Wednesday, June 22, 2011


We've had a common problem with older homes, a bathtub that no matter how much you scrub or what you use just doesn't look clean.  The previous owner had put rubber decals on the bottom of the tub and they'd etched themselves into the enamel.  Matt had gotten the actual decals scraped off but they'd left major etching and glue that would not come off.  In the picture on the left you can see how badly these were etched into the bottom of the tub.  The picture shows just a small area but the whole tub bottom looked like this.  i apologize that the pictures aren't better but the lighting in the bathroom isn't that great.  Matt had tried everything he could think of to get the glue and the etching off the tub.  Chemicals didn't work.  Wet sanding didn't work.  Someone suggested Lysol toilet cleaner with bleach and that didn't work either.  We had basically come to the conclusion that we had two possible remedies - replace the tub, which we couldn't afford at the moment, or reglazing the tub, which we weren't sure would work. I love to take baths but this had caused me to curtail my bath taking because the tub just looked gross to be honest.

About a month or so ago on a  Mary Jane's Farm chat group someone posted that they bought old claw foot tubs and then used citric acid to clean them up.  She said to dissolve 1/2 cup of citric acid in hot water and let sit overnight.  Sounded way to easy.  I've toyed with trying it just to test it but doubted it would work.  We went to the brewery store Saturday and I noticed they had large bags of citric acid so I thought what the heck I'll give it a try.  I filled the tub Saturday afternoon with hot water and dissolved 3/4 cup of the citric acid in the running water.  We let it sit for over 24 hours.  Looking at it the next day we both concluded it was one of those myths and hadn't worked.  How wrong we were.  After we drained the tub, Matt for some reason decided to see if it had smoothed the bottom of the tub at all and ran his fingers over the bottom.  What he discovered was a layer on top of the enamel that smeared.  He then scrubbed the tub with Comet and a scrubbie leaving us nothing less then shocked at the wonderfully clean and nearly totally unetched tub.  The picture on the right is after the treatment.  Unfortunately there's a lot of shadowing from where I'm standing when I took the picture but you can clearly see there's no flower motif etched into the bottom any longer.  After the tub dried we did notice very faint etching still visible in a couple spots but we think we can probably get that cleared up with one more citric acid treatment if we decide to bother.  Pretty impressive tub save for about $2 worth of citric acid.  I had a very long bath Sunday night in my wonderful looking bathtub and I foresee a lot more baths in my future.

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