How to Clean a Hot Tub – Complete Guide

So after finally deciding to buy a hot tub, you bought a beautiful hot tub which serves your purpose of rejuvenating. After few months of use, you find out that your hot tub is getting dirty which might be because of dirt from surroundings, germs that came from your body when you jump directly into your hot tub after a long working day or a play or even the weather conditions. So once you determine that your hot tub is getting dirtier, you should probably spend some time and clean it. Spoiling any place is an easy task, whereas cleaning the same place is not. However, let us guide you through some easy and practical steps which can make your hot tub shine like a new one.

Bacteria piled up around the belts, slime, dirty water, green patches at the inner corners of the tub, dissolved solvents, etc., all such things being present in your hot tub are signs of being ugly. Immediate actions have to be taken, and your hot tub should be cleaned thoroughly so that you can have a direct experience in your hot tub. There are various ways to clean a hot tub. Below we provide you the step by step guide which can help you to clean your hot tub actually.

Before starting over with the cleaning of the hot tub, let us start with understanding what essential components a hot tub is made up of. Once you know them, it becomes easier for you while cleaning as well as saves lot of your costs thereby preventing any damage that can occur to the hot tub and its parts.

1) Shell:

Shell is the portion of your hot tub where you reside to revive yourself. Shell is the empty hollow portion of a hot tub which is made up of hard fiberglass or some highly polished stone that is designed to look attractive and pleasing. Since the shell is the where most of the water remains stored, certainly there are high chances of this part becoming dirty quickly.

2) Outer casing:

The outer casing is the one wrapped around the hot tub. The outer casing is mostly made up of hard wood or else some other materials based on the manufacturer’s choice. These outer casings materials are selected in such a way that it makes the shell of the hot tub as warm as possible. Through cabinet, a user can reach any of the inner parts of a hot tub.

3) Pipelines:

These pipelines are arranged inside the outer casing and run throughout the inner hot tub carrying water from the source to other parts of the system. The ending of these pipelines will be connected to the jets and pumps. The pipelines run from the filter to the pumps and from pumps to the jets. One more additional drain pipe will be present at the bottom of the hot tub which drains out all hot tub water while cleaning.

4) Jets:

Another important part of your hot tub is a jet. These jets are placed inside your hot tub whose number varies based on the size of your tub. Some hot tubs provide 4 to 6, and some big hot tubs may provide beyond 100. These, when connected to pipes, help to pump water and provide it into the hot tub.

5) Controls System:

Control system is like a dashboard of all your controls where in you can monitor the temperature of the water, the speed of the water flow through jets and any other infotainment system connected to your hot tub.

6) Heater:

The Heater placed beneath this control system which turns on when you require the water temperature to be higher. Usually, the water temperature remains between 15-40oC, but by using the heater, it can be raised higher as designed by the manufacturer.

7) Pump:

The Pump is most crucial part of any hot tub. It is readily available inside the cabinet of the hot tub, and it is the one that allows water to move from one end to another end in your hot tub. A pump connected through filters via pipelines which circulate water throughout the hot tub.

8) Filter:

The Filter keeps your water clean by preventing the solid waste materials or debris or the air to enter the pipelines of a hot tub which might adversely affect your hot tub. Filter’s housing unit is mostly visible to the user available to be removed from a window or gate provided. The other inner part of the filter system is available inside the inner workings of the hot tub.

So after understanding, what essential parts of a hot tub are, let’s jump right into the discussion on how to clean your hot tub effectively. Cleaning of the hot tub is step by step process and should be done carefully such that you don’t damage any other important parts of a hot tub.

1) Before draining your hot tub:

First and foremost, step of your cleaning work is to drain your hot tub. However, before draining the hot tub directly, you have to follow these below steps.

a) Flush your lines:

This process is like pre-cleaning process which has to be done before the actual cleaning process. Flushing your lines is important because the bacteria or germs, grime like substances are molded on the surface of the hot tub. Usually, the hot tub runs at 15-40oC at which these materials are likely to get stuck onto the surface. You can easily find out these being present, as lines will be running throughout your inner body or shell of the hot tub.

This process involves using a flush hot tub cleaner and running it through the entire hot tub. These hot tub cleaners will be available at any of your spa stores or nearby supermarkets. Before purchasing the flush hot tub cleaners make sure you read the owner’s manual and based on the prescription provided, you buy the cleaner.


The day before you plan to clean, just remove the filter, add spa system flush, then run the pumps and jets for few minutes or few hours as convenient for you. That is it, the process is done and you can now drain your water from the hot tub using the drain pipe provided. This process removes entire sturdiness of the hot tub and hence makes the cleaning process easier.

B. Turn off the power supply:

Now, this step is one of those crucial steps which when neglected can result in hurting yourself or even damaging the whole hot tub. Before starting to drain the water from your hot tub, turn off the entire power supply from the hot tub.

When you shut down the power supply, thereby turning down the circuit breakers, the whole power supply to hot tub will halt.  Make sure that any control system switches are in OFF position such that you or any of your family doesn’t turn the power supply ON accidentally.

C. Drain your hot tub:

So after following above two instructions now is the time to remove the water from the hot tub completely. Draining your hot tub can be done simply by removing drain pipe connected or by disconnecting drain plug (If any) or using the sump pump to remove the water from the shell of the tub.

Some manufacturers recommend not to remove the water from foot tubs. So read the manual instructions carefully. Considering that you have flushed your lines of a hot tub, it might have released a misty discharge, in such case you have to obliterate the water. So once you have removed this water, you can refill the water in the foot tub section of your hot tubs.

2. Cleaning your hot tub:

Now that you have drained water from the hot tub and it is ready to be cleaned, you can follow the below steps to clean it.

a. Use appropriate hot tub cleaner:

Depending on the hot tubs, there is various kind of hot tub cleaners available in the market. However, make sure that whatever hot tub cleaner you purchase doesn’t contain harmful chemicals or unnecessary acidic chemicals. These acidic chemicals, when are scrubbed through the shell of the hot tub, can adversely affect the hot tub and might damage the aesthetic look of it. Alternatively, you can use glass cleaners or some other household products for cleaning which discussed in later part of this article.

If your hot tub is made up of acrylic material, then your burden of cleaning it will be reduced as these acrylic hot tubs are resistant to abrasive particles and are cleaned with mild washes. All you have to do gently scrub the surface of the shell using a sponge or a rag by spraying the hot tub cleaner on the surface.

After cleaning every corner of the hot tub shell, it is now time to rinse it thoroughly such that there is no presence of chemicals around the shell. These chemicals if contaminated can again affect the balance of water which has to be re-filled in the hot tub.

B. Remove and clean the filters:

Filters will be placed mostly right next to the pump in the cabinet area. Some filters casing will be screwed with fasteners, so you have to remove them and then take off the filters, and for some, they might be easily detachable. How to remove a filter will instructions will be available in the owner’s manual, so please don’t mind taking a look into that.

Once you have removed the filters, comes the responsibility of cleaning it thoroughly. Start with spraying water to these filters with a jet of water. A typical, high-pressure garden hose nozzle will be sufficient to clean off the dirt particles from the filter. However, if you think that your hot tub filter is too dirty, then you can go ahead and scrub the filter gently. You can also use some bleaching powder to remove the bacteria or any other infectious particles molded onto the surface of the filter.

After this, you can place your filter in an oil cutting solution or a beautiful sunlight (if present) such that there should not be any other dust particles revolving around the filters.

You can also disinfect your filters using chlorine solution which can remove any situated grime over the filters. This solution can be prepared at home easily. To prepare this solution, just add ¼ teaspoon of dichloro into 5 gallons of water.

C. Clean your hot tub filter using dishwasher:

There are several methods to clean the hot tub filter. One of the traditional method used is to clean it using bleaching powder. If you are tired enough, to follow the last step which we mentioned to disinfect your filter, then you can skip it and purify it using a dishwasher.

While running through dishwasher, you can use nominal amount of detergent and turn off the dry-heat cycle. Run your filter through dishwasher twice for best results. You can also turn your filter upside down in between the wash cycles which will ensure that all the ends and corners of the hot tub are cleaned.

However, some manufacturers provide the filter which cannot withstand the sanitizing temperatures of the dishwasher, so read the owner’s manual carefully for any such instruction.

D. Reinstall the filters:

After you are satisfied with the way, the filters look, and you are good with reinstalling the filters, then you can open up the cabinet part from where you have unboxed the filters and place them back safely and securely. Make sure to fasten any screws or any other parts, if your hot tub filters placed in such an arrangement.

3. Refill hot tub:

After completely cleaning your hot tub, now it’s time to refill your hot tub with water. Follow the below steps for refilling and turning the hot tub back.

A. Add water:

The first step is to add the water through the lines of the filter. So you will have to run the water through the filters first and then to the remaining sections of the hot tub. Bring the hose nearer to the filter housing and then it follows to other parts of the tub.

B. Turn the power supply back to ON:

After filling up the water to the optimum level required, you can activate the power supply. If you have turned off the circuit breakers completely, then it’s time to turn them ON back. Once you turn ON the main power supply, you can also switch ON all the control systems and heaters as needed.

Let the pump and other parts to run for few minutes until you notice any disturbances. If you see any disturbing noises coming from the pump that means the filters aren’t correctly installed, and you might have to take a look at the fasteners and other adjustments. If not, then you are ready to go. Also, you might consider turning all the air valves OFF such that no air passes through the hot tub thereby preventing the hot tub from being aerated.

C. Add recommended chemicals for your hot tub:

Once the hot tub is back into its running condition, you can add necessary chemicals as suggested by the manufacturer. The different chemicals required may vary, however, most commonly a sanitizer, pH balancer and a shock agent will be minimum chemicals needed for maintaining the hot tub.

After adding the optimum level of chemicals, make sure the alkalinity and pH values of the water are at required levels. The chlorine and pH levels should be permissible as suggested by the manufacturer.

Few household products that can be used to clean hot tub:

As we told earlier, there are more than few products that can be utilized as alternatives for chemicals to clean the hot tub. These not only bring the shine back to your hot tub but will also help prevent damaging your hot tub and its water because of repeated use of chemicals.

Since these are prevalent household products, it reduces your work of running to the nearest store every time to purchase these chemicals. Below is the list, which might astonish you!

Olive oil:

Margarine or olive oil is one of the good alternatives for chemicals that can be used to clean the dirty patches or Grimes that is stick to the shell of your hot tub. Only, rub the surface of the hot tub with olive oil, wherever you find the problem until that grime gets removed and then just wipe it away. Then you can remove any oil residue with mild soap or warm water.

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After rubbing off the dirt, you can use a protectant which will prevent sap from sticking in future to your hot tub surface.

White vinegar:

Vinegar is one of the most common cleaning solutions at many places. White vinegar can be used to clean the lines that run from the shell or the cabinet of the hot tub. Don’t use the white vinegar directly, instead dilute it by adding 50% of water to 50% of vinegar and then rubbing gently through the surface. This not only cleans the surface but also gives a polished look to your hot tub.

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Diluted Beach:

If you are not having white vinegar and find an alternative for that, then the diluted beach is the one. The diluted beach is one of the best solutions for cleaning the hot tub lines quickly. The diluted beach can also be used to clean the hot tub cover as vinyl is less harmful than using the bleach directly.

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Baking soda:

Baking soda is one of the versatile powder as vinegar is the most versatile liquid, and hence this can be used to remove the dirt that is very stubborn to come off. This baking soda can be used to remove the dirt lines or grime as well.

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Just add some baking soda to your sponge and clean the surface as needed. However, make sure that you don’t rub the surface gently, as this is little abrasive and can make your hot tub surface lose its shine. If you don’t have the baking soda, then you can also use the alkalinity plus which is used to increase the alkalinity of your hot tub water.

Diluted rubbing alcohol:

Diluted rubbing alcohol is one of the least rated cleaning agents that can be used to clean wet dirt from any surfaces. Usually, the hard surfaces are rough to clean and rubbing alcohol can ease that work for you. It works best if the shell of your hot tub is made up of stainless steel.

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Magic Eraser:

Last but not least, the Magic eraser is apparently one of the productive things to clean dirt. You might be using the magic eraser in many of your cleanings works in the kitchen. This magic eraser is chemical free and just requires water to remove dirt, stains, marks of pen or pencil, grime from many appliances and house surfaces.

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These are some of the simple steps to clean the hot tub effectively. After cleaning the hot tub effectively there comes a responsibility of maintaining it in the proper condition such that you don’t have to run to the nearest spa service men to get it serviced every time.

Maintaining a hot tub:

To make sure that you are keeping your hot tub properly, follow a weekly or monthly schedule.

Sanitize your hot tub weekly:

If you are using your hot tub daily for refreshment or even bathing purposes, then make sure that you sanitize your hot tub weekly. Add only the chemicals which are suggested by your manufacturer and at an optimum level. Mostly the chlorine or bromine powder is used for sanitization. Don’t ever mix up the chemicals and use in excess more than recommended.

Clean the filter monthly:

The filter is one of those components which are required to make the other parts clean and tidy. So it is essential that you clean thoroughly your filter every month. The filter can also be soaked in a chemical solution or oil cutting solution as suggested earlier once in three months. Also, most of the filters are supposed replaced every year. So if you are a regular user of the hot tub, then have a check at your filter monthly and replace it as required or suggested by manufacturer.

Clean the hot tub shell once in three months:

Most of the acrylic hot tub shells are resistant to bacteria, molds or Grimes. However, making sure that they are not sticking to the surface (if any), cleaning the hot tub shell once in three months is much essential. If you are not cleaning it leaving it for a year or so, then it might hold up more of the bacteria and cause issues later.

If you are using a stainless steel or blowable hot tub, then it is much essential that you clean the shell once in two months.

Clean hot tub covers monthly:

Whether you are using an automatic transmitting hot tub cover or a manual one, cleaning the hot tub cover is as essential as cleaning the hot tub itself. Since it covers the hot tub, there are plenty of chances that dirt accumulated on it might get transferred to the shell of hot tub itself.

So by using a gentle spray of water through a hose, you should clean the hot tub cover from both the sides.


Hot tubs are good in various ways as they help you to relax, rejuvenate your muscles and bring back your lost enthusiasm. Many people use the hot tubs daily just after getting off from the lengthy work or the continuous week schedule. As hot tubs can be helpful, maintaining them is also a mundane task. However, as you help yourself by falling into the hot tub instantly, it is also essential that you take enough care of it.

Cleaning stuff is annoying. However, it is vital such that you stay healthy. By following the steps mentioned above and making cleaning the hot tub as a regular schedule in your calendar, your hot tub can be shiny and new as it should be.

For different kind of hot tubs, different chemicals or materials used for cleaning. The above-given steps are in common for all the hot tubs. Understanding the materials of which the hot tub is made up of can help in choosing from a wide variety of chemicals for cleaning. Using specific techniques of cleaning can lessen your burden of cleaning. Using right chemicals in right proportion can help your hot tub last long and water to stay healthy. All these mentioned things are what we have addressed in the above article, and we hope that they help you in various ways in your process of cleaning and maintaining your hot tub.


Hi, I'm Richard the Chief Editor at I worked in the Hot tub maintenance field for a few years, and I thought to share my knowledge about Hot tub on our blog. My team and I share useful information related to Hot Tubs.

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