Rub a dub, scrub a tub

When Youngest Daughter (YD) sent me photos of the apartment she was thinking of renting in in Pasadena, CA, well, I cringed. While the 1950s built complex was in a great part of town and had a charming “Mid Century Modern” appeal,  the apartments could do with some major updates. Most of the issues are with the layers of shoddy painting, dust, grime and worn-out appliances and fixtures. (Not to mention the pinch pleat drapes and window-unit air-conditioner.) Regardless of these short comings, the apartment had good bones and is a great place for her at this stage of the game.

YD’s biggest issue was with the bathtub. I’m pretty sure it was one of the few things original to the apartment and boy was it dirty. Well technically it was clean, but it looked really dirty, even after scrubbing it with Comet. The biggest issue was the horrible rust stains.

Do you think it can be cleaned my daughter asked?

My real expert on stains was my Mom. She was a stain aficionado. She knew how to soak, scrub and scrape away pretty much any stain. And she kept Super Clean l in business. What is Super Clean? It’s a heavy duty automotive cleaner that she would buy, dilute and put in a spray bottle. It truly was designed for engine cleaning. You buy it in the automotive aisle at Wal-Mart. Throughout my life it was known as Purple Stuff. But since Mom is not here to help me with stains (and a lot of other stuff) anymore, I consulted Google. Here are the suggestions for removing rust: CLR Rust Remover, toilet bowl cleaner, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponges, SOS pads and Coca-Cola.

Well let me tell you, this tub was one hot mess. I almost asphyxiated the entire complex with my cleaning concoctions. What I found was that all these products work, marginally. It took two days of elbow grease, three bottles of toilet bowl cleaner, three Magic Eraser sponges, three Coca-Colas (diet and regular), two SOS pads and Purple Stuff to get the tub white. And also one entire bottle of Scrubbing Bubbles. Essentially I would work on the tub for about 20 minutes every two or three hours. The best product for the rust was the toilet bowl cleaner, but you had to let it dissolve the rust with each application. And I scrubbed, and scrubbed and scrubbed. I didn’t wear gloves. Yes I should have. My hands hurt for days after this adventure!

Also I would note that the CLR did not work well on this particular tub or these rust stains.

As well, after all the cleaning was done we sanded the soap holder, taped it off and spray painted it silver.

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