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Let’s Deep Clean Our Bathtubs Then Take Lots of Bubble Baths

Illustration for article titled Let’s Deep Clean Our Bathtubs Then Take Lots of Bubble Baths
Photo: Taisiia Stupak (Unsplash)
SqualorJolie Kerr is a cleaning expert and advice columnist. She’ll be here every week helping to answer your filthiest questions. Are you dirty? Email her.

The best deep cleaning tasks are ones that come with built-in rewards, and no deep cleaning task I can think of comes with a more obvious built-in reward than scrubbing your bathtub. Because clean tub = bubblebath time! And I bet a nice bubblebath sounds prettttty inviting to a lot of folks right now.


If you have a REALLY GROSS bathtub, this is the best method for cleaning it. You ready? It’s really easy and it works SO well you won’t even believe it: Fill the tub with hot-hot-hot water and when it’s about a third or so full add a big scoop of oxygen bleach like OxiClean, Biokleen Oxygen Bleach Plus or Clorox Oxi Magic then allow it to fill all the way up to the top. Then leave.

Yup! Just leave it alone (it’s a bath for your bath!) for 30 minutes. The hot water+oxygen bleach will break down soap scum and other buildup as it sits, which is why this is such a great method for a really gnarly tub sitch—the product is going to do most of the work for you.

After the solution has done its thing, head back in with a microfiber cloth and drain the water. When the water is about half way drained, soak the microfiber cloth in the oxi solution and start wiping the sides of the tub then, when the water is drained, the bottom of the tub. Microfiber is the cleaning rag of choice here because the material is superior to others at wicking away grime. Weird but very, very true.


Dobie Pads, too, are great for scrubbing tubs because they’re non-scratch, making them safe to use on acrylic tubs (the other two most common tub types are porcelain and enamel).


One last thing to mention is that while oxygen bleach is different from chlorine bleach it still can cause skin irritation, so wearing household gloves for this chore is a good idea.

So that’s your tub-salvaging-without-a-ton-of-work routine!

Another problem, however, that you may have if you haven’t cleaned your tub/shower in a minute is mold, mildew, and Serratia marcescens (that pinkish, orangish bacteria that you often see in bathrooms). There’s a product I loooooove for the job of cleaning grotty grout and caulk called X-14.


I’ve written before about how much I love this stuff so if you want to do a deep dive into the literature, here it is.


But perhaps you’d like the CliffsNotes version, which? Sure! Here it is: If the mold/mildew/pink stuff buildup is extreme, you’ll probably need to use a scrub brush—possible our old friend the Drill Brush!?—to work the X-14 into the grout and to lift the bacteria from it.


Also, X-14 is a heavy duty cleaner which means I need to give you some safety warnings: You MUST wear gloves when working with it and you MUST ensure you have proper ventilation because the fumes are powerful. And, you must be very careful not to mix it with any chemicals other than water. Thank you for your attention!

Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and the host of the podcast Ask a Clean Person