How To Clean A Hot Tub: All The Steps You Need To Follow

Are you one of the luckiest who owns a hot tub? Whether you have a hot tub shelter under a gazebo or one in your bathroom, it is an excellent opportunity to relax after a long, tiring day. You fill it with bath salts and bath bombs and enjoy a home spa..

Hot tub with two glasses of champagne

However, if you want to keep enjoying the private spa, there are some important steps you need to take to keep it safe and clean. Like an enamel bath, a hot tub also needs cleaning. No worries, though, since you’ve got us by your side. Keep reading and find out how to clean a hot tube!

Why is it important to clean your hot tub?

Hot tub water can become a breeding ground for bacteria, germs and other harmful microorganisms, which can cause several health issues like:

  • Skin irritations
  • Rashes
  • Bacterial infections
  • Nausea (if ingested)

What’s more, beyond the health problems, dirty on the spa tub may affect its proper performance, and then you’ll have to pay a large amount of money on a hot tub service to repair it. 

How often should you clean your hot tub?

Your spa tub’s cleaning frequency depends on how often you use it and what you use to treat it. Keep in mind that the cleaning process and the frequency differ depending on your small pool’s different parts.

After each use

Every time you use the tub, clean the tidelines using a damp cloth. If there are any stubborn spots, you can use a tub scrubber to get rid of them.  Also, you have to check pH levels and sanitiser and adjust the chemicals to keep the water sanitised and clean. You have to check alkalinity, chlorine and bromine

Once a week

It’s a good idea to clean the filter once a week. Remove it and use special cleaning products to remove dust, debris and chemicals that shouldn’t be on the filter. Also, check the pH levels, and if there are lower than ideal levels, you have to shock the water by adding a high dose of sanitiser

Every three months

Every three months, you have to clean your tub thoroughly. Drain your hot tub and give it a thorough cleaning. Clean both sides of the tub and remove the filters to clean them too. Inspect the jets, pipes, and components for any damages and gunk. Use recommended hot tub cleaners for each part.

When you’ve finished cleaning, refill your clean hot tub with fresh water. Run the hose you use for a few minutes before placing it in the tub. This way, you ensure that no debris will get into the tub. To avoid any airlocks, add water through the filter. 

Young woman relaxing in the hot tub

Once a year 

Once a year, you should let the professionals inspect your tub. Schedule a tub service to check the tub and catch up on damages thoroughly. 

How to clean a hot tub?

Your spa tub consists of several different parts, which you have all of them to clean. 

Wash the pipes

Pipes are prone to accumulate dirt, bacteria and germ. To prevent any build-up and avoid transferring contaminants when you refill your tub with clean water, you must clean the pipelines before cleaning the hot tub’s rest. Get a line flush that you’ll find on pool supply stores. It’ll help remove all kinds of bacteria, mould, and other contaminants harmful to your health and your tub’s proper function. Run the tub for a while and add the flush. Read carefully the instructions labelled on the package as there are many different types of products. 

Turn off the power

Don’t forget to turn off the power. If the pump starts working with no water in the tub, it can damage the motor and the filtration system. 

Drain the tub

Usually, there’s a valve at the bottom of the tub or inside. If you aren’t sure where to look for the valve, check the manufacturer’s manual for more information. Just remember before doing anything, first to switch off the isolation valve. If it remains on, you run a significant risk to damage the pump motor and filtration system. During draining the water, the pump might think there’s no water and start supplying water in the tub.

Clean all the surfaces 

Once you empty the tub, it’s time to clean it. Use a damp cloth with a surface cleaner specially designed for spa tubs to wipe away dirt, debris and any deposits left on the surfaces. Also, these cleaners protect the tub’s shell from damages that other cleaners might do. 

Moisten the tub and then use a soft cloth to scrub the cleaner inside the tub. For any stubborn stains, you can also use a tub scrubber. 

You can use a mild, general-purpose bathroom cleaner if you have an acrylic hot tub shell. 

For even more in-depth cleaning, mix ¼ teaspoon of dichlor into 19 L of water.

Once you clean your tub, rinse well and wipe with an old towel. Any cleaner residue can affect the pH of the water and create a breeding ground for bacteria and mould. 

Clean the filters

Remove your filters to clean them thoroughly. You can usually find filters at an access panel or a cabinet around the pump. As soon as you have removed the filters:

hot tub filters on a wooden surface

  1. Wash the filters. Let them under running water to remove residue. Avoid brushing the filters. Bristles can push dirt deeper into the filter.
  2. Use a tub cleaner or a 50 ppm dichlor/water solution to clean the inside of your filter cabinet.
  3. Place your filter in an oil-cutting solution. All you need to know about making the solution is in the tub’s manual. If not so, you can ask at a pool supply store. They can give you the appropriate solution for your tub.
  4. Mix ¼ teaspoon of dichlor into 19 L of water to disinfect the filters. Chlorine will remove any grime left after applying the oil cutting solution.
  5. Put filters back in place. Be sure that everything is back in the right place and secure.

Clean the pillows and headrests

Bath pillows and headrests are intended to make the use of the jacuzzi more enjoyable and relaxing. But because they come in direct contact with the body and the hair, they accumulate dirt and body oils. Thus, they need to be cleaned as well. Their cleaning requires the use of just water and a cloth. Once you remove them, wipe both sides with the cloth soaked in water.

Clean the panels

Panels have electro-mechanical parts behind them, so you have to be careful while cleaning them to cause damage.  

Use a non-abrasive cloth and neutral detergent solution to wipe panels after rinsing them very well with a soft, damp cloth. 

Refill the tub 

To refill your tub, let the water flow through the filters into the lines and then into the reservoir of the tub. Fill the tub up to the designated water line. Once the tub is filled, turn the power on and let the tube run for a while. Meanwhile, listen to the pump/filter for any strange noises. 

As long as everything works fine, treat the water with the chemicals. You need to shock the water with a shocking agent, a sanitiser, and a pH balancer. Cover your tub afterwards and wait as long as required according to the loading instructions.

How to clean an inflatable hot tub?

Inflatable hot tubs are inexpensive and easier to set up than regular ones. Inflatable tubs are usually made of vinyl in a round shape. Air is pumped into the vinyl. Then it expands, creating a solid form. Like all hot tubs, inflatable also needs to be refilled with fresh water and thorough cleaning to be 100% safe and hygienic. But how can you clean your inflatable spa water?

an inflatable hot tub outdoor

1. Prepare the inflatable hot tub for cleaning

Before starting the cleaning process, make sure you turn off the power first. Then, you can drain your inflatable spa tub. The process is the same for all types. However, check the manufacturer’s guidelines first to be sure. 

  • Remove any debris, such as leaves, from the spa water using a spa net, your hands or a spa vacuum. Removing any large debris, you’ll ensure that nothing will block the drainage valve while emptying the water.
  • Once you have cleaned the water of debris, it’s time to disconnect the filter pump. Insert first any stopper plugs. Then, loosen the hose clamps and remove any debris screens from the inside.
  • Finally, you need to disconnect the hoses from the filter pump. Don’t forget to remove the filter housing and filter cartridges. Now, you can clean the filter using a garden hose. 2

2. Drain your inflatable hot tub

After cleaning the water and disconnecting the filter, you have to empty the tub. There’s a drainage valve at the bottom of the tub. First, attach a garden hose to the drainage valve and then unscrew or open the valve. This is so to prevent creating a paddle where the tub is located. 

Usually, hot tubs consist of a hose adaptor. Screw it onto the drainage valve and attach the garden hose to the adaptor. In case yours didn’t come with one or you have lost it, buy a new one from spa and pool stores.

NOTE: DON’T use the spa water to water your flowers. The water contains chemicals that can damage your flowers. 

3. Clean all the spa surfaces

Now that your tub is empty of water, you can clean the inside and outside surfaces

Cleaning the Outside surfaces

Stains and grime can easily be removed using just lukewarm water and a cloth, along of course, with some elbow grease from your side. 

To clean the outside of your hot tub, you’re going to need:

  • A spray bottle
  • Warm water
  • A soft cloth
  • Mild soap

Now, do as follows:

  1. Fill the spray bottle with warm water, spray the outer surfaces and wipe with a clean cloth. 
  2. If you want to remove any stubborn stains, dissolve a few mild soap drops in lukewarm water, wipe the stained area, and rinse very well with clean water

Cleaning the Inside Surfaces

 Cleaning the inside surfaces is a little trickier than the outside. You can still use lukewarm water and a soft, clean cloth, but there are more to look out for. You have to pay attention to the waterline, where dirt, oils, and chemicals usually build up

While you can’t clean the buildup with just lukewarm water, DON’T use any detergent or soap because the suds created by these products will get into the air bubble jets and the filter system resulting in foaming while using your spa tub. 

Thus, to clean the inside surfaces, use special tub surface cleaners. As a product differs, make sure you read the instructions carefully and learn how to use it. 

   Extra tip: In case you want to store the inflatable spa tub after cleaning it, ensure that it’s completely dry before storing. 

Note: Never use a scrubbing brush while cleaning either the outside or inside of your inflatable hot tub, as even the softest bristles can scratch the surface.

4. Clean the water filters

Water filters clean the water. So, keeping them clean should be your priority. You can either clean them once a  week using only water, or you can use an instant filter cleaner spray to clean them thoroughly once a month.

washing a hot tub filter

Quick cleaning

This way can’t clean grease and oil from the filter, but it can clean it from large debris. Let’s see how to do it.

  1. Turn off the tub and remove the filter.
  2. Use the hose to rinse all the sides of the pleats, up, down and inside.
  3. Now, you can place the filter back in place. If you can, let the filter dry first.

Instant filter cleaner

For even deep cleaning, this method is the best. You can perform this once from 14 days to once a month, depending on the usage. 

  1. Cut the power and remove the filters. 
  2. Rinse filters to remove any debris. 
  3. Spray the filters with an instant cleaner and let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Use a soft brush to remove any impurities.
  5. Rinse the filters thoroughly and let them dry.
  6. Finally, place them back in place. 

Filter soak

This is the most thorough but also the slowest cleaning method. This method allows the solution to enter deep into the filter’s pleats and remove dirt and bacteria. 

  1. Cut the power and remove the filters. 
  2. Rinse filters to remove any debris. 
  3. Fill a bucket with the filters soak solution and let the filters soak for at least 8 hours
  4. Rinse, afterwards, the filters thoroughly and let them dry before placing them back in place. 
  5. Put the filters back in place. 

5. Clean your portable spa cushions and headrest

Cushions and headrests in a spa tub are necessary accessories to achieve maximum enjoyment and relaxation. But you have to clean them too, unfortunately! Let’s see how to clean them.

bath pillows in a hot tub

  1. Remove the cushions and the headrests and place them on the ground.
  2. Mix in a bowl a few drops of mild detergent and water.
  3. Soak a soft, clean cloth in the soapy water and scrub the cushions and headrests. Scrub both sides to remove body and hair oils. If you can’t get rid of these stains with soapy water, you can use a spa cleaner.
  4. Finally, rinse very well and place them back in place.

6. Clean the lid

I hope you have a lid or a protectant! If you don’t, get one ASAP; if you have, though, you have to clean it, focusing on the underside

Whenever you use the tub and then put the lid in, the hot water’s steam is trapped by the cover. The vapour becomes droplets consisting of chemicals and traces from body oils from the water gathered under the lid, forming a thin layer on the lid’s surface. The next time you use the spa tub, the steam will rise again and moisten the dried chemicals and oils, which will fall back into the water. 

To clean the cover, you can use lukewarm water and a solution.  But you can also use a spa surface cleaner. Whichever you use to wash the lid, rinse it very well with clean water and put it back in place. 

You can use a protectant that protects it from stains, discolouration, direct sunlight and from cracking. 

Frequently asked questions

1. Can I use bleach to clean my spa tub?

No! Bleach and other household and DIY cleaning products can damage your hot tub. You should always use special products and chemicals recommended for that purpose. All other products can cause fizzing and disrupt the balance of pH in the water.

2. Can I use vinegar to clean my spa tub?

Nope! Vinegar and other household products can alter the pH balance in the water. You should use only products designed for cleaning your hot tub and are suggested by the experts and the manufacturers.

3. Why is the spa tub’s water cloudy?  

Soap and other fine particles which a filter can’t trap are usually the main reasons for cloudy water. It’s suggested that you use water clarifiers which are flocculant, to help the filter trap clumping of particles. After using these products, clean your filter thoroughly and replace them when needed. 

4. Why is the tub’s water green?

If the water is green and has a strange smell, algae is the cause. Algae forms in hot tubs due to the imbalance of pH of the water or if there isn’t bromine and chlorine enough. What’s more, you should cover the tub because sunlight helps algae develop and grow. Thus, make sure you use the needed sanitisation chemicals and a hot tub cover to protect it from the sunlight. 

5. Why is there foam in my spa tub?

Foaming can be caused due to low water balance, soaps, detergents, oils, lotions and biofilm accumulation and brought into the tub while using it. To prevent fizzing, you have to use no foam products to clean the pollutants’ water that causes the problem. You regularly check the water’s pH and if the percentages of the chemicals (chlorine and bromine) are in the right proportion. 

6. How often should I change the water in my hot tub?

It is recommended to change the water every three months. But that it differs according to the usage and the sanitation products someone uses. However, the experts suggest changing the water from once a month to every three months to maintain water quality.

7. Should I clean my tub’s filter?

The hot tub filter is probably the most important part of your jacuzzi, as it traps particles and debris from your hot tub water. Make sure you clean the filters regularly to remove dust and debris and prevent building up. If you don’t clean it, the filter won’t work correctly, and there’s a great risk of water flow errors. Schedule clean and check the filters once a week and use the proper filter cleaner

8. Can I refill my hot tub with hot water?

No! You can’t use hot water. In fact, refilling your tub with water hotter than 40°C can damage thy acrylic material of your spa tub. Thus, if you think you can fill it with hot water and use it right after, you better reconsider it. Many hot tub owners fit a hot/cold bid tap outside to check and regular the water’s temperature.

a man relaxing in his clean hot tub

Being a hot tub owner requires a lot of your free time to clean and maintain your spa. It might be time-consuming, but it’s a necessary process for your well-being and your tub’s good working efficiency. Follow these simple steps and give your hot tub a good cleaning every time is needed.

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