Hot Tub Maintenance: The Comprehensive Guide

When you invest in a hot tub, you need to make sure that you know how to look after it to extend the life and stay safe. Our guide will show you all you need to know about hot tub maintenance.
Deborah Beams
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Last updated: August 25, 2023
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Hot tub maintenance is not always easy, and some people don’t perform their maintenance particularly well. If you end up ignoring your tub then it is possible that you might end up reducing its lifespan or even developing more serious problems that you have to pay a lot to get repaired. In this guide, we’re exploring the tips to hot tub care and spa maintenance so that for a small investment of both a little bit of time and a little bit of money, you can end up with a hot tub that flows perfectly and can last for a number of years with no need for repairs.

As well as hot tubs, a lot of these tips also apply to whirlpool tubs and similar products, so it is worthwhile knowing that these are also the jacuzzi maintenance tips you should stick to if you have a similar product in your home.


Hot Tub Maintenance: The Comprehensive Guide

Circulation is one of the most important aspects of maintaining your hot tub and something that people often totally forget about. If you have a plug and play hot tub that you store away for a period of time then it can be tricky to do this, but for permanent tubs it is essential. So what do we mean by circulation?

This usually involves a hot tub maintenance schedule that makes the tub run daily, often for just 15-30 minutes. This makes sure water is pumping and cycling around for a little while every single day. Why is this important? Well, it passes water through the filters inside your hot tub. This means that instead of contaminants building up in the water they get removed.

A lot of hot tubs will do this on an automatic cycle so you don’t have to worry about setting it up manually, but there are some that don’t offer this. Make sure that if this is the case you do it manually to get the filters doing their job and keep the water in top condition.

There are some additional tips that can help with maintaining the water quality. Some people add tennis balls or even put microfiber cloths in the tub once in a while, these will soak a lot of the things that you have added to the water up. Oils, soaps and other products may go from your skin to the water, but the fibers of these products help to absorb them.

Cleaning schedule

You need a cleaning schedule for your hot tub. Sadly, they don’t look after themselves, so you will need to get a hot tub maintenance kit and put it to work.

Hot Tub Maintenance: The Comprehensive Guide

The hot tub maintenance schedule is one of the absolute key components of this, and having at least a rough idea of when things need to get done can ensure that you don’t forget about things and let the hot tub become damaged or in poor condition as a result. Did you know that some people even use formulas to work out their cleaning schedule?

One key component is draining the tub. You might think that if you don’t use the tub much, it doesn’t need to be drained as often. However, it does need to be regularly drained and then refilled. A lot of people do this every 3-4 month, which is a pretty safe recommendation.

However, the more often you go in the jacuzzi or hot tub and the more people who bathe in it, there is every chance you’ll have to do this more often.

One formula some people recommend is:

  • Dividing the gallons of your hot tub by three to give you the first number.
  • Divide this by the number of people who tend to go in the hot tub each day.
  • The result will show you how many days you should ideally go (as a maximum) between draining.

As a rule, never go beyond four months as it could be that other natural factors come in and the water can become of very poor quality. There is a balance to be struck here. You don’t want to waste water if you don’t have to, as this is bad for the environment as well as bad for your pockets.

There are also some signs that you should definitely look out for. If you see any algae or scaling, or the water looks cloudier than you think should be healthy, you should probably go ahead and drain.

How to Clean Your Tub

The steps below show you how to clean up the tub effectively.

  1. Use a line flush or plumbing cleaner. Once you’ve drained the water you should run through a cleanser that helps to remove any buildup that can come from contaminants sitting within the tub.
  2. If you have bacteria in the tub, make sure you kill this before completing any other steps. This is rare, but if you do have pseudomonas which can cause irritation of the skin, use bromine or chlorine to kill these bacteria. You should leave this within the water and let it run around the system for at least 60 minutes.
  3. Before the water is drained, kill the power so that the pump doesn’t run and become damaged.
  4. Drain to the instructions you’ll find when you buy the tub.
  5. Clean the surface of the tub. The shell of the hot tub or jacuzzi is absolutely vital, and you should use a specific cleaner.
  6. Clean the filters. This is possibly the most important aspect, and you need to remove the filters altogether. Spray them down with a pressure washer or even just a garden hose with a high pressure setting. There can be a lot of debris within. You’ll then need to use a cartridge cleaner, which can be easily sourced online, to professionally remove the filters of all of the debris that will inevitably build up. A good cleaner can remove hair, dirt, lotions and other products that can really easily end up within your filters. They are in place to do a vital job but can only perform effectively with a little bit of help – you need to clean them.
  7. Finally, clean the filter cabinet with a simple cleaning solution. The shell cleaner is fine for this, or you can even make your own little solution using vinegar, which does a fantastic job of the majority of cleaning tasks.

Your hot tub should now be ready, so you can add your water once again and be prepared to take a dip.

Water chemistry

Water chemistry is a vital component of looking after your hot tub, but it is not always easy. There is a big size difference between a hot tub and a swimming pool, where you would normally use some of these products, but you still need to keep a solid control over pH and alkalinity.

You’ll need chemicals including:

  • A pH increaser and pH decreaser
  • Alkalinity increaser
  • Sanitizer such as chlorine
  • Test strips so that you can tell what the chemical levels are in the tub
  • Defoamer to make sure that the tub water doesn’t get insanely foamy

It’s important that your pH range stays between 7.4 and 7.6. If you get too high then it will be too acidic and could cause damage to your skin or eyes, but also it can make the hardware wear away too quickly. It’s prone to getting cloudy.

If alkalinity gets high then you might get some scaling and clouding. You should look for a range of 100-150 ppm.

Did you know that you can use baking soda here? By adding 1 tablespoon (around 17 grams) of baking soda to the tub per 100 gallons you can help to lower the alkalinity and get it to safe levels.

We’ve already discussed how important it is to use chlorine to get the water to a safe level of sanitization. Even if you plan to use as few chemicals as possible, we recommend using chlorine to be safe. It isn’t worth taking any chances with. If you don’t use chlorine, you can end up with very harmful bacteria in your tub which can even make you ill.

Water Hardness

Hot Tub Maintenance: The Comprehensive Guide

The hardness of water is another factor when it comes to looking after your hot tub. Soft and hard water have an impact on the foaming in the tub and even make the chemical components degrade. If you can test the hardness of the water, you should be aiming for between 175 and 250 ppm. You can buy calcium increaser products if you need to get it up to this level.

Hardness of around 350-400 ppm is a bit on the high side, but should still be safe. If you have a lot of calcium naturally in the water you could need clarifying agents to make the water more clear and soft or even specialized filters.

Other Maintenance tips

There are some other tips that can help when it comes to maintaining your hot tub. Whether you’re worried about the hot tub maintenance cost or just want to save a little time, these tips can make a big difference.

  • Buy cleaning products in large quantities. This has two main advantages, as it can help you to make sure you don’t run out when you need the cleaning solution for your hot tub, but it can also make sure that you are getting the best value for money.
  • If you have sensitive skin, you can try chemical free hot tub maintenance. This is usually a bit more work, but you can use vinegar and some clever cleaning solutions. Be warned that you may have to clean your hot tub more regularly if you decide to go down this route.
  • It might be worth showering before you get in the tub. Take a quick rinse without any cleaning products as this will remove some of the oils that can get into the tub from your skin.
  • Have a professional perform some maintenance once a year or so. This means that if you have missed anything, they will be able to tune it up for you. Professionals can also leave you with some key advice about how to take better care of your hot tub. Even if you read a million guides online, you won’t get that feedback that a professional can give you as peace of mind to enjoy your hot tub and expand its lifespan for as long as you possibly can.
  • Testing is the key. Keep checking the pH levels and alkaline so that you can be sure that the hot tub is in good condition and that the water is safe for you to use. If you do need to make any changes then you can do this based on the results of your tests. You’ll know when you need to drain and clean.

Final thoughts

Having a hot tub has so many benefits, and let’s face it, most people would love to have one of these. It’s not the same as a bathtub, and a hot tub can be a social event, but it is also hard to keep them in the best working order possible. Our guide to hot tub maintenance should be all that you need to perform the necessary steps. Whether you just need to test once in a while to see if the water is in good condition, or you are looking to work out how to perform the full quarterly maintenance, drain the tub, and get the water back to tip top condition, our guide will allow you to get the most out of your hot tub.

It’s worth thinking about the environment, but remember that you have to put your health first, and there are reasons why virtually everyone puts chlorine in their tub.

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