How to Make a Tub White Again

Updated April 17, 2017

Even with regular cleaning, bath tubs stain over time due to water, soap and dirt scum. Older tubs often get tiny scratches that hold dirt and resist regular cleaning methods. Even if your most rigorous cleaning will not remove stains in your tub, this method will most likely restore your tub. However, this method should only be used on porcelain tubs. Bleach will quickly eat through plastic tubs and other materials.

Line the entire tub with at least one full layer of paper towels. The paper towels should extend to the edges of the tub but not beyond. Open windows and turn on the air vent in the bathroom for good ventilation. Put on rubber gloves.

Spray or pour bleach on the paper towels. Saturate the paper towels thoroughly but carefully so that you do not dislodge them. Make sure the bleach is not dripping onto uncovered floor or painted areas.

Leave the room to avoid fumes. Close the door and allow the saturated paper towels to sit in place for one to three hours. More than three hours can damage the surface of the tub or surrounding areas.

Remove and discard the paper towels. Place the lined garbage can directly by the tub so that bleach does not drip across the floor or on other surfaces. Close the bag to seal the fumes. Rinse the tub thoroughly to remove all the bleach.

Sprinkle baking soda on any areas of the tub that are still stained. Add a small amount of white vinegar and scrub rigorously to remove the stains. Scrub in a circular motion.

Rinse the tub thoroughly. Use a large cup or bucket to rinse all sides of the tub.


If the bleach cleans the tub thoroughly, there is no need to complete Steps 5 and 6.


Never mix bleach with ammonia or products containing ammonia. The combination of these chemicals produces toxic fumes that can be harmful or even fatal. Wear clothing that you do not mind staining. Remove any towels, wash cloths or other items that bleach can damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Chlorine bleach
  • Paper towels
  • Rubber gloves
  • Scrub brush
  • Bucket
  • Garbage can with liner
  • Baking soda (optional)
  • White vinegar (optional)
  • Spray bottle (optional)
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