Can I Use Polishing Compound on a Bathtub?

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Polishing your tub restores shine and buffs out scratches.

If your bathtub has lost its luster and become scratched and dull from wear and tear or use of abrasive cleaners, you can restore it to its original glossy finish with a simple application of a liquid polishing compound. Before you start polishing, there are some things you need to know about proper bathtub care so you can avoid this sort of damage in the future.

Cleaning Materials To Avoid

Abrasive steel wool pads with cleanser included, such as S.O.S. or Brillo pads, and abrasive powders, like Ajax and Comet, should be avoided when cleaning your bathtub. Although the abrasive, scouring nature of these cleaning products may sound like the right tool for the job, they will actually make cleaning your tub more difficult in the long run. These cleaning products actually create tiny scratches, which dull the surface and trap dirt, forcing you to have to scrub even harder, creating more scratches.


Before you polish your tub, you need to give it a thorough cleaning. Any kind of spray or gel formulated for cleaning bathtubs or bathrooms, in general, will work. Alternatively, you can just use a mild detergent, such as dish soap, to clean the tub. Avoid abrasive scrubbers and go for a soft-bristled scrub brush or sponge. Rinse the soapy water down the drain when you are finished.


You should never attempt to polish a wet surface. Once you've got the tub clean, dry the surface as much as you can with a towel then leave it to air-dry. Wrap plastic bags around the fixtures, the shower head and tub faucet to prevent drips. Pull the shower curtain away from the tub to make sure no moisture gets trapped inside the tub. Allow the tub to air-dry for at least an hour.


With the tub all clean and dry, you can finally apply your polishing compound to buff out those unsightly scratches. If you have a shower-tub combo unit, you can use automotive wax to buff out scratches on the shower wall -- though you should never use this on the tub floor. Follow the instructions on the packaging of your polishing compound for specific application instructions. If you have particularly deep scratches in the surface, use 600-grit or higher sandpaper to wet-sand them out, wipe up any dust then use the polishing compound.


Jarrett Melendez

Jarrett Melendez is a journalist, playwright and novelist who has been writing for more than seven years. His first published work was a play titled, "Oh, Grow Up!" which he wrote and performed with a group of his classmates in 2002.