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How to Remove Oil Stains from a Fibreglass Bathtub

Updated on May 17, 2016

Fibreglass Bathtubs Stain Easily

Fibreglass is a great material for bathtubs because it's lightweight and it can be moulded into any shape. It also has a nice glossy finish which makes it look like ceramic. What manufacturers don't tell you (or at least us consumers don't take the time to read the small print!) is that fibreglass can stain easily.

What Doesn't Work to Remove Stains from an Acrylic/Fibreglass Bathtub

These are all the options I have tried to erase or at least fade the oil stains in my acrylic bathtub.

  • Bleach

You are literally throwing money down the drain. The bleach will not even make the stains look fainter so don't waste your time.

  • Hair Colour Stripper

Yes, I tried that too and it doesn't work. The chemicals in theory should have enough bleaching power but because they are used on hair they need to protect the skin and not cause irritation.

  • Epoxy Paint

If you fancy breathing in toxic fumes for days by all means go ahead and paint over the stains with epoxy paint. Both you and your neighbours will probably need to move out while you wait for the smelly paint to dry. Application can also be tricky – you don't want to have an uneven finish where you can see each brushstroke. Paint rollers are advised for application, however for an even better finish it is recommended to use a paint sprayer. If you really want to go down this route, get the professionals to do this for you and book yourself into a hotel for a couple of days. A respirator has to be worn during spray painting to prevent inhaling toxic fumes.

The paint will take a minimum of 24 hours to dry. If you think you want to try this solution, you need to prepare the surface first with sandpaper and a coat of primer.

  • Fabric Brightener

I tried that, in the hope that it will at least mask the stains but there was no difference whatsoever. That's the price you pay for believing the adverts that the brightener will make fabric whiter than white. Then again, the clue is in the name: “fabric”.

  • Peroxide

I was really excited when I saw in DIY forums that hydrogen peroxide (strong solution) can literally erase all types of stains. I ran to my local pharmacist and diligently doused my fibreglass bathtub with peroxide. I tried the first time and nothing, then drenched some kitchen towel with peroxide and left it on the stains overnight. Still nothing.

  • Baking Powder Mixed with Vinegar

Does it work? No. But it's quite entertaining to see the fizzing action of the baking powder when you combine it with vinegar. This mixture is also supposed to be good to remove limescale – I found this was not the case for my bathtub and fittings.

  • Magic Eraser Sponge

Have you ever tried those "magic erasers" advertised on TV? They are white sponges that promise to clean stubborn stains like burnt food on cookers. Well, I tried those as well to clean my bathtub and, nope, they didn't erase the stains. Next! (However, I am quite happy using magic erasers in the kitchen, they work rather well).

Fibreglass Bathtub


How to Remove Essential Oils Stains from a Fibreglass Bathtub

As much as it's a lovely relaxing experience, a hot bath with essential oils may turn to be not so relaxing when you are spending months and years trying to erase oil stains.

After trying all the above options, I had a brainwave: what about those nail file blocks, which are not as abrasive as normal nail files (or sandpaper)?

If you are careful not to apply too much pressure and are very patient and persistent, slowly but surely you can scrub off even old stains from your fibreglass bathtub.

Nail file blocks are very cheap and you can get them in any health and beauty store.

A word of warning: some of the glossy finish will look scratched in the process but with low lighting no one will notice the difference. The actual fibreglass will not become damaged but it will simply become slightly opaque where you have buffed it.

You will need to tackle each stain one by one spending a few minutes buffing it. You then move on to the next when you see that the stain has faded. It will take you days to complete the project but if you, like me, have had these oil stains in your bathtub for years, what are a few days in comparison?

Nail file blocks will wear out so you can trim off their tops with a cutter and use the abrasive surface until you can no longer hold the block because it has become too small.

Buffing a Fibreglass Bathtub to Remove Stains

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Before: essential oil stains are visibleAfter: the nail file block has erased the essential oil stains on the fibreglass bathtub
Before: essential oil stains are visible
Before: essential oil stains are visible | Source
After: the nail file block has erased the essential oil stains on the fibreglass bathtub
After: the nail file block has erased the essential oil stains on the fibreglass bathtub | Source

Let Me Know How You Get On!

I'd love to know if you have had any joy removing stains from your bathtub and if you have tried using a nail file block. If you have any tips/discovered an alternative way of cleaning a bathtub please add your suggestions in the comments, thanks!


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    • paolaenergya profile image

      Paola Bassanese 2 months ago from London

      Hi Deanna, very interesting! For some reason baking soda and household cleaning products didn't lift the stains for my bathtub but your suggestion sounds very good. I have never heard of this cleaning product, I wonder if it's available here in the UK. Thank you for your comment

    • profile image

      Deanna 2 months ago

      I use Thieves householder cleaner from young living mixed with baking soda to make a paste.let it sit scrub it every 10 min. Kept adding a lil.water and baking soda every now and then.Did this for about an hr while i cleaned the rest of bathrm.