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How to Clean a Bathtub With Bleach [Step-By-Step]

The stains in your bathtub are pretty common. They range from dust, dirt, skin particles, soap, body oils, and other bath products to minerals from the water that accumulate on the surface. They can lead to nasty stains over time that could discolor your once white and pristine bathtub.

Therefore, you may need to deep clean and disinfect your bathtub from time to time. And when it comes to cleaning the tub, the first instinct is to get the bleach.

You must remember, however, that bleach is a powerful disinfectant. While bleach can remove stubborn stains and buildup from your bathtub, it can also cause discoloration over time if not used carefully.

cleaning bathtub with bleach

Can You Use Bleach To Clean a Bathtub?

Even though there are plenty of different types of disinfectants and cleaners for bathtubs, bleach is considered to be one of the most effective ones to use.

Bleach is a strong cleaner that can remove stains and kill germs and bacteria in your bathtub. It is particularly useful in getting rid of mold and mildew.

However, using bleach for cleaning bathtubs requires extreme caution due to its potency.

Is It Safe to Bleach Your Bathtub?

Using bleach to clean the bathtub should be safe, so long as you take the proper precautions. Consider wearing gloves, masks, and eye protection when handling bleach. You should also keep the bathroom well ventilated to avoid feeling lightheaded.

Can You Leave Bleach in the Tub Overnight?

It is not recommended to leave bleach in your tub overnight. This will not make the tub cleaner. In fact, using more bleach than necessary and for an extended period of time might make matters worse, as bleach is a highly harsh chemical.

It’s possible to strip your tub’s surface of its coating if you’re not careful with bleach. That could make your tub lose its gloss and sheen over time, making it more susceptible to discoloration.

Does Bleach Damage Bathtub?

Bleach is a highly corrosive liquid, so it must be handled carefully to avoid damage. It can actually cause more damage to your skin than your tub if you are not careful.

Precautions When Using Bleach on Your Tub

Before you tackle cleaning your bathtub using bleach, you need some safety gear and supplies to get the cleaning job done as safely as possible. And in some cases, avoid using bleach for cleaning your tub altogether.

When Not to Bleach: 

  • If your bathtub is pigmented or has any color other than white. Bleach can permanently fade the pigments.

  • If your bathtub contains iron. The iron in your tub will oxidize when it gets in contact with bleach, leaving red streaks behind.

  • If your bathtub has acrylic coating. Bleach can cause decay to the acrylic coating of your bathtub, although powdered oxygen bleach is acceptable.

How to Use Bleach to Clean Your Bathtub

Your bathtub can be cleaned with bleach in a number of ways, depending on the problem. For example, if you’re only trying to get rid of a particularly stubborn stain on the tub, you can do so by setting a paper towel dampened with bleach on the stain. The stain should fade after several applications.

But if you’re looking to clean and disinfect the entire tub, here’s what you need to do.

Step 1. Get Your Supplies

Make sure you have at least half a gallon of bleach solution on hand. The type of bleach doesn’t matter, but make sure you have enough as you’ll likely need a lot to clean the entire tub.

Step 2. Prep Your Bathtub

Clean out your bathtub by rinsing it thoroughly. It is always wise to start your cleaning project by washing away dirt and grime on top of the surface. Afterward, remove anything on and around the bathtub. You don’t want the bleach to come in contact with your bath items like shampoo bottles, razors, and loofahs. If you have a shower curtain and/or liner, make sure they’re removed so they don’t get in the way.

While preparing the tub, also prepare your bathroom before you embark on the cleaning journey. Bleach has a harsh smell that will linger in your bathroom even after cleaning. So, keep your windows open and consider running the bathroom exhaust fan to help air out the room before you even start cleaning and a few hours after.

Step 3. Turn the Water On, Preferably Hot

Cover your tub’s drain with a plug and turn the hot water on. Fill the tub as high as possible, but not so high that the water overflows.

Step 4. Pour the Bleach

Add bleach to the water using the proportions specified by the manufacturer on the back of the bleach jug. Depending on the size of your tub, you’ll likely need to add a few cups of bleach to the water.

In general, however, you can use a bleach-to-water ratio of 1:22 when using regular household bleach containing 6% sodium hypochlorite.

Step 5. Let It Sit

Wait for around 10 to 15 minutes to let the bleach and water solution do its work. What could be easier?

Step 6. Let It All Drain Out

Now it’s time to let the water drain out. At this point, your bathtub should be clean, spotless, and shiny white. However, if there are still stubborn stains, use a bleach and water solution to spot-clean the area. Apply the solution in a spray bottle to those spots and scrub them thoroughly.

Step 7. Rinse the Whole Tub

Bleach is a strong chemical, and you don’t want it to remain on your tub’s surface for too long. Rinse the tub thoroughly to remove any traces of bleach. Hot water will do most of the work for this final rinse.

Can You Take a Bath After Bleaching the Tub?

Your freshly cleaned and disinfected bathtub might be just the thing for a relaxing soak. Thankfully, after rinsing your tub with hot water to flush out any traces of bleach, you should be able to start using the bathtub safely.

But you only want to start bathing once all the fumes inside the bathroom are gone. If the room still reeks of bleach, open the windows, run the exhaust fan, and give the bathroom a few minutes to air out. After that, you’re all set to hop in and enjoy a warm bath.

Wrapping Up

Bleach is a chemically charged and powerful solution. While it’s effective in making your bathtub squeaky clean and gleaming, it’s important to use it moderately and safely.

  • Make sure you properly ventilate the bathroom before using bleach and follow the suggested precautions and tips.

  • We recommend wearing old, worn-out clothes that you do not care about getting dirty or bleached when you are cleaning your tub with bleach.

  • Don’t let your kids and pets go inside the bathroom unattended until the tub is fully cleaned.

Mandy Phillips

As a frequent contributor to top US magazines and publications in the home improvement niche, Mandy has been known for sharing her expertise on how to clean, organize, and decorate bathrooms.

Additionally, Mandy has immense experience offering lifestyle tips and tricks to her readers.

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At Loo Academy, our mission is to offer trusted advice for everything related to bathrooms (design ideas, plumbing advice, showering & bathing tips, remodeling guides, and more) — a place where we all spend a great deal of time.

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