Hot Tubs & SaunasPool Tips & GuidesTips & Guides

How To Clean A Hot Tub?

Although the chemicals in your water help to keep things hygienic, there is always a time where you need to know how to clean a hot tub properly. Not only will this ensure the spa is safe to use, but it will generally be a more pleasant place to sit and relax. This is going to be especially important when the tub is being used more frequently and when more guests are popping in to enjoy a bubbly soak.

Because of this, we are going to take an in-depth look at the best way to clean a hot tub, to ensure that a dip next to the jets is always tempting.

How Often Should I Clean My Hot Tub?

There are a lot of factors that determine the right time to clean the spa but mainly it will be down to its size, the brand, its use, and type and amount of chemicals used. Also, the time since its last clean will be important. If the water is green then this can be caused by algae. This will make the water unsafe and usually happens when cleaning and checking and adding chemicals has been neglected for a while. This means it is time to shock the water. Usually, a large dose of chlorine (or bromine) will suffice. Leave it longer than usual before using the hot tub again.

There are different types of cleaning that must be done at different times, and it’s best to start with after each use:

After Using The Hot Tub

Scrub the tide lines to get rid of any unsightly stains that are forming. This should be easily done with a rag or cloth and when done every time, the next time will be easier. This is also the best time to give the chemical levels a check so make sure the pH and chlorine are at the level it should be.

Weekly Cleaning

Designate a day per week to check and clean the filter. This will help keep the water clear and hygienic, and will also protect many of the other working parts when water can flow as it should. This is another time where checking the pH and chlorine (or bromine) levels are optimal. Add the required amount as per the reading.

Every Few Months

After months of use, here are other working parts that require a little TLC. This is where you will need to clean the pipes with a designated cleaner designed for pipes but also drain the pool. This takes a little know-how the first time, but it is easy once you have done it. Once drained, it is possible to give the inner shell a proper scrub and wash and refill the tub with clean water. This should keep the tub going for another few months before it needs to be done again.

Once A Year

A yearly service is always a good idea, especially if you have invested a fair bit of money into a quality hot tub. To make sure the spa is operating as it should be, and to prolong its lifespan, an expert will be able to evaluate its condition and help to improve it where necessary.

How To Clean A Hot Tub Safely

Before you get started, it is always vitally important to know how to clean it safely. Here are some tips to remember.

  • Always be sure to switch the hot tub off before undertaking any cleaning, draining, or other tasks.
  • Consult the user manual for the brand and model as each hot tub has different intricacies that require a unique approach.
  • Only use cleaning products designed to be used with hot tubs. The pH balance of some products will damage the lining or other surface areas. Repairs are costly!
  • Don’t re-use clothes before they have been washed.
  • Keep all cleaning products out of reach of children and pets
  • Clean the hot tub in good weather
  • When using cleaning products, wear gloves and appropriate clothing
  • Always wash your hands after coming into contact with cleaning products
  • Do not use the hot tub until it is refilled and the chemicals have had time to settle and mix

How To Clean A Hot Tub?

So, you know when the hot tub needs your attention, but just how do you clean it? Again, there are different parts for each stage.

The Piping

There can be a lot of bacteria and dirt, even sludge forming in the piping of a hot tub so it is always a good idea to flush them before cleaning the tub. This way, the water that is traveling in and out will be cleaner.

Opt for a quality line flush brand and following the instructions on the container. Each will be different so there is no one size fits all here. Check to see how frequently the brand recommends cleaning the pipes, although most experts advise cleaning them out once or twice a year. Combine this with draining the tub as this will need to be done after.

Drain The Hot Tub

Before starting to drain the hot tub, always turn it off first. This ensures that it is not only safe for the person cleaning but will also prevent the tub from activating the pumps and jets when there is not enough water to push, damaging the internal parts. This could impact everything from the filter to the motor and result in costly repairs.

There are two main methods for draining a hot tub, one involves using the hot tub valves (follow the user manual for the model you have closely to ensure this is an option, and if so, done correctly). The other is by using a submersible pump. Arguably the easier option and faster when using a quality product. They can also be hired rather than purchased so you can spread the cost.

For further information, please refer to our article on how to drain a hot tub here.

Clean The Hot Tub

Once drained, the hot tub can be cleaned properly. There should be some debris at the bottom as well as sediment. This is easily mopped up and can also be cleaned with old towels. There may be some blemishes that require scrubbing and this can be done with a surface cleaner but be mindful about what you use as many regular household products are not suitable for the surface area of a hot tub.

If you are unsure about what will and what will not damage the shell of your hot tub then remember to consult the user manual. After you have managed to get the shell looking in top condition, it is time to move onto the pillows. Cleaning this requires a different approach. Remove them before cleaning as this will give you the chance to clean the area around where they rest.

It should only take a light scrub and some clean water to lift any stains and the more frequently this is done, the easier it will be. Next, clean the panels of the hot tub to make sure it looks good inside and out. It is possible to get hold of neutral cleaners which will ensure it looks its best without compromising or damaging the surface. Take care cleaning these parts as they are around the area where moving parts, potentially electricals, can be damaged by a strong spritz from a hose. Rinse the filter as well.

Cleaning A Hot Tub Cover

Next up is the cover. Although a bit of elbow grease can go a long way here, some tools can help take some of the strain. Using a hose, especially on a high powered setting, you can remove a lot of the debris that comes from being placed under or near trees. The trusty cloth and water method will again be used here. If necessary, use a designated cleaner. There are products designed especially for hot tub covers. Make sure they are compatible with the material.

Refill The Hot Tub

After it is clean as a whistle, it is time to refill. This is easily done by connecting a hosepipe to the filter unit. Consult the user manual to ensure as each model can require different methods. Never leave a refilling hot tub unattended of course and only once the water level rises above the fill line should you stop. When it is filled adequately, it is time to test the water for pH and chlorine levels and add as required.

After the chemicals have had a chance to settle, the sparkling hot tub is ready to be used again.

How Often Should I Change The Water In A Hot Tub?

Most advice says it should be drained and refilled every 3-4 months. This can vary slightly depending on how frequently it is used, the model, and the level of Maintainance between refilling. Some sources believe it should be done more frequently to ensure the water is always as hygienic as possible but for a lot of circumstances, every 3 months is fine.

Can I Use Any Cleaner On A Hot Tub?

The short answer is no. It is always best to use specialist hot tub cleaners as the pH balance of anything else might damage the lining and materials. The same goes for bleach products. This is especially the case when cleaning a hot tub without draining. Any spot scrubbing on the waterline should not be done with the use of chemicals as this can disrupt the balance in the water and make it unsafe.

What To Do If The Water Is Cloudy In A Hot Tub?

This isn’t uncommon so don’t fret. It is usually as a result of soap left in the water as the filter can’t move it along. Using a flocculant designed for hot tubs will help ensure the filter can separate the particles from the water to leave you with a hot tub that looks clean and is always tempting.

The same can be said of foam although this is generally down to cleaning products. It could occur even when using hot tub cleaning products. The first thing to do is check on the pH and chlorine levels and try and balance them. If it is pollutants causing this problem, some products can help to remove them.

Do I Need To Clean The Filter?

This is always a good idea and should be done as often as possible. To ensure the proper filtration of the pollutants, the filter needs to be as clean as possible. If your hot tub is not cleaning as well as it normally does, the filter is a good place to check first. Doing this weekly when you check and add the chemicals is good practice.

Spray the filters with a hose, but not on a high setting so that it prevents the cartridge from damage. There are filter cleaning products available that can help but these should be used every couple of months. Replacing the filters should be done every two to three years, or when there is noticeable damage.

Can I Use A Natural Cleaner?

Every product that is not a designated hot tub cleaner is going to be a risk, even natural products. Things you might find in the cupboard that can be tempting include the likes of vinegar, but again, this is not a good idea. It is especially not a good idea if spot cleaning without draining as it will throw the pH levels out of balance.


It is easy to clean a hot tub but there are some important things to remember. Staying safe is the key, and the practice itself will ensure that the water can be enjoyed safely. Anyone who has invested in a hot tub for years will know that proper maintenance will ensure it can still be used and enjoyed for many more. Let’s put it this way, you wouldn’t want to get into a dirty bath, so treat your hot tub with the same care and enjoy the benefits.

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