How to Clean a Hot Tub Filter – Top Tips


Cleaning your hot tub filter or filters regularly is one of the most important tasks you can do to keep the hot tub and the water in it clean.

Generally, the best way to clean a hot tub filter is by removing them from the hot tub, then rinsing with a garden hose followed by soaking them in a filter cleaning solution. Another quick rinse with a hose and they can be replaced.

There follows some more detailed instructions and some alternative ways to clean them.

How to Clean Hot Tub Filters
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How often to clean hot tub filters?

Generally I clean my hot tub filters once, sometimes twice, a month. But this mainly depends on how much the hot tub has been used recently. If, as in the normal situation, it is only myself that has used it then I would probably leave it for a month. However, if we have family staying who use the hot tub frequently then it will be sooner.

I do normally visually check them roughly once per week, and if they look particularly dirty, or have large debris such as leaves stuck to them, then I will at least take them out and rinse using my garden hose.

How I clean my hot tub filters

When I take them out of the hot tub to do a thorough clean I do the following:

Remove the filter/s from the hot tub

Most hot tub filters are easy to remove by either turning them anticlockwise or simply pulling them off of the mount.

Rinse with a garden hose

To get the worst of the dirt off of the filters I always use my garden hose. I normally stand the filter on its end and spray up and down the filter pleats, turning the filter as I go to ensure I clean the whole thing. It is easy to get rather wet when doing this so you can try standing the filter in a bucket or similar while you do this to protect your clothes.

Fill a bucket

Fill a bucket with water and then add whatever cleaning solution you have (either a specific filter cleaner, such as Leisure Time filter cleaner, or one of the other types shown below).

Soak the filter/s

I then completely immerse the filters in the water, sometimes I need to put something on top to weigh them down, and leave them for at least an hour, normally two or more.

Rinse again

When I remove the filters from the solution I then use my garden hose to thoroughly rinse them again to remove all traces of the cleaning solution.

Reinstall the filters

Put the filters back in the hot tub. You shouldn’t let them dry out as this could cause damage to the pleats and filter body.

Note: There are a few filter cleaning products on the market which attach to a garden hose and allow the water to get inside the filter pleats easily to help clean more thoroughly. One of the most popular is the Daveyspa Cartridge Filter Cleaner, which is available on Amazon.

Can you clean a hot tub filter and reuse?

You can, and definitely should, clean and reuse your hot tub filters. Cleaning them should actually be a part of your regular maintenance routine to keep hot tub in good condition and ready to use whenever you want.

If you were to replace your hot tub filters every time they got dirty then you would be spending a great deal of money on new filters unnecessarily.

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 well spent.

Can I clean my hot tub filter with vinegar?

You can clean your hot tub filters with vinegar (preferably white vinegar). It is actually a commonly used method.

You should soak the filters in a mixture of vinegar and water (to dilute it). I usually mix them with a ratio of roughly 3-4 cups of vinegar to a 5 gallon bucket of water. I then let them sit in the solution for at least an hour, preferably for two hours. Every now and again I turn them and agitate the solution a bit to ensure they are cleaned properly.

After that I remove them and rinse thoroughly with fresh water before putting them back in the hot tub.

Can I use dish soap to clean my hot tub filter?

Cleaning hot tub filters in detergent (dish washing powder) is actually has been a popular method of cleaning them for many years.

You should soak the filters in a mixture of detergent and water. When using this method, I usually mix them to a ratio of 1 cup of detergent (or one capsule) to a 5 gallon bucket of water. I let them sit in the solution for at least an hour, preferably for two hours. Every now and again I turn them and agitate the solution a bit to ensure they are cleaned properly.

After that I remove them and rinse thoroughly with fresh water before putting them back in the hot tub.

Can I clean my hot tub filters in a dish washer

Can I clean my hot tub filters in a dish washer?

Cleaning your hot tub filters in a dishwasher is not recommended as they can get damaged by the very hot water and also the strengths of the jets. The action required to clean smooth plates etc is not suitable for the pleats in a filter, which can get torn or “furry”.

Definitely do not be tempted to try to clean your hot tub filters in a clothes washing machine as the constant tumbling action of the drum will almost certainly damage your filters and could damage your washing machine.

Can you soak hot tub filter in bleach?

The jury is out on this one. Some “experts” say that you shouldn’t soak your hot tub filters in bleach while others say it is fine to do this.

One of the main reasons it is said that you shouldn’t use bleach is that the chlorine in it may damage the filters. But that seems rather odd as chlorine is mainly used for sanitizing hot tub water so the filters spend most of their lives sitting in chlorinated water!

I have soaked mine in a bleach solution, when I had nothing else available, and to be honest it worked and had no ill effect on the filters.

How long should a hot tub filter last?

Many hot tub manufacturers and hot tub supply companies will tell you that you should change your hot tub filters every two years or even every year. Well, of course, they would say that wouldn’t they as it is in their interest that you replace your filters as often as possible.

How often you change your hot tub filters depends on a number of things such as:

  • How often the hot tub gets used and by how many people
  • Is the hot tub outside or inside
  • Is the hot tub covered when not in use
  • How often you clean your filters
  • Whether you have had a bad algae infection in the hot tub

I have used my hot tub filters for up to 5 years at times as I keep my hot tub well maintained and generally it is only me that uses it.

The above assumes that you have paper filters. If you have ceramic filters then these can last considerably longer with proper care.

JP in Fuerteventura

I have had hot tubs for many years and a pool for the last 8 years. I had to learn how to clean, maintain and fix them the hard way. Since then I have helped many friends and neighbors with their pools and now I want to share everything I have learned with you.

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