The Best Bathtub Cleaners for Your Cleaning Caddy

Conquer your bathroom chores with minimal effort and time using the best bathtub cleaners for soap scum, mildew, and more.

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The Best Bathtub Cleaner Options for Your Chores

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Cleaning the bathroom is no fun, especially when cleaning the bathtub. Straining over the bathtub’s edge to access those hard-to-reach areas while trying to scrub can be awkward and leave you with an aching back and sore knees. But when you match the right cleaning product with the right job, cleaning can be less strenuous and time-consuming.

Keeping your bathtub clean is necessary because an unclean tub can harbor mold, bacteria, and other minerals that are unsightly (and unhealthy). So, while cleaning the tub does require effort, the best bathtub cleaners can make your weekend scrubbing efforts more efficient. Here are some of the best bathtub cleaners available according to product type.

  1. BEST FOR MOLD AND MILDEW: RMR-86 Instant Mold and Mildew Stain Remover Spray
  2. BEST FOR RUST STAINS: CLR Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover
  3. BEST FOR DRAINS: Green Gobbler Ultimate Main Drain Opener + Cleaner
  4. BEST NATURAL: Better Life Natural Tub and Tile Cleaner
  5. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Zep Foaming Shower Tub and Tile Cleaner
  6. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Cleanser
Best Bathtub Cleaner Options

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Bathtub Cleaner

Browsing the cleaning product aisle at the grocery store can quickly become an overwhelming experience: After only a few minutes, all the options begin to look alike. The following list is the result of research into the various kinds of cleaners to help consumers find the best bathtub cleaner for their bathroom. Consider these factors before buying a cleaner.

Bathtub Type

Bathtubs are manufactured from various products, including porcelain, acrylic, fiberglass, cast iron, and stone resin. Each of these surfaces is susceptible to scratches, so take that into consideration when choosing a bathtub cleaner. Most bathtub cleaners include the product’s tub type compatibility on the label. Also consider the various accessories, like bathroom caddies, in the tub area and the type of cleaning product recommended for them as well. Choosing the right cleaning tools not only helps with efficiency but also can minimize damage to the tub’s surface.

Purpose

When choosing the best bathtub cleaner, also consider the type of cleaning project. Looking for a daily spray to keep the already-clean bathtub fresh and mildew-free? Or is the tub a little older and needs some extra TLC after a season of neglect? While multipurpose cleaners may tackle most needs, cleaners are formulated specifically to address the more intensive issues, such as hard water stains, black mold, and clogged drains.

Form

Bathtub cleaners come in a variety of forms:

  • Liquid cleaners are, as the name suggests, suspended in a liquid. Less abrasive than powder cleaners, some liquid cleaners come in concentrated forms and require mixing with water before use.
  • Powder cleaners, which contain particles with abrasive properties to aid in scrubbing, can dissolve various oils, films, and stains.
  • Gel cleaners offer a splash-free alternative to liquid cleaners, so the cleaner lands exactly where it’s needed. Moreover, gel cleaners cling to the surface for longer penetration.
  • Foam cleaners, which generally come in the form of a spray, either aerosol or a pump, can cover a large surface area.
  • Scouring pads, which are often made from steel wool, sometimes contain a cleaning agent that aids in scrubbing and polishing.

Hard Water vs. Soft Water

The levels of calcium and magnesium in water determine its hardness. When these minerals are high, the water is considered hard. Signs of hard water include low water pressure, mineral stains on surfaces and clothing, and water spots on dishes after they’ve run through the dishwasher. Signs of soft (natural) water are a strong soap lather and strong water pressure. Hard water can leave stains on bathtubs that are difficult to remove, but products are made specifically to address this type of stain.

Organic vs. Chemical

Commercial cleaning products comprise chemicals that disinfect and deodorize, but many of these products contain harsh chemicals with warning labels to avoid contact with skin and eyes and use in well-ventilated areas. These chemicals often are labeled as combustible and corrosive. When rinsed down the drains into the water supply, they pose a threat to the environment. Organic cleaning products, on the other hand, are nontoxic and environmentally friendly, and they often are equally as effective as chemical cleaning agents.

Concentration

When using cleaning products, more isn’t better. In some cases, high concentrations of cleaning chemicals can cause damage to the surfaces being cleaned and cause respiratory issues. Some cleaning products are available in a concentrate, which means they must be mixed with water.

Versatility

While many cleaning solutions on the market are multipurpose––suitable for cleaning not only the bathroom, but also the kitchen or even the car––some people still prefer a product dedicated to one particular area, such as the bathtub.

Also consider a product’s abrasive or nonabrasive qualities. Abrasive cleaners help reduce the amount of scrubbing required to clean a surface, but the abrasive particles may damage the surface with scratches and even remove the surface’s coating. Nonabrasive cleaners are good options for large areas that don’t require excessive scrubbing, such as a floor or countertop.

Our Top Picks

Here’s an overview of some of the best bathtub cleaners on the market. This list of top performers takes into account all the considerations mentioned previously as well as brand reputation and product quality.

Best For Mold And Mildew

Best Bathtub Cleaner Options: RMR-86 Instant Mold and Mildew Stain Remover Spray
Photo: amazon.com

Mold is no friend to people who suffer from allergies, autoimmune diseases, or respiratory infections, so it must be tackled early on to keep it from spreading to and penetrating various bathroom surfaces. But if mold is already present, RMR Brands RMR-86 removes the stains and odors that black mold and mildew leave between bathroom tiles, on grout, and on shower doors. No mixing is necessary, and because no scrubbing is required, it targets hard-to-reach areas. Stains dissolve within 15 seconds. The stain remover is safe for typical bathroom surfaces, but it also can be used on wood, vinyl, drywall, and concrete.

Best For Rust Stains

Best Bathtub Cleaner Options: Calcium, Lime, and Rust Remover 28 oz
Photo: amazon.com

This multipurpose cleaner from CLR targets rust, calcium, lime, and soap scum to leave behind a streak-free shine. It’s safe for use on plastic, ceramic tile, glass, stainless steel, metal fixtures, shower doors, fiberglass, toilet bowls, and sinks. The cleaner is EPA-certified and a safe alternative to chemicals that contain phosphates, ammonia, or bleach. Simply mix equal amounts of CLR and warm water, apply it directly to affected surfaces for no longer than two minutes, then wipe and rinse with cold water. Also use it to clean coffeepots, tea kettles, dishwashers, and washing machines.

Best For Drains

Best Bathtub Cleaner Options: Green Gobbler Ultimate Main Drain Opener
Photo: amazon.com

Green Gobbler Ultimate Main Drain Opener + Drain Cleaner’s high-density formula liquifies tough drain clogs in pipes and main lines by changing the pH level to melt away obstructions. It dissolves a variety of clogs, including those caused by hair, grease, soap buildup, tissues, and baby wipes. Although it’s industrial strength, it’s noncorrosive and gentle on pipes and septic systems. It’s safe for bathrooms and toilets, kitchen sinks and disposals, and floor drains. And users won’t have to worry about strong odors, lingering toxic fumes, or harmful skin irritation.

Best Natural

Best Bathtub Cleaner Options: Better Life Natural Tub and Tile Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

Those who prefer natural products for cleaning may like Better Life’s Natural Tub and Tile Cleaner. It’s nontoxic, so it’s safe for kids, pets, and the environment. The blend of tea tree and eucalyptus oils dissolves soap scum and mineral stains left behind from hard water. It also removes mold, mildew, and rust stains. Because the plant-derived solution doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, it’s safe for ceramic, porcelain, stainless, steel, fiberglass, and acrylic surfaces. Simply spray, scrub, and rinse; for extra shine, dry the surface with a soft cloth.

Best Heavy-Duty

Best Bathtub Cleaner Options: Zep Foaming Shower Tub and Tile Cleaner 32 ounce
Photo: amazon.com

Zep Foaming Shower Tub and Tile Cleaner has the strength to match the toughest bathtub cleaning jobs without hours of tiresome scrubbing. Simply spray the cleaner on the tub surface and let it sit for two to three minutes, so the acidic foaming formula can penetrate stains. Then use a damp sponge to wipe away the grime, and rinse with water to remove the residue for a sparkling shine. This tub cleaner can handle soap scum, mineral deposits, and other stains. It’s safe to use on acrylic, fiberglass, ceramic, porcelain, laminate and Corian surfaces. And the fresh morning rain scent leaves the bathroom smelling as clean as it looks. Don’t forget to clean the showerhead, too.

Best Bang For the Buck

Best Bathtub Cleaner Options: Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Cleanser
Photo: amazon.com

Bar Keepers Friend helps get rid of pesky stains, but it’s also gentle enough to use on porcelain, fiberglass, and tile. This powdered cleanser not only cleans hard water spots and mildew, but it also polishes. Use it to scrub away lime and other mineral deposits from faucets and knobs. And Bar Keepers Friend cleanser isn’t just for the bathroom; use this multipurpose powder in the kitchen, the garage, and even on the grill and patio furniture. Test the powder on the tub’s surface and grout before using it to ensure it won’t scratch or discolor the surface.

FAQs About Bathtub Cleaners

Don’t dread cleaning the bathtub; instead, learn the tricks and tools to keep cleaning the tub a breeze. A few answers to some common questions about cleaning and maintaining your bathtub’s surfaces follow.

Q. Which is the strongest cleaner for bathtubs?

Abrasive, acidic cleaners are the strongest when disinfecting and removing stains. The abrasive particles break down buildup, while an acidic pH melts away the deposits. But beware—the stronger the cleaner, the more likely it is to damage your tub’s surface if not used properly.

Q. Are bathtub cleaners toxic?

Most chemicals are toxic to some degree, and some bathroom cleaners with chemicals can become dangerous when mixed together, especially combinations like bleach and ammonia, which can cause toxic fumes and burn your skin. Adequate ventilation and gloves are recommended while using cleaning products.

Q. How do you deep clean a bathtub?

Deep cleaning a bathtub doesn’t have to be hard. If necessary, scrape the buildup with a tub brush before applying the cleaning solution.

Q. What’s the safest bathtub cleaner?

All-natural cleaning products are the safest because they’re free from toxic chemicals and irritants. A product like Better Life Natural Tub and Tile Cleaner can work wonders on the toughest bathroom jobs but remain safe to use.

Q. Can you use a toilet bowl cleaner on a bathtub?

When in a pinch, yes, you can use toilet bowl cleaner on porcelain bathtub surfaces. However, experts recommend diluting the cleaner with water before use. A toilet bowl cleaner that includes lactic acid rather than hydrochloric acid is less likely to cause damage to the tub’s surface.