How to Clean a Bathtub Using Bleach

M.T. Wroblewski

In many ways, bleach has no peer as a household cleaner. It's a fungicide because it kills mold, mildew and fungi, and it's also a disinfectant because it kills bacteria, viruses and other germs. This powerhouse cleaning agent can work wonders on conventional tubs as well as spa tubs and whirlpools.

Clean your tub once a month – more often if necessary.

But you should take some smart precautions before unscrewing a bleach bottle.


Do not mix bleach with any commercial cleaning product. It can trigger the formation of a gas that can lead to breathing problems. Continue to ventilate your bathroom for about 30 minutes after you're done cleaning your tub.

Take Basic Precautions

  1. Ventilate the room so you don't feel overcome by bleach fumes. If you don't have a window in the bathroom to open, turn on an exhaust fan or point a box fan in the direction of the tub. Put on a face mask as an additional precaution.

  2. Put on rubber gloves to prevent the bleach from coming into contact with your hands. Do not touch your eyes as you work with the bleach; it can cause eye damage and even blindness.

  3. Exercise caution as you handle bleach to avoid spills. Wear old clothes or a smock to protect your good clothing.

Clean a Conventional Tub

  1. Clear the tub of any soap, soap caddies and bottles and set them aside. Rinse the tub with warm water and a sponge.

  2. Mix 1/2 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water in a bucket. Wipe the tub with the solution and let it sit for at least five minutes. Rinse the tub with cool water and wipe it dry with a towel.

  3. Remove stubborn or built-up residue from your tub, such as soap rings and soap scum, by making a paste with a little bit of bleach and baking soda. Rub the paste into the soap stains and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Sprinkle with a little water and rub in a circular motion until the residue is gone. Rinse and then dry with a towel.

Clean Tubs with Jets

  1. Fill the tub with very hot water, or that which reaches at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Add 1/2 cup of mild dish soap and up to 4 cups of bleach for a heavily soiled tub; add 2 cups of bleach to a slightly dirty tub. Run the jets for 20 minutes.

  2. Drain the tub. Fill it again with lukewarm water only. Let the jets run for another 20 minutes.

  3. Drain the tub. Inspect it thoroughly to ensure no bleach residue remains. If it does, remove it with a wet towel so the bleach doesn't irritate your skin the next time you use the tub. Wipe the tub thoroughly with a clean towel.