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Cleaning a hot tub: an all-in-one guide

Table of Contents Why is cleaning your hot tub so important?Cleaning schedule After each useWeeklyMonthlyQuarterly Yearly Unplanned cleaning —  how do…

Why is cleaning your hot tub so important?

Almost everyone cleans their hot tub, but are they cleaning it correctly? If not, they run the risk of not just damaging their hot tub, but also exposing themselves to dangers like skin irritation, infections and, in the most extreme cases, severe pneumonia [4] and even STDs [3].

A hot tub which hasn’t been properly cleaned is a perfect breeding ground for germs. Unless properly disinfected, the warm water, often exposed to sunlight and dust, quickly becomes contaminated. According to the National Institutes of Health/NLM [2], improper cleaning is one of the four top risk factors for developing a disease when using a hot tub, along with not maintaining the correct pH range and not regularly changing the water or filters.

In this guide, we break down the principles of properly cleaning and disinfecting a hot tub, based on our interviews with hot tub service technicians, manufacturers and healthcare professionals. 

Cleaning schedule 

Cleaning tools
Source: Improve Home

Cleaning your hot tub may seem difficult and time-consuming, but once you follow our all-in-one guide you’ll be amazed how quick and easy it is! 

To avoid any health problems, and to make sure your hot tub works better and lasts longer, we recommend setting up — and sticking to! — a cleaning schedule. 

IntervalSteps and detailsYou’ll need
After each useWipe away stains (details)Soft cloth
Check pH level and add sanitizer (details)Test strips
Chlorine sanitizer or Bromine sanitizer
Weekly Test hot tub water (details)Test strips
Shock hot tub (details)Chlorine shock or Non-chlorine shock
Chemical-resistant measuring cup
Test strips
Chemical-resistant gloves
Safety goggles
Rinse filter with water (details)Water hose
Monthly Spray filter with chemicals (details)Water hose
Cartridge cleaner
Clean and condition hot tub cover (details)Water hose
Non-abrasive cloth
Hot tub cover cleaner
QuarterlyDrain hot tub water (details)Water hose or Submersible Sump Pump
Clean hot tub shell (details)Light hot tub cleaner or Hard hot tub cleaner
Non-abrasive cloth or Non-scratch nylon scrubber
Water hose
Clean pipes (details)Flush line product
Soak filter in filter deep cleaner(details)5-gallon bucket
Filter soak product
Garden hose
YearlyReplace filter (details)Cartridge filter
Sand filter
Ceramic filter
Diatomaceous Earth Filter
*Depends on your filter type
Examine hot tub’s hardware and wiring (details)


My team has conducted extensive research to determine the basic steps that you, like a hot tub owner, should perform regularly — regardless of the model of hot tub you own or the type of sanitizer you use. 


After each use


1. Wipe away any stains with a damp cloth

Carefully wiping your hot tub’s shell after each use takes no time at all, but it will keep it cleaner longer and get rid of many minor contaminants. 

2. Check pH level and add sanitizer if needed

Some bacteria and cosmetic contaminants may be found in the water after each use. The sanitizer will help eliminate them and keep your spa safer and cleaner. At the same time, maintaining the correct pH level helps a sanitizer to work better. 

The most popular types of sanitizers are chlorine and bromine. Chlorine sanitizer kills bacteria effectively, but you need to use it more often than bromine, and it has a strong and distinctive odour. Bromine works more slowly and can be quickly destroyed by UV light. While it is not as good at eliminating bacterias, it still can remove contaminants after the spa procedures.  The most effective way to deal with bacteria is to shock your hot tub water weekly. If you want to decrease the use of chemicals, read our guide on chemical-free hot tubs.


Weekly

1. Test hot tub water

According to John D. Put, Director of Technology at Advantis Technologies, five factors affect water quality:  pH, Total Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, Stain Producing Minerals, and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) [5]. These five factors should be checked regularly with special test strips

2. Shock hot tub

Shocking a hot tub is not as shocking as it sounds! It’s nothing more than a large dose of oxidizer, which helps eliminate various contaminants. You should shock hot tub water once a week, especially when you are using the hot tub frequently.

Jump to the section with a step-by-step instruction

3. Rinse filter with water

Simply rinsing the filter with water can have a major impact on your hot tub’s cleanliness. The filter system traps bacteria and other impurities in a cartridge to prevent water contamination. Regularly rinsing the filter will help reduce the accumulation of those contaminants inside the cartridge, making the filter more effective and the spa water cleaner and healthier. 

Jump to the section with a step-by-step instruction


Monthly

1. Spray filter with cleaner

Even with regular rinsing, germs and other contaminants will still accumulate in the filter, so it is important to spray the filter with cleaner monthly. This will help prevent the contaminants from getting into the water. 

Jump to the section with a step-by-step instruction

2. Clean and condition hot tub cover 

Whether you have an indoor or outdoor hot tub, it is important to keep its cover clean. The cover can also be damaged by UV rays, but you can avoid this problem by using a special cleaning and protective product

Jump to the section with a step-by-step instruction


Quarterly 

1. Drain hot tub 

Completely emptying a hot tub allows you to find and flush “hidden” parts such as pipes, and more thoroughly clean the spa’s shell. This also helps you detect any chips, cracks or other damage. Most importantly, you will re-fill the spa with fresh and completely clean water, which is great to soak in after all that work!

Jump to the section with a step-by-step instruction

2. Clean hot tub shell 

Once you have drained the water, you should thoroughly scrub the entire hot tub shell. You might be surprised how dirty the shell gets in places you can’t easily see when the tub is full.

Jump to the section with a step-by-step instruction

3. Clean pipes

A hot tub’s pipes are “hidden” inside, making it difficult to see if they need cleaning. So the best practice is to clean them regularly, thus preventing any contamination or damage.

Jump to the section with a step-by-step instruction

4. Soak filter in the filter deep cleaner

Your hot tub filter periodically needs a more extensive cleaning to thoroughly remove all bacteria and other contaminants. Soaking your filter with a filter deep cleaner four times a year allows it to work at maximum efficiency, ensuring clean and crystal clear water. 

Jump to the section with a step-by-step instruction


Yearly 

1. Replace filter

Your little filter has worked hard for you over the last year so that you can relax and enjoy safe, clean and clear water, but now it’s time for a brand new filter. 

Jump to the section with a step-by-step instruction

2. Examine hot tub’s hardware and wiring

Some parts of your hot tub may be damaged or broken for various reasons, such as improper maintenance or simply normal wear and tear. So, every year, you should thoroughly examine all of the spa’s hardware and wiring, replacing and repairing where necessary, to avoid any problems in the future. 

Checklist of cleaning routine Byrossi®


Unplanned cleaning —  how do I know it’s high time to clean?

There are warning signs you should look out for that will tell you whether your hot tub needs to be cleaned before the set schedule. These indicators can be seen, smelled, and even felt. Below we describe a “canary in the coal mine” test for cleaning a hot tub, as well as how to deal with these problems. 

Different water color 

Green water

There are several reasons why water turns green:

1. Excessive mineral content such as copper or manganese. This is the most common cause, especially if you use well water to fill your hot tub. Copper can also enter from the pipes that carry water to your hot tub. 

When the cause is mineral in nature, the water will be slightly green and will not feel slimy.

To get rid of this problem you should do a shock hot tub with a chlorine shocking product and soak the filter in the filter deep cleaner. If this does not fix the problem, the issue may be with the pipes, which should be cleaned and the water then drained. 

2. Algae. While not as common a cause as minerals, algae can still cause water to turn green, especially if you do not use a hot tub cover. If algae are the problem, the water will feel slimy. 

In this case, do a shock hot tub with a chlorine shocking product and replace the filter with a new one.

Yellow water

Yellow watercolour is another common hot tub problem. Why does the water turn this colour? What can you do about it?

1. People with a bromine spa system frequently encounter this issue. The cause lies in the high bromine residual and low pH. If having tested the bromine and pH level, you decide that’s the case, then you should use chlorine neutralizer. You won’t need a lot, once you follow the instructions. To mix the product with water, turn on the pump and/or aerator for at least 30 minutes. Afterwards, check the bromine and pH levels, which should now be lower than your previous measures. 

2. If the levels are the same, however, an alternative cause could be iron oxide. How can you be sure? If the spa turns yellow or yellow-red after shocking, and if over time the water becomes brown, iron oxide is the most likely culprit. To fix the problem, apply Shock water, thoroughly clean the pipes, soak the filter in chemicals, drain the water, and then refill. If you use a well water system, you should minimize the minerals in the water, so we recommend using a pre-filter. After refilling the hot tub, rinse the filter with water two to three times a day for the next few days. 

3. Yellow algae. In this case, bromine and chlorine levels will be normal. To remove yellow algae in hot tub water, first balance the water, then turn off the heater and lastly shock the water with a high level of chlorine shock. Afterwards, remove the hot tub cover and let the air circulate for several hours. When the chlorine level drops to zero, do a shock hot tub water once again. Now you can clean pipes, drain water, scrub hot tub shell, and clean cover. Don’t forget to replace the filter.

4. There is another very simple reason why water can have a yellow colour. If you have dumb friends, it’s also the most likely one. It’s the same thing that causes yellow snow. In this case, you will need to shock (yes, shock it again, but this time with chemicals) and drain your hot tub. You may also want to get new friends.

Brown water

As with yellow water, high levels of iron oxide can also make the water turn brown. The most effective method is removing and cleaning the filter with cleaner.

To avoid getting minerals in hot tub water, we recommend using pre-filter.

White water

White water can be caused by insufficient rinsing with water after cleaning the filter. 

Check the alkalinity, since white water often indicates high levels (over 80-150 ppm). However, if the alkalinity level of good, white water might come from the ineffective filtering of contaminants such as body lotion or cosmetics, which can create a biofilm. In this case, do a Shock hot tub with chlorine shocking product, raising the chlorine level to 30 ppm. Then run hot tub water for several hours and drain. Replace the filter with a new one.  After this, soak all removable items in a strong bleach solution (mix bleach and water in the bucket). Do not forget to clean the pipes

Foul odors 

An offensive smell may be caused by frequent usage of a hot tub or lack of use over a long period. Odours can also be caused by inadequate ventilation in the spa room (if your hot tub is indoors). To prevent offensive odours, you should shock water, clean pipes, filterdrain and scrub shell, hot tub cover

Spa foaming 

Foam in a hot tub may appear because of insoluble compounds such as sweat and cosmetics. Cleaning products can also cause foam, especially household cleaners or products that contain soap. Avoid using such products to clean your hot tub. 

You should also rinse the spa parts with water after applying the chemicals since residue can also cause foaming to occur.

To get rid of foaming, just do a shock hot tub water and drain

Scale at the waterline

The scale is caused by many people using the hot tub frequently. You can stop the scale from forming through frequent shock hot tub water treatments. But once the scale appears, drain water partially and use a light product for cleaning the hot tub shell.  If that does not help, use a cleaning product for the worst affected surfaces. 

You start to use hot tub more frequently 

Is it a high season and you spend every evening in your hot tub? Or you had guests this week? It means you should pay more attention to the cleanness of your hot tub. It needs to be shocked more frequently. Drain water and clean hot tub parts (filter, hot tub shell, cover) if you notice problems with the water and surface areas. 

You did not use a hot tub for a long time 

Has your hot tub sat unused for a long time? If so, you should drain, remove and clean filters, blow out pipes, clean hot tub shell and cover. After refilling you can use your hot tub safely once again.


Safety tips while cleaning a hot tub 

Before you start with the cleaning and draining routine, you should note these safety rules. Better be safe than sorry. 

1. Before draining water, make sure power to your hot tub is turned off.

It is a dangerous combination — water and electricity. Disconnect any electrical cords before draining. Besides safety reasons, having the hot tub connected to a power supply can damage the pump motor and filter mechanism, if the pump is turned on when there is no water.

2. Make sure you cover all exposed skin areas and put on safety goggles, chemical-resistant gloves when you clean a hot tub with chemicals. 

This safety tip applies especially to the process of shocking water since this involves a large number of chemicals. Chemicals which are strong enough to remove old dirt and scrum can easily damage your skin and cause eye irritation, while chemical vapour is bad for your respiratory system. 

3. Use cleaning products and chemicals made for hot tubs.

A typical mistake is to use cleaning products which are intended for house use (e.g. bleach, dish soap) or pools only. A lot of brands design cleaning products for both pools and hot tubs and this will be indicated on the package. So, before buying a product, check whether it can be used for hot tubs. Inappropriate cleaning products and chemicals can lead to health problems (rashes, allergy, throat, and eye irritation) and also damage your hot tub. 

4. Follow manufacturer guidelines for your hot tub and instructions for cleaning products, chemicals you use.

In the guidelines from the hot tub manufacturer, you will find information about the volume of your spa. This will determine the proper ratio of chemicals and cleaning products. To use the right amount, follow the instructions precisely. If products are too concentrated in your hot tub, this can cause rashes and allergic reactions. If the products are not concentrated enough, your hot tub will not be properly sanitised, which can lead to other health problems.

5. Do not mix different types of chemicals or cleaning solutions. 

Mixing completely different product types leads to unexpected combinations, which may affect both your health and your hot tub.

6. Thoroughly rinse off chemicals from pipes, filter, shell, and cover.

Filter and pipes should be clean at all times as water pours through them into the hot tub. The outside of the pipes should be free of any chemicals since even traces can reduce the hot tub’s water quality and cause problems like rashes. 


Shock a hot tub 

Water circulates after adding product for hot tub shocking
Source: Instagram


What you need

Chlorine shock  — if you shock with chlorine

Non-chlorine shock — if you shock with bromine

Chemical-resistant measuring cup

Test strips

Chemical-resistant gloves

Safety goggles 


How to shock a hot tub in six easy steps

1. Uncover hot tub. Keep it uncovered up to the end of shocking as shock needs to oxidize.
2. Test hot tub water. The recommended pH level is 7.2 – 7.8. If needed, adjust to a normal level. 
3. Put on gloves and goggles, and make sure there is no exposed skin.
4. Measure the required amount of shocking product (chlorine or non-chlorine) for your tub with a chemical-resistant measuring cup.
5. Carefully add shocking product (chlorine or non-chlorine) in the water. 
6. Circulate hot tub water for at least 30 minutes. 


How it works

Shocking is an important part of keeping the hot tub clean and getting rid of different types of contamination. Shocking is just a large dose of oxidizer. This cleaning procedure accomplishes three main goals: first, killing bacteria, which appear in hot tub water as a result of continuous hot tub usage — bathers leave contaminants from their bodies and the products they use. Second, allowing purge products to work more effectively.  Third, removing chloramines or bromamines (depending on your type of sanitizer).

If you don’t do shocking, it can result in biofilm formation, changed watercolour, white gunk formation on the water, and foul odour. These are all difficult to eliminate, so it’s better to prevent them. 

Chlorine vs Non-Chlorine shock 

There are two types of products to shock hot tub water. Each has its pros and cons, and so should be used according to the requirements of the specific case.

Chlorine Shock 

Chlorine is the most common oxidizer. It is very effective for dealing with bacteria and is one of the cheapest types of sanitizer.  

There are two types of chlorine for cleaning a hot tub: dichlor and trichlor. Dichlor contains 60% chlorine. It is good for home use, easy to clean with, and is safer than trichlor. Most chlorine shocking products are with dichlor. It can kill bacterias and organic compounds. 

Trichlor has 90% chlorine. It is used for dealing with serious algae problems. Trichlor requires great care and is used only in extreme cases after consulting with specialists. 

For a lot of people, the main disadvantage of chlorine is its odour. Chlorine is also dangerous to work with and requires wearing safety goggles and chemical-resistant gloves. A strong chlorine solution attacks the skin and can cause eye and lung irritation, so safety first is always the rule. 

Chlorine solution should be used once per week to get rid of bacteria. Keep in mind that, no matter how much chlorine you add, it will evaporate with time, so there is no point in adding extra chlorine to prolong water clearness. It’s better to stick to the cleaning schedule. Chlorine shock can be used regardless of your type of sanitizer — chlorine or bromine. 

Note: In storage, chlorine should be kept away from sunlight.

Non-Chlorine Shock

As an alternative to chlorine oxidizer, people often use bromine. The main advantage of bromine is that it lacks the strong odour of chlorine. It is also more stable at high temperatures. Bromine is effective in treating water clearness problems. If you use a bromine system, non-chlorine shocking will help to activate bromine and make it work better.  

The main disadvantage is that it does not kill bacteria as effectively as chlorine. 

Non-chlorine shocking product is perfect to use after each bathes in a hot tub. 


Cleaning pipes 

Hot tub pipes
Source: Instagram

The pipes are a concealed part of your hot tub. The purity of the water that comes into your hot tub depends on the cleanliness of the pipes. 

Pipes pollution can lead to problems with water, which may turn red-yellow or cause a foul odour. 

Bacteria are in the water in your hot tub, and the hot tub can become an ideal environment for germs such as Legionella and Pseudomonas to grow. These germs can cause  Legionnaires’ Disease, serious infections such as skin rashes, eye, and ear infections, or pneumonia. 

You should clean the pipes before draining hot tub water. 


What you need 

Flush line product 

How to flush the plumbing system step by step

1. Remove filter
2. If needed, adjust the water level, but do not drain it
3. Measure the required amount of flush line product relative to your hot tub’s volume
4. Add a hot tub flush line product into the spa water
5. Open diverter valves (if your hot tub model has this feature)
6. Run hot tub jets on high speed for 30 minutes or leave to circulate overnight at low speed

Note: Your hot tub will foam, which is okay. Flushing hot tub lines remove a large number of germs, biofilms, and organics. 

Typical mistakes 

Using vinegar instead of a flush line product.

Vinegar will not tackle bacterias and build-ups in the pipes. You will not be able to check whether a hot tub plumbing system is clear after using a concentrated vinegar solution. So we recommend using a product made for this purpose. 

Not knowing the hot tub volume. 

It is essential to check in the hot tub manual to know the volume capacity of your hot tub. This lets you calculate the correct ratio of chemicals to use. Since the pipes are hidden, you cannot see whether they are clean, so follow the product instructions and use the appropriate amount for your hot tub volume.


Draining a hot tub 

Draining with sump pump
Source: Instagram

Draining your hot tub is a must-do. The recommended frequency is once every three or four months. But everything depends on the water quality and how often you use your hot tub. 

Draining is quite an important procedure in your hot tub cleaning routine. When you do not change the water in the hot tub for a long time, it gets dirty and gunk may appear on the surface. It also becomes more difficult to balance the water, which gets hazy and makes the shell gritty.

Without draining water, you cannot clean the hot tub shell. Frequent usage leads to dirt accumulation on the shell’s walls and bottom. 


Necessary equipment  

Hosepipe 

Submersible Sump Pump  — if you want to drain water extremely quickly.


Where to drain water?

The right place to drain the water depends on where your hot tub is placed. If it is indoors, you probably have no choice but to use the city sewer system. 

If your hot tub is outdoors, you can drain the water out on the lawn, garden, and sewer systems. But, before pouring hot tub water on grass and plants, make sure the water is balanced using test strips

pH7.2 - 7.8
Total Alkalinity80-150 ppm
Calcium Hardness 150-400 ppm
TDS1500 ppm

If the water is not pH balanced, grass can turn yellow and plants may suffer. 

If your hot tub requires additional treatment because the water is at an extreme level of chlorine or bromine, you can run a garden hose in the sink at your house. 

NEVER drain hot tub water in the storm drain, because his water will flow into natural bodies of water and will damage the aquatic ecosystem. 


How to drain your hot tub using a hose

Garden hose
Source: Puffy Carrot


This is one of the cheapest ways to drain your hot tub. Using a hose is a good choice for owners of small hot tubs or for anyone who has enough time and need not hurry with draining. 

Do not try to speed up the draining process by using a hot tub pump. This means running the spa pump without any water, which can damage the pump.

The disadvantage of the hose method is that the water won’t drain completely. Some hard-to-reach places, like seats and footwells, will retain water.

Here are the six steps to drain the hot tub with a hose:

1. Turn off the circuit breaker that connects to the hot tub
2. Find a drain plug. Usually, it is located at the bottom of your hot tub, but it also can be in the corner.
3. Attach the hose. Make sure the hose is empty. If your hot tub model does not have its own attached hose, use the garden hose
4. Some hot tub models have two plugs — primary and auxiliary. First, open the primary plug to drain most of the water. Then open the auxiliary valve to remove water from plumbing.
5. Run the hose downhill or on level ground to the place where you are draining the water.
6. Open ball valve on the spigot and let water drain 


How to drain using pump-sump 

Sump pump
Source: All Sump Pumps


Pump-sump is the quickest way to drain your hot tub and takes approximately 10 minutes for medium-large hot tubs (depending on your hot tub’s size). This pump will drain all the water from your hot tub. It is a more expensive method and you must monitor the pump-sump while it drains water because, if the pump continues to run when there is no water in the hot tub, it can burn up the motor.

Pump-sump will be the perfect choice for owners of big hot tubs and for entrepreneurs who have a business connected with spas and hot tubs. 

1. Turn the power off at the circuit breaker. 
2. Connect a garden hose to the sump pump. 
3. Place the pump inside the hot tub at the deepest point. 
4. Run hose’s open end to the drain place.
5. Turn the pump on and let the water drain.
6. Once a hot tub is empty, turn off the pump.
7. Remove the pump from the hot tub and detach the hose.


Difficulties you may face

Changing hot tub water in winter. 

We would not recommend that you drain your hot tub in winter, as some water can stay in pipes and freeze, which will damage the pipes. 

Partial water change. 

This means draining off just half of the water and then refilling it. A partial water change is a good idea if the TDS is too high — this procedure will reduce it and helps to balance water. However, you should still do a full water draining quarterly. 

Note: If you are not going to use your hot tub for a long time, make sure to remove water from the pipes, since a new layer of germs can build up to the next use and it will be more difficult to get rid of them. 


Cleaning filter

Dirty hot tub filters
Source: Instagram

The filter is one of the most important elements of your hot tub. The filter blocks different contaminants, dirt, and germs, and ensures clear water fills your hot tub. The hot tub filter also prevents the pump from getting gunked up with contaminants.

The filter requires more attention than any other part of your hot tub. If you do not take proper care of it, your hot tub water will be of poor quality and will be contaminated with germs and water minerals which can cause health problems, water colour change, and hot tub shell pollution. 


How to locate  a filter

There are many different filters which may be placed at the side of the tub, under a filter lid or inside the filter canister. 

If you cannot find a filter, check the hot tub owner’s manual. If you do not have a manual, check the manufacturer’s website. 

When you found the filter, cut the power to your hot tub by switching off the circuit breaker. This is safer and avoids garbage getting into the pump. Once you have done this, you can remove the filter.  


What you need

Hosepipe

Cartridge cleaner  — for spaying filter

5-gallon bucket 

Filter soak product — for soaking the filter

Pre-filter — recommended for areas with “hard-water”; it will remove minerals from water.


How to clean filter  

There are three different methods to clean the filter, but each of them has to be applied at different times. Unless you follow these procedures, the filter will not function at maximum effectiveness.  

Rinse the filter with water

This is a pretty easy way to maintain your hot tub filter’s cleanliness weekly. This procedure will prolong the life of your filter and keep your hot tub a safe place. All you need is a garden hose and water.

1. Remove filter.
2. Gently rinse the filter with warm water.
3. Let it air-dry.
4. Insert filter.

Spray filter with cleaner

Once every month, you should use a light cleaning product on your filter. This will get rid of minor dirt. You should spray the filter with chemicals more often if you use the hot tub frequently. 

1. Remove filter.
2. Spray filter with the cleaning product.
3. Rinse with water to avoid cloudy water. 
4. Let it air-dry.
5. Insert filter. 

Soak filter in the filter deep cleaner

This is a necessary procedure when you drain hot tub water. It provides deep cleaning and gets rid of contaminants. 

1. Remove filter.
2. Fill a 5-gallon bucket with water.
3. Add filter soak product according to instruction.
4. Let it soak for at least 1 hour in hot water or overnight in the cold water.
5. Thoroughly rinse the filter with water.
6. Let it air-dry.
7. Insert filter. 


Typical mistakes

Not rinsing the filter properly. 

Once you’ve sprayed the filter with a cleaning product or soaked it in the filter deep cleaner, you should rinse it with clear water to avoid foamy water after refilling the hot tub.

Using a brush on the filter.

If you notice dirt on the filter, do not use the brush to get rid of it, as this can entrench the dirt. Instead, try stronger water pressure or chemicals. 

Not using a pre-filter

If you live in an area with hard water (water that contains a big amount of minerals), you should use pre-filter while refilling the hot tub. The main filter is not going to deal with minerals properly. Pre-filter will prevent minerals from coming into your hot tub. 

Not changing the filter. 

The filter needs to be replaced at least once a year. You will know it’s time once the filter is still dirty after soaking in the filter deep cleaner

Everything depends on the type of filter you use. We’ve listed four types which are most commonly utilized in hot tubs.

Filter typeDescription
Cartridge filter The most popular type. These filters are made of fabric, plastic.
Sand filter
It looks like a container filled with sand and is located outside of the hot tub. This sand pulls out dirt. This type of filter needs more frequent cleaning then any other.
Ceramic filterThis type of filter is made with a resilient ceramic. If you clean the filter regularly, it can last up to several years.
Diatomaceous Earth FilterMore earth friendly type of filter. It is made of crushed petrified bones and lasts for two to three years. Iit is the most expensive type of filter.


Cleaning hot tub cover

The cover needs urgent cleaning
Source: Instagram

It is important to clean your hot tub cover to avoid dirt build-up on it. Unless this is done, the bacteria from the cover will get into the hot tub water. So the hot tub cover will not be able to perform its primary function — protect water from outside contaminants. 

If you do not attend to the hot tub cover, bacteria will grow on the underside, causing mould and mildew growth which can cause foul odours. 


What you need

Hosepipe

Non-abrasive cloth 

Hot tub cover cleaner and conditioner 

Dry rag 


How to clean a hot tub cover in 8 steps

1. Remove the cover to prevent getting dirt and cleaning products inside the hot tub.
2. Wash off dirt and leaves from its surface with a hose.
3. Apply hot tub cover cleaner on the surface. 
4. To allow penetration let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
5. Clean it with a non-abrasive cloth
6. Rinse hot tub cover with water. 
7. Using a dry rag, wipe it off.  
8. Flip the cover over and repeat steps 1 to 7 on the bottom. 


Cleaning hot tub shell

Rinse shell with water after cleaning products
Source: Instagram

Every time you bathe in it, you come into contact with your hot tub’s surfaces. Dirt may build up in hard to reach places such as the footwell and jets.  The hot tub shell’s moist environment is favourable for bacterial growth, so it needs care. You are not always able to see this dirt but, when a hot tub is drained, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. 

For regular care of your hot tub, all you need is a light cleaning spray and a cloth. 

But once you notice strong buildups, you should use “heavy artillery” to scrub away the dirt. 


What you need 

For light cleaningFor hard cleanup
Hot tub cleaner spray
Hot tub cleaner
Non-abrasive clothNon-scratch nylon scrubber
HosepipeHosepipe


How to clean shell 

For planned light cleaning you should follow 3 easy steps:

1. Spray shell with hot tub cleaner spray.
2. Gently clean it with a non-abrasive cloth to avoid scrubber.
3. Rinse with water to avoid foaming. 

If your hot tub shell requires extra cleaning, then: 

1. Apply hot tub cleaner on its surface.
2. To get rid of hard dirt, use a non-scratch scrubber.
3. Let it dry for 10-15 minutes.
4. Rinse the hot tub shell with water.


Typical mistakes

Not paying attention to details.

Small lines and the jets may be overlooked while shell cleaning. But such tricky places can be the germs epicentre. Over time, this will harm your health and damage your hot tub.

Not rinsing the shell thoroughly with water. 

After using cleaning products, you should rinse the hot tub with water. If you don’t, you may get foaming water after refilling your hot tub. 

Miss cleaning the acrylic shell

Although acrylic shells are resistant to germ aggregation, this does not mean that you can miss planned cleaning. The only difference is that you can clean the shell with light or mid-strength cleaners. 


Refilling hot tub 

Hot tub ready to use 
Source: Instagram

Refilling is a pretty easy procedure to do before enjoying time in your hot tub, but there are still some tricky issues you should keep in mind. 

  • How to refill a hot tub in 10 steps

1. Make sure a breaker is still off.
2. Check jets (must be open). 
3. Stick the end of the hose into the filter compartment.
4. Turn on the spigot. At this stage, you can use pre-filter to fill the hot tub with the purest water.
5. Once the hot tub is filled with water, detach the hose.
6. Turn the spa breaker on.
7. Add sanitizer and chemicals (chlorine or bromine) in the water.
8. Test water and adjust if needed.
9. Let chemicals circulate for 12 hours.
10. Retest the water. 

  • Problems you may face

The jets don’t work.

This might be air trapped inside the plumbing, so the water is unable to run through pipes. 

To prevent this, refill the hot tub by putting a garden hose in the hot tub shell, use the method described above. 

If this happens, then make sure jets are open, turn them on for 15 seconds, and then turn them off. Do it several times and every time add several seconds up to 30-40 seconds until you see a blast of bubbles coming out of the jets. Keep the jets running until the bubbles disappear. 

You hear noises after turning on hot tub

This happens because of wrongly installed filters or improperly fortified catches. Turn off the hot tub and fix the problem. 


How to keep my hot tub crystal-clear for a long time?

Clear hot tub water
Source: Instagram

Cover hot tub when not in use

The hot tub cover is designed to protect your hot tub water from contaminants from the environment. Do not forget to cover the hot tub when you do not use it. It will not let leaves, dirt, tree sap to get into hot tub water. This is especially important in springtime when there is pollen everywhere.

Take a shower before hot tub bathing

During the day you use body lotions, cosmetics, body oils, and the particles will get into hot tub water. Dead skin cells can also get into the water. A quick shower and light scrubbing before your hot tub soak will keep your hot tub water free from bacteria. 

Do not go in a hot tub if you feel sick 

If you have diarrhoea, or you’ve been vomiting, or you have some cuts or skin abrasions, refrain from using your hot tub until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours. High temperatures can worsen your condition and microorganisms from your body will contaminate the water. 


Summary

Cleaning a hot tub may seem challenging: it requires knowledge of hot tub parts, it needs attention, sticking to rules, and discipline. But it is worth it. 

Cleaning is extremely important, as a dirty hot tub can cause health problems and damage your hot tub. If you want to avoid such problems, stick to a cleaning routine, and have happy bathing!


References 

1. Facts about hot tub rashes. — U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/pdf/swimming/resources/pseudomonas-factsheet_hot_tub_rash.pdf
2. Investigation of Spa Pools Associated with Lung Disorders Caused by Mycobacterium avium Complex in Immunocompetent Adults: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC492441/
3. Kandamuthan S., Thambi R., Yeshodharan J. Trichomoniasis: Is it always sexually transmitted? — US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4553853/
4. Outbreaks Associated with Treated Recreational Water — United States, 2000–2014: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6048947/ 
5. Puetz, J. D. Understanding Hot Water Chemistry. Retrieved from: https://www.apsp.org/Portals/0/PDFs/Advantis%20Spa%20Chemistry%20Book%20-%20ENGLISH.pdf
6. Residential Hot Tubs and Pools: Safe Water Quality (February, 2018) — HealthLink BC: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/sites/hlbcprox-prod.health.gov.bc.ca/files/documents/healthfiles/hfile27b.pdf
7. Spa Water Trouble. Retrieved from: https://vaughanpools.com/pdf-files/Spa%20Water%20trouble.pdf
8. Using the wrong hot tub chemicals can damage your hot tub! — The comfort zone: mobility aids & spas: https://albernicomfortzone.com/article/using-wrong-hot-tub-chemicals-can-damage-your-hot-tub
9. Your Disinfection Team: Chlorine & pH Protection Against Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs): fact sheet for pool staff/owners. — Healthy Swimming: https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/pdf/swimming/resources/disinfection-team-chlorine-ph-factsheet.pdf

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