How to Remove Stains from a Bathtub

Finding stains in your bath is nobodies idea of a fun time. No matter how innocuous the stain maybe, your mind will likely immediately go to the worst places. What’s more, it makes an entire bathroom feel unclean.

In some cases, it can even make you feel dirty, even though you know you have thoroughly scrubbed.  It can be a source of shame if you have visitors around, and it can ruin that relaxing soak you were planning after work.

Bath stains are, more often than not, tricky to remove. It stands to reason that a stain that has managed to take hold in a wet, soapy environment like a bathtub wouldn’t just wipe away with a damp cloth.

Fortunately, there is a variety of methods for removing stains in bathtubs. There are many different kinds of bath stains, however, and each type requires a different approach. So let’s tackle them one at a time.

Different Color Stains & How to Remove Them

What Causes Yellow Bath Stains

Yellow-ish stains are some of the most commonly experienced stains in bathtubs. The most common cause of this is years and years of exposure to the natural oils produced by human skin.

These oils accumulate on the surface of the bath, causing an uneven yellowed coating that will typically stop abruptly around the average water level of the tub.

There is little you can do to prevent these oils from coming into contact with your tub—short of not bathing at all—which we do not recommend.

Regular cleaning should prevent the build-up from occurring, but what about when those stains are already there? And are they dangerous?

Are Yellow Bath Stains Dangerous?

In short, no. The cause of the staining is the natural substances you already produce in your own body every day. If you’ve lived with this particular tub for many years, there’s a good chance it was your oils that caused the staining to begin with.

There is no health risk to worry about from yellow bath stains, but it is unsightly and not conducive to a pleasant bathing experience. Let’s take a look at how to get rid of them.

How to Remove Yellow Bath Stains

Removing yellow stains doesn’t necessarily mean breaking out a crate of cleaning products and scouring away with an abrasive pad. If your tub is acrylic, it would even be a bad thing to take this approach as you will likely scratch and score the surface of your bathtub.

Doing so will make it easier for grime to take hold in the future, not to mention ruin the smooth surface of your bath. Of course, if you have an enamel or porcelain tub, you can be more aggressive with the cleaning products.

Still, the following method works just as well for both.

The key ingredient here is vinegar—regular household vinegar. You will want to fill a spray bottle with your vinegar and give the stained area a thorough coating.

Let that sit for around twenty minutes to half an hour, and then wipe the surface down with a sponge.

That’s all there is to it.

If it doesn’t quite get all of the stainings away, try giving it another pass with the vinegar. When done, rinse the bath out with warm water. Make sure you do this thoroughly before next using your tub.

It won’t harm you to take a vinegar bath, but nobody wants to walk around faintly smelling of that.

What are Pink Stains in Bath Tubs?

Pink stains do not typically appear in your bathtub but around it. You may find it around the sealant where your tub meets the wall, or on the nozzles of your showers and faucets.

This type of staining is often referred to as “pink mold”; however, it is a form of bacteria that is causing that garish pink hue. You may also hear the bacteria (known as Serratia Marcescens, if you were wondering) called “pink mildew”.

Pink mold may not appear mainly pink, with colors ranging from a pale salmon to a blood-red depending on the conditions. It will often feel slimy to touch and feeds on the mineral deposits left behind by soap scum and human residue.

Is Pink Mold Dangerous?

For the most part, pink mold is not dangerous from the outside. If it finds its way into your body, however, it can cause health complications of varying severity.

As with many bacteria, the likelihood of one of these infections increases significantly if your immune system is weakened. Unfortunately, this places young children, elderly people, and those with immune deficiencies at the top of the list of people who might be harmed by pink mold.

So, despite this bacteria not being the most harmful cause of stains in bathtubs that you might encounter, it is still essential to get rid of it when you find it.

How to Clean Pink Stains from your Tub

The method here is similar to how you would get rid of yellow stains; however, the weapon of choice is different. Instead of vinegar, you should fill your spray bottle with a diluted bleach solution.

Merely spraying the area with a bleach solution will kill the bacteria and lighten the stain, but to get rid of it entirely, you will need to get scrubbing.

To protect your skin from both the bleach and the bacteria, don a pair of rubber gloves before starting. Spray the area with your diluted bleach and let it work for a while before rinsing it thoroughly.  Once that is done, it’s time to clean away the underlying residue that allowed the bacteria to take hold in the first place.

Using a half cup of baking soda and a healthy squirt of dishwashing liquid, add a little bit of water at a time and mix until you have a runny paste. Next; get scrubbing. Using your homemade cleaning solution and a nylon brush, get into all the nooks and crevices to make sure everywhere is residue-free.

When the affected area is clean of pink stains and any residue, give it a thorough rinsing.

Regular cleaning will prevent a build-up of the kinds of residue that pink mold feeds off of, so be sure to keep on top of your bathroom’s cleanliness to prevent those pink stains from coming back!

Blue/Green Stains in Bath Tubs

Blue/green stains in and around your bathtub have a variety of causes that can mean different underlying problems and, of course, different solutions. The least severe reason—blue mold—is caused by Penicillium.

While you should treat any mold in your bathroom as a critical issue, blue/green mold is, for the most part, not that bad. It may cause an allergic reaction in some, and there will always be people for whom the mold can cause serious problems, but for most of us, it is just an unpleasant stain.

It can grow anywhere there is moisture, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find it in your bathroom.

Another cause of blue/green staining is pipe corrosion. Staining as a result of corroding pipes will typically show up around the plughole, and in places where water settles.

It is the result of either copper corrosion or electrolysis inside the pipes that your water travels through. It may be accompanied by a metallic taste or leaks from your water pipes.

Are Blue/Green Stains in the Bath Dangerous?

Whether or not the stains are dangerous depends on the cause. If the stains are a result of mold, they are probably not that dangerous (though, as mentioned above, you should treat them as though they are).

However, if they are caused by pipe corrosion, you should get your plumbing inspected immediately.

In addition to any health concerns that may arise from consuming or bathing in corrosive water, you run a real risk of a plumbing emergency if you ignore this warning sign.

How to Remove Blue/Green Stains

For stains that are the result of Penicillium mold, a standard household disinfectant will do the trick. As for keeping the mold away, be sure to keep your bathroom well ventilated.

If you have an extraction fan, make sure you use it. If not, try and have your windows open whenever possible. If you can’t do this, or you live in a particularly humid climate, consider squeegeeing the walls after using your bath or shower.

For blue/green stains that arise from corrosive water, a mixture of vinegar and baking soda is particularly useful. Mix the two ingredients into a paste and work it into the stains. Leave it for fifteen minutes and wipe off.

To keep those stains away in the long term, you will have to seek professional assistance from a plumber.

Where do Orange and Brown Bath Stains Come From

Orange and brown discoloration of your bath is usually the result of rust. Any ferrous metal in contact with water will start to rust, and you’d be surprised at how much opportunity bare metal has to come into contact with your bath.

It can be the result of leaving a can of deodorant or shaving cream on the side. It can come from tiny metal particles you have washed off your body (a common problem for those who work with metal for a living).

It can even come from your faucets in the case of some cheaper brands.

Are Stains from Rust Dangerous?

These stains are not especially dangerous. It’s not good for you to ingest rusty metal, or otherwise get it into your body. But the amount of it that would come from a stain like this is so negligible it’s not worth worrying about.

How to Remove Rust Orange and Brown Stains

To get rid of these unsightly stains, you will need an abrasive cleaner. If your bath is acrylic, you should avoid coupling that cleaner with a coarse cloth or sponge as it may damage the surface.

For an enamel tub, just go to town with a bit of elbow grease and a rough sponge or cloth. For acrylic, it is best to stick to vinegar, but if you do opt for an abrasive cleaner, go gentle.

What are Black Stains in the Bath?

Black stains, particularly when accompanied by a rotten egg type of smell, are caused by sulfur. The stains themselves are caused by iron, but it is a result of sulfur water corroding the pipes the water is travelling through.

This kind of issue is most common in houses that use well water, and the degree of staining can differ significantly between different water supplies.

Are Black Stains Dangerous?

If the source of your black stains is the water coming into your house, you are effectively stuck with it. Fortunately, it’s not dangerous. It’s worth distinguishing the black staining caused by sulfur water and black mold.

Black mold is more likely to be found along the edge of your bath, rather than in it. Black mold can cause several health issues and should be treated as a severe issue that needs resolving immediately.

How to Remove Black Stains in the Bath

Assuming we are dealing with the sulfur-induced stains mentioned above, cleaning is very similar to the process used for yellow stains. Mix some vinegar and hydrogen peroxide into a paste and work it into the stains.

Unfortunately, if you have an acrylic tub, you should stay away from the baking soda and peroxide as it may scratch the surface. In those cases, stick to vinegar and the process we mentioned for getting rid of yellow stains.

It may not be as easy going as baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, but it should get the job done.

For enamel and porcelain tubs, spread your baking soda and hydrogen peroxide mix across the surface and leave it to sit for around half an hour. Then get yourself a nylon brush or coarse sponge, and start to work at the stain with a bit of enthusiasm. Once the stain is gone, rinse the area with clean water.

In terms of preventing this kind of stain, there is little you can do if your water source is the culprit. Just keep on top of your cleaning and don’t give those black stains a chance to build up again.

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