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  #1  
Old 02-06-2003, 07:51 AM
Revtim Revtim is offline
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Best way to clean a *really* grimy bathtub?

OK, I'm a slob. I'm not proud of it, but I admit it.

I haven't cleaned a tub in long time, and there is some really tough grime on it. A first pass with a supermarket-knockoff cleaner that contains bleach and a mild abrasive didn't do much.

Anybody have some cleaning advice? Mods, if this is better suited for IMHO, I have no problem it being moved. But I suppose there is one *best* way to clean it, although a consensus might not be reached.
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2003, 07:56 AM
Delta-9 Delta-9 is offline
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I would try Lime-a-way or CLR.
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  #3  
Old 02-06-2003, 08:08 AM
jjimm jjimm is offline
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I saw this on a DIY program the other day: caustic soda, in solution, up to the rim of the bath for a day. It's nasty, and you should have the doors closed and the window open - and you need to rinse the bath a zillion times afterwards to avoid getting burned next time you use it.
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  #4  
Old 02-06-2003, 08:13 AM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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Bon Ami.
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  #5  
Old 02-06-2003, 08:14 AM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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IF you have an old fashioned porcelain tub...Wet the tub, all over. Sprinkle scouring powder (NOT Bon Ami) on it, preferably the kind with bleach. Wait about 10-20 minutes, and then start scouring. Repeat as needed. This will scratch the tub, but it will look nicer than it did with the grime on it.

If it's discolored, and a porcelain tub, lay paper towels on the stains, and soak the towels with bleach. Just pour the bleach VERY slowly.

Don't mix bleach with ammonia, it creates a poisonous gas.

If you have a tub made of something else, I have no clue.
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  #6  
Old 02-06-2003, 08:15 AM
Gravity Gravity is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by jjimm
I saw this on a DIY program the other day: caustic soda, in solution, up to the rim of the bath for a day. It's nasty, and you should have the doors closed and the window open - and you need to rinse the bath a zillion times afterwards to avoid getting burned next time you use it.
Seriously, lye and water?

... I wonder if that would work.

(my bathtub is really grimy, too)
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  #7  
Old 02-06-2003, 08:17 AM
Booker57 Booker57 is offline
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Is it a Cast iron tub or one made from Fibre-glas? With the first, a sledge hammer is used, with the latter a recip saw is the best tool


Hey, you said really grimy
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  #8  
Old 02-06-2003, 08:17 AM
Revtim Revtim is offline
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Delta-9, does Lime-a-way and CLR work on dirt/grime? I thought they were best for hard water deposits and such.

jjimm, not sure how feasible the caustic soda is. The bathroom has no window, and is attached to the bedroom where I sleep. I suppose I could spend the night at a friend's or something, but that plus the zillions of rinses makes it maybe too much trouble. Might be a good last resort, though.
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  #9  
Old 02-06-2003, 08:19 AM
Max Torque Max Torque is online now
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There's a product out there called Krud Kutter that works pretty darn well. Doesn't smell noxious, either. If you can't find it beside the regular cleaners, look in the Housewares department by the industrial-type cleaners.
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  #10  
Old 02-06-2003, 08:25 AM
Revtim Revtim is offline
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I guess I should have mentioned what the tub is made of. Unfortunately, I'm not sure. It's not cast iron. It's not white, I don't think it's porcelein. It looks like the same material my bathroom counter is made of, it's kind of an almond colored faux-marble type stuff. It seems pretty hard, and could probably withstand some harsh cleaning materials.
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  #11  
Old 02-06-2003, 08:45 AM
broccoli! broccoli! is offline
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I've lived in grimey-ass bachelor pads before and i've never seen a tub that Comet couldn't clean. You might have to *gasp* use some muscles but it works.

...Or muratic acid... available at any pool store. Let that soak in for a while.
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  #12  
Old 02-06-2003, 08:52 AM
Revtim Revtim is offline
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Are Comet and Bon Ami about the same? I seem to recall they being sold in similar containers, is one a knock-off of the other?

My Mom always used Comet, I guess that's a good indication that it works. But she sure never let a tub get as bad as I got this one though....
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  #13  
Old 02-06-2003, 08:56 AM
asterion asterion is offline
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Perchloric acid. Yes, that'll do something for sure.*

Seriously, though, I'd throw some CLR or Comet on it first. It's going to partially depend on what the grime consists of. You'd want to match the cleaner with the makeup of the grime.






*Perchloric acid is dangerous, highly explosive, and all around just plain nasty. The following recommendation was meant purely as a joke for anyone who knows what the stuff is like and is capable of.
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  #14  
Old 02-06-2003, 08:58 AM
Uncommon Sense Uncommon Sense is offline
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Napalm.

Use CLR first and then go over the rest with Comet and or Tilex.

Then clean all the debris away with your bargain knockoff cleaner and hot water.
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  #15  
Old 02-06-2003, 09:01 AM
Uncommon Sense Uncommon Sense is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Revtim
Are Comet and Bon Ami about the same? I seem to recall they being sold in similar containers, is one a knock-off of the other?

My Mom always used Comet, I guess that's a good indication that it works. But she sure never let a tub get as bad as I got this one though....
I believe Comet has bleach or more bleach than Bon Ami.
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  #16  
Old 02-06-2003, 09:08 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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The natural solution is a paste of hydrogen peroxide and creme of tarter and some scrubbing.

Comet is washing soda and chlorine bleach. Bon Ami is soap and feldspar, a mild abrasive. Much better.
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  #17  
Old 02-06-2003, 09:11 AM
Lsura Lsura is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by broccoli!
I've lived in grimey-ass bachelor pads before and i've never seen a tub that Comet couldn't clean. You might have to *gasp* use some muscles but it works.
My tub has been nasty looking since I moved in - I don't know what the person before me did to it, but it's never really looked clean (I scrub it once a week).


I set out a couple of weeks ago to make it white again, dang it. So I took my shower (figuring that's a good way to make sure the surface is wet) and sprinkled it with Comet once I got out. Let it stand for two hours and started scrubbing. It still doesn't look clean. I'm at the point where I wonder if it's a white finish over something else, and if the finish is wearing off in places.
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  #18  
Old 02-06-2003, 09:17 AM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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I just use "Vim". Wet the tub a little, then squirt the stuff all over and let it settle for 20 minutes or so - don't let it dry, because then it's just as tough to remove as the dirt! Use a scouring pad (I use the synthetic ones, not the metal ones) and scrub away! I used to have a REALLY disgustingly grimy housemate, and one shower from him would put more dirt into that tub than my SO and I have added to it in the past month! (To give you an idea, he used the same towel for 6 months, and to my knowledge only did laundry once - that towel wasn't in the laundry load).

Anyways, if Vim can get rid of his dirt and the hard water stains from the hard water in this bloody city, then it can probably clean your tub. You'll need a bit of arm power, but Im a totally weak female, and even I can do it, so I'm sure you can manage!
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  #19  
Old 02-06-2003, 09:20 AM
GloriaMundi GloriaMundi is offline
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If you scratch the surface using an abrasive cleaner, it will be a lot easier for "new" grime to attach to the surface, which will require more cleaning, and more cleaning, and more......
You get the picture.

If the surface already is "destroyed" though, you will probably not do much harm, if you use an abrasive cleaner.
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  #20  
Old 02-06-2003, 09:36 AM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by GloriaMundi
If you scratch the surface using an abrasive cleaner, it will be a lot easier for "new" grime to attach to the surface, which will require more cleaning, and more cleaning, and more......
You get the picture.
Yep. My experience with using Comet and similar harsh abrasives, and with using chlorine bleach, is that they etch the surface and it then gets dirty/stained much more easily. Bon Ami is much less likely to make the problem worse.
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  #21  
Old 02-06-2003, 10:03 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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Okay. I have a really funky tub EVERY WEEK due to rusty well water. My tub ALWAYS looks like it's never been cleaned (except for three days after I clean it). Here's what I do:

It is an old claw-foot tub that the finish got ruined on. We had it refinished and the guy said not to use scouring powder on it. I use Chlorox liquid gel cleanser and a Scum-Buster machine. You can substitute a green scrubby sponge for the Scum-Buster. Scrub that stuff all over the tub and let it sit for a few minutes to bleach it. Then, at the faucet end where it's all RUSTY and funky looking, I pour "The Works" toilet bowl cleaner on the stain. It starts smoking a little and instantly removes the funk. This process only takes about 10 minutes total (20 if I skip a week). This shit can kill you, so open a window and hide the cats.

These are the only products that work. I Guar-UN-TEE.
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  #22  
Old 02-06-2003, 10:10 AM
Revtim Revtim is offline
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Well, with multiple scrubbings, a lot of elbow grease and even scraping with my fingernails, the tub grime is pretty much gone, using the mild abrasive / bleach crap I mentioned in the OP and a stiff brush. Thanks for the advice folks.

Now, it seems the tub's grout is stained in some places from a bleach-resitant mildew. I haven't used pure bleach yet, will that damage grout? If bleach doesn't work, is there any other product that might work? I'd *really* like to avoid re-grouting the tub, I'm not good at that stuff and I can't really afford to hire someone.
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  #23  
Old 02-06-2003, 05:26 PM
medstar medstar is offline
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I clean my tub about 3 times a week. After my shower when the tub is still wet, I pour about a capful of liquid cleanser in the bottom of the tub. I have a mop scrubber which consists of a sponge with a hole in it and a wooden handle which is about three feet in length. When the handle is screwed into the sponge, the sponge swivels and I can maneuver it all around the tub. After about thirty seconds, I rinse the tub and leave the scrubber in the tub to drain. This is the easiest method I can think of since I hate to bend over and scrub by hand. Now if someone can suggest an easy way to keep the toilet clean, I'd appreciate it.
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  #24  
Old 02-06-2003, 06:03 PM
kniz kniz is offline
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Don't you watch commericals? I forget what it is called but of course it cleans "all surfaces" and if you call within 10 minutes they will send a second bottle "FREE".
  • All for just $19.95
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  #25  
Old 02-06-2003, 06:22 PM
X~Slayer(ALE) X~Slayer(ALE) is offline
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would you believe White Vinegar and Baking Soda?

what you got to lose by trying it?
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  #26  
Old 02-06-2003, 06:22 PM
handy handy is offline
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Maybe put some very hot water & soap in it & let it soak first to soften the grime up?

I put some shampoo in the water so I almost never have to clean the bathtub as the shampoo or bubble bath keeps grime from adhering.
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  #27  
Old 02-06-2003, 06:56 PM
Revtim Revtim is offline
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Well, like I said, the grime is gone. Now the problem is the grout. Should I give pure bleach a shot, or will that damage it?
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  #28  
Old 02-06-2003, 07:12 PM
Jojo Jojo is offline
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Forget all the above cleaning tips.

You say your bath is almond? Just buy some almond-coloured paint, paint the bath and voila! one bath good as new.

I disagree with destroying bath crud on the grounds that you are violating the prime directive.
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  #29  
Old 02-06-2003, 07:35 PM
bump bump is online now
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CLR Bathroom & Kitchen (or was it Bathoom and Tub?) cleaner. It comes in a yellow spray bottle.

Spray it on, let it sit for 3-4 minutes, scrub it down. A second repetition ought to get rid of almost any grime I can imagine!
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  #30  
Old 02-06-2003, 07:54 PM
Thaumaturge Thaumaturge is offline
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I used pure bleach, applied with a spray bottle, to clean the tub in my last apt before moving out. Just spray and let sit overnight. It didn't seem to damage the grout, but it did make the black mildew white. I would highly recommend taping something over the metal fixtures before doing this though, the bleach made the spigots turn black, which was a project in itself to clean.
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  #31  
Old 02-06-2003, 09:40 PM
FranticMad FranticMad is offline
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Keep scrubbing.
Or renovate.
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  #32  
Old 02-07-2003, 01:19 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by X~Slayer(ALE)
would you believe White Vinegar and Baking Soda?

what you got to lose by trying it?
That should be White Vinegar or Baking Soda. You'll be in for a bit of a surprise if you try mixing them together.
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  #33  
Old 02-07-2003, 01:38 AM
Violet Violet is offline
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Dawn dish detergent and elbow grease with those little pads that have sponge on one side and green scouring pad on the other.
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  #34  
Old 02-07-2003, 02:41 AM
Spit Spit is offline
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Easiest way to clean a tub: (From a bachelor's POV)

Any bathroom cleanser. Sprinkle liberally on all surfaces.

Use the Scumbuster (by Black & Decker) that you (should have) just purchased from Wal-Mart.

10 minutes later, all surfaces are sparkling. Plus you get the benefit of using power tools in the bathroom. [insert manly grunt here]



Hey Medstar- Do you fly up in NOVA? I had to do a ride-along with them when I was doing my medic training a few years back.
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  #35  
Old 02-07-2003, 09:13 AM
medstar medstar is offline
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Uh, Spit, thanks for the compliment, but I have nothing to do with medicine or flying. The MED stands for my initials, and the star part just seemed to go well with MED.

That Scumbuster sounds like a great deal. Does it work well in other applications for you?
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  #36  
Old 02-07-2003, 10:54 AM
handy handy is offline
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Grout? I saw people using toothpaste & a toothbrush on it. That seems like alot of labor. Bleach is okay but be aware that if you don't clean it off in about two minutes, that rust may start to form.
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  #37  
Old 02-07-2003, 11:10 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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The ScumBuster is the greatest invention since I dunno what! I normally balk at gifts that are electric, but hubby scored big points with this one. We've only had to replace the rechargeable batteries once in 8-10 years. Plus, your hands don't get all chemically and your nails don't take a beating. I also used it on the grout on my kitchen floor, which is pretty funky.
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  #38  
Old 02-07-2003, 11:57 AM
broccoli! broccoli! is offline
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Grout: Bleach is fine unless it's colored/stained grout that is not color-fast.

I'd worry more about the Caulking... repeat use of bleach will cause it to corrode more quickly.

FWIW - If you wanna clean the shower curtain really easy and you dont wanna throw it in the washer because it folds and never cleans right... Take your kitchen dish detergent and a sponge into the shower with you next time and clean it with that... dish soap cleans shower curtains fast and cheap. It's also good for already mainly-clean tubs.
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  #39  
Old 02-07-2003, 12:02 PM
bcullman bcullman is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Annie-Xmas
The natural solution is a paste of hydrogen peroxide and creme of tarter and some scrubbing.

Comet is washing soda and chlorine bleach. Bon Ami is soap and feldspar, a mild abrasive. Much better.
My mother was a Comet User. In my bacholor days, I rarely cleaned the tub, and used Comet as well. I was always frustrated at how *not* clean it left my tub. And I dumped nearly a third of a can on the tub once.

I bought some bon ami one time (thinking that it and Comet were the same) and was *instantly* impressed. This stuff works like Comet never did. I'll never buy Comet again.

Combine Bon Ami with a Black and Decker Scumbuster, and you'll have yourself a sparkling clean tub, with very little effort.
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  #40  
Old 02-07-2003, 12:15 PM
Davebear Davebear is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Revtim
Well, like I said, the grime is gone. Now the problem is the grout. Should I give pure bleach a shot, or will that damage it?
No, it won't hurt the grout, although it may damage any caulking it comes in contact with. Likewise, shower curtains.
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  #41  
Old 02-07-2003, 02:07 PM
Revtim Revtim is offline
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OK, I realize now that I meant "caulking" when I said "grout". Sorry. So what is a good way to cleak caulking, since pure bleach might damage it?
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  #42  
Old 02-07-2003, 02:14 PM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fear Itself
That should be White Vinegar or Baking Soda. You'll be in for a bit of a surprise if you try mixing them together.
Make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply to tub. Spray with white vinegar. Instant all natural scrubbing bubbles.

Ever read the label on store-bought scrubbing bubbles? Use in well ventilated area? Who has a well ventilated bathroom?
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  #43  
Old 02-07-2003, 03:58 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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Once you have destroyed the hard glazed surface of the porcelain-on-cast iron tub, the tub will always show dirt and stains. Try this test, try writing on the surface with a pencil-if you can see the pencil line, then the glaze is gone, and you have this porous surface (which gets and stays dirty). At this point, you can just resign yourself to always cleaning,or you can have the tube resurfaced by a professional, with an epoxy enamel. This costs around $200.00, and the finish is quite good (you can also have any color finish you want). What the refinishing guy will do:
first, he will cover all the metal fixtues with masking tape. Then he will wash the tub with an acid solution, that will roughen the finish. The, after drying it, he will spray on 2 coats of epoxy-based paint. After drying, youhave brand-new looking tub. However, DO NOT use any abrasive cleaner after this-the coating is not very durable. With care, such a refinishing job willlast 10+ years, and is a lot cheaper than replacing a tub-trust me, cast iron bathtubs weigh a TON!
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  #44  
Old 02-07-2003, 05:34 PM
handy handy is offline
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"with an epoxy enamel."

You can buy that yourself & do it yourself want, can't you? I saw some in a store once.. I can't imagine what the fumes are like& I assume you'd have to some acid too. (no i don't mean take it).
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  #45  
Old 02-07-2003, 06:24 PM
voltaire voltaire is offline
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Ok, I think I can take a shot at the OP since I was recently confronted with a similar situation.

All I can say is that KABOOM stuff on TV really works!!! I didn't buy it from TV, they had a pretty good deal on the stuff at Sams Club. First, I filled the tub with hot water and let it soak for a while. Next, I drained the tub and rinsed it with more hot water to get it as hot and loosened up as possible. Then I proceeded to spray about half a bottle of KABOOM all over the place and I let it sit for about 10 minutes. I came back and sprayed a little more hot water and started scrubbing, expecting to make gradual progress. My expectations were greatly exceeded by this KABOOM stuff though, it wiped off to reveal a virgin white tub underneath!!! And this tub started out REALLY grimy!

Note: I am not in any way related to KABOOM or it's manufacturer or distributors. There may be other stuff out there that works equally as well or better.
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