How to Clean a Porcelain Tub Without Scratching It

We show you how to clean a porcelain tub in less than an hour without risking surface scratches. Three methods for cleaning your tub and removing stains.

Coming home to a warm bath after a long day in a clean porcelain tub can be therapeutic. But seeing stains, soap scum, and mold growth can completely ruin the mood.

Contrary to popular belief, porcelain tubs aren’t all that hard to clean. We’ll show you how to clean a porcelain tub in less than an hour, without risking surface scratches. 

Say goodbye to that dirty tub and hello to a bubble bath. 

How to clean a porcelain tub: Which cleaners are safe? 

First, you need to know that cleaning a porcelain tub is different from cleaning an acrylic one. Porcelain scratches more easily, so you’ll need to avoid using abrasive cleaners and brushes. In addition to being unsightly, these chipped areas can rust since they are exposed to water. 

In this article, we explain several safe methods for cleaning your porcelain tub. But before we get started, you need to know which cleaners to use and which you should avoid. 

Use these cleaners on your porcelain tub

  • Baking soda
  • Lemon oil 
  • Dish soap
  • Table salt
  • Soft-bristled brush or sponge

Avoid these cleaners

  • Scouring powder
  • Steel wool
  • White vinegar
  • Rough cloth or scrapers
  • Abrasive cleaners like chlorine bleach
  • Abrasive brushes

Now that you know which cleaners are safe for a porcelain tub and which ones to avoid, let's look at the different methods for cleaning your tub. 


Method 1: Dish soap

Cleaning your porcelain tub with dish soap is an easy routine, plus it’s a light cleaning agent so it’s safe to use. 

Supplies you'll need

  • Dish soap 
  • Water
  • Soft cloth or sponge

Steps for cleaning

Follow these steps to clean your porcelain tub with dish soap.

Step 1: Prepare the cleaning solution

Mix 1 gallon of water and two teaspoons of dishwashing soap in a big bucket. Stir thoroughly to ensure it mixes properly and lathers.

Step 2: Wash the tub

Dip your sponge or soft cloth into the cleaning solution and gently wipe the tub.  Start at the top and work your way down. If your tub has stains, scrub those areas more vigorously.

Remember to rinse the sponge or cloth in the cleaning solution often to prevent the dirt from spreading.

Step 3: Rinse

When you finish washing, rinse the bathtub thoroughly with clean water to get rid of all the suds.

Step 4: Dry the surface

Use a dry rag or soft cloth to dry the tub's surface. 

Pro tip: One way to enhance the shine of your newly cleaned bathtub is to dab a soft rag with lemon oil and rub it on the sides of your tub. Use this method no more than once a week, though. If you use lemon oil too often, you risk damaging the tub surface.

Method 2: Baking soda

Sometimes, dish soap can’t remove the build-up of dirt and grime on your porcelain tub. In this case, baking soda comes to the rescue. It has all the natural cleaning qualities of white vinegar without the abrasiveness on your porcelain tub. 

Supplies you'll need

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Soft sponge or cloth
  • Towel

Steps for cleaning

Here’s how to clean your porcelain tub with baking soda.

Make a cleaning paste

Combine baking soda and water in a small bowl to create a paste. The paste should be thick but still spreadable.

Apply paste

Using a soft sponge or cloth, apply the paste to the porcelain surface of the tub, paying extra attention to any areas with stains or discoloration.

Let the paste sit on the tub's surface for at least 15-20 minutes.

Scrub with a sponge

After the paste has had time to sit, use the sponge or cloth to scrub the tub's surface.

Rinse and pat dry

Rinse the surface thoroughly with clean water, then use a towel to dry the surface of the tub.

Baking soda to the rescue

Baking soda is our go-to for many household cleaning projects. After you clean your porcelain tub, use baking soda for these other bathroom cleaning tasks: 

Method 3: Clean a porcelain tub with lemon 

Lemon breaks down grime build-up and stains. It also leaves your tub with a sparkling finish and adds a protective layer.

Supplies you'll need

  • One or two unripe lemons
  • Salt
  • Soft cloth
  • Water

Steps for cleaning

Follow these steps to clean your porcelain tub with lemon.

Prepare the lemon

Cut a lemon in half, removing any seeds that may be present. Since you'll use the lemon as a scouring brush, the less ripe, the better.

Add salt

Sprinkle salt on both halves of the lemon. Preferably use a coarse salt containing big granules for the most scouring power.

Scrub the tub

Using the salt side of the lemon, scrub the porcelain tub to remove tough stains. Lightly press the fruit to encourage some juice to drip onto your tub. Use the remaining half of the lemon to continue washing when the lemon turns flat and all the pulp has been squeezed out.

Let sit

After scrubbing, let the lemon juice sit on the stain for 15 to 20 minutes.

Rinse and dry

Rinse your tub completely with fresh water to get rid of every lemon pulp and salt granules, then wipe it dry with a soft cloth. 

How to clean porcelain tub stains

Porcelain tubs are susceptible to stains because of the high amount of irons and chemicals in most faucets and showers. These stains can either appear brown, reddish, or yellow. The best bathtub stain removers we've found for porcelain tubs are: baking soda and lemon (as in the method outlined above) or a paste of cream of tartar and water. 

The trick for tough stains is to let the cleaning solution sit on the stain for 15 to 20 minutes before scrubbing with a sponge.

Enjoy a dirt-free porcelain tub

Lying in a clean bathtub is relaxing, but a stained and scratched tub is not a pleasant sight. Plus, it can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. With the right materials and methods explained in this article, you can take your tub from unsightly to comforting in no time.

Need help keeping on top of your house cleaning tasks? With Homeaglow, you can easily book an affordable, top-rated cleaner in your area. Read reviews, compare your options, and schedule online in minutes.

Cleaning model putting rubber gloves on

Book a top-rated cleaner in 3 easy steps

Cleaning model putting rubber gloves on
Pick a date and time
Whether you need a cleaning tomorrow or next month, there's always a cleaner that fits your schedule.
Choose your cleaner
Browse the profiles and images of cleaners before selecting the right one for your home.
Enjoy your clean home
Your cleaner will arrive at the scheduled time and give your home a cleaning you'll love.

Affordable, professional cleaners in your area

Choose from a range of 5-star cleaners at a reasonable price.
Book your first 3 hour cleaning for only $19.

Top-rated cleaners

Pick from Huntington Beach’s best cleaners. All reviewed, background-checked, and certified.

Affordable rates

The best cleaning prices you’ll find in Huntington Beach. Get your first clean for as low as $9.

Easy, online booking

Book a time that suits you with our easy online booking platform for Huntington Beach.

Reclaim your time and give yourself the clean home you’ll love