This Smart Bathtub-Cleaning Trick Borrows a Key Item from Your Kitchen Sink

published Nov 16, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Minette Hand

Like most of you, I have lived, loved, and long-suffered through quite a series of rental homes. One of the toughest things about renting — besides the revolving cast of roommates and insecurity of a home you don’t own — is dealing with the landlord who relishes power over you and your living conditions.

I had one of these types many years ago, but he taught me one valuable thing: the weirdest yet best way to clean a bathtub.

Why was my landlord teaching me how to clean a bathtub, you ask? Well I’m happy to tell you.

My landlord, Horace, was a man of rather advanced age and deep prejudices against young women. He rented a suburban Florida ranch to me and my two professional, cheery roommates with a high-handed air of doing us a favor, committing with sighs and glowers to what he vocally assumed to be our frivolous, non-property-maintaining ways.

He barked at us to remove our string lights in the kitchen, had impossible standards on mowing and mulching, and refused to let us paint, with an interminable mansplaining diatribe on the Problems of Amateur Painters.

OK man, whatever. Keep your faux paneled walls.

On one home inspection (why I allowed these occasional home inspections I cannot recall but I was apparently not possessed of the shiny spine I have now) he grimaced at the ancient 1960s bathtub and the mildly soapy sides.

“That there is grease, young lady,” he griped, bald pate turning bright red. “You know the best way to clean it?” I assured him I was all ears, in a grim sort of way.

Credit: Cat Meschia/Kitchn

He stepped out into the kitchen, grabbed the new broom from the closet and the Dawn dish soap from the sink and squirted dish soap all over the tub. Then he seized the broom and to my astonishment, swept it through the soap and up and down, his face turning red and puffing as he went.

“See… huff and puff… Dawn takes off grease …even human…” He swept and swept and sure enough, after running the soap down the drain with a quick blast of the shower that tub was clean as a whistle.

He handed me back the broom, saying, “Well there you go. Everything else looks pretty good. You’ll make someone a good little wife someday.”

Thanks, Horace. Thanks, man.

The ending to this story is that I am happily a homeowner and will never rent from a litigious mansplainer ever again if I can help it, but lord have mercy, that broom trick really works and now you know it too.

Credit: Cat Meschia/Kitchn

The Broom & Dawn Bathtub Cleaning Trick

I’ve used this method many times since and I love how you don’t need to bend over or scrub the bathtub. The dish soap really does remove the worst soap grime and grease. For best results use a broom dedicated to this task — anything with plastic bristles, like this $14 find, or any small cheap broom from the drugstore will do just fine.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: The Weird Bathroom Cleaning Tip I Learned from an Awful Landlord