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How to Clean a Non-Slip Bathtub

Today’s post is all about cleaning the bottom of a stubborn tub. If you’re dealing with outdated non-slip stickers or their residue, there are several options for getting the job done. I’ll be sharing my personal experience in this post, but I’ll also be sharing the expertise of others. As it turns out, the main part of the battle is realizing what you’re dealing with. The residue at the bottom of your tub may require a bit more attention than you originally thought! Keep reading for plenty of helpful tips on cleaning and maintaining a beautiful bathtub... [photo from My Dog is Chelsea]

Clean bathtub with a gleam 002 How to Clean a Non Slip Bathtub
Clean bathtub with a gleam

The Quest for a Clean Powder Room

Modern white bathroom
Modern white bathroom

Have you taken the time to design a lovely powder room and keep it clean? Above and below are a few snapshots from my own bathroom, which featured yellowing cultured marble and ornate gold-framed mirrors when we moved in. We picked out new countertops. We replaced the mirrors. We got new faucets. And we added special details…

White washcloths and an air plant
White washcloths and an air plant

I cleaned this grout by hand. Learn more about the process in this post:

Clean bathroom tile grout
Clean bathroom tile grout

I thoroughly cleaned the shower head, and we even re-caulked the tub! Everything looks so clean and fresh, right? At our last home, the bathroom never looked clean (no matter how hard I tried). I’ve been determined to make this one lovely.

A clean shower
A clean shower

But when you’re in the shower and you look down, here’s the view you get…

Bathtub anti-slip sticker residue
Bathtub anti-slip surface

Yuck! My mission: to get the bottom of the tub clean. At first, I believed this residue to be the remains of non-slip stickers. So I proceeded as follows…

Cleaning Anti-Slip Stickers and Residue

If you’re attempting to remove non-slip stickers from the bottom of the tub, there are a few supplies you should have on hand. Old washcloths are helpful, as are scrubbing pads and brushes. Know your tub. If you have any doubt about a supply being too harsh, consult an expert (with the specifics of your tub in mind).

Scrubbing and cleaning supplies for the bathtub
Scrubbing and cleaning supplies for the bathtub

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Scrub-a-dub-dub! It never hurts to start with non-toxic household items. If removing the sticker with a plastic scraper doesn’t get the job done, try placing a vinegar-soaked rag over the residue and letting it sit for a few minutes. Now use a scrubber to loosen the remaining adhesive, and add some baking soda for an extra kick as you scrub away! And of course, add more vinegar as needed.

Baking soda and vinegar
Baking soda and vinegar

Yes, I tried this method on my bathtub residue. I’m sad to say that not a thing changed. I knew it was time to kick things up a notch. Goo Gone, where art thou?…

Bathtub scrubber
Bathtub scrubber

Goo Gone

Since it’s made for removing “sticky, gummy, greasy, gooey problems” (see the label below), Goo Gone is a great choice for tub sticker residue. Follow the directions on the bottle, which will generally involve spraying it on, letting it soak in for a few minutes, then wiping the tub clean with a rag. Don’t hesitate to get a scrubber involved. I used a scouring pad.

Goo Gone
Goo Gone

And I still had no luck! But that doesn’t mean you won’t. I was beginning to think my situation was a little more involved than I imagined. So I decided to go with something stronger.

Bathtub cleaning supplies
Bathtub cleaning supplies

Bar Keepers Friend

This cleanser is definitely strong. Apply it and scrub, but take care to cover your hands with a glove, as the product contains oxalic acid. It’s a tried-and-true favorite that’s known for getting the job done.

Bar Keepers Friend
Bar Keepers Friend

While it didn’t remove the dirty non-stick residue on the bottom of my tub, it did remove some dirty spots that I’d been trying to eradicate for years. All in all, a great cleaner!

For Tough Cases…

I was beginning to suspect that something was different about my non-slip bathtub.

ROG 1

Then I came across a helpful post from Retro Renovation, which mentioned the benefits of using ROG 1 to clean slip-resistant tubs. I figured if it could clean a tub with a built-in slip-resistant bottom, it could certainly take care of some slip-resistant sticker residue. And then it dawned on me: what if the residue at the bottom of my tub wasn’t from stickers? What if the tub had a non-slip surface? A permanent one? I took a really close look and noticed that the spacing of the “stickers” was all-too-perfect. Yes, the markings are a part of the surface. We have a winner! I will be ordering ROG 1 and giving it a try (it’s not available in stores, so I have to be patient a bit longer).

R.O.G. 1 cleaner
R.O.G. 1 cleaner

Now that I know what I’m dealing with, I can actually target the problem with a cleaner that works. But this might not be the end of your story. For some, the residue at the bottom of the tub ends up being a stain (or a faded area) caused by stickers that have been removed long ago.

Resurfacing the Tub

If it turns out that your residue is actually a faded area or a stain that won’t budge, you might consider resurfacing the tub to get rid of the discoloration. How far you take this project will depend on your budget, as well as how badly the staining bothers you. Some people learn to live with it, and others even purchase mats for the inside of the tub. [resurfaced tub below from Restor-It]

Resurfacing the bathtub
Resurfacing the bathtub

Perhaps you can focus on other details while you’re waiting for your pocketbook to catch up with your eye for design:

Sea urchin decor in a modern white bathroom
Sea urchin decor in a modern white bathroom

Wrapping Up

As for me, I’m hoping for the best with the ROG 1. All signs point to success now that I’ve figured out that my tub is an actual non-slip surface. We’re not dealing with removable stickers, folks! You can see how important it is to correctly identify the problem. [photo from Retro Renovation]

Non-slip surface cleaning from Retro Renovation
Non-slip surface cleaning from Retro Renovation

And until I resolve this problem, I just might purchase a new plant for my light, bright powder room!

Button fern in a white bathroom
Button fern in a white bathroom

I hope your bathtub cleaning endeavor is a smooth one. Remember, if at first you don’t succeed, keep searching for solutions!

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