Before jumping headlong into cleaning the tub, you must first know what type of tub you have. Porcelain tubs, for example, do not hold up well to some of the abrasive cleaning products on the market. Vinyl and acrylic tubs, on the other hand, will hold up okay to abrasive cleaners, but even these can become dull over time with too much use. Your best bet is to choose a cleaner that does not scratch, such as a liquid cleaner or a non-abrasive product designed specifically for removing soap scum and buildup.
If you don't use an abrasive cleaner, how do you get your tub clean? The right kind of tub scrubber is the answer. With the advances in technology, products now exist that will provide the abrasive cleaning power without the ability to scratch or damage your tub. This type of tub scrubber is made from polyester bristles that do not absorb water, provide the scrubbing action required to remove buildup, and will not react to chemical cleaners. To prevent the backbreaking work of scrubbing the tub, a handled tub scrubber combined with the proper cleaning agent will make this job a breeze.
If your tub has a significant amount of buildup, begin with a soap scum removing product. Always follow the directions on the label. Generally, a foaming product that will set on the problem area for a few minutes will release and lift the buildup so that it can be removed easily. Then, using the handled bathtub scrubber, work off the remaining dirt and grime. When finished, rinse the handle thoroughly. Store the tub scrubber so that the handle is off the floor, either hanging or kept upside down. The polyester bristles will dry quickly and are resistant to mildew. Over time, the tub scrubber head will need to be replaced, even with the best of care. How often you need to use the scrubber will obviously determine how often it should be replaced.
After you have thoroughly cleaned the tub, shower, and walls, the best way to maintain the fresh, clean tub is to use a bit of preventative measure. After each bath or shower, use a squeegee or soft cloth to remove water drips from the walls and sides of the tub. This will help prevent buildup and removes the thin layer of soap film that can deposit in shower, even after one use. Also, consider using a spray product designed to prevent mildew and further buildup. This will help minimize the number of times you will need to use a tub scrubber for more thorough cleaning.
To clean bathtub and shower fixtures, a tub scrubber is the easiest tool to use. The bristles easily work around the corners and indents of the fixtures. A handheld tub scrubber makes it easy to reach the showerhead as well. As with soap scum buildup, you may need to do an initial deep cleaning on your fixtures or showerhead. Again, choose a cleaning product specifically for the job. Again, allow enough time for the product to work before using the bathtub scrubber to remove the mineral buildup. If you have recurring problems, particularly on the showerhead, hard water may be to blame. If the problem is serious, it may be worth looking into soft water options.
When using protective sprays in between cleanings, be sure to watch for bathtub floors so that you don't create a dangerous situation by making the bottom of the tub slippery. Some finishing products are available to add a gloss or shine to the tub. These work great to make your tub shiny with a clean looking appearance. They also help prevent buildup and can make the cleaning process easier, as they work similar to a car wax that makes water bead and slide off. But it is for these reasons that the bottom of the tub should be avoided for safety reasons.