how to get an old tub white again? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 08-15-2008, 10:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We're listing our house week after next & our old porcelain tub needs attention. It's original to the 1050's house and looks yellowed on the sides from decades of use. I won't replace the tub. I won't refinish the tub (too much $$$). We have 10 days left until the date it hits the market & a LOT left to do. I need a quick cheap way to get the tub looking better. We recaulked which helped. I've used baking soda (no help) & 7th Generation cleaner (helped a little). I tried a Brillo pad & it looked worse. I'll even use chemicals if I need to, since we're out of here soon. Any experience with something that works?

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#2 of 24 Old 08-16-2008, 12:57 AM
 
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If you're willing to use some products with chemicals, "Awesome Orange" from the Dollar Tree worked pretty well for my old tub when I moved into my present apartment. From there I used one of those Mr. Clean erasers and finished it off. It doesn't look brand new but a huge improvement!
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#3 of 24 Old 08-16-2008, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Squirrelly80 View Post
If you're willing to use some products with chemicals, "Awesome Orange" from the Dollar Tree worked pretty well for my old tub when I moved into my present apartment. From there I used one of those Mr. Clean erasers and finished it off.
Thanks! I'll give it a try! (Can't beat the price too.)

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#4 of 24 Old 08-16-2008, 04:59 PM
 
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I haven't had this problem with my tubs, but my white porcelain kitchen sink is the worst thing to clean in my whole house. I have used literally everything. I find that 'Bar Keepers Friend' cleans the best, but does not whiten enough. So after washing and rinsing thoroughly, I fill the sink as high as I can with hot water and plain old, terrible BLEACH. I let it soak for an hour or more, overnight even, and the sink comes out truly clean and white! Nothing else does as good a job.

For a tub I would do the same thing, using a pretty strong bleach solution. I'd throw in a couple of cups. If desperate, I'd probably use a quart or so. This may seem drastic, but it sounds as though you NEED to get the darn thing sparkling.

I hope you find a good solution soon!
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#5 of 24 Old 08-16-2008, 05:47 PM
 
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I had that problem in an old apt, I found scrubbing it with Kaboom shower stuff worked wonders in removing it. Just follow the directions

Seriously?
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#6 of 24 Old 08-17-2008, 04:37 PM
 
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There is a abrasive block at walmart called EarthStone, they make a bathroom block and a kitchen block and i use it on my sink and bathtub and it works very well http://www.earthstoneintl.com/ there is the link.

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#7 of 24 Old 08-17-2008, 05:52 PM
 
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After trying all of that, I would consider reglazing the tub. We are in a '50s house and after seemingly trying everything, I hired someone to reglaze ($350 in the NYC area). They covered it in acrylic. Stunk like crazy when they did it (next time I'd leave the house), but IMO it's better than ripping it out and buying new.

HTH

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#8 of 24 Old 08-18-2008, 01:47 AM
 
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If you are willing to use chemicals, the best thing is AJAX with bleach or comet with bleach. This will make sinks/tubs sparkling white again.
I hate to use these, but they do work. Just use gloves & mask.
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#9 of 24 Old 08-18-2008, 02:18 AM
 
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bar keepers friend. it has oxalic acid from rhubarb in it. great for stainless steel and tubs. seriously works wonders, and is a more friendly keeper like bon ami.
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#10 of 24 Old 08-18-2008, 02:27 AM
 
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I use Bon Ami when baking soda/vinegar doesn't work.

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#11 of 24 Old 08-18-2008, 09:22 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by editornj View Post
After trying all of that, I would consider reglazing the tub. We are in a '50s house and after seemingly trying everything, I hired someone to reglaze ($350 in the NYC area). They covered it in acrylic. Stunk like crazy when they did it (next time I'd leave the house), but IMO it's better than ripping it out and buying new.

HTH
I agree with this. I know it's not the cheapest way, but it just might make the difference in selling your home. We had to do it to your tub in our old house and once it was done it looked like a brand new tub and just made a world of difference to brighten up the whole bathroom and make it look updated. It was around $200-$300 for us too (can't remember exact amount). Our tub before that was just nasty. I only wish we had done it while we lived there so I could have enjoyed a nice clean tub!! I highly recommend this if cleaners just don't work.

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#12 of 24 Old 08-18-2008, 10:34 AM
 
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This is going to sound strange....but Murphy's Oil Soap is the only thing that worked on my old tub/shower. Take a LONG hot shower or bath. Before you dry off spray the oil soap on everything. After you dry and dress take a stiff brush to it. Years of nasty crap came right off of my units.....and without even a lot of effort. Rinse very well and make sure everyone knows the shower will be slick for the next couple of showers. I use it every time now. I had tried EVERYTHING before that. Magic erasers, Bleach (!), Bon Ami, highly toxic cleaners.

PS: For those with porcelain sinks, a generous amount of baking soda dumped on a wet sink then gently scrubbed with a washcloth gets off all of the grime and whitens.
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#13 of 24 Old 08-18-2008, 11:59 AM
 
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Kaboom is the only thing that worked on my old tub. I hated using it, though.
I have tried 7th Generation. I've tried baking soda...nothing else worked. If I was moving, I would go back to the Kaboom to get it clean enough to sell.

Good luck!
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#14 of 24 Old 08-18-2008, 09:49 PM
 
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Bar keeper's friend!
I ahve a white porc. sink that is starting to slightly wear away. It gets very stained after a week. that stuff if miraculous!
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#15 of 24 Old 08-18-2008, 10:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Kim Allen View Post
There is a abrasive block at walmart called EarthStone, they make a bathroom block and a kitchen block and i use it on my sink and bathtub and it works very well http://www.earthstoneintl.com/ there is the link.
: Any pumice cleaning stone will work wonders on porcelain. Seriously...like new!
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#16 of 24 Old 08-19-2008, 12:30 AM
 
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I had a white sink and the only thing that got it back to white was bleach.

I personally would avoid abrasives (I know you've already used some). They scratch up the surface and tend to make the problem worse.

We resurfaced a super groddy tub in our last house. It was amazing afterwards. Bathrooms are a big selling point for people (just like kitchen) so you may want to consider it since it isn't hugely expensive and will likely return the investment in the sales price of the house.
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#17 of 24 Old 08-19-2008, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for more suggestions! I have one of those pumice stones but I've been scared to use it, afraid of scratching. I guess it will depend on whether my problem is years of buildup or corrosion of the actual porcelain. If it's corrosion of the porcelain, a pumice stone would probably make it worse.

I'm buying a bleach pen for the grout on the tile floor so I'll try a test spot on the tub to see if bleach would work. The tub looks about the same as when we moved in & it didn't make us think twice about buying the house. But I am absolutely not a bathroom person & I don't buy a house based on the bathroom. I buy on the kitchen & floor plan -- that's about it. I have a friend who is big on bathrooms & she's the one that first called the tub to my attention saying it would keep her from buying the house. She's my "test market" so after I try everything I can short of refinishing, I'll call her over to see what she says.

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#18 of 24 Old 08-19-2008, 09:43 AM
 
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A paste of cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide. I had tried everything and nothing worked for an old tub until that.

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#19 of 24 Old 08-20-2008, 08:52 AM
 
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i just make a paste out of baking soda and lemon juice.. let it sork of sit for a minute if you can, like layin on there with paper towels, and then scrub away with the rough side of a sponge. doesnt scratch porcelain.
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#20 of 24 Old 09-03-2008, 02:42 AM
 
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So what ended up working on the tub?
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#21 of 24 Old 09-03-2008, 11:54 AM
 
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fyi: *non* chlorine bleach works just as effectively for soaking a white sink.

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#22 of 24 Old 09-04-2008, 01:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by editornj View Post
After trying all of that, I would consider reglazing the tub. We are in a '50s house and after seemingly trying everything, I hired someone to reglaze ($350 in the NYC area). They covered it in acrylic. Stunk like crazy when they did it (next time I'd leave the house), but IMO it's better than ripping it out and buying new.

HTH
I have used Klenk's self-applied enamel refinishing. Not as good as a professional job, but very acceptable. . . particularly given that it didn't cost more than $60 for all the prep and product. Has been quite durable for about 2 years now.

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#23 of 24 Old 09-04-2008, 02:56 AM
 
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I have an old tub, too, and boy was it ugly?

The ONLY thing that worked to clean it were those Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. I don't know what is in them or how they work, but two of those puppies made my tub as white as the snow. Well, almost. It was AMAZING. I use them on my kitchen sink all the time now.
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#24 of 24 Old 09-04-2008, 07:42 AM
 
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I have found that plain old SOS pads work best for keeping my kitchen and bathroom stuff clean and sparkling. They take the soap scum and grime off faster and easier than anything else I've used. I love them.

If it's particularly bad, I'd probably soak it down with bleach for awhile, glove and mask up, and scrub with the SOS pads.

I have found that the magic erasers work great on our old grout, when nothing else would. It went from greyish to white again. I was impressed.
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