I recently moved into a new place but apparently some builders who were there poured their excess wood varnish into the bathtub (geniuses) and now my white bathtub is full of yellow stains from the wood varnish they didn’t rinse out.

I’ve tried using this sort of liquid ethanol thingy, on the bottle it says it can be used to light a camping stove or to remove stains, however after scrubbing and scrubbing (and inhaling an unhealthy amount of fumes) the stains didn’t budge, some of the stains got a bit lighter but none were fully removed.

I was wondering if anyone had any idea how to get these wood varnish stains out, any sort of mix i should make or specific product i should buy to get these stains out.

Any help would be appreciated

  • 1
    What material is the bathtub? Plastic/fiberglass, porcelain, or ???
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jul 23, 2021 at 14:41
  • Fairly sure it’s plastic
    – Maximus
    Jul 23, 2021 at 14:49

2 Answers 2


In a plastic tub, there's no good way to remove varnish, either urethane type or the older spar varnish. The solvents in the varnish will have effectively welded the plastic of the varnish to the plastic of the tub. The best you can do is document the situation and approach the building crew who did this to pay for replacement of the tub (not do it themselves, but pay to have it done by competent workers).

Pouring leftover varnish down a drain is never acceptable in the first place (it's illegal in most locales with community sewage treatment, and not a great idea for a septic tank, either), and doing it in a plastic bathtub is plain negligence.


Get a small can of automotive rubbing compound and follow the directions on the can. The compound is a very fine abrasive -- so fine that it does not cause scratches but removes deposits and makes the surface shiny. It should makes the stains lighter and it might make them disappear. At the very worst, it won't help, but it won't hurt the plastic surface either.

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