How to clean an old vinyl tub and surround

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My bathtub and surround is 30 years old, vinyl/plastic? and is stained with mildew, soap scum and water scale.. I've tried nearly every commercial cleaner out there and it looks a little better until the stains come back. I can't afford to replace it right now. Any suggestions? Can't stand the smell of bleach and it didn't help much. Would KLR work?

  8 answers
  • Kathy crook Kathy crook on Dec 24, 2017
    Laurie. Get some bakin g soda and a sponge and run a paste of baking soda on on walls and tub floor...open the windos for this part🙄🙄..put some vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the walls and floor. It will fiz and bubble ....wait 10 minutes. PUT ON GLOVES and then sponge off walls....you may need to scrub the floor depending on how dingy. And it should take care of moldy corners .....if not put more paste in corners and spray with vinegar and wait 10 minutes again. KC

    • Laurie Laurie on Dec 31, 2017
      Hi Kathy,
      Well, I tried this. AND it worked pretty good. Put a LOT of soda all over the damp tub and spritzed it good with the vinegar. Then I let it sit for over 24 hrs, periodically spraying on more vinegar. Then I rinsed it off and scrubbed lightly with a sponge. Once I'm on the floor, it's a major ordeal to get back up (wonky knees ) so if I could have scrubbed better it would have got cleaner. But I am very happy with the results and I didn't gas myself off with chemical fumes. Thank you very much for this idea!

  • Mogie Mogie on Dec 24, 2017
    Easy Off oven cleaner in the blue can. Spray, turn the exhaust fan on and close the door behind you. After an hour go back inside and use a toilet brush to give the shower a gentle scrub and then rinse.

  • CLR will certainly help. I use vinegar on mine, but living alone and being neat and tidy helps, in a household with lots of people, not as easy. When I moved into my house, I had a horrid stain in the master bath tub. Took me a month of scrubbing with vinegar and baking soda, but I eventually got it clean. See if these links help.




  • Sharon Sharon on Dec 24, 2017
    I would get some Dollar Tree Awesome Orange in the half gallon size, I use it on all my clients tubs and surrounds, wear rubber gloves as its hard on the hands. I use a long-handled toilet brush to scrub but this stuff mainly melts it off. I just pour it along the top edge (you can also put it in a sprayer) and scrub down to tub then rinse after a few minutes.

  • William William on Dec 24, 2017
    I always recommend Easy Off Oven Cleaner in the BLUE can like Mogie5757 does. Works on really built on grime. Enamel, porcelain, and fiberglass.

  • Peg Peg on Dec 24, 2017
    You can buy an in home steam cleaner. That would take care of it.

  • Kim Kim on Dec 24, 2017
    WD-40. I don't know if it will get rid of mildew, but it will take care of soap scum and water scale. Use a LOT of elbow grease. I recently did my parents 30 year old shower doors and all the framework. Looks brand new. Wish I had known before I took the finish of my bronzed framework trying everything that supposedly wouldn't mar a finish.

  • Michele Michele on Jun 20, 2020

    The problem with oven cleaner is that it takes the protective finish off the surround, making future problems even worse. IF you use oven cleaner, use a good auto wax to put a temporary finish back on the walls. Then clean regularly and wax occasionally.