Enamel tubs create a beautiful centerpiece in your bathroom and are the ideal place to soak away the day's worries, but a stain on the smooth, shiny surface can add to your stress instead of taking it away. With regular bathtub cleaning, you can often avoid stains, but knowing how to safely remove them when they happen keeps your enamel tub looking great.
What Is an Enamel Bathtub?
An enamel tub starts with a steel or cast iron bathtub base to establish the tub shape. It's then covered with the enamel material, which gives it a smooth, shiny finish. The finish is long-lasting when it's well maintained, and it makes the tub easy to clean. Because of the weight of the metal, these tubs are very heavy overall and might require additional support underneath them.
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Considerations for Enamel Tubs
The enamel coating is very durable and makes your tub last for a long time, but it's not completely immune to damage. While you can repair an enamel tub, being aware of the risk factors helps you avoid damage in the first place.
The coating can chip if you drop something heavy on it. You can also scratch the enamel if you use harsh abrasives, so avoid things like steel wool or very abrasive cleaning products when dealing with stains. Stick with sponges and soft cleaning cloths to avoid damaging the surface. Harsh acids, including bleach, can also damage the enamel coating. Always start with gentle cleaning products to minimize the risk of damage to the enamel coating.
Regular Enamel Tub Cleaning
Cleaning your enamel tub once a week prevents soap scum and other gunk from building up and becoming more difficult to remove. For a simple cleaning solution, use dish soap and warm water. Use a sponge or microfiber cloth to wash all surfaces of the enamel tub with the soapy water. Rinse it well to wash all the dirt and suds down the drain.
Tackling Enamel Tub Stains
When you notice a stain on your tub, start with a gentle cleanser first to protect the tub material from damage. Try your usual dish soap and warm water to see if you can scrub away the stain. Don't use a scratchy cleaning tool, as this can cause little scratches in the finish.
If the soap doesn't get rid of the stain, move up to baking soda, which gives you gentle scouring power on the enamel surface. Create a cleaning paste by combining a little water with the baking soda. Apply the baking soda paste to the tub stain and wait 30 minutes to one hour. Wipe it with a damp sponge or microfiber cloth to gently scour away the stain. Rinse the area well and inspect it to see if the stain is gone.
If baking soda doesn't work, there are a couple of other safe options to try. Squeeze lemon juice onto the stain and sprinkle salt on it. After an hour, use a soft cloth to scrub the stain and then rinse. You can also combine hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and water to create a cleaning solution. Spray it on, wait about 10 minutes, wipe it with a cloth, and rinse it well.