How To Clean a Cast Iron Tub? Newbie Guide

Cast iron bathtubs are often the first choice of fashion enthusiasts for its classy and vintage look. Also, we often neglect the cleaning part thinking that nothing can damage an iron tub.

But in reality, cast iron tubs need extra care to maintain their shiny appearance. This kind of tubs is typically covered in a porcelain enamel coating which is prone to scratches, stain and dulling over time.

No reason to worry though, because cast iron tubs can be easily cleaned with just a few ingredients which are most likely to be available in our kitchen cabinet. I will be showing three effective methods for your convenience.

What Not To Use On Cast Iron Tub

Using a wrong product can degrade the tub surface leading towards permanent damage. So before proceeding with the cleaning techniques, it is better to list down the “Don’ts” for maintaining a cast iron tub.

Abrasive Cleaners

Any kind of abrasive cleaner like scouring powder or steel wool should not be used on cast iron tub. This kind of harsh products can damage the finishing of the tub.

Over time the damaged enamel coating will start absorbing dirt, grimes and will leave with no option than expensive refinishing.

Acidic Cleaners

Excessive use of acidic cleaners like bleach can also harm the finishing. It might give an instant cleansing, but the enamel coating washes away little by little every time you use it. In the long run, the surface will be rough, discolored and ruin the look of your precious vintage tub.

Cleaning A Cast Iron Tub

It is a relief that cleaning a cast iron tub is not that big of a deal. There are plenty of techniques to wash it. The best part is none of the methods require any fancy chemicals or tools like the other materials.

Most of the ingredients can be found in your grocery store. These are non-chemical mild products which will not cause any damage neither to your tub nor your skin.

Method 1: Using White Vinegar

This is the most effective method used by most people. Want to know why? Keep on reading to find out.

Necessary Ingredients

  • White vinegar
  • Sponge
  • Baking soda
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    Scrubbing Brush


The entire process is stated below in a step-by-step format. Follow it accordingly and you shall have a smooth cleaning session.

Step 1

The first step is to saturate the tub with white vinegar. It's better not to pour vinegar directly on the tub because it will be drained away and will not cover the surface.

Saturate a sponge with white vinegar and then sponge the whole tub very carefully so that no area is missed. Keep it for 5 minutes for softening the stains.

Step 2

Sprinkle baking soda on the tub covered with vinegar. It will create a foaming reaction which will demolish the minerals making it easier to wash away the stains. If the stain is stubborn, use a scrub brush to clean.

Step 3

Rinse the entire tub with warm water and keep scrubbing with a sponge to ensure no dirt or stain is left over. Make sure that not only the bottom but the side of the tubs are also washed.

Step 4

Wipe the wet tub with a sponge or microfiber. Let it dry. Thus the cleaning is completed.

Method 2: Using Liquid Soap

An unconventional but really effective method. Let’s know about the details below.

Necessary Ingredients

  • Liquid dish soap
  • Sponge
  • Microfiber


Here we have the entire procedure laid out for you. Follow them step by step to have a good cleanup.

Step 1

Fill the tub with warm water and mix a few drops of liquid dish wash. Choose the dish wash with a grease-cutting formula for the best result. Let the bubble form and keep it for 30 minutes.

Step 2

After 30 minutes unplug the tub and drain the foamed water. Use a sponge to clean and scrub the tub. Then rinse and wash the entirety of the tub.

Step 3

Wipe the tub with a microfiber cloth. Let it dry, and thus the cleaning process is complete. Drying prevents spotting, stain formation and it helps the tub hold the shine.

Method 3: Using Lemon And Salt

Using lemon and salt has proven to be one of the most effective methods in the past. Let’s know the details then.

Necessary Ingredients

  • Table salt
  • Lemon
  • Sponge


Follow this process step by step. It is a tried-and-tested procedure which will make the entire cleaning process very easy and simple.

Step 1

Sprinkle salt on the tub aiming at the stains formed on it.

Step 2

Squeeze half of a big lemon. Pour the lemon juice on the salt.

Step 3

Scrub the salt and lemon mixture delicately with a sponge or clean cloth. Give extra effort to the stained areas.

Step 4

If the blemishes remain, add more lemon and salt mixture to the stained area and let it rest for one hour.

Step 5

After an hour, repeat the scrubbing process. By that time stains should be softened and easily removable.

Step 6

Wash the tub with warm water. Wipe out the water and let it dry. Enjoy the freshness of lime cleansing from next use.


  • After every use rinse the tub carefully and wipe it dry. It will prevent the formulation of soap scum or stains.
  • Do not use rough cleaning tools like steel wool while cleaning because it might leave scratch. It is safe to use a sponge.
  • Drop some lemon oil on a cotton pad and wipe your tub with that pad. Lemon oil helps to keep the surface clean and fresh.
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    Clean your drain regularly so that it does not get clogged. Clogged pipes create more soap scum on the tub.
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    Whenever you try any new cleaning element it is better to start with a little portion, not the whole tub at a time, the reason is to check if the new cleaner is creating an adverse effect on the enamel coating of the tub. If you notice any changes or discoloration, immediately wash the area and of course do not use that cleaner again.

Advantages of Using A Cast Iron Tub

  • Cast iron tub is considered to be the most durable among other materials available. Its enamel finishing allows it to be resistant to scratch, dents, and cracks.
  • The surface of the tub is easy to clean, and the shine remains for an extended period.
  • As it is thick and deep, it helps to keep your bathwater warm for a longer period.
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    You can choose either a Victorian style freestanding tub or wall-supporting tub according to your choice.

Disadvantages Of Using A Cast Iron Tub

  • Cast iron tubs are extremely heavy. It requires extra manpower and labor to transport and install a cast iron tub.
  • Because of its durability and vintage look, the cast iron tub is usually very expensive than other tubs available.
  • Cast iron tubs are massive by itself. When bath water is added, it becomes heavier. So based on the construction of your bathroom, this tubs often require extra floor support for safety.
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    Once the enamel coating is scratched or cracked, it will rust the cast iron tub eventually costing a considerable amount of money for repair or replacement.


The demand for cast iron tub was never less for its vintage and classy appeal. Proper maintenance is vital for ensuring the durability of such tubs. Years of use or negligence can turn the tub discolored and bland.

If it is cleaned regularly and used with care, stubborn stain or soap scums cannot form on the surface which keeps your precious antique looking tub good as new.

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