How to Remove Tar From a Bathtub

Tar is difficult enough to remove on sturdy items, but when you need to remove tar from a bathtub, it can be really difficult.

You have to use devices that won't scratch or damage your tub, so you should know what material it's made of and what cleaners can't be used on it. When you decide on a cleaner you think will be safe to use, always test it on an inconspicuous area.

Apply a paint, oil and grease remover to the tar and let it set for 10 minutes. Put on rubber gloves and use a cleaning solvent, available at hardware stores, to clean the remover from your tub.

Mix 1 tsp. of mild dishwashing liquid that has no alkalis or bleach into 1 cup of warm water. Apply the solution to the tar and rub it with a clean, soft rag.

Spray the tar with a laundry pre-wash spray such as Spray and Wash or Shout. Let it set for 10 minutes. Then wipe it from the tub with a clean rag.

Dab mayonnaise onto the tar to loosen it. Wipe the tar away with a soft rag.

Spray WD-40 on the tar, working with one small section at a time. It contains petroleum distillates that remove grease, tar and adhesives. Let the WD-40 soak into the tar for ten minutes. Then gently scrape the tar from the tub with a plastic scraper to avoid scratching your bathtub. Wipe the WD-40 with an absorbent rag. Then clean the bathtub with Soft Scrub to wash away all the slippery WD-40. Rinse the area with cold water.

Things You Will Need

  • Plastic scraper Rubber gloves Laundry pre-wash spray Soft Scrub WD-40 Mayonnaise Pine oil Paint, oil, & grease remover Cleaning solvent Detergent solution Clean rags


  • Test all remedies in an area that won't be noticed before trying them on the tar.


  • Use solutions to remove tar from your bathtub in a well ventilated area far from flammable materials. Read instructions for care of your bathtub and directions on cleaning products before you use them.

About the Author

Cathryn Whitehead graduated from the University of Michigan in 1987. She has published numerous articles for various websites. Her poems have been published in several anthologies and on Whitehead has done extensive research on health conditions and has a background in education, household management, music and child development.