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Cleaning your hot tub

Hot tubs are great to relax in, but you shouldn’t be lax about their cleaning and maintenance. It’s essential to learn how to clean a hot tub, not just so that it looks good, but to keep the water safe and hygienic for use. 

You should empty your hot tub and refill it with fresh water once every one to four months, depending on size and usage, which gives you a great opportunity to deep clean it. 

How to clean hot tub pipes and jets

Before you empty the water from your hot tub, use a hot tub cleaner for plumbing and jets to clean the interior workings. These cleaning products come in either powder or liquid form and you must run them through the system mixed with water before emptying the water and refilling the tub. This is why it’s the first step in the cleaning process.

For hot tubs with internal cleaning systems, add the cleaner to the system and run it. For hot tubs without internal cleaning systems, add the cleaner to the tub and run the jets to circulate it through the plumbing system. See the package for exact instructions, as it varies between products. Once the cleaning cycle finishes, turn your tub off at the breaker and empty the water from it.

How to clean the tub and shell of your hot tub

MR.SIGA Non-Scratch Cellulose Scrub Sponge

With your hot tub empty, now’s your chance to give the interior of your hot tub a thorough clean. Although other household cleaners you can safely use on a hot tub, we’d recommend sticking with hot tub surface cleaners. These are explicitly designed with hot tubs in mind and won’t damage their surfaces.

Apply the cleaner and scrub with a sponge or cloth to remove grime and mineral deposits. Depending on the hot tub’s surface, it may or may not be safe to use a scourer to scrub away dirt. A sponge with a non-scratch scourer should be fine on most surfaces, but you should avoid more heavy-duty scourers unless otherwise stated by the hot tub manufacturer. You can take this time to also clean the outer shell of the hot tub, though it shouldn’t be as dirty as the interior.

How to clean hot tub filters

All hot tubs have mechanical filters to catch most dirt and other debris as the water circulates through the system. While your hot tub’s still empty, take the time to clean the filter. If you’re unsure where the filter is located, consult the manual that came with your hot tub. Once you’ve found it, remove the filter and rinse out all the debris from it using a hose with a high-pressure nozzle.

Pay attention to the area between the pleats where dirt can get trapped. If your filter is damaged or looking heavily worn, you can buy replacement filters, but these vary between hot tub makes and models. Once you’ve put the filter back in the tub, you can refill it with clean water and switch it back on at the breaker.

How to clean the water in your hot tub

SpaGuard Spa Water Clarifier - 1 Pint

As well as physically cleaning your tub, it’s essential to keep the water clean. The filter catches larger pieces of dirt and debris, but it doesn’t tackle bacteria and the water can still get cloudy from tiny particles of dirt. You need to use a product to sanitize your water.

Most people use chlorine because it’s readily available and cost-effective, but you can also use bromine. Plus, some hot tubs come with salt sanitizing systems. Although these products sanitize the water, they don’t always clarify it, so you may want to use a hot tub water clarifier in addition to sanitizer if the water in your tub tends to get cloudy.

What you need to buy to clean a hot tub

Ahh-Some Hot Tub Cleaner

Ahh-Some Hot Tub Cleaner

This cleaning product cleans the plumbing and jets of your hot tub. It comes in powdered form with enough in a pack to rub four cleaning cycles on your hot tub.

Sold by Amazon

Quick N Brite Heavy Duty Hot Tub Cleaner

Quick N Brite Heavy Duty Hot Tub Cleaner

This is a heavy-duty hot tub cleaner for the interior and exterior surfaces of your tub. It’s strong enough to eliminate mineral deposits, grease and other tough grime but is biodegradable and non-toxic.

Sold by Amazon

Leisure Time Spa 56 Chlorinating Granules for Hot Tubs

Leisure Time Spa 56 Chlorinating Granules for Hot Tubs

These chlorine granules sanitize the water in hot tubs. They work effectively, leaving your hot tub water sparkling clean and hygienic.

Sold by Amazon


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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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