Will Using Chlorine Bleach Ruin My Porcelain Bathtub?

Chlorine bleach, or household bleach, is a strong bleaching agent that contains sodium hypochlorite, a corrosive chemical compound. In addition to preserving white fabrics, chlorine bleach can kill bacteria, remove difficult stains and eliminate mold and mildew. If you have considered using chlorine bleach on your porcelain bathtub, you should also learn some important facts.

Types of Porcelain

Chlorine bleach is safe for use on white porcelain but not on colored porcelain, according to Reader's Digest. If you apply chlorine bleach to a tub with colored porcelain, the sodium hypochlorite can attack the pigment and cause discoloration. If you have white porcelain, however, you can apply the bleach safely, as long as you handle it carefully and rinse the tub thoroughly after cleaning.

Application

If you want to apply chlorine bleach to a white porcelain tub, place paper towels along the surface and conservatively pour bleach onto the paper towels, and then remove the paper towels and rinse the bleach after 15 minutes. This approach may prove best for spot cleaning however, and unrealistic for large tubs and thorough cleanings.

To cover a large surface area, make an all-purpose bleach cleaner by mixing 2 tbsp. of bleach inside of a gallon of hot water. Deposit the liquid into a spray bottle and spray the entire surface of your tub. Scrub thoroughly with a non-abrasive cloth and rinse.

Precautions

When handling chlorine bleach for any reason, put on a pair of rubber gloves to protect your skin and consider wearing a breathing mask to protect your airways from the harsh fumes. Since the fumes in bleach can hinder your indoor air quality, do not use it as a routine cleaning agent, but try to reserve it for especially difficult jobs, like when mildew or stubborn deposits appear. Ventilate the area well.

Additional Information

In addition to bathtubs, you can use bleach sparingly on other white porcelain surfaces including toilets and sinks, as long as you observe the aforementioned precautions and never use it on colored porcelain. If chlorine bleach proves too abrasive for you, you might also try oxygen bleach, sold in home supply stores, which offers some of the same benefits without the harsh chemicals. Unlike chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach can safely work with colored surfaces because it uses natural oxygen ions rather than sodium hypochlorite.

Never mix chlorine bleach with anything but water. Mixing it with ammonia or other cleaning agents can cause a toxic gas to form.