How To Clean an Old Bathtub

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I promised last week after the upstairs bathroom reveal that I would share tips that I learned from my tile guy about cleaning our old porcelain bathtub.  When we decided to renovate the upstairs bathroom, we never considered taking the bathtub out.  Even though it is 77 years old and we knew tub would not exactly match the white subway tile, we kept it. Our tile guy didn't recommend reglazing and we weren't going to fight him on that since glazing doesn't last forever.  He promised when the bathroom was finished he would share tips on how to clean it and return the luster it once had.  That was music to my ears let me tell you!

Today I'll share all that I learned about cleaning our porcelain bathtub.  Before I do, let me say that if you are going to try any of this, please test small areas first to make sure it will work for your bathtub. Also, these items that I'm about to share with you are only to be used on porcelain, not ceramic tile, granite, wood, or heaven forbid, marble.  And whatever you do, do not apply Mop & Glo to the floor of your bathtub. One other note, we only use this as a shower.  I'm not sure how it would hold up to daily baths.

Here's what you need to clean your tub:

1.  scouring pad -  My tile guy shared this scouring pad with me.  I'm not sure where he got it, but check your local hardware store.  It is much more abrasive than a household sponge.  It came in a larger sheet that he cut down into hand sized sheets.  

2.  Mop & Glo

3.  Zep Shower, Tub, & Tile Cleaner (for porcelain)

4.  220 grit sandpaper

5.  gloves (not pictured)

6. a couple of rags (not pictured)

Step one.  Spray tub with Zep cleaner and use scouring pad to remove stains avoiding any plumbing fixtures because this will scratch them.  This may take some elbow grease, but if you can't get all the stains out don't worry.  Do as much as you can.  Rinse with water.

Step two.  Use fine grit sandpaper on any remaining stains.  It sounds awful, but it will take those stains away.  Don't rub any more than you need to because you don't want to remove too much of the porcelain finish.

(the black spots are gone now)

Step three.  (Not pictured)  Dry the bathtub with a soft towel.

Step four.  Pour Mop & Glo into an old rag.

Begin wiping the inside of the tub toward the bottom in the same direction.  Do not apply this to the bottom of the tub or you will have an extremely slick and dangerous bathtub!!!  Finally, apply Mop & Glo to the top and outsides of the tub.  Wait a couple of hours and reapply the Mop & Glo. You will want to do this several times to get a good buildup and create that lustrous finish it once had.

(after one coat)

(after three coats)

Hopefully I've explained this clearly, but if you have questions, please leave them in the comments.  


  1. This will work on my kitchen sink that has been scoured way too many times. My neighbot uses car wax (not the green stuff) and that also works. It doesn't last forever, but it's easy enough to re-apply. I'm giving the mop n glow a try.

  2. Thanks for the cleaning tip! Can't wait to try this!


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