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Household Hints & HELP!

Cleaning Fiberglass

submitted by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator
This article appears in the February 13, 2005 Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper.

Is cleaning your bathroom a dreaded task? If so, these tips from The Soap and Detergent Association on how to maintain the sparkling new look of fiberglass furnishings will be helpful. Many bathrooms today are furnished with fiberglass bathtubs, tub/shower combinations or shower stalls with either a shiny mirror like finish or a textured surface for added safety. These molded bath fixtures are installed without caulking and grouting.

Manufacturers of the fixtures offer the following suggestions for regular cleaning of the bathroom units. Use a non-abrasive cleaning agent such as an all-purpose household cleaner, bathroom cleaner, liquid cleaner or baking soda. Abrasive cleaners and pads should be avoided since they may scratch, discolor or dull the surface of the fixture.

Liquid and spray cleaners can be applied full strength to the fixture. For a powdered product, use the following method: wet the surface, make a water paste solution or apply the product to the fixture, and let it remain on the surface for a few minutes. Then gently rub the area using a sponge, nylon brush or polyethylene pad. Rinse the unit thoroughly.

Stubborn stains may require a little extra attention. Sponge a stained area with any of the products mentioned above. Let the cleaner remain on the stain for about a hour; then rinse.

Other methods are necessary for some stains. For example, in hard water areas, a mineral deposit can build up. There are products specifically designed to remove such deposits. Package instructions should be read and followed carefully.

Tough stains such as adhesives, tar, iodine and oil-based paints can be removed with acetone (nail polish remover) or a paint thinner, such as turpentine. Saturate a clean, white cotton cloth with the solution and lightly rub the affected areas until the stain disappears. Care should be taken when using these products. There are solvents that will not harm the fiberglass finish, but should be used sparingly. Solvents are highly flammable and should not be used near heat or any open flame. Do not smoke while using these products, and work in a well-ventilated area. They should not be allowed to go down the drain or come in contact with a plastic drain grate. Use a dampened clean cloth or sponge to wipe off the treated surface.

To maintain a lustrous finish, one manufacturer recommends conditioning the surfaces. Apply with a clean cloth an automotive white polishing compound to any scratched or dulled areas. Then buff the surfaces with a light application of automotive white cream wax using a clean turkish towel. It is also suggested this treatment be done twice a year to maintain an attractive finish. When the urge to clean hits, remember these tips for easy bathroom cleaning.

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