What Does Hot Tub Shock Do? (And How To Do It Safely)

Shocking your hot tub is a great way to maintain its cleanliness on a regular basis and after particularly heavy use of the hot tub. However, knowing how to shock a tub safely is vitally important as it uses a significant amount of chemicals that could hurt swimmers or the tub itself. So, what does hot tub shock do, and how can you use it properly?

A chlorine shock sanitizes your hot tub and should only be used when there’s an issue or after heavy hot tub use. Non-chlorine treatment, on the other hand, is great for weekly maintenance and has a less bothersome smell. It’s important to follow the instructions for your shock to avoid injury.

Maintaining clear water is crucial for any hot tub, and shock is an essential tool to use. Let’s take a closer look at what shock does, the benefits of using it, and how to use it to keep your hot tub in great shape.

What Does a Hot Tub Shock Treatment Do?

Using Chlorine Tabs in a Hot Tub Spa

Shock treatment refers to when you add a substantial amount of chlorine or non-chlorine shock to your hot tub. It’s an effective method that gets rid of algae and helps break down organic waste contaminants that can cause a foul odor and cloudy water. 

After treatment, the water usually turns clear and the water quality improves. 

If there are irritating chloramines in your hot tub, then shocking it will also convert these irritants back to active chlorine.

What Are the Benefits of Hot Tub Shock Treatment?

Shocking your hot tub periodically can help clear up several issues that might affect your hot tub. Here are some of the most important benefits:

  • Kills Bacteria: One of the most important reasons people choose to chlorine shock their hot tub is to sanitize the tub and keep it safe for use.
  • Removes Organic Contaminants: Due to the fact that standard sanitizers sometimes struggle with managing waterborne organic compounds when the hot tub is frequently used, regular shocking can help maintain safe water and remove these pollutants.
  • Reactivates Sanitizers: Bromine or chlorine sanitizers work by attaching themselves to contaminants. However, a shock treatment breaks the bond and frees the chlorine particle from the contaminant. This then reactivities the chlorine and allows it to seek out other bacteria to remove.

What Are the Types of Shock and Why Are They Used?

There are generally two types of shocking treatments that can be used, and each has its benefits and drawbacks. Deciding which one is best for your hot tub depends on what needs to be done.

You can even combine both treatments if your water type and hot tub usage routine allow for it.

Chlorine Shock

The chlorine, or dichlor, shock treatment is great after excessive tub use, like after a party, or when a water change has just been completed. It’s both a sanitizer and a shock, but it’s good to remember that chlorine should not be the primary sanitizer of your hot tub. 

Chlorine shock (on Amazon) is the most popular kind because it’s fast, powerful, and easy to clean up. It gets rid of most hot tub issues like bad odor, cloudiness, and slimy water. 

A good tip to follow when using this kind of shock is to keep the cover off of the hot tub for at least twenty minutes while running the regular jet cycle. This can help minimize the risk of chemical damage to the hot tub itself and any accessories it might have.

Non-Chlorine Shock

A non-chlorine shock (on Amazon) is better suited for regular maintenance since it’s easier on the hot tub and the water. However, it won’t sanitize the water as there’s no chlorine compound in it.

It’s an oxygen-based shock that’s preferred by some because it has little-to-no odor like the heavy chlorine smell that can prove to be an irritant to the eyes and nose.

This weekly treatment oxidizes, removes contaminants, and clears cloudy water. It can also help to make chlorine more effective and kill unwanted bacteria when used in tandem with the chlorine shock method. 

A safety tip when using these two treatments together is to never mix the dry chemicals as this can cause a dangerous chemical reaction. 

How Often Should You Shock Your Hot Tub?

Knowing how often to shock your hot tub depends on why you need to do it. If there’s a sanitization issue, like cloudy water or algae, or if the tub was used frequently in a short amount of time, then a chlorine shock is best to use on an as-needed basis.

However, a non-chlorine shock is a great addition to any weekly maintenance of a hot tub, since it’s easy on the components and helps keep the water quality up. 

Keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to read the manufacturer’s labels with any chemical you plan on using, and pay attention to how long you need to wait after shock treatment before you can use the hot tub again. It can range from twenty minutes to 24 hours. 

Be sure to test your pH levels and water quality after every treatment.

How to Shock Your Hot Tub

Swim spa pool sanitizer

Knowing how to properly shock your hot tub is important, especially because you’ll be dealing with chemicals and water quality that could potentially make anyone who uses the hot tub sick if not monitored closely.

  1. Remove the hot tub’s cover in order to allow oxygen to reach the water’s surface.
  2. Make sure your pH balance is correct. You want it to be between 7.2 and 7.6 if using a chlorine sanitizer or between 7.0 and 7.4 with a bromine sanitizer.
  3. Turn on the jets to help aerate the water, but don’t switch on a blower if you have one installed.
  4. Read the chemical’s label to determine the amount needed for the number of liters of water your hot tub holds. Generally speaking, most non chlorine shock uses 17g for 1,500 liters of water, or 35g or chlorine shock for 1,500 liters, but make sure to double check.
  5. Pour the treatment into your hot tub near one of the water inlets and allow it to circulate.
  6. Wait 20 minutes — or the recommended time on the label — before using your hot tub again. Make sure to keep the cover off during this waiting period. 

How to Use Chemicals Safely

When handling chemicals, it’s important to maintain proper safety precautions to avoid personal injury or damage to your hot tub. Here are some key tips to keep in mind:

  • Before using your product, read the label and follow its individual instructions.
  • Never mix chemicals unless instructed to do so on the label.
  • Always add chemicals to water and never water to the chemicals.
  • Never add chemicals while the hot tub is in use.
  • Make sure the area is well ventilated.
  • If the chemical comes in powdered form, be careful of strong winds.
  • Store all chemicals out of the reach of children and animals.
  • Wear proper shoes and clothing to avoid skin irritation and injury.
  • Wash your hands after every use.
  • Test your hot tub with a test kit (on Amazon) daily.
  • Store all chemicals away from heat and moisture.
  • Leave your hot tub turned on except while changing the filter or water. 

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