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Clean Your Tub’s Claw Feet: Fast & Easy

Freestanding copper clawfoot tub on a white background
Freestanding copper clawfoot tub – image from iStock

Cleaning the feet on a clawfoot tub may seem like a minor task, but it’s essential for maintaining the overall beauty and functionality of your tub.

Over time, the intricate designs and grooves of the claw feet can accumulate dust, grime, and even rust, which not only detracts from their appearance but can also cause damage.

Cleaning a freestanding tub, particularly a clawfoot tub, doesn’t have to be difficult. In this article, we will guide you through the process of properly cleaning these delicate and artistic elements of your tub, ensuring they remain in pristine condition for years to come.

Key Takeaways

  • Proper cleaning is vital for maintaining the appearance and functionality of clawfoot tub feet.
  • Understanding the appropriate cleaning methods for different materials and finishes ensures their longevity.
  • Regular care can prevent damage and preserve the elegance of your clawfoot tub.

The cleaning process for each of these feet is quite similar, reducing any confusion or need for different methods. So go ahead, pick the claw foot design that suits your style, and enjoy the elegance and history that comes with it.

Common Materials For Clawed Feet on Tubs

Cast Iron & Porcelain-Enameled Cast Iron

Cast iron is a classic and popular material for clawed feet on tubs. With its weight and durability, it provides excellent support for your clawfoot tub. Moreover, cast iron feet can be coated with porcelain enamel for added protection and a sleek appearance. Just keep an eye on the enamel, as chips can expose the iron underneath to rust.


Brass, loved for its golden hue and sturdy nature, is another common choice for clawed feet. The great thing about brass is that it can be polished to maintain its bright shine, or left alone to develop a beautiful patina over time. It’s resistant to corrosion, making it ideal for cleaning with mild detergents and a soft cloth.

Chrome Plated

For those who prefer a more modern look, chrome-plated clawed feet can be an attractive option. This material provides a sleek, mirror-like finish, which complements contemporary bathroom designs. Chrome is known for its anti-corrosive properties, ensuring lasting durability. Plus, it’s easy to clean with just soap and water, ensuring a radiant shine.

Acrylic & Fiberglass

In recent years, acrylic and fiberglass-clawed feet have gained popularity for their lightweight and affordability. These materials allow for easier installation and mobility of your clawfoot tub. They’re available in a variety of appealing designs and can be colored to match or contrast with your tub. Acrylic and fiberglass clawed feet can be simply wiped clean with a damp cloth and mild soap.

How to Clean Clawed Feet by Material

clawfoot bathtub
Clawfoot tub with chrome plated lion’s paw feet

When it comes to cleaning the feet on your clawfoot tub, knowing the appropriate cleaning products and methods for the specific material is essential. There’s no need to let dirt and grime build up and tarnish the sophisticated look of your tub’s clawed feet!

Remember to always wear safety glasses and a respirator when using strong cleaning products, to protect your eyes and lungs.

It’s always a good idea to test any cleaning product on a small, inconspicuous area before using it on the entire surface to avoid any potential damage. Additionally, you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions when using any cleaning product.

Cleaning Products For Metal Feet

For brass and copper, you can use a mixture of vinegar and salt or lemon juice and baking soda to clean and polish the surface.

For iron, you can use a mild soap and water or a mixture of baking soda and water to clean the surface.

For chrome, you can try Simple Green, a non-toxic, all-purpose cleaner. Mix Simple Green with water according to the instructions on the label, then apply to the chrome surface with a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.

Cleaning Products For Acrylic Feet

  1. Mild soap and water: This is the most basic and gentle way to clean acrylic surfaces. Mix a few drops of mild soap with warm water and use a soft cloth or sponge to clean the surface. Rinse with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.
  2. Isopropyl alcohol: Isopropyl alcohol is a great cleaning solution for acrylic surfaces. Mix equal parts of isopropyl alcohol and water, then use a soft cloth or sponge to clean the surface. Rinse with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.

Remember to avoid using abrasive cleaners, ammonia-based cleaners, or any cleaning product that contains vinegar, as these can damage the surface of the acrylic

Cleaning Products for Fiberglass Claw Feet

Here are some recommended cleaning products for fiberglass:

  1. Mild soap and water: Similar to acrylic, mild soap and water can be used to clean fiberglass surfaces. Mix a few drops of mild soap with warm water and use a soft cloth or sponge to clean the surface. Rinse with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.
  2. Baking soda: Baking soda is a gentle abrasive that can be used to remove tough stains from fiberglass surfaces. Mix baking soda with water to create a paste, then apply to the surface with a soft cloth or sponge. Rub gently in a circular motion, then rinse with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.
  3. Fiberglass cleaner: There are specific fiberglass cleaners available in the market that are formulated to clean and protect fiberglass surfaces. Follow the instructions on the label carefully.

Again, it’s important to avoid using abrasive cleaners or any cleaning product that contains bleach, as these can damage the surface of the fiberglass.

Cleaning Products For Painted Or Refinished Claw Feet

Extra care is required when cleaning painted or refinished clawed feet. Avoid using harsh cleaning solutions or abrasive tools, as they could damage the paint or primer. Instead, use a soft cloth or sponge with a mild dish soap and water mixture to gently clean the surface.

If dirt and grime are persistent, you can try using a shop vac with a soft brush attachment to gently remove the debris.

To preserve the painted surface, avoid using products containing strong chemicals or acidic solutions. When choosing a cleaner, always check the label to ensure it’s safe for painted surfaces.

How Often to Clean Clawed Feet

White cast iron claw foot tub used as a plant pot filled with deep pink flowers
White cast iron claw foot tub used as a plant pot

Caring for your clawfoot tub requires regular cleaning, especially for those magnificent clawed feet! On average, it’s ideal to clean the feet every 2-4 weeks depending on usage. This helps maintain their appearance and keeps them shining!

The frequency of cleaning may depend on various factors such as how often the tub is used, and if you’re in a hard-water area. If it is a family bathroom, more frequent cleaning might be needed! For a seldom-used guest bathroom, the cleaning interval can be extended a bit. Remember, consistency is key to keep those claws sparkling.

Read my post, Tricks to Make Your Bathtub Gleam Like New for more tips on how to keep your clawfoot tub sparkling.

Other Areas of Clawfoot Tub Cleaning

To keep your clawfoot tub clean, it’s important to regularly clean all areas of the tub, including the feet, surface, faucet, handles, and jets (if applicable). By following these simple steps, you can maintain a beautiful and hygienic clawfoot tub for years to come.

Cleaning the Tub Faucets

Cleaning the tub faucets of a clawfoot tub is an important part of maintaining a clean and hygienic bathing space. Faucets can accumulate soap scum and mineral deposits over time, so it’s important to clean them regularly.

Use a mild cleaner and a soft cloth to scrub the faucets, paying special attention to the areas around the handles and spout. Rinse thoroughly with water and dry with a soft cloth to prevent water spots. By keeping your tub faucets clean, you can ensure a beautiful and functional clawfoot tub for years to come.

Cleaning Clawfoot Tub Jets

Clawfoot tubs are traditionally designed without jets. They are freestanding tubs with a classic, vintage look that dates back to the 19th century. However, some modern manufacturers offer clawfoot tubs with jet systems installed for those who prefer a more luxurious and therapeutic bathing experience.

Cleaning the jets in a clawfoot bathtub is an important step to ensure a hygienic and relaxing bathing experience. First, fill the tub with hot water and add a cleaning solution specifically designed for jetted tubs. Run the jets for about 15 minutes to allow the cleaning solution to circulate through the system. Drain the water and refill the tub with clean water to rinse the jets thoroughly. By following these steps periodically, you can keep the jets clean and functioning properly in your clawfoot bathtub.

Cleaning Clawed Feet: 3 Basic Steps

Here’s a brief overview of how to care for your clawfoot tub:

  1. Dust regularly: Dust and dirt can accumulate on the clawed feet, impacting their appearance. A simple wipe down with a microfiber cloth can easily remove any surface dust.
  2. Use mild cleaners: To protect the finish of the clawed feet, it’s best to stick with gentle, non-abrasive cleaners. Avoid chlorine bleach and harsh chemicals.
  3. Dry thoroughly: Moist environments can lead to corrosion or tarnish. After cleaning, use a soft cloth to dry the feet completely.

If you notice any stubborn stains or hard water build-up on the feet, a paste of baking soda and water gently applied with a soft toothbrush can work wonders! Just be sure to rinse thoroughly and dry afterwards.

Pro Tips

Keep your feet clean! It’s essential to maintain the cleanliness of your clawfoot tub’s feet. Use these tips to make the process simple and fast.

Disconnect Hardware

To get started, disconnect the hardware. Removing all connections to the bathroom pipes will make your cleaning process a breeze! This step is crucial because a thorough cleaning is nearly impossible without dismantling the necessary hardware. After all, you don’t want to miss any nooks and crannies.

Use a Soft Cloth

When it comes to removing any residue or dirt, try using a soft cloth or sponge to avoid causing any scratches.

Make a DIY Cleaning Solution

If you’re looking for a DIY solution, mix some warm water with a few drops of dish soap for a gentle yet effective cleaner. Your clawfoot tub’s feet will thank you!

Use a Toothbrush

Pay attention to the ledges! The area where the feet meet the actual tub is often overlooked but can accumulate a lot of dirt. Using a small brush, like a toothbrush, can help you address and remove any buildup in those hard-to-reach places.

Types of Claw Feet

Leaf Shape

These claw feet are a classic choice for those seeking an antique look for their clawfoot tub. These feet are typically made of metal. They add a touch of elegance to any bathroom and require minimal maintenance due to their sturdy construction. They are ornate and so require more care.

Lion Paw

Gold lion's paw claw foot on tub
Lion’s paw claw foot

The Lion Paw claw foot design is another popular style found on clawfoot bathtubs. As the name suggests, these feet resemble the majestic paws of a lion and often boast intricate detailing. This elegant choice can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your clawfoot tub and make it a centerpiece in your bathroom.

Eagle Ball & Claw

A clawfoot tub with eagle ball and claw feet in nickel
These whimsical claw feet feature an eagle’s talon wrapped around a ball

Ball & Claw feet are a more whimsical option for your clawfoot bathtub. They feature a sculpted ball clasped by a stylized claw, which adds a unique touch to the overall appearance of your tub. This design dates back to the early 18th century, providing your bathroom with an authentic antique look! Eagle Ball & Claw feet can be made from both cast iron and brass materials.

Imperial Ball & Claw

Ornate claw feet on white freestanding tub with rolled rim
Ornate imperial ball & claw feet on white freestanding tub with rolled rim

The Imperial Ball & Claw is a more ornate version of the classic Ball & Claw design. It features additional detailing, such as fancy carvings around the ball and claw, giving it a more luxurious and sophisticated appearance. This style is perfect for those who want their clawfoot tub to stand out and make a statement in their bathroom.

Cannonball Claw Foot

This is a streamlined design and works well in minimalist decor. Easy-to-clean, these clawfeet have a round ball design and no ornate grooves and crevices that you’d find in other types.

Foot Type MaterialDecorMaintenance
LeafChrome & NickelClassicMedium
Lion PawCast IronElegantLow
Eagle Ball & ClawBrassWhimsicalMedium
Imperial Ball & ClawBrassSophisticatedMedium
CannonballCast IronMinimalistLow

Need To Refinish The Feet?

Considering refinishing? It’s important to be aware of scratches or damage on the surface of the feet while cleaning. If those little imperfections bother you, opt for a refinishing session. This process will not only mask the scratches but also provide a whole new, shiny appearance for your clawfoot tub.

Use spray paint wisely. If your clawfoot tub has been previously painted and needs a touch-up, make sure to use a paint specifically designed for tubs and showers. Not all spray paints are created equal! You’ll want something durable that can withstand the high humidity and usage typical of a bathroom environment.

Clean Your Tub’s Clawed Feet

Whether your clawfoot tub is a vintage masterpiece or a modern adaptation, the feet play a pivotal role in its aesthetic and structural integrity. With various materials and finishes available, it’s crucial to understand the correct cleaning methods for each type to avoid accidental damage.

By following our expert advice, you’ll be able to preserve the charm and elegance of your clawfoot tub, allowing it to remain the centerpiece of your bathroom.

Tags: clawfoot tub, cleaning

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