How to Clean a Hot Tub: Easy & Effective Steps




Owning a hot tub is a fantastic way to unwind after a long day, entertain guests, or simply enjoy some time for yourself. However, it’s crucial that you know how to clean a hot tub to ensure it remains safe and enjoyable to use.

Performing regular maintenance and following a cleaning schedule is key to extending the life of your hot tub and preventing the buildup of bacteria and other contaminants.

This article will guide you through the process of cleaning your hot tub properly, from draining and refilling to maintaining its accessories and components.

How to Clean a Hot Tub

Key Takeaways

  • Prepare your hot tub properly before cleaning by turning off the power and gathering necessary supplies
  • Maintain a regular cleaning schedule for various hot tub components, such as the shell and filter
  • Prioritize routine maintenance to prolong the lifespan of your hot tub and ensure its cleanliness

Preparing for Cleaning

Before you begin cleaning your hot tub, there are a few important steps to ensure a safe and effective process.

Power Off Hot Tub

First, make sure to power off your hot tub to prevent any electrical accidents or damages. Locate the power switch, which is usually nearby the hot tub, and turn it off.

This will help keep you safe while cleaning and protect your hot tub equipment.

Check the Circuit Breaker

Next, head to the circuit breaker panel in your home or the one designated specifically for your hot tub. Double-check that the breaker corresponding to the hot tub is in the “off” position.

This extra step ensures that no power is being supplied to the hot tub while you are cleaning it.

With these precautions in place, you are now ready to proceed with the cleaning process. Remember to work carefully and methodically, and your hot tub will be sparkling clean in no time.

How to Clean a Hot Tub – Step by Step

Drain the Water

Before cleaning your hot tub, you need to drain the water.

You can use a garden hose to drain the water by creating a siphon, by opening the drain valve if your hot tub has one, using a submersible pump or using a wet/dry vacuum.

Inevitably there will be an inch of water left in the bottom which you will have to remove manually. I normally use a small container and a sponge which I empty into a bucket.

Once the water is drained, use clean rags and a spa shell cleaner to clean as necessary while the hot tub is empty.

Read: How to Drain a Hot Tub – Four Easy Ways

Remove Debris and Grime

Before you start cleaning the spa shell, make sure to remove any debris or grime that might be present. You can use a soft cloth or sponge to gently wipe the interior surfaces of your hot tub. Don’t forget to wear gloves to protect your hands from any chemicals or residues that might be present.

Clean the Spa Shell

Now that you’ve removed debris and grime, it’s time to clean the spa shell! To clean your hot tub shell, use a mixture of equal parts distilled white vinegar and water, or a product made specifically for spa acrylic shells. Such cleaners are available at your local hot tub dealer.

Spray the cleaning solution onto the shell, focusing on areas with obvious staining or buildup. Use a soft cloth to gently wipe the surface, taking care not to scratch the acrylic. Be sure to clean all parts of the hot tub, including the control panel, pillows, and skirt.

While cleaning the hot tub shell, make sure to:

  • Use a soft cloth: Avoid abrasive materials that could scratch or damage the acrylic.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals: Stick to vinegar and water, or cleaners specifically designed for hot tubs.
  • Pay attention to detail: Don’t forget to clean around the jets and other hard-to-reach areas.

Quick N Brite Heavy-Duty Hot Tub Cleaner with Sponge and Cloth, 32 Ounces

Quick N Brite Heavy Duty Hot Tub Cleaner with Sponge and Cloth

Use the natural cleaning power of coconut oils, cleans & degreases almost any surface. Non-toxic and pH safe.

Remove Filter Cartridges

First, make sure to turn off the main power to the hot tub. Carefully remove the filter cartridges from their housing.

This step may vary depending on your hot tub model, so consult your user manual for specific instructions on how to remove the filters.

how to remove hot tub filter

Clean Filters with a Solution

You can create an effective cleaning solution using household items like white vinegar or baking soda.

  • White Vinegar Solution: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a bucket or container large enough to accommodate the filter cartridges. Soak the filters for 2-4 hours, allowing the vinegar to break down and loosen the contaminants.
  • Baking Soda Solution: Dissolve about 1/4 cup of baking soda in warm water and pour it into a suitable container. Soak the filter cartridges for a similar duration as with the vinegar solution.

Remember not to use bleach or laundry detergents, as these can damage your filters.

Alternatively, you can purchase a specialized filter cleaner such as the one below.

Black Diamond Stoneworks Ultimate Spa Filter Cleaner Fast-Acting Spray. Works Instantly on Hot Tub & Pool Filters Leaving Behind no Sticky Residue. Prolongs Filter Life and Pool Equipment. No Soaking

Black Diamond Stoneworks Ultimate Spa Filter Cleaner

Works Instantly on Hot Tub & Pool Filters Leaving Behind no Sticky Residue. Prolongs Filter Life and Pool Equipment. No Soaking.

Rinse and Replace Filters

Once the filters have soaked, use a garden hose to thoroughly rinse them, ensuring all cleaning solutions and debris are washed away.

Allow the filters to dry before reinstalling them in the hot tub. It’s important to maintain this routine weekly or as per your manufacturer’s recommendations.

Refill with Fresh Water

Now that the water is drained and the hot tub cleaned, it’s time to refill it with fresh water. Follow these steps:

  1. Fill the hot tub using a clean garden hose, ensuring the water flow isn’t obstructed.
  2. As the water fills, check for leaks or issues with the hot tub.
  3. Make sure to keep an eye on the level as it is easy to overfill.

When the hot tub is full, turn the power back on and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on balancing the water’s chemistry and temperature.

Once the water is back up to temperature it is ready to use!

Read: Should Jets Be on When Heating Hot Tub? Heat Hot Tub Faster

Cleaning Hot Tub Accessories

Clean Hot Tub Pillows

Hot tub pillows can accumulate dirt, oil, and grime due to continuous usage. To keep your hot tub experience enjoyable, follow these simple steps to clean hot tub pillows:

  1. Remove the pillows: Carefully detach the pillows from the hot tub.
  2. Prepare a gentle cleaning solution: Mix a mild detergent or soap with warm water.
  3. Wipe the pillows: Use a soft cloth or sponge to clean the pillows with the solution. Avoid scrubbing aggressively as it can damage the material.
  4. Rinse and dry: Thoroughly rinse the pillows with clean water and allow them to air dry before reattaching them to the hot tub.

Remember to clean your hot tub pillows at least every two to three months or more frequently if you use your hot tub often.

Maintain Control Panel

The control panel is an important component of your hot tub, so it’s essential to keep it clean and functional. Here’s how to maintain your hot tub’s control panel:

  1. Switch off the hot tub: Before you start, ensure the hot tub is turned off and disconnected from any power source.
  2. Wipe the surface: Gently clean the control panel using a soft, damp cloth.
  3. Clean the buttons: To get rid of any dirt buildup in the buttons, use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Carefully clean around each button to avoid damaging the electronics.
  4. Inspect for any damages: Regularly check for any signs of wear, corrosion, or damage, and seek professional help if necessary.

By following these steps, you can ensure your hot tub controls remain functional and easy to use.

Maintaining Hot Tub Components

Clean the Jets and Pipes

To maintain the longevity of your hot tub, it’s essential to clean the jets and pipes regularly.

Start by adding a hot tub cleaner or line flush product to the water, following the manufacturer’s instructions. This will help break down any built-up grime and contaminants within the jets and pipes.

Oh Yuk Healthy Hot Tub Cleaner, The Most Effective Hot Tub Cleaner for Indoor and Outdoor Hot Tubs and Spas - 16 Ounces

Oh Yuk Healthy Hot Tub Cleaner

Improves water and clarity by removing hidden Yuk from your hot tub’s plumbing

Next, drain your hot tub and use a soft brush or cloth to gently scrub the jets, removing any visible debris. Be sure to also clean any accessible parts of the plumbing system.

Once you’re done, refill your hot tub and add an appropriate amount of shock treatment to ensure a safe and clean soaking environment.

Clean the Hot Tub Cover

Particularly if your hot tub is outside, you will need to know how to clean a hot tub cover.

You should wipe the cover down regularly with a suitable cleaning product. The Quick N Brite Hot Tub Cleaner shown above is suitable for this task.

Check the seams for signs of wear and pay particular attention to the stitching. If you see any problems fix them immediately as they can deteriorate rapidly.

Read: How Long Do Hot Tub Covers Last?

Keep an Optimal Water Temperature

Maintaining an optimal water temperature is critical for your hot tub’s performance and energy efficiency. Typically, the ideal temperature range for a hot tub is between 100°F to 104°F (38°C to 40°C).

However, you may need to adjust the temperature depending on your personal comfort level, location, and climate.

To keep your hot tub’s temperature consistent:

  • Regularly check the water temperature and adjust accordingly.
  • Use a high-quality, well-insulated cover to minimize heat loss.
  • Monitor and adjust your hot tub’s filtration and circulation settings as necessary.
  • Keep an eye on the water level and top it off as required.

Regular Maintenance and Cleaning Schedule

Perform Weekly Checks

To keep your hot tub clean and maintain an enjoyable experience, it’s essential to establish a regular maintenance and cleaning schedule. By performing these tasks weekly, you’ll help prevent the buildup of debris, bacteria, mold, and mildew.

Every week, you should:

  • Check and adjust water chemistry: Test your hot tub’s chemical levels, such as sanitizer (chlorine or bromine), pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Adjust them as necessary to keep everything within the recommended range for a comfortable and safe hot tub experience.
  • Remove debris: Use a skimmer or a spa vacuum to remove leaves, dirt, and other contaminants from your hot tub’s water. This will help to maintain the cleanliness of your jacuzzi and reduce the chances of developing biofilm.
  • Wipe down surfaces: Regularly cleaning the exposed surfaces of your hot tub using a spa-friendly cleaner can help prevent the buildup of grime and bacteria. Pay close attention to the waterline, where residue can accumulate over time.

Deep Clean Quarterly

In addition to your weekly maintenance checks, it’s crucial to deep clean your hot tub on a quarterly basis. This involves:

  • Draining and refilling: Fully drain the water from your hot tub to provide access to areas that are more difficult to reach during your weekly cleaning. Thoroughly clean your hot tub’s interior and exterior, paying special attention to the spa shell which may gather buildup over time.
  • Clean or replace filters: Inspect the hot tub’s cartridge filters and either clean them or replace them if necessary. Properly functioning filters will help keep your water circulation system in good condition and ensure it can effectively remove unwanted substances from the water.
  • Sanitize the plumbing: To overcome biofilm buildup within the hot tub’s plumbing system, it’s a good idea to use a plumbing cleaner to flush out any bacteria and debris hiding in the pipes.

By following this routine maintenance and cleaning schedule, you’ll be able to keep your hot tub running efficiently and enjoy a clean, relaxing space for years to come. Remember, consistency is key, and taking care of your hot tub on a regular basis will require less time and effort than neglecting it and dealing with more significant problems down the line.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best method to clean hot tub filters?

To clean your hot tub filters effectively, remove them from the spa and spray them with a garden hose to dislodge debris. You can also use a filter cleaner solution by soaking the filters in a bucket with the cleaner and water for a couple of hours. Rinse thoroughly and let the filters air dry before reinstalling.

How can you effectively clean hot tub jets?

Cleaning hot tub jets can be done by adding a line cleaner to the water while the unit is running. The cleaner will help remove unwanted bacteria, algae, and possible biofilm from the jets. You can also manually clean the jets by using a soft brush or toothbrush to scrub away any residue or buildup.

Is it safe to use bleach for hot tub cleaning?

While bleach can be an effective cleaning agent, it is not recommended for use in hot tubs due to its harsh and corrosive nature. Bleach can damage the delicate components of your hot tub and potentially cause more harm than good. Instead, use gentle cleaning solutions and products specifically designed for hot tubs.

How can you maintain a clean Lazy spa hot tub?

To maintain a clean Lazy spa hot tub, make sure to regularly check and balance the water chemistry. Ensure good water circulation through the hot tub’s cartridge filters and clean the filters frequently. Drain and refill the tub periodically, and always keep the spa cover clean and in good condition. Following these simple steps will keep your Lazy spa hot tub clean and enjoyable.