Asked on Apr 13, 2017

Help! Cleaning a nasty bathtub.

Lori Kelly
by Lori Kelly
I'm cleaning a distant relative's home. I cleaned the kitchen yesterday for 10 hours and 6 big bags of garbage! When I tell you I need advice for a black, moldy, soap scummy bathtub, I am not even kidding. The shower is tiled with grout which is also pretty nasty. I have the bathroom usable, but I'm far from being done. It's a good thing I'm getting paid but Clorox Cleanup or Kaboom did not touch the soap scum and the black gunk. Suggestions please??
After cleaning
After cleaning. The floor is "white". Needs some work.
Also after. I wish I had a before
Sorry no before.
  30 answers
  • William William on Apr 14, 2017

    Easy Off No Fume Oven Cleaner in the BLUE can. Spray it on, let it foam and sit for a while. May need a little scrubbing then rinse.

    • Lori Kelly Lori Kelly on Apr 14, 2017

      I will have to look for that. Specifically the blue can?? Thank you!

  • Shoshana Shoshana on Apr 14, 2017

    Wow. Looks like you're doing a wonderful job! You can try a product called X-14 to attack that scary sounding tub. It is a very strong product so make sure you use protective gloves and have proper ventilation when using it. Good luck!!

    • Lori Kelly Lori Kelly on Apr 14, 2017

      There is no vent fan or window. I could take a floor fan and direct it out, you think? Thank you for your input.

  • Karen Tokarse Karen Tokarse on Apr 14, 2017

    William is right. Easy Off is not just for ovens.

  • 19698379 19698379 on Apr 14, 2017

    Easy Off will also take off soap scumb, etc. on the tub.

    • See 1 previous
    • 19698379 19698379 on Apr 14, 2017

      I had never heard it until my husband and I walked into a hardware store that was a locally owned place. We were looking for a particular cleaner we had heard about that was supposed to be great for cleaning a tub, but the store did not have it. So, we were looking at what else they had and a lady working there told us to use oven cleaner to which we expressed amazement. She said she used to own and manage rental properties and using oven cleaner is the easiest, fastest way to clean a tub. She did caution to not use it on it one of those, plastic/fiberglass type. Good luck on your cleaning project. :D

  • Mary Poole Mary Poole on Apr 14, 2017

    I have never used easy off on soap scum before, but I am sure that it will work. What I use is a mixture of Dawn dish soap, the blue one, and white vinegar in a spray bottle, half and half. I let it set while I do the rest of the bathroom and when I come back to it I brush it a little and rinse clean. Of course this may not work on scum that is years old. But for regular cleaning it works great.

    • See 3 previous
    • Wendy Wendy on Apr 14, 2017

      It does work on years-old scum! You just have to leave it overnight to give the vinegar enough time to work its magic. I did this on a gross old mobile home bathroom that hadn't been cleaned properly in years and when I rinsed and scrubbed it all off the next morning, the whole room shone like new. It took a whole 32-oz. spray bottle to do one bathroom.

  • Barbara Bennett Barbara Bennett on Apr 14, 2017

    CLR! Put it in a spray bottle, leave on for half an hour with the vent fan running. Come back with one of the rotary scrubbers that are out now. Rinse You may have to follow up with sponging on Fabuloso to get the tile back to totally scum free. But the CLR gets rid of the black mold and stains like magic! The CLR IS SLIPPERY. Put old towels on the bottom of the tub/shower stall and the floor just outside of it, so you don't slip. Hopefully, it has a shower hose to make rinsing much easier!

    • See 1 previous
    • Lisa Elias Lisa Elias on Apr 14, 2017

      CLR is actually very safe. it has some kind of natural seal of approval right on the bottle...

  • Mary Mary on Apr 14, 2017

    Wonder product call CLR Kitchen & Bath. Comes in a spray bottle and can be found at Walmart. It's much safer to use than most products and the company is owned by women! concentrated CLR is also amazing for cleaning lime scale and rust from all kinds of surfaces.

    • See 4 previous
    • Dty15138411 Dty15138411 on Apr 17, 2017

      Try repainting the tub - i have seen it done on remodeling shows.

  • Linda Linda on Apr 14, 2017

    There is a product made by Castrol called "Superclean." I;ve found it in Home Depot and Ace Hardware. I buy it by the gallon!

  • Lauren Bopp Lauren Bopp on Apr 14, 2017

    I use a razor blade window scraper ( like you use to remove pint from window panes) to remove soap scum. No strong smelling chemicals and it works on my fiberglass shower walls, too. I just make sure I keep the blade flat so as not to gouge the fiberglass.

    • Lori Kelly Lori Kelly on Apr 14, 2017

      Thank you. I needed a razor blade for the stove top and didn't have one with me. I'll be sure and take some.

  • Judy Prier Burgess Judy Prier Burgess on Apr 14, 2017

    I'd vote for CLR and a rotary cleaning brush that fits on a drill. I saw a video on how to make your own scrub brush to fit on a drill - then found that you can just buy them At Lowes. I enjoyed using mine for many cleaning projects at first - just for fun. I first say it advertised to clean grout between tiles so I think that would be a good option for finishing up your tile too. I suspect Easy Off is as good but although I'd try not to breath that or CLR I believe CLR is a little less toxic. The house is looking great by the way!

    • See 1 previous
    • Judy Prier Burgess Judy Prier Burgess on Apr 14, 2017

      What a great sounding house! Lori to the rescue!!🙂

  • Jba22467300 Jba22467300 on Apr 14, 2017

    fill tub with really hot water, boiling if possible, and throw in a few dishwasher detergent packs, stir , let sit, long handled brush to clean loosened crud. Like Clorox Clean-Up spray for tile.

  • Barbara Bennett Barbara Bennett on Apr 14, 2017

    Rhe CLR isn't terribly fumey like Clorox or oven cleaner. Its just a mild odor, but I don't like it. On the other hand, Fabulosa smells great!

  • Kathy Hughes Kathy Hughes on Apr 14, 2017

    I use Shower Power. You have to order it on line. A bit pricy, but it works better than anything else.

  • Linda Linda on Apr 14, 2017

    I forgot to add that it''s VERY caustic, like oven cleaner, so try it on a small inconspicuous area and wear rubber gloves!

  • Denise Hanses Denise Hanses on Apr 14, 2017

    I use The Works toilet bowl cleaner on my tub. I have tried everything else and The Works is the ONLY thing that will do the job!

  • Judy Ferrell Judy Ferrell on Apr 14, 2017

    White Vinegar and SOS pads. That way the fumes don't kill you.

  • Mar12782829 Mar12782829 on Apr 14, 2017

    There is a product called "Greased Lightning" that will clean just about anything. Spray it on let it soak and then add elbow grease. If that doesn't clean it you've got some tough stains and might want to consider replacing the tub. Since you are in a small area that is not ventilated you might want to wear a respirator. It is NOT a green product.

  • Edie Zsuzsics Edie Zsuzsics on Apr 14, 2017

    Two words. Baking Soda! Make a paste. Smear it all over tub and grout. Wait a day. Scrub off soda and grim will come off too.

  • KC KC on Apr 14, 2017

    I found this product called ZEP Calcium, Lime and Rust remover at the Home Depot. LOVE IT for hard water and soap scum stains. I spray it on and 15-20 min. later I use a scrub brush and lightly brush the stains away. It doesn't smell nearly as strong as CLR or Lime Away.

  • Mary-Kay Mary-Kay on Apr 14, 2017

    I love Simply Green - it is amazing - spray it in the oven and 30 mins or less you wipe and it is clean! Did an amazing job under my stove when i moved the stove and did a massive cleaning - simply sprayed it and left it for 15 mins and wiped - I love it - it is biodegradable and non-toxic!

  • Nina Nina on Apr 14, 2017

    Try Tilex spray by Clorox. It removes mold and mildew very well. It can be used on mold anywhere in your home and removes the black stains too.

    If you have rust stains use WD-40; just make sure to clean well with hot water afterwards or you may slip and fall.

  • Andrea Kane Andrea Kane on Apr 14, 2017

    My daughter bought a foreclosed house and I took on the job of cleaning a lot of it. Tile grout...we thought it was brown colored grout on beige tiles. I sprayed bleach on the grout and scrubbed with the stiff brush attachment on a steamer. ( I have a big steamer that steams for it for big jobs.) Used a small shop vac to suck up the dirty water so that it did not settle back into the grooves. Found that brown grout was actually beige colored. Tried this method on the bathtub. Tired heated vinegar, oven cleaner and other products and that tub did not get clean. Finally on a suggestion from a hotel supplier, I used Spic and Span with a Magic Eraser and voila! it came clean. I think different solutions work on different tubs. Good luck, you are doing a fabulous job!

  • Bjb20625902 Bjb20625902 on Apr 15, 2017

    I use Tub and Tile by the Melaleuca company. Non toxic. Environmentally and people safe. I follow up with their No Works after every shower. Shiny clean tub. I've had all kinds of water and stains. Takes them all out. No harsh chemicals, extreme gadgets or scrubbing. Just follow directions.

  • Pat Grosse Pat Grosse on Apr 15, 2017

    Old fashioned bleach. It's used by restoration companies. I found this on wikihow:

    Method 1Baking Soda and Bleach

    1. Use hot water with soap and baking soda to remove most of the mold. ...
    2. Mix a solution of 1 part bleach to 2 parts water. ...
    3. Spray the area with the bleach solution and allow it to dry.
    4. Spray a second time and scrub with a brush.

    Rinse and repeat as necessary until the mold is gone.

    The product my mom used for a grimy bathroom was Comet. I would try the first method and then follow up with Comet. The bleach will kill the mold and baking soda will help loosen the grim.

  • Janet Hutchens Janet Hutchens on Apr 19, 2017

    The best thing I have found to clean a nasty tub is simply Barkeepers Friend!

    It will not scratch the finish. It will take a little elbow grease but I guarantee you will be pleased with the results.

  • Chas' Crazy Creations Chas' Crazy Creations on Aug 01, 2022

    I have several cleaning tutorials that might help you

  • You don't want to deal with oven cleaner fumes...try vinegar and Blue Dawn in a spray bottle

  • Betsy Betsy on Jan 14, 2024

    Hi Lori: Be sure to use the proper face and body coverings in case that is black mold. You can clean it. Check this site for help: Bathtub Stains Stand No Chance Against This 100-Year-Old Cleaner ( If it's black mold, check this site: Got Black Mold in Bathtub? Learn How to Remove Mold from Bathtub (

    Regular mold? How to Get Rid of Mold in the Bathroom and Keep it From Returning ( As for the grime, give Barkeepers Friend or Bon Ami a try, neither one will scratch the surface of the tub, floor, or walls.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jan 15, 2024

    My suggestion would be to hack the lot off and re-tile using a waterproof tile adhesive and grout! or look for Black Mold cleaner at Supermarket or DIY store.

    That stuff is not good for your health - hope you wear a mask!