Bathtubs will get scratched over time from everyday wear and tear. Instead of replacing or refacing your tub, you can clean and fill in minor scratches and chips. Bathtub scratches are repaired differently depending on the material the tubs are made of.
Cleaning Acrylic Tubs
Acrylic bathtubs are common due to affordability and being lightweight. They consist of a vacuum-formed sheet of acrylic that is frequently reinforced with fiberglass to make it sturdy.
Begin cleaning an acrylic tub with dishwashing liquid or and a moist sponge. Use warm water to rinse off the cleaner. As a rule of thumb, avoid abrasive chemicals and cleaning utensils, since these are too harsh and may cause damage.
If scratches remain, use a liquid polish such as Gel-Gloss to see if you can remove the scratches with cleaning alone. This works great for surface level scratches. A metal polishing compound can also be used, according to Signature Hardware. Wear protective gloves when handling these cleaners.
Sanding Out the Scratches
If after using dishwashing liquid and liquid polish the scratches remain in your acrylic tub, you may need to sand them out. Use fine-grit sandpaper, being sure to dampen it first. Put on a mask to prevent inhaling particles generated during the sanding process, and use protective eyewear. Stroke in a circular motion; then rinse off with a damp sponge.
After sanding, use white polishing compound and water. Wear gloves when applying the polish. Scrub in a circular motion using a soft cloth. Wipe away any cleaning products and wash the tub with warm water to rinse any residue away. Dry the tub with a soft cloth. This should remove tougher and deeper scratches.
Cleaning Porcelain Tubs
According to Bath Masters, the layer of kaolin clay in porcelain tubs that is fire-baked onto a metal tub at high heat requires gentle cleaning with nonabrasive products. Start with baking soda. Pour baking soda directly onto the affected area. Scrub with a wet sponge for a few minutes. Rinse off and see how much progress was made with the scratches. If scratches remain, add more baking soda and repeat.
If your tub shows more prominent scratching, try a fine pore pumice stone. Before using, submerge and soak the stone in water. Rub the scratches with the wet pumice stone very briefly — not more than 30 seconds. Push down lightly with the pumice stone. Clean the area to check on the scratches.
If you're dealing with very deep scratches, use a porcelain repair kit. These kits have a paint-on glaze. Before applying the glaze, make sure the bathroom is properly ventilated. Apply the glaze to an entire scratched section of the tub and let it dry. Paint on a second and possibly a third coat until the scratches are covered entirely.
Allow the glaze to dry. Use the fine-grit sanding pad included in the kit to sand the area. Be sure to wear a mask and protect your eyes when sanding. Once it looks filled in, rinse off the dust with water and dry it with a cloth. The tub should be restored to a smooth surface.
Meg Scanlon earned a Masters from Johns Hopkins University. Her writing can be found on Hunker, Cuteness, Funny or Die, BarkPost, Taste of Home, LoveTV and ALittleBitFunny.com.