How to Clean Your Hot Tub / Jacuzzi


Fall is in the air and it is the unofficial start of Hot Tub Season. After a long, hot summer, you probably have not enjoyed using your Hot Tub for several months. Now it is time to clean and prep your Hot Tub for the fall.

Cleaning a Hot Tub can be done effectively by following these steps:

  1. Turn off the Power to the Hot Tub / Jacuzzi
  2. Drain the Water from the Hot Tub / Jacuzzi
  3. Clean the Inside and the Cover
  4. Clean the Filters
  5. Replace the Filters and Inspect
  6. Re-Fill the Hot Tub / Jacuzzi
  7. Turn the Power Back On to the Hot Tub / Jacuzzi
  8. Creating the Proper Water Chemistry
  9. Ongoing Maintenance of Water Chemistry

More detail on each step is listed below. Products to help you clean your Hot Tub can be found here.

Depending on the type of Hot Tub you have, you will need a water pump, power washer, and a long hose to complete the cleaning and filling of your hot tub. A water pump is nice if you have a deck around your tub, however it is not necessary. A power washer is very useful in cleaning but, also not necessary.

In this article, we will look at each step in the preparation of your hot tub for fall. This process is part of the quarterly maintenance schedule. We will also discuss water chemistry and maintenance tips on a daily, weekly and quarterly basis.

If you want to use appropriate chemicals after cleaning, I like using Spa Essentials. Click Here

We will discuss chemistry of the water after the cleaning is done.

Reasons for Maintaining Your Hot Tub

Who out there wants to sit in a dirty hot tub? You certainly do not want to take a bath in moldy or dirty water and you definitely do not want to invite your friends over to sit in filth.

Failure for Maintenance of Your Hot Tub Can Lead To:

  • Skin Irritations
  • Rashes
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Nausea
  • Smelling Bad
  • Damages to the Hot Tub System
  • Expensive to fixe the damage

Cleaning the Hot Tub

Cleaning your hot tub should be done quarterly. This includes draining the hot tub completely to ensure clarity of your water.  This process can be summed up in the following steps:

  1. Turn off the Power to the Hot Tub / Jacuzzi
  2. Drain the Water from the Hot Tub / Jacuzzi
  3. Clean the Inside and the Cover
  4. Clean the Filters
  5. Replace the Filters and Inspect
  6. Re-Fill the Hot Tub / Jacuzzi
  7. Turn the Power Back On to the Hot Tub / Jacuzzi
  8. Creating the Proper Water Chemistry
  9. Ongoing Maintenance of Water Chemistry

1. Turn Off the Power

Typically, hot tubs have a separate power panel with at least a 50-amp circuit. Most likely the panel box will be near the hot tub. Make sure to locate the panel box and switch off the power to the hot tub. We don’t want any electrical hazards when dealing with water.

2. Drain the Water from the Hot Tub

You have a couple of choices here. Most hot tubs come with a plug on the bottom where you can attach a hose for drainage. Or you can use a water pump as shown here. I used this pump because I built a deck around my hot tub and cannot access the drain plug easily. This pump is economical and lasts a long time. Simply attach a hose to the top and submerge the pump in the center of the hot tub.

Click here for Water Pumps.

3. Clean the Inside of the Hot Tub and Cover

I like to clean the inside of the hot tub while the water is draining so all the dirt and grime that has collected on the top of the hot tub will drain during step 2 above.

Here you have a couple of options as well. You can use a soft scrub brush with soap and water OR you can use a power washer as shown here. The power washer gets into all the cracks of the jets, jet pillows, etc. that are above the water line.

I use the Briggs and Stratton Power Washer shown here on a quarterly basis. As you will see in my maintenance schedule at the end of this article, you should clean your cover monthly as well. During your monthly cycle, you can use soft cleanser and a wet rag just to stay on top of the grime.

4. Clean the Filters

Filters play an integral role in your hot tub running of your hot tub. They keep any debris from entering the hot tub plumbing and capture any dirt circulating through the water. As in Steps 2 and 3, you have 2 choices.  You can use Spa Cleaner OR the Power Washer. I like to do both methods at different times of the year.

Using the Spa Cleaner

  1. Remove the filters and rinse them thoroughly to remove any loose debris.
  2. Spray the filters with cleaner (click here) and let soak for 30 minutes.
  3. Rinse thoroughly again until all the cleaner is removed, and your filters are clean.

Using the Power Washer

This method will get your filters sparkly clean with less elbow grease and in less time. However, do not do this method all the time as the power washer can be a bit brutal on the filter and could reduce the filters life expectancy. I have been doing this for years and have had no issues.

Filter on the left is dirty. Filter on the right is clean using the power washer.

Drain remaining water using a wet/dry vac.

As the water level gets to the bottom, the water pump is not able to drain anymore. Typically there is about a half inch of water at the bottom and within the seat wells. A wet/dry vac is awesome to finish the job.

At this point you can step inside the hot tub. I recommend bare foot so as not to bring in any dirt. BUT be careful. It can be slippery.

5. Replace Filters and Inspect

Put the cleaner filters back in place and ensure they have been connected correctly.

6. Re-Fill the Hot Tub

Get garden hose and turn it on. Nothing more to do except wait. My hot tub takes 90 minutes to fill.

7. Turn the Power Back On

Now let’s talk about turning the power back on.

After and ONLY after your tub is full, turn on the power. If you turn the power on too early, ie: if the filters are not fully submerged in water, you will get air in the plumbing which will cause your jets not to work properly.

8. Creating the Proper Water Chemistry

Water Chemistry is the process of adding chemicals to your hot tub in order to provide you with clear and fresh water all year long which will prevent internal damage to your hot tub and leave you with a pleasant hot tub experience.

Chemical Used

  • Sanitizer – Use to kill bacteria and purifies the water. This is the most critical component of your hot tub maintenance.  The 2 most common sanitizers are Chlorine and Bromine.
  • Chlorine – This is used in pools and comes in a powder/granule form. Typically, chlorine is not used in hot tubs because the powder dissipates too quickly. Tablets are more suitable in hot tubs which Bromine is commonly used. Click Her for Chlorine.
  • Bromine – This is great for hot tubs due to the tablet form which can be inserted into a floating bromine feeder. You can stick the tablets into the feeder for continuous sanitation of your water. For a good bromine product click here.
  • Shock – I put shock under Sanitizer because they compliment each other. Hot tubs can benefit from a weekly SHOCK. Shock gives your hot tub a huge sanitizing boost when it needs it. Doing Shock weekly will ensure clear and pleasant water every time. Click here for a great Shock product.
  • Additional Chemicals – There are other sanitizers out there called Biguanide and Mineral. These sanitizers are used in hot tubs that are built for these types of chemicals. Biguanide hot tubs require other water balancing products that are not commonly used. Biguanide is also more expensive than Chlorine or Bromine. Mineral system is also more expensive and can be brutal on your hair and skin.
  • Alkalinity Increaser – Alkalinity acts as a PH buffer to help control PH levels. If it becomes too low, it can bring PH down thus making your water acidic.  Alkalinity increaser must always be kept in your hot tub chemical box and should be adjusted before adjusting your PH. Click here for a great Alkalinity Increaser.
  • PH Level Adjuster – Too high PH is the cause for cloudy water. Therefore, keeping ph increaser and decreaser in your chemical toolbox is a good idea. Note: If PH and Alkalinity are too high, use PH Decreaser. If both are too low, the alkalinity increaser will help raise your ph but you may need ph increaser to get to that correct level. Click here for a great product to adjust PH levels.
  • Calcium Hardness – This is basically how hard your water is. Different parts of the country have different hardness levels in their tap water. Ever see calcium deposits on the faucets and showerheads? That’s a sign of hard water which is not good for plumbing within your house. However, it is good for Hot Tubs. Too soft water can damage the plumbing of your hot tub and also make your water cloudy. So keeping it at higher levels is a good thing. Click here for a great product for Calcium Hardness.

Water Measuring

How do you measure your water? Its pretty easy. Out on the market are water measuring strips. Simply dip the stick in water for 5 seconds, remove from water and wait 15 seconds. Just align the colors to the bottle. As you can see below, the hardness is low, and alkalinity is a bit high.

Final Thoughts

Hot Tubs are great for the body in relaxing and helping out those aches and pains due to getting older and working out. It goes without saying, but you must be diligent in keeping your hot tub clean and chemically balanced.

Cleaning a Hot Tub can be done effectively by following these steps:

  1. Turn off the Power to the Hot Tub / Jacuzzi
  2. Drain the Water from the Hot Tub / Jacuzzi
  3. Clean the Inside and the Cover
  4. Clean the Filters
  5. Replace the Filters and Inspect
  6. Re-Fill the Hot Tub / Jacuzzi
  7. Turn the Power Back On to the Hot Tub / Jacuzzi
  8. Creating the Proper Water Chemistry
  9. Ongoing Maintenance of Water Chemistry

To help assist in my final point, I have provided a schedule of activities to help you manage your hot tub.

Hot Tub Maintenance Schedule

When to do JobJob Description
Before UseTest Water
After Each UseAdd Shock, Close Cover
WeeklyTest Water, Add Shock
MonthlyClean Filters, Clean Covers
QuarterlyDrain Water, Clean Hot Tub, Add New Water
YearlyHave your Spa Service provider do a quality check

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