribe

What can I mix with either CLR or Iron Out to make the product stick to the wall of the tub long enough (an hour at least) to do its job?

I have a one-piece bathtub/wall surround, similar to this. I also have hard water with many minerals that cause rust, calcium and who-knows-what-else stains on the tub and walls within a few days of cleaning. The tub floor is easily cleaned by soaking it with a solution of either CLR or Iron Out. After an hour or two, all I have to do is rinse.

However, the walls are harder to deal with. I’ve made up a water solution of each cleaner in a spray bottle, and sprayed the walls (at different times), but because the spray droplets don’t drip down evenly, I end up with clean streaks mixed with orange streaks after rinsing. I can get it clean with a lot of scrubbing, but that takes a long time and, frankly, is a pain in my butt.

So, my question is, what can I safely mix with either CLR or Iron Out to make the product stick to the wall of the tub long enough (an hour at least) to do its job? I’ve thought of mineral oil or baby oil, but I’m afraid that will make the tub floor too slippery.

Specs for CLR (a watery liquid.) Specs for Iron Out (a powder.)

Any ideas?
posted by SuperSquirrel to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Try CLR Bathroom and Kitchen cleaner, which is a foam product intended to be used on tile walls, tub surrounds and other vertical surfaces.
posted by paulsc at 5:32 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

You could soak CLR into a towel and put it on the wall of the tub.
posted by sciencegeek at 5:33 PM on June 27, 2011

I take paper towel sheets and spray them with whichever cleaner I'm using so that they stick to the walls of my shower. I periodically saturate them until I can just wipe off whatever I'm trying to remove.
posted by elle.jeezy at 6:18 PM on June 27, 2011 [4 favorites]

Use a rag or other disposable material - these products will ruin fabric.
posted by theora55 at 6:27 PM on June 27, 2011

Try applying one or both of the products and quickly covering with plastic wrap (like you would use for kitchen leftovers).
posted by palacewalls at 7:16 PM on June 27, 2011

Nthing paper towels. I had to do this in a toilet once to get rid of a nasty mineral ring.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:37 PM on June 27, 2011

I'd go paper towels to hold the liquid with plastic wrap over to stop evaporation. Extending the plastic wrap past the top of the paper towel should give you enough wrap->tiles contact to keep the whole thing on the wall.
posted by flabdablet at 12:18 AM on June 28, 2011

Try to get some polyphosphoric acid it is really gloopy and should stay in contact with the sides long enough to do its work. CLR is just a diluted form of phosphoric acid anyways.

Note you should use precautions when trying to do this because it is obviously not reccommended for cleaning, but works really well. It will heat up when you spray it with water so be very careful when taking it off.

Hey you asked for chemists answers and that is what I would do, but again I've got access to this stuff just in the cupboard and have no idea how you could get some. CAS number is 8017-16-1
posted by koolkat at 2:18 AM on June 28, 2011

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