Bathtub Care and Maintenance
Most bathtubs and tile are regarded as permanent fixtures.
This, we know not to be true as the life of these surfaces is
directly related to water quality and the way it is cleaned
& maintained. Research, manufacturer recommended
cleaning procedures plus many years experience, has shown
us that whether new or refinished the useful life of the fixture
may be extended many years if specific care is taken during
cleaning and maintenance. Below are the most common wear
Incorrect cleaning procedures.
The greatest area of bathtub abuse occurs in the cleaning
Never use steel wool, abrasive pads or applicators on the
bathtub. These will cause immediate damage to most
Never use abrasive substances on sanitaryware. It is very
tempting to try to remove marks with these substances
but greater damage is always the end result.
The most important substances to avoid are abrasive
powders and creams.
Considerable damage can also be done to the bathtub by
using acids or other chemical substances such as drain
Of these, chlorine, pool acid, bleach, vinegar, toilet cleaner
and lemon juice must strictly be avoided. Most of these
substances will remove stains from a bathtub, but the
surface glaze layer of the bathtub will also be permanently
damaged in the process.
The damage that these products do can be described as
follows. They clean the surface by "scratch" cleaning
the dirt off. This leaves tiny scratches on the surface
which gets filled with dirt each time the bathtub is used,
so you scrub harder to clean them off creating more
scratch marks. Each time you clean the bathtub it will
become harder to clean.
This cycle eventually leads to a complete breakdown of
the surface of the bathtub. In effect you are gradually
removing the enamel from the bathtub and the ultimate
solution, if this cycle continues, is that the tub will need
to be resurfaced.
Water quality. top of page
In some areas, domestic water contains unacceptably high
proportions of "foreign objects" which, in time, may
either stain or scratch most surfaces.
Contaminants, such as vegetable colloids and iron oxide,
will stain the surface. Even new bathtub surfaces are
often stained as well.
In areas where the water contains a lot of lime, a sediment
often builds up around the waste and below the faucets.
It is important to ensure that dripping faucets are attended
to and water is not allowed to remain in the bathtub.
Dripping faucet. top of page
Damage caused by dripping faucets over a period of time
causes considerable damage to surfaces. Not only does it
waste water but it eventually breaks down the surface.
We have seen many bathtubs worn right through the
enamel, especially below the dripping faucets.
The first sign of damage is the staining of the enamel
surface. This stain is usually green or a faint brown.
Rusty Outlets. top of page
Often dripping faucets eventually cause rust around
the outlet. Whether a metal bathtub is resurfaced or
new and the faucets continue to leak, rust will re-occur.
Chipping. top of page
Most bathtubs are susceptible to chipping. Below are
a few causes:
Damage during installation.
Heavy metal plugs.
Objects dropping off shelves or window sills above
the bathtub or basin.
It is important to attend to damage as soon as possible
to prevent further damage.
Water temperature. top of page
Extremely hot water causes any bathtub to expand and
contract. Sudden changes in temperature can cause
cracks and other damage. It is advisable to periodically
check the temperature of the hot water.
A temperature not exceeding 65 degrees Centigrade
/ 149 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended.
Initial installation. top of page
Poor installation of a bathtub can lead to pooling of
water on the top and bottom edges of the bathtub.
Water left to stand on surfaces for a long period of time
will eventually cause damage. This is often the same
damage caused by a dripping faucet. High levels of
chemicals in the water supply will only add to this
Another reason for rust appearing around outlet is that
water is unable to drain away because the outlet is
sometimes higher than the bathtub surface. This
causes a "pooling" effect.
Correct installation of acrylic, fiberglass and cultured
marble bathtubs is critical, as severe flexing may result
in the bathtub cracking.
Non-slip strips or mats. top of page
It is unhygienic to leave rubber bath mats in the bathtub.
Always remove the mat from the bathtub after use.
Mats left on the bottom of a bathtub trap water, becoming
stained and unhygienic from mildew and soap deposits.
Water left to stand on bare surfaces for a long period of
time will eventually cause damage.
Stick-on non-slip strips can cause problems when the edges
start to lift off and depending on the method of removal,
can cause damage to the surface. Once the edges have
lifted, they are also unhygienic.
Cigarette burns. top of page
Cigarettes can seriously damage many types of bathtubs,
especially acrylic, fiberglass, and cultured marble surfaces.
Although most surfaces can be repaired economically,
some damage is costly.
Vitreous enamel (porcelain) surfaces are not easily
damaged by cigarette burns.
Drainage. top of page
Poorly installed wastes can lead to water lying around the
waste and not draining properly. Water left unattended
will eventually lead to corrosion.
In acrylic and fiberglass bathtubs, the effect of water will
often stain the surface, requiring severe cleaning methods
which often remove the shine and can damage the surface.
Soaking of washing. top of page
The dyes and residues from clothing left to soak in a bathtub
can stain the surface of all types of bathtubs. This can be
difficult to remove with acrylic and fiberglass bathtubs as
the stains impregnate the surface.
Strong detergents in washing powders will eventually
Soaking washing in a bathtub will eventually stain a bathtub
and could also remove the shine.
Hair dyes. top of page
Hair dyes contain very powerful chemicals which will stain
most bathtub surfaces. It is advisable not to use hair dyes
in any bathtub.
Nail varnish. top of page
Nail varnish often leaves marks on bathtub surfaces. Nail
varnish remover contains chemicals which cause damage
to fiberglass and acrylic bathtubs.
Soap. top of page
Many soaps contain caustic soda which, in time, bleach
many enamel pigments. Soap should not be allowed to
stand on a bare enamel surface for a protracted period
of time. The use of soap rests or soap dishes is strongly
Other reasons. top of
The frequent use of deeply colored substances such as
bubble baths and oils could also permanently discolor
The constant use of colored disinfectants and soaps in
bathtub water can result in stains which can only be
removed with a specialized polishing process. In some
cases the stain penetrates the surface and cannot
Unavoidable causes. top of page
There are a few unavoidable causes of surface deterioration.
The most common of these is the supply of discolored water
which often leaves a yellowish brown stain. Unfortunately,
bathtubs in these areas will show rapid signs of staining
and discoloring, especially below dripping faucets.
A second unavoidable factor is the effects of a cast iron
or mild steel hot water system. These systems also tend to
produce discolored water which eventually stain the
We hope that these paragraphs have been
both helpful and informational to you. If you
still have some questions, please do not hesitate
and contact us. We'll be more than happy to
answer your questions or concerns.
firstname.lastname@example.org top of page