How to clean your bathtub directly effects the life of the tub itself. Common cleaners that you may find at your local general store are actually damaging to the porcelain, acrylic or gel coat finish. We are refinishing new tubs of homes that are 2 years old due to aggressive cleaning chemicals and bathmats (that will be a different blog)!
For example, AJAX, Comet, Soft Scrub, Scrubbing Bubbles, Tilex, are very damaging to any new or refinished bathtub.Why?
AJAX, Comet, etc. are very abrasive. For a porcelain tub, the high gloss finish would wear quickly using these. Regular cleanings will opening up the pores of the porcelain over time. Dirt, grim and soap scum collect in these pores and the tub becomes harder and harder to clean. We have even seen women use SOS pads to clean their bathtubs!!!
Soft Scrub is another very common cleaner, but the formula for this chemical contains acid. With regular cleanings, this chemical will strip the bathtub of it’s high gloss finish and, again, open up the pores. Then your back to aggressive cleaners. This applies to homemade DIY cleaners too. Any thing requiring vinegar (or even bleach) in the ingredients will damage your surface.
The best cleaner we have found over the years is Dawn Liquid Dish Soap. It cuts though oil, gentle on the finish and yet cuts through the dirt and soap scum. If you use dish soap to clean you brand new or refinished bathtub, you can expect the finish to hold 2 to 3 times longer than if you used abrasive or acidic cleaners. The KEY to this is, you must clean it regularly. If you let the tub go uncleaned for a period of a month or two, the dish soap will not cut through the build up.
If you tub is already to the point of needing aggressive cleaners? Stop. You need to refinish the tub, give it a new shiny high-gloss surface again. After it has that new finish, use the correct cleaners. You won’t regret it.