When you have a hot tub, particularly if it is outdoors in your yard, inevitably sand, sediment and other debris will be carried into the water on people’s feet. It will then end up on the bottom and collect in the seats where it will settle. So how do you remove it?
There are a number of ways to remove sand and dirt from the bottom of a hot tub or spa ranging from quick to labor intensive, high tech to low tech and from the obvious to the surprising.
Why is there sand in my hot tub?
There are two main ways that sand can get into a hot tub:
- When bathers get in the hot tub, particularly if it is located in a yard rather than indoors, then there is a good chance that they may pick up sand on their feet which then comes off into the hot tub’s water.
- On a windy day, particularly if you live in a sandy area, sand can get blown about and end up in the hot tub while it is being used or if the hot tub cover is left off whne not being used.
How to get sand out of a hot tub
Sand is relatively dense, so even when the hot tub jets are running on full power, the sand does not move around in the water. Therefore it doesn’t get trapped in the pool filter as smaller, lighter particles of dirt would. Instead, all the sand just congregates on the bottom of the hot tub and also in the low points of the seats and loungers.
These are my suggestions of the best of the many methods you can use.
1. Drain and clean
Since you will need to drain, clean and refill your hot tub every now and again, if it has been a while since you have done a water change then it may be an ideal time for draining it and remove the sand once it is empty.
There are a number of methods to empty a hot tub which is covered in my post – How to Drain a Hot Tub
2. Specialist Hot tub vacuum/spa vacuum
There are a number of good and easy to use hand-held vacuums on the market that have been developed for the spa industry for use in hot tubs to remove debris using suction. These are my top picks available quite cheaply on Amazon:
Intex Rechargeable Spa Vacuum
The Intex 28620EP Handheld Rechargeable Spa Pool Vacuum is highly rated device for spa cleaning and comes with extension poles so you can easily reach the bottom of the hot tub to remove debris.
The Grit-Gitter Hot Tub and Spa Vacuum Cleaner for Spot Cleaning Sand and Dirt from Pool Blaster is purpose built to remove sand and grit from a hot tub or spa.
3. Siphon using a hose
Using a garden hose was the method I used most of the time with my first hot tub. It was also the way I drained it too.
How to siphon the sand out:
- Put one end of a garden hose (or some other tube) into the hot tub
- The bottom of the hose may start to float so I actually had a small metal weight I used to tie to that end of the hose to keep it down at the bottom of the foot well. You could get someone to hold it at the bottom too.
- Run out the hose to a convenient area of the garden where the water can drain out or into a sewage input/drain. As you will not remove too much water you can also use a bucket to catch the water. (Make sure the end of the hose is below the level of the other end in the tub otherwise the siphon effect will not begin).
- Suck on the hose to get the water flowing but make sure you do not raise it above the other end.
- Move the end of the hose gently around where the debris has settled and it will be sucked up.
- When you have removed it all just lift the hose out.
4. Spa wand
If you don’t feel like sucking on a hose to start the siphon (so you won’t get a mouthful of dirty water) then you can buy a self-starting siphon hose (spa wand) which, as well as being used to empty a hot tub, can also be used as a hot tub vacuum to remove dirt and other heavy debris.
The Shake-a-Vac Spa & Pool Water Vacuum & Self-Starting Siphon Drain for Hot Tubs shown below is available on Amazon.
5. Pool vacuum
If you have a swimming pool that is close to the hot tub then you may be able to use this method.
Fortunately, my hot tub is right next to my pool so a few times I have used the pool’s pump system to remove sand and also to drain the hot tub (very quickly).
To do this:
- connect your pool hose to the skimmer port (or dedicated vacuum port)
- turn the multiport valve to waste (as you do not want the sand ending up in your pool)
- switch on the pump with the other end of the hose in the hot tub
- quickly move the hose around the bottom and the seats if there is sand on them too
Water will be removed very quickly so you will need to work fast. You will have to top up the water level and this will then need to heat up.
6. Shop vac
Some types of vacuum cleaners can be used to pump water. These are normally known as either a shop vac or wet/dry vacuum.
You can use one of these to suck up the sand from the bottom. Just push the hose down into the hot tub and suck up the sediment as you would when vacuuming your home. Pump the water into a convenient drain if there is one nearby.
Tip: You should work quite quickly as the water level will drop quickly when cleaning this way.
7. Water blaster for kids
Many children will already own a pool toy like these, particularly if you own a swimming pool, as they provide kids with lots of fun. They can also be used to suck up sand and grit from a hot tub.
You just put the bottom of the water blaster immediately over the sand and then quickly pull the handle up to draw in the water. The sand will get sucked up too so it can then be squirted out with the water outside the hot tub.
If your hot tub is indoors you had better keep these away from your children though as the floor is likely to get soaked.
You can buy a 6-pack of these Max Liquidator Water Blaster from Amazon.
8. Turkey baster
Many people will have a turkey baster in their kitchen which they use at Thanksgiving to baste the turkey while it is cooking.
Since they can suck up oil and fat they can also be used to to the same with water from a hot tub and any sand there may be with it.
9. Silly putty
This is probably the strangest method to remove sand but it is low cost and it works.
Silly putty will work underwater so borrow some from your children, push it onto the sand and then it will stick to the putty. Just rub the sand off and repeat until all of the sand and small pieces of dirt have gone. Easy!
How to prevent sand getting in
If you live in a windy, sandy area then there is little you can do except to keep the hot tub cover on as much as possible.
Probably the easiest way to prevent it from getting in on bathers’ feet is to have a bowl of water next to your hot tub and get bathers to stand in it before getting into the spa. This will get rid of any debris on their feet that will remain in the bowl.
Hot Tub Maintenance Course
I bought this course some months after I bought my first hot tub and was struggling with maintaining it. It was money very well spent and it has paid for itself many times over the years.