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How to clean a walk-in tub

Learn how to care for and maintain your walk-in tub

Profile picture of Danni White
by Danni White ConsumerAffairs Research Team
woman cleaning a bathtub

Walk-in tubs improve bathroom safety and allow for a comfortable hydrotherapy experience at home. However, these tubs do require a bit more elbow grease to keep clean and functioning correctly. It’s a good idea to combine daily, weekly and monthly cleaning regimens to maintain your walk-in tub. This guide includes tips for daily cleanings, deep cleanings and recommendations for the best cleaning supplies on the market.

Cleaning your walk-in tub daily

To keep your walk-in tub in the best shape, you should lightly clean it after daily use. This doesn't have to be time-consuming — simply wipe down the fixtures and the tub walls with warm water to remove any body oils or soap suds. You can also use your shower wand to spray down the tub with warm water. This should take no more than five minutes.

On a weekly basis, clean the tub with mild soap and a soft cloth. Using harsh chemicals or abrasive sponges can damage the surface of the tub. If you only have strong cleaners on hand, see if you can dilute them with water.

During this weekly cleaning, fully wipe down the tub walls, seams and fixtures to remove soap residue and other buildups. As an optional final step, you can use a squeegee to remove excess water and avoid water spots.

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    Deep cleaning your walk-in tub

    Once a month, you should give your tub a deeper cleaning to purge its entire system of water scale, soap residue and other buildups. To do this:

    1. Fill the tub halfway with warm water.
    2. Add cleaning supplies to the water, such as liquid dishwasher soap, bleach or products specifically designed for tub jets.
    3. Continue to fill the tub until the water level is just higher than the topmost jet.
    4. Turn the jets on and let the tub run for 15 minutes, until the jets and components have been fully flushed.
    5. Drain the tub.
    6. Fill it again until the water is once again above the highest jet.
    7. Run the jets for 15 more minutes.
    8. Drain the tub again.

    Never run your jets while the tub is dry, as this can cause damage.

    Your tub maker may recommend specific cleaning products or a bleaching schedule. Reference your owner's manual or consult with your tub’s manufacturer or installer for instructions.

    Cleaning supplies for walk-in tubs

    Several manufacturers recommend using dish soap to clean your tub.

    For daily cleaning, use baking soda, white vinegar or mild bathroom cleaners that do not include harsh chemicals or abrasive granules. If you want extra oomph, foaming formulas can help remove soap scum without the need for scrubbing.

    Use a soft cloth or sponge to wipe down the walls of the tub and a soft toothbrush to clean around the jets and drain. You can also use a microfiber cloth to remove some of the residue from surface cleaners. These products will help preserve the surface of your tub and avoid scratching or dulling the material.

    Cleaning products to avoid

    As a rule of thumb, avoid any cleaning products that can scratch the surface of your tub. This includes wire brushes, abrasive sponges and harsh chemicals. Using these can dull the sheen of your tub and leave behind an unattractive or uncomfortable surface. If you accidentally scratch the surface of the tub, look into restoring it with an automotive cleaning product or liquid polisher, depending on the type of tub.

    Stay away from any cleaning products that leave a residue. Slick surfaces pose a fall hazard in the home, especially for those with limited mobility.

    Self-cleaning walk-in tubs

    Some walk-in tubs include a self-cleaning feature that makes maintenance easier. With these tubs, you simply add the cleaning supplies to the water and let the tub run a self-clean cycle. There are even ozone systems that fully disinfect walk-in tubs with minimal effort. The ozone reacts with the water, killing harmful bacteria within minutes.

    These newer types of walk-in tubs are more expensive than traditional tubs, but they may be worth it for those with mobility issues or difficulty bending over to clean a tub.

    Bottom line

    Cleaning your tub may seem like a chore, but some very minor upkeep can ensure your tub is clean and free of bacteria and dust. Walk-in tubs can be expensive, so protect your investment by using the tips in this guide to keep your walk-in tub clean for years to come.

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    Profile picture of Danni White
    by Danni White ConsumerAffairs Research Team

    As a member of the ConsumerAffairs research team, Danni White is committed to providing valuable resources designed to help consumers make informed purchase decisions. Danni specializes in content strategy and development, with over a decade of professional writing and research experience.