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DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

How do I get stains/limescale off my bathtub? Nothing seems to work.

Asked by DarlingRhadamanthus (11273points) June 5th, 2010


I have an old porcelain bathtub and it seems to have a stain that follows the path of the water as it drains. It extends from the drain to the back of the tub in a path that is about 4–7 inches in places. I seem to have tried everything…but the outline of this is still on there and then fills in yet again.

I’ve tried mold spray, bleach, Ajax, Scrubbing Bubbles, and another product from Germany. I’ve used brushes and sponges. Nothing. I’m in the UK, so we don’t have a lot of American brands. I used to use a product that had a letter and a number on it back home (Z-12) or something like that, but they don’t have it here. I’ve also tried most limescale stuff, too.

It just looks like it isn’t clean and it just bothers me. Also, there are limescale stains down the tub where the faucets are and those are impossible to get clean, too.

Does anyone have something that worked for them? Send any info on the chance that I have not tried it.

Thank you so much!

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9 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Scrub free is magical on soap scum. CLR (which smells awful to me) cleans limescale well. When I moved into my new house I had lines in my toilette where the water runs and like a ring around where the water sits, and neither of these cured it, which had never happened to me. I had always been able to get everything to sparkle. One day I hired Merry Maids to clean. and one of the women got most of it out with a pumice stone. I was thrilled.

JessicaisinLove's avatar

Sounds like your tub needs to be refinished. There are professionals who do that.
If you are a do-it-yourself type of person;

anartist's avatar

As @JessicaisinLove said, the porcelain is damaged. Get it reporcelained.

MissA's avatar

Things like pumice and abrasives do more harm than good. Refinishing it is probably your best bet. But first, I’d try baking soda and food grade (35 percent) hydrogen peroxide. Be careful with it.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

As a former hotel inspector, here are 3 things learned about tubs:

1.) Lime build-up: it is the easiest to remove. Vinegar works well. If it is on the shower head, pour some in a plastic bag and secure it to the shower head for soaking. If on a wall, soak some paper towels and secure them over the spot. It may take awhile depending upon the amount of build-up

2.) Stains – something that can be cleaned. Many porcelain tubs have an added non-slip surface that has the potential to stain over time. It can be cleaned easily with certain products like a Magic Eraser (which the UK doesn’t seem to have yet…checked Tesco’s and Argos.)

3.) Discoloration – porcelain tubs are typically metal with a thin coating of porcelain or enamel. Over time, the surface can be worn away from abrasive cleaning products, water pressure, and possibly other reasons. This type of tub can be resurfaced by a professional, but I have yet to see one that looks good and/or holds up.

If it ends up being a discoloration, focus on the fact that the tub is clean. You can adjust the water pressure and clean the drain to prevent it from getting worse. A rubber mat can always be used to hide the blemish, but personally, they gross me out as they are virtually impossible to keep clean. And you always have the option of replacing the tub.

lillycoyote's avatar

You don’t say what kind of stain it is, but if its a rust or iron stain try Zud, which has oxalic acid in it or pure oxalic acid which you may be able to find at your hardware store, sold as wood bleach. It works like magic on rust and iron stains if that’s what the problem is.

perspicacious's avatar

Vinegar works well but on the sides of a tub it’s hard because it needs to soak on the limescale. Try something thick like Limeaway. If you can get it slightly loose you can scrape it off with a putty knife.

anartist's avatar

This is most likely a place where the water path has worn off the glossy top layer of enamel, exposing a rougher, more porous layer. Dirt will always stick more easily to this and it will never shine like the rest of the tub. The only real solution is refinishing.

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