Complete Guide To Cleaning Your Hot Tub

Owning a hot tub comes with responsibility and maintenance. This is especially important to keep the equipment in good shape and the water safe for people—but many people aren’t aware of the proper way to clean their hot tub, especially if owning one is pretty new.

It’s essential to clean your hot tub to maintain the chemical balance and keep the equipment free of a build-up of bacteria. You can do this by regularly scooping out debris, staying on top of maintenance, and occasionally draining the tub to give it a deeper clean.

Let’s take a closer look at why it’s important to clean your hot tub and how to effectively do so (and keep up with the maintenance between more thorough cleaning). 

Why is it Important to Clean Your Hot Tub? 

Hotel staff african worker cleaning the hot tub

To Keep it Sanitary and Maintain Chemical Balance

The first and perhaps most important reason you should clean your hot tub is that it’ll quickly become unsanitary and even unsafe if you don’t.

Bacteria will naturally get into the water since it’s outdoors, and soaking in it could irritate your skin and even cause breathing issues. This is especially true for those who might have pre-existing respiratory conditions.

It’s also essential to clean it to maintain the chemical balance. Too much or too little chlorine can also pose a health hazard.

To Keep it Running Properly

The second reason is for the hot tub itself. If you never clean the hot tub, there’s likely to be a build-up of bacteria and minerals on the equipment. Soon, the tub will stop running as well as it used to, and eventually, you might have to pay to repair that equipment.

Repairs—or even replacements—can be costly, so keeping up with the maintenance over time saves the hot tub owner money. It’s not just the parts you may have to pay for, but the labor, which can add to the cost. The average person often doesn’t have the know-how to complete the work.

How Often Should You Drain Your Hot Tub? 

You’ll have to drain the tub to perform a deep clean, but how often should you do this?

If your hot tub has apparent signs that it needs some serious attention, like visible mineral build-up or algae on the walls, you should drain and clean it at the next opportunity. If there’s no noticeable build-up, then once every three months should suffice.

Even if you don’t see dirt in there, make sure you do this a few times a year to ensure the tub is kept in good shape.

How to Drain Your Hot Tub 

Before you drain the hot tub, it’s a good idea to flush it with a jetline cleaner (on Amazon) to clear the pipes.

  1. Run the pump and the jets for fifteen minutes with this cleaner in the water, following the instructions on the bottle.
  1. Then let it sit for an hour before you drain the tub entirely.
  1. Then flip the breaker off to ensure no power goes to the hot tub. Otherwise, you risk electrocuting yourself.

When it comes to the actual draining, you can connect a hose to the spa pump and let it work its magic. Next, make sure you connect the other end of the hose to the sewer line or your yard, depending on how much water you need to drain.

There are laws against draining it into the street; besides, you might upset your neighbors.

You could also use a sump pump to speed up the process, though you’ll have to stay close to keep an eye on it. This is much quicker than using the spa drain, so you won’t have to stick around for ages.

How to Clean Your Hot Tub 

The first thing you should do is wipe down the hot tub’s shell. Don’t use a strong chemical cleaner; mix equal parts water and vinegar (on Amazon) with an old rag and wipe down the surface. This should be enough to get rid of any dirt and bacteria if you’ve been keeping up with the cleaning.

Cleaning the Filters

You should also clean the filters. Spray them down with the hose, but do not use a pressure washer, as this could damage them.

If they seem to need a more thorough cleaning, remove the filters and soak them in vinegar and water for an hour. You can also use a toothbrush to brush the filters gently, but again, don’t be too harsh, as this can damage them.

Cleaning the Components

It’s also a good idea to treat the hot tub components with a UV protectant (on Amazon) to protect them from the sun’s rays. This gives your hot tub a longer lifespan.

How to Refill Your Hot Tub

You can use a hose to refill your hot tub, but you should run it through the filter and pipes. Just placing it in the shell is a bad idea, as there could be airlock issues when you turn everything back on.

Don’t add in the chemicals right away. Instead, turn the hot tub on and let it reach around 70 degrees. You can then add the chemicals back in and should test them thoroughly before anyone gets back in the water to ensure they’re at the right level and it’s safe.

Hot Tub Maintenance Tips

As well as doing a deep clean every few months, there are some maintenance tips that make it easy to keep up with your hot tub.

Scoop Out Debris When Necessary

Don’t leave it until the three-month mark to do any cleaning whatsoever. Scooping out the debris when necessary can help prevent a build-up of bacteria. Also, twigs, leaves, and bugs can get into the hot tub and cause problems if left to rot. Keeping a net nearby to get rid of it is helpful.

Use a Hot Tub Cover

Use a hot tub cover when the tub isn’t in use. This keeps the water safe from the outside elements, keeps the chemical balance, and prevents too much debris from getting in there in the first place. Make sure the cover is the proper size for your tub.

Clean the Cover

As well as using a hot tub cover, you should also clean it. If you take it on and off without rinsing it down, the debris that’s fallen onto the cover will get into the tub itself.

Clean the Filter More Often

Spa Jacuzzi Hot tub filter cleaning

Although you should only have to drain the hot tub once every few months to keep it clean, you should clean the filters monthly—even more, if you’re using the hot tub a lot.

All sorts of dirt and bacteria can get trapped in them, so keeping up with them can prevent you from having to replace them or having difficulty cleaning them.

Check the Chemical Balance

You should check your hot tub’s chemical and pH balance once a week and use chemicals to change it if necessary.

The chlorine balance needs to be correct to ensure it’s not irritating to people who get in the tub, and the pH should be between 7.2-7.8. Anything else suggests the chemicals haven’t been maintained properly or something has gotten into the water.


All in all, it’s essential to keep up with your hot tub. You need to keep the equipment in good shape, so you don’t have to pay to repair or replace it and, more importantly, make sure it’s safe for the people getting in and out of it.

Drain it and clean it every three months (or more if a visual inspection suggests you need to) and keep up with maintenance in the meantime.

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