Homeowners install fiberglass-tub surrounds in the shower and bathtub area of the bathroom to protect the walls and studs from water damage. Fiberglass provides an attractive and affordable covering. fiberglass-tub surrounds are long lasting, durable and easy to maintain making them a popular choice among homeowners and decorators. Tub surround manufacturers make the tub surrounds in many colors, patterns and designs. Some fiberglass-tub surround are custom made to fit the wall space in stall showers or around the bathtub, while others come in stock sizes.
Over time and through use, shampoo, soap, mineral deposits and grime can build up on the fiberglass, which can be difficult to remove without damaging the surface. Regular cleaning and upkeep helps to stop the buildup, but using the abrasive cleaning agents, scouring powders or abrasive steel wool and stiff bristle cleaning brushes can ruin the fiberglass finish by etching the surface or removing the protective coating entirely. fiberglass-tub surrounds are not difficult to clean and care of as long as you use the right products and protect the surface from the buildup of soap scum, hard water stains, dirt and grime.
Cleaning a fiberglass-tub Surround
Close the bathroom door and turn the shower or tub faucet on to it’s hottest setting.
Let the hot water run for 10 to 15 minutes and steam up the bathroom air. The steam will help to soften the soap scum, shampoo buildup and grime on the fiberglass-tub surround.
Add 1 ½ cups white vinegar, 1 cup non-sudsing household ammonia and ¾ cup of baking soda to a bucket. Add hot water to the bucket to fill it the rest of the way.
Open the bathroom windows to avoid breathing in the ammonia. Put on a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands from the hot water.
Stir the mixture to distribute evenly throughout the bucket.
Submerge a sponge into the cleaning mixture. Squeeze out some of the excess cleaning water and scrub the fiberglass-tub surround.
Rinse the fiberglass well with hot water and dry it with a micros fiber rag or chamois cloth.
If Soap Scum and Hard Water Stains Remain
Buy a cleaner made specifically for fiberglass boat hulls or RV’s.
Apply the cleaner to the stained areas with a damp rag and rinse thoroughly with plain water.
Dry the fiberglass-tub surround with a chamois or microfiber cloth.
Removing Mold and Mildew From a fiberglass-tub Surround
Pour ½ cup baking soda into a bowl or plastic container.
Add water while continuously stirring until the baking soda and water form a paste that has the consistency of toothpaste.
Wet a sponge with plain water and wring out the excess water.
Scoop up the baking soda paste and apply it to the areas of mold and mildew.
Gently rub the mold and mildew off the fiberglass surface.
Removing Paint, Adhesive or Tar
Dip the corner of a rag into nail polisher remover.
Gently rub away the paint, glue or tar.
Immediately dip a clean rag into water and add a squirt of dish washing soap. Wash the area where nail polish remover was used.
Rinse the fiberglass with water and dry with a chamois or microfiber cloth.
Check the Condition of the Caulk
Look along the bottom, top and in corners for peeling, lifting, cracking caulk mold or mildew growth on the caulk. Some fiberglass-tub surrounds come in panels that use caulk as sealant in the corners, while some come as one piece surrounds.
If the caulk is damaged or has a lot of mold or mildew, pull the caulk off the fiberglass surface with a needle nose pliers or apply a coat of a commercially available caulk remover and then scrape it out with a flat wood stick. Caulk removers are typically, safe to use on any surface. Do not use a metal scraper because you will damage the surface.
Dip the corner of a rag into denatured alcohol.
Wipe the denatured alcohol over the edges of the fiberglass.
Insert a tube of caulk specifically made for tubs and showers into a caulking gun.
Lay a bead of caulk along the gaps in one continuous line.
Dip a finger into water.
Press your finger down into the caulk and run your finger along the caulk to create a tight seal and smooth the surface.
Let the caulk dry overnight.
Protecting the fiberglass-tub Surround
Rub a rag through fiberglass wax and apply a coat of wax onto the fiberglass-tub surround. Do not wax the base of the shower or bottom of the bathtub as you will create a very slippery surface.3M(TM) Marine Fiberglass Restorer and Wax 09005, 16 oz [PRICE is per BOTTLE]
Allow the fiberglass wax to dry to a dull, white haze.
Buff the dry wax off the surface of the tub surround with a soft, well worn cloth.
Fiberglass wax creates a protective coat over the fiberglass to stop soap scum, grime or dirt from sticking to the walls.
You can find fiberglass wax at boating or RV supply stores or home improvement stores.
Apply a fresh coat of wax every three to four months.
fiberglass-tub Surround Tips
After every shower wipe the walls with a chamois or microfiber cloth. You can also remove water and excess moisture with a squeegee. This helps to prevent hard water spots and mineral deposits.
Clean the fiberglass at least once per week to stop the buildup of soap scum, shampoo, dirt and grime.
For weekly cleaning, fill a bucket with warm water and add a teaspoon of grease fighting dish washing detergent.
Stir the ingredients to blend them well.
Submerge a rag or sponge in the soapy water and wipe the walls to remove dirt and grime.
Dry the fiberglass surface with a chamois or microfiber cloth.
Never use steel wool, scouring powder, metal scrapers, or other abrasive cleaners because you may damage the finish and remove the shiny, protective surface.
Waxed fiberglass is much easier to keep clean than unwaxed fiberglass because the dirt, soap and grime cannot stick.
Do not leave shampoo or soap residue on the fiberglass surface, always rinse the tub surround after use and cleaning.