cleaning a horribly dirty tub

Old 02-18-11, 09:02 AM
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Unhappy cleaning a horribly dirty tub

We had our tub "painted by the pros" about 12 yrs ago and was warned at that time to keep up with the soap scum and use gentle cleaners on the surface of the tub. Then I wreacked my back and can not clean tub!! I have offered money to my family, threatened to clean it my self , begged and pleaded. I have to sit in this thing to have a bath , my daughter recently had a bladder and urinary tract infection oh gee I wonder what that could be from!! I am not kidding when I say 4 people using the shower and tub for 12 yrs>>> help, it looks like I am going to be the one to clean it , so does any one know of what I can use that will not require a whole lot of scrubbing and will get the job done. thanks for listen to my rant.... I realize this topic is is the wrong category but I do not know how to move it, so hopefully some good sole will see it and answer it for me

Last edited by pennylane; 02-18-11 at 09:12 AM. Reason: it is in the wrong place ; should be in with bathroom leaning threads
Old 02-18-11, 09:26 AM
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There are two chemicals that are extremely effective at removing soap scum; phosphoric acid and oven cleaner. Post again if you want to know the chemistry by which oven cleaner removes soap scum.

Basically, the least harsh of these is phosphoric acid, which is typically found in toilet bowl cleaners in the cleaning aisle at the supermarket or home center. Try to get one with a phosphoric acid content between 15 and 20 percent. Phosphoric acid is also commonly used at lower concentrations in general purpose "tub and tile" bathroom cleaners because it cuts through soap scum but doesn't attack chrome plating. Also, because a toilet bowl cleaner will be gelled so that it sticks to the smooth sides of the bowl better, it's also more effective at cleaning the steep sides of a tub where the soap scum generally collects.

Be careful on which toilet bowl cleaner you buy. Toilet bowl cleaners that use hydrochloric acid as the active ingredient will attack both chrome plating and your skin.

The method by which you clean with phosphoric acid is to spread the toilet bowl cleaner over the tub with a white "Scotchbrite" pad (typically sold in supermarkets as scouring pads for delicate items). Then just give the acid 10 minutes or so to work. Scour with the white pad again, and give it another 10 minutes to work, and so on. Within an hour, your tub should be clean.

The procedure with oven cleaner is identical. However, depending on the kind of coating used on your bathtub, I expect phosphoric acid would be much less likely to harm that coating than oven cleaner. Also, ALWAYS wear rubber gloves when working with oven cleaner because it will attack your skin.
Old 02-18-11, 09:31 AM
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I have had great success with CLR. I mix in a spray bottle as instructions indicate. Spray on and alittle bristle brush and your done.

Jelmar | We Clean More Than You Think

Jelmar | We Clean More Than You Think

I am sorry dont use this. I read the instructions.

What surfaces should I not use CLR on?
DO not use CLR on natural stone or marble, terrazzo, colored grout, painted or metallic glazed surfaces, plastic laminates, Formica, aluminum, steam irons, leaded crystal, refinished tubs or any damaged or cracked surface. CLR may etch older sinks, tubs and tiles. CLR is corrosive. Avoid contact with wood, clothing, wallpaper and carpeting. Some laminated surfaces (counter tops) are coated with a synthetic surface which may be affected by rust removers; clean spills immediately

Use the same care you would use to wash the hood of a new car. Never use abrasive cleaners! The refinished surface is non-porous; a mild, non-abrasive soap combined with a soft cloth and water will clean your tub. The best way to keep your tub clean is to wipe it down with a towel after each use.

Do not place soap, bottles, or any other object on the finish at any time.
Repair leaky faucets.
Do not use abrasive cleansers – this includes, but is not limited to, SOS® pads, Comet®, and Soft Scrub®.
If your refinished tub does not have anti-skid etchings and/or you are using an anti-skid or safety mat, use one that does not have suction cups.
If you are mounting your tub against a finished wall, caulk around the tub before using it.
You can wax your tub every four months with a urethane polish (like Turtle Wax® 2001) to maintain its luster.

Mike NJ

Last edited by lawrosa; 02-18-11 at 09:56 AM.
Old 02-18-11, 10:02 AM
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Just a note.....this product has 35-45% phosphoric acid and is useful for many other things also....$15 at home centers and can be diluted.

Not a gel as Nestor suggested. Would have to be reapplied during cleaning. Will probably also dissolve any grout it contacts, I believe.

Really fun to watch a penny be dissolved and just leave the copper foil behind.

There's also a commercial product for removing lime and calcium from water glasses that has a high concentration. Don't know the name but we used to have it in a restaurant I worked at. Only available from a restaurant or commercial cleaning supply, I'm sure.

AS WITH ANY CHEMICAL...use appropriate safety precautions. Never mix any acid with a bleach product. Phosphoric acid and bleach produces a very toxic gas (phosgene possibly? A chemical weapon!)...don't ask how I know...but blame it on the restaurant manager....I was a youngster.
Old 02-18-11, 05:25 PM
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Phosphoric acid won't attach chrome no matter what it's concentration is. Buckeye makes a bathroom cleaner called "Sparkle" which is 40 percent phosphoric acid, and I've used it many times for cleaning bathrooms and such. Just makes sure that the OTHER 55 percent of the stuff in the jug doesn't contain any hydrochloric acid, which will attack chrome.

Mixing ANY acid with bleach will produce chlorine gas, which was the chemical weapon used in WWI called "mustard gas" because of it's colour. Chlorine gas isn't healthy for you, and in sufficient strength it will kill you, but that's not likely to happen with the quantities of bleach and acid that people mix together either by accident or because they're not aware they shouldn't.

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