cleaning an old tub

lisa98112June 12, 2006

I have been trying to clean the old bathtub in our 1915 house. Based on the other bathtub we removed, I think it is cast iron with porcelain interior. I've tried your basic Comet powder and scrubbing bubbles so far. It removed the surface grime, but not the dried latex paint and rust.

Any suggestions? I looked at CLR and am afraid it might etch the finish away. I've found some of the paint will loosen and scrape away with a rough sponge after soaking in very hot water. It's labor intensive though. The tub is white, so I don't think anything will bleach will damage the color.

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Goop-Off will remove the paint and it won't hurt the tub. I wouldn't leave it soaking on the tub, it'll remove the paint easily.

There are rust removers that come in liquid form, one in a gray container the name is just 3 letters, they escape me now. You can usually find it in the laundry section of the store.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 6:24PM
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CLR works just fine on the rust, though I would use it judiciously, and neutralize thoroughly afterward. Do you have any shine left to the porcelain? If so, STOP using Comet, it is very abrasive. I've even had problems with Barkeepers Friend, which is supposed to be gentle. There are a couple of spray-on/ rub off proprietary porcelain cleaning products at the grocery store. (Ka-Boom, is one I've used). Just have plenty of ventialtion, as they stink.

The latex paint might be able to be scraped off with a sharp single edged razor blade, if it doesn't come off with Goof-Off. A steam-cleaner may work well, too.

Bleach is also good, though be sure to rinse well before and after the bleach to avoid any combination of ammonia and bleach. If you're on a septic, you might want to give some thought before using a great deal of bleach in one go as it is very hard on tank bacteria.



    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 2:25AM
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Given the age of the tub I have to wonder if the rust is on the surface or if the porcelain has deteriorated to the point when the cast iron is actually rusting. If itÂs the later, no cleaner is going to fix your problem.

As for the paint, IÂd try Goo Gone then Goof-Off. The later is harsher but still shouldnÂt hurt porcelain. ItÂs also pretty stinky so use it with the windows open.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 6:31AM
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Plain old Xylene.
It is the main ingrediant in all the latex paint cleaners.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 11:15AM
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If you can remove the rust and paint, and if it is still yellow and not looking totally clean, I would suggest trying a tub of hot water and oxi-clean and letting it soak. I tried some bleach on an older tub which had worked before, but it did the opposite that time and caused more yellowing. When I used the oxi-clean, it removed the yellow caused by the bleach.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 7:11PM
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I used Iron Out successfully on my old footed tub to get iron stains out where the po had left a coffee can sitting.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 9:23PM
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I thought I'd update you on my progress and thank you for all of your suggestions. The paint mostly came off with a soak in hot water and lots of scrubbing. It's latex paint so it peels eventually.

I tried the Zep version of CLR, first at 50% then full strength and the rust stains are still there. Did nada. Currently soaking the tub with Oxi-clean and hot water right now. We shall see if this works.

I may have to buy some of tha Iron Out stuff for the rust spots (it's only one big streak near the drain, but yuck).

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 2:43PM
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I used a restore product on mine.Forget the name.looked great after.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 11:11PM
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I have had success with grapefruits and table salt. I slice the grapefruit in half, liberally lace it with salt and scrub. If it is really really bad, I make a past out of dish soap and baking soda and rub it in. Let it sit an hour or two, rinse then scrub with the grapefruit/salt mixture. It does wonders, and smells nice too.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 1:11PM
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I've cleaned many old, rust-stained porcelain sinks and tubs and found it took hours of scrubbing but the rust did come out. I used a scouring powder specifically for rust (and cannot remember the name!)but was found in same aisle and section as comet. Each scrubbing removes a very tiny layer of rust but it does eventually work. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 10:20PM
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