How to Clean an Old Porcelain Tub

Make your tub’s vintage beauty last.
Make your tub’s vintage beauty last.

Whether your gorgeous vintage bathtub is the focal point of your bathroom or you’re just stuck with an old tub, you want to keep it looking clean and brand new. But how? We found the best ways to keep your tub sparkling; read on for tips on taking care of your porcelain beauty.

What to Avoid

Porcelain enamel is painted over and fused to cast-iron, so you don’t want to use any abrasive cleansers that could ding or chip the porcelain. Cleaners like scouring powder, white vinegar and steel wool should also be avoided, as they can damage the finish.

What to Use

For gentle weekly cleaning, look for store-bought cleansers that are marked “safe for porcelain enamel”, or make your own by mixing a few tablespoons of dishwashing soap with about a gallon of hot water. Use a rag or soft sponge to scrub the porcelain, and then rinse well with water.

Deeper Clean

For a deeper cleaning on your tub, add ¼ cup of ammonia and ¼ cup of baking soda to a bucket of warm water. While the baking soda is a little bit abrasive, it is not so rough that it will damage your enamel, and the ammonia will help to cut any grease or soap scum that has built up. Soak a soft sponge in this mix and gently scrub your porcelain until the stains are removed. Be sure to rinse off the paste. (Only use this technique once a month at the most.)

Add Shine

Adding a little shine to your tub is easy! Take a clean rag and dab lemon oil on it. Rub the rag all over the sides of your tub – but not the bottom, since the oil will make it slippery – to add a light coating and a glimmering finish.

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