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What Causes a Bathtub Ring and How Can It Be Prevented?

what causes bathtub ring and how can it be prevented
Written by Kai Michel
Last Update: August 10, 2023

An accumulation of soap scum and oil from bathing products is the cause of the ring around the tub. As a result of the soap scum and the oil, the soap floats to the top of the water. It remains for a while, building up layers of deposits until the tub is covered in a ring. The more often you take baths, the faster the ring will accumulate.

Here we’ll see what causes bathtub rings and how they can be prevented.

What Causes a Bathtub Ring and How Can It Be Prevented?

Gels, salts, bubble baths, and soap should not be put in the bath if you hate dealing with bath rings. It can be a hard water build-up if you don’t use bath products but still have a bath ring.

Next time you have a bath, add half a cup of bi-carb soda to the water, which will create a more alkaline environment.

If you are getting a red-colored bath ring, this is referred to as Serratia Marcescens. These are airborne bacteria found in shower stalls and bathtubs. They are naturally occurring and found in soil and untreated water.

Getting Rid of a Bathtub Ring?

Depending on the materials in your bathtub, you have different options for removing a bathtub ring. When you use the wrong cleaning technique, you will waste your time and effort and risk damaging the tub.

To clean the tub completely, you may need to use a different approach depending on the material.

1. Plastic tubs

Step 1: Mix chlorine and water 50/50.

Step 2: Spray the solution onto the ring and scrub for 15 minutes.

Step 3: To remove the solution, scrub the tub with a scrub brush and then rinse it thoroughly. As needed, repeat the procedure until the ring is gone

2. Porcelain tubs

Step 1: In a half-bucket of water, combine 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1/4 cup of ammonia.

Step 2: Scrub the bathtub with a nonabrasive solution-soaked cloth. Rinse thoroughly when finished.

Step 3: Repeat the process until the ring disappears.

3. Enamel tubs

Step 1: In order to make a paste, you’ll need water and Ajax powder.

Step 2: Make sure that you cover the ring completely with the cleaning paste,

Step 3: Allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Then, remove the paste thoroughly by rinsing.

4. Acrylic tubs

Homeowners are increasingly choosing acrylic tubs because of their low maintenance and ease of cleaning. In addition, since acrylic is not porous,  dirt and soap scum are less likely to accumulate around the tub and leave a ring.

If soap scum accumulates, use a nonabrasive bath cleaner. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes and then remove with a damp cloth.

Home Remedies for Bathtub Rings

1. Using shampoo

Don’t have any cleaner on hand? Ah, don’t worry, you have shampoo, right? Shampoo can also be used to efficiently remove bathroom rings. Since it’s within reach, it’s an easy way to clean the tub.

Step 1: Put a few drops of shampoo directly on the ring

Step 2: Rub it with a soft brush until the stain is lifted. Once the stain is gone, wash it with water. The best shampoo to use is a cheap one.

2. Dissolving bath rings with vinegar

Bathtub rings can also be removed with white vinegar. Despite other solutions failing to dissolve the stains, vinegar’s acetic acid dissolves them.

Step 1: In a spray bottle, combine the vinegar and water

Step 2: Spray all over the ring. The vinegar should take effect after a few minutes, and gently scrub with a bathroom brush.

Step 3: Finish off with a good rinse.

How to Prevent Bathtub Rings?

You can keep bathtub stains at bay by cleaning your bathtub regularly and using a shower spray daily. Combine white vinegar and water to make a DIY version. When you use a tub or shower, spray the mixture liberally over the surface, preventing soap scum from building up.

Tips for cleaning the bathtub

  • If you plan to clean the tub, rinsing it with water before starting can be helpful.  Spray the ring with the shower head or fill a container and splash it over the ring a few times. By rinsing down the drain before cleaning the tub, you will ensure that any loose hair is removed.
  • Keep your bathtub clean by wiping it regularly to avoid having to deep-clean it later.
  • Clean your bathtub with cleaning products made specifically for the kind of material it is made from.
  • You can also use ordinary shampoos to remove light stains, as these are specially designed to remove oil and dirt.
  • While you work, keep the bathroom door open to let fresh air circulate.
  • Store essential cleaning supplies in the bathroom or close to it, so they’re always within reach.
  • Make cleaning easier by purchasing a scrub brush with a long handle. This will prevent your back from aching from stooping or kneeling.


  • Chemical cleaners should not be mixed, such as bleach and ammonia. Caustic fumes can be produced when these two substances are combined, which can be harmful to your health if you breathe them in or touch them.
  • Make sure you try out stain removal methods on a small, inconspicuous area of the tub first so as not to damage the finish.
  • Synthetic materials like acrylic can be stained by harsh chemicals. Due to the fact that these stains alter the finish, removing them is nearly impossible.
  • Vinegar with acetic acid concentrations exceeding 3% should not be used on porcelain surfaces since it may damage the surface.
  • Do not use vinegar on marble or granite tubs because the stones are incredibly reactive to acids


1. Can I use a scrubbing brush on my porcelain tub?

Ans. To clean porcelain tubs, don’t use harsh scrubbing products. They may cause permanent damage to the finish.

2. Can I clean my bathtub ring with bleach?

Ans. Bleach can be safely used in some bathtubs. However, sometimes bleach can cause reactions where it will stain the tub permanently. It is also dangerous if you don’t rinse the bleach properly before getting in the tub to soak. In addition, bleach is potent and dangerous to inhale and get on your skin. It might work for cleaning bath rings, but avoid bleach when more natural and safer ways are available.

About the author

Kai Michel

Hello, this is Kai, addressing homeowners in need of some help with their home renovation projects. I’ve worked on numerous toilet repair projects over the years that incorporated a wide variety of tasks, from repair to renovation and maintenance. Besides acquiring a degree on the legal codes and procedures, I gathered vast insights into bathroom settings, toilets, showers, fittings, and other household appliances, fixtures, and components. This helps me guide my clients through their home improvement and interior development plans. Since maintenance is my area of expertise, I can assist people in all phases of the actual ‘improvement’ process. To get my messages even further, I contribute to this site through my blog posts. Check my content here for expert suggestions!

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