How to Clean a Hot Tub

The hot tub has been a monumental success in the UK in recent years – despite our unpredictable weather. Estimates suggest that 1 in 10 people now have a hot tub in their gardens. Once a feature of the very wealthy, the introduction of finance options has meant that the hot tub is now within reach for many. 

But getting the best performance from your hot tub requires the right routine, ensuring you use the correct products and to keep on top of cleaning your prized possession. If you live in a hard water area, there could be some extra cleaning you need to do to make sure your hot tub has as long a life as possible. 

In our helpful guide that details how to clean a hot tub, we’ll take you through everything you need to know to keep your hot tub sparkling clean.  

hot tub close up

How often should I clean my hot tub?

As is the case with any product, the frequency it needs to be cleaned depends on how much you use it. It’s important to remember that you will need a special set of products for cleaning your hot tub – which should be available from the manufacturer or the retailer you bought it from. 

In essence, you should be looking to clean your hot tub: 

  • After each use, give it a quick wipe to remove any marks caused by the water line
  • Check your pH levels regularly (at least once a week) using the correct kits
  • Have a weekly check of your filter and remove any trapped grime or debris

Other tasks that need looking at when owning a hot tub include a full drain and refill (your retailer should be able to advise how often this needs to be), as well as cleaning the inside shell with a suitable cleaner.  

You should also get your hot tub serviced by a professional at the recommended intervals, as stated by the manufacturer.  

How to clean a hot tub filter

To clean your filter, you can follow the handy steps below:

  1. Turn off your hot tub
  2. Find the filter and very carefully remove it
  3. Remove any dirt and debris with clean water
  4. Submerge the filter in a bucket of water mixed with hot tub filter cleaner (speak to your retailer to find their recommendations)
  5. Once it has soaked, remove and rinse to clean off any residue
  6. Ensure your filter is fully air dried before returning it to your hot tub

One of the hot tub’s most vital components, the filter, works as you would expect – by trapping dust and dirt particles that build up over time. A filter that isn’t cleaned regularly can reduce the performance of your hot tub. 

hot tub filter cleaning

How to clean a hot tub cover 

Wipe your hot tub cover down often, removing any bird waste that may have accumulated and could damage the surface of the covering. As is the case with all of the hot tub structure, make sure you use a non-abrasive cloth or sponge. 

You can also buy specific hot tub cover cleaners which are great at getting rid of more stubborn grime and dirt. Chat to your local retailer to see what options are available to you.

Your hot tub cover takes a lot of wear over its life – constantly protecting your spa from the elements and making sure nothing nasty gets into your water or irritates your skin. Because it is exposed all the time, it’s important to keep it looking fresh.  

How to clean hot tub jets

Your jets are arguably the most important part of the hot tub experience, so it’s important to make sure these are kept clean and free of any dirt and debris. The best way to clean your jets is to do it when your hot tub has been drained fully. 

hot tub cleaning kit

Wipe around the jets with a soft cloth, and then take a hot tub cleaning spray to remove any stubborn stains. It’s important not to use any regular household cleaning products as these can impact the delicate pH balance, even if they are rinsed well. 

How to clean hot tub headrests

Whether your hot tub has soft pillows or built-in headrests that are part of the interior shell, these will need cleaning. Our hair has a number of natural oils that can build up over time on the surfaces on which we rest our heads, so it’s important to clean these often forgotten parts of your hot tub. 

Simply remove the cushions (if you have them) and wipe using a cloth and clean water. Make sure you clean the shell behind them, as mildew can form here if left.  

Good to know

When cleaning your hot tub, it’s important to remember the following: 

  • Do not use any abrasive cleaners or sponges that could scratch the shell
  • Avoid using products that contain ammonia as these can impact the pH balance of your water

How to remove hard water stains from a hot tub

Those in hard water areas may notice that calcium build-up forms around your hot tub. These deposits will look like a light film or a harder scale (limescale) that develops on the shell of your hot tub.  

First off, this build-up of limescale in a hot tub isn’t dangerous, but it is unsightly and requires elbow grease to remove. The harder the water in your area, the worse it will be. 

hot tub water

For a guide to the water hardness in your area, take a look at our hard water checker. Simply enter your postcode or town.  

As the pH balance of your hot tub is so important, if you are using any sort of cleaner, you must empty your hot tub first. After doing this, you can follow these steps to finally remove those unsightly hard water stains. 

  1. Wipe out any remaining water with a soft cloth or sponge
  2. Remove any loose debris or residue – have a bucket nearby to put it in
  3. Let the hot tub air dry before moving on to the next stage
  4. Choose your cleaner – a spray bottle is handy
  5. Spray the mixture around your shell, and let it sit for a few minutes
  6. Stubborn limescale deposits may require some extra spraying
  7. Using a nylon brush or similarly appropriate scrubber, scrub around the shell in a circular motion
  8. Be careful not to use anything abrasive that could damage or scratch the shell of the hot tub, and if in doubt, consult the manufacturer’s instructions
  9. Rinse the shell down to remove any final cleaner residue
  10. Refill the hot tub to your manufacturer’s guidelines, including getting the right pH and chlorine balance

To reduce the amount of limescale build-up, many choose to have a water softener at home. A water softener is designed to remove calcium and magnesium from your water supply, the two minerals that contribute to hard water and form limescale. 

What this would do for your hot tub is to reduce the amount of calcium and magnesium in the water flowing into your spa, improving the overall experience and eliminate the build-up of hard water deposits – limescale.  

By eliminating limescale build-up, you are extending the life of your hot tub, and reducing the overall potential maintenance costs. 

How to descale a hot tub

To descale your hot tub, you need to buy a recommended descaler. Generally, these are to be added directly to the water in your hot tub with the circulation pump turned on, allowing them to move through the pipework and jets. 

Hot tub water is a delicate chemistry that needs watching carefully, and when it comes to the amount of calcium in your water, it’s important to get the balance absolutely spot on. 

If you have a high amount of calcium in your hot tub water, you will start to see scale build-up (white deposits on jets and other areas). Alongside this, the water could irritate your skin due to the high calcium content impacting the pH balance. 

Finally, if the scale is loose and floating around your spa, you could see your water go cloudy – impacting the crystal-clear look that you would normally see and enjoy in your hot tub. 

Where are the best and worst places to own a hot tub?

Across the UK, the amount of calcium and magnesium in your water varies wildly. The best places to own a hot tub are Edinburgh and Plymouth – with just 23mg and 25mg of calcium carbonate per litre of water respectively. 

At the other end of the spectrum, Ipswich and Hull have the hardest water in the UK, with readings of 368mg and 358mg per litre each. 

As we’ve discussed, those in hard water areas across the UK will find that they need to clean and descale their hot tubs more than those in soft water areas – unless they own a water softener.  

Softer water can also help alleviate dry skin and hair too, meaning your hot tub experience will keep your skin soft and supple. If you want a hot tub experience with those big bubbles that we see in the adverts, and that leaves your skin and hair feeling softer afterwards, then the best place for a hot tub is somewhere with soft water. 

hot tub bubbles

You can learn more about the best UK locations to own or rent a hot tub in our helpful guide

With the purchase of your new hot tub comes a selection of “best practice” routines and cleaning regimes that you should follow. If in doubt, always consult the manufacturer guidelines or have a chat with your local retailer to see what is best for your particular model. 

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