How can I clean my bathtub daily?
June 6, 2020 11:53 AM   Subscribe

Our old bathtub gets slippery and I need help keeping it clean and safe.

Our house is about 70 yrs old and the enameled cast iron tub is showing its age. I use shower gel, shampoo and conditioner daily and husband uses bar soap and shampoo. I think it’s my hair conditioners that make the tub feel greasy and it can be slippery which is scary. I had a great solution pre-covid which was a homemade concoction of rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, blue dawn dish soap and water. I’d squeeze a stream over the tub and use a long handled brush to scrub then rinse. It melted away the oiliness really well. However rubbing alcohol is nonexistent now so I switched to commercial scrubbing bubbles. It works maybe half as well as the other stuff did.

I clean the tub weekly using comet, not great but the tub is so old its been scratched forever and it does seem to get rid of the residue but I can’t keep a container of comet in the shower and there’s no convenient place to keep it handy for daily use. My lung health isn’t great so am hesitant to try ammonia or vinegar but willing to try one and see if it works and if it bothers me.

I change out the scrub brush head when it looks icky to avoid just spreading the greasiness again. I have to condition my hair daily and there isn’t any other bath so I need help keeping the tub clean and safe for the household. Any ideas hive mind? Am open to commercial products that are available in target or a hardware store in the midwest, or a homemade cleaning solution but alcohol can’t be an ingredient.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know if this is the only explanation of the greasiness (conditioner probably playing a role), but bar soap + hard water = buildup of soap scum. Barkeeper's Friend powder (comes in a container like Comet but it's chemically different, don't combine them) is good at removing it.

Alternatively, baking soda shaken on the surface, then scrub it with a mix of water + dawn + white vinegar.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:05 PM on June 6, 2020

I would get some grippy strips to make it safer, and make sure you have some sort of grab bar, something my own tub needs.
posted by theora55 at 12:05 PM on June 6, 2020 [6 favorites]

Sorry to offer a latteral solution out of the gate, but I don't think cleaning is the right approach if the tub has a smooth bottom. You should look into putting a no-slip mat on it. Plus, if you put off cleaning, it won't become dangerous, just gross.

As for soap scum, I personally like the Scrubbing Bubbles with orange but maybe that's what you're already using?
posted by ikea_femme at 12:09 PM on June 6, 2020 [8 favorites]

I keep a spray bottle of diluted simple green concentrate in the bathroom for all cleaning. Every other day I spray the tub down, and then wipe it out with either a washcloth or a rag. Then I rinse using a quart size soup to go container. Mr Clean also works for this.

I take a bath every day, so this prevents the ring from being a problem for us.

In addition to wiping out the tub, I also spray and wipe the sink and the toilet. If you spray everything and then start wiping where you sprayed, the cleaner has a bit of time to soak in and work. And I never have to scrub anything too vigorously, so it’s very fast. It’s done before I’m able to drip dry after a bath.

Be very mindful about the order of surfaces you wipe in, always do the toilet last. Or use different cleaning cloths. Or maybe a paper towel for the toilet.
posted by bilabial at 12:17 PM on June 6, 2020

My shower mat is one of the best things I've ever spent money on. It grips my feet, my feet grip and feel secure. I offer praise to my shower mat every morning. It's a godsend!
posted by SPrintF at 1:06 PM on June 6, 2020

There are better ways to make your bathtub nonslip. Keeping your bathtub clean is of course a great idea but nonslip is so vital for safety that you really need something more failsafe.

Here is typical advice.

Of the options given, the best/simplest/easiest/cheapest/most reliable/most failsafe method seems to be to apply a few ounces of anti-slip treatment that can be found at most any local hardware store or home improvement type store. (Sample product, not necessarily a recommendation for this particular product or store.)

This is a one-time application, permanent solution that makes your bathtub permanently slip-free regardless of whether or not someone has remembered to apply a certain cleaning solution daily, uses or doesn't use a particular hair-care product, has or doesn't have rubbing alcohol, puts in or forgets to put in the non-slip bath mat, etc.
posted by flug at 1:15 PM on June 6, 2020

I have something similar to what theora55 mentioned above (ours are circles though). They came on a sheet with a template to lay them out. I stuck them down over 10 years ago and they're still where I put them, still white, and still grippy. And you can remove them without damage. Highly recommended.
posted by pipeski at 2:40 PM on June 6, 2020

Vim Bathroom's not bad for this. It's a foam + mild acid (formic, I think). It cuts all matter of gunge with minimal scrubbing. It can be a little slick of you don't rinse it off.
posted by scruss at 3:07 PM on June 6, 2020

If everyone in the household only showers all the time, that's great, but those permanent solutions (sticky or chemical) are not bum-friendly for bathers! If anyone in the household likes a long, luxurious soak, consider a removable solution like the bath mat.
posted by kate4914 at 6:34 PM on June 6, 2020

I keep my tub and shower clean by squeegeeing most of the sitting water out and then drying all the surfaces with a towel until perfectly dry. I no longer see any of the residue from body products that I used to (when I let it air dry and then did periodic cleanings). It takes a little discipline but it’s really a three minute process, and I don’t do any other cleaning of the tub.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 7:07 PM on June 6, 2020

Like Tandem, we use a squeegee in the Gotanda home. Mostly because it's so humid most of the time it will get moldy fast if it doesn't get dry.
posted by Gotanda at 2:21 AM on June 7, 2020

As an alternative, can you wash your hair in the kitchen sink?
posted by sarajane at 5:38 AM on June 7, 2020

Thanks for some great ideas everyone. I'm leaning toward a cleaning solution over a mat but if the cleaning products offered here don’t work I’ll get a mat or stick-on non-skid item.

Thanks again!
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 10:52 AM on June 7, 2020

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