How to Deep Clean your Hot Tub in 7 Easy Steps

As you would clean any other appliance in your home like your sinks or your shower/bathtub, it is also important to clean your hot tub. You should keep a regular cleaning schedule of your hot tub that includes both surface and deep cleaning. Deep clean your hot tub at least 4 times a year or at the beginning of each new season. You may also need to deep clean your hot tub if you use it more frequently, if its been awhile since its last use, or it smells and/or the water looks grimy. This not only keeps you and your hot tub clean, but it also will prevent any possible future breakages of your hot tub parts. Cleaning keeps all the parts functioning properly and will keep your hot tub lasting longer. To learn more about when and how you should maintain or clean your hot tub, read our article, How to Maintain your Hot Tub. Always follow an after use, weekly, monthly, quarterly (the deep cleaning time), and annual cleaning schedule.

Supplies Needed

Here are the supplies you need to deep clean your hot tub:

  • Vinegar
  • Hot tub cleaner
  • Hot tub cover cleaner
  • Filter cleaner
  • Plumbing/line cleaner
  • Soft sponges and towels
  • Sump pump (optional)
  • Garden hose
  • Bucket
  • Stirring utensil

Step 1: Flush out Pipes then Turn off the Power

  1. Flush out your pipelines while your hot tub jets are turned on. Dirt builds up inside these lines and bacteria grow as this dark, warm, and wet environment attracts biofilm.
  2. Add your line cleaner. Follow the instructions on your line cleaner to know how much to add and for how long to let it circulate. It should circulate for at least 20 minutes but can circulate for a few hours if it’s really dirty. Different brands follow different instructions so read carefully.
  3. Remember to keep your jets turned on so that the cleaner can flush out all your pipelines.
  4. Turn off your hot tub’s power once you finish cleaning the pipes. To be sure all power is turned off properly, go to the fuse box and flip off the breaker that supplies your hot tub’s power. Also, turn off any other power sources that could accidentally turn your hot tub on like the control panel. Having your hot tub turned on while cleaning it could damage the filter or other important parts.

Step 2: Drain your Hot Tub

  1. Find the built-in drain plug either at the bottom or just inside your cabinet, the outside wall of your hot tub.
  2. Connect your water hose to the drain valve. You can either allow your water to drain into direct sewer access or drain into a sink or a part of your yard you don’t mind draining dirty and moldy water into. Remember the water also has pipe-cleaning chemicals in it that could harm your plants. Move the hose around every now and then so water does not pool up in one spot of your yard.

Another option is using a sump pump to drain your water more quickly and without having to drain your dirty water in your yard or home. Be sure to turn off the sump pump as soon as it finishes draining the water so it does not destroy the motor.

Step 3: Apply Hot Tub Cleaner to the Interior and Exterior

  1. Apply your special hot tub cleaner on both the inside and outside of your hot tub. Use a soft sponge or towel to wipe down your hot tub and remove any stains. If there are still stains like water lines, you can use a 50/50 water-to-vinegar ratio solution to scrub these areas down.
  2. Rinse out your hot tub using a water hose. Be sure to thoroughly rinse off all of the cleaners so that when you refill your hot tub it won’t contaminate the water and cause it to foam.
  3. Open your jets to avoid water pressure issues.

Step 4: Remove and Clean Filters

  1. Remove your hot tub filters.
  2. Remove any debris found in the filters such as leaves or large dirt particles.
  3. Spray down your filters with the hose.
  4. Fill your bucket with water and pour in the filter cleaner while stirring with your stir utensil. (Check your cleaner bottle for the specific amount you need to add.)
  5. Place the filter into the cleaning solution and water combo. Let it soak overnight.
  6. Rinse the filter thoroughly before putting it back into your hot tub. If your filter still looks really dirty, it may be time to replace it. 

Step 5: Clean the Cover

  1. Rinse off any debris on your cover with a water hose.
  2. Use a hot tub cover cleaner with a soft sponge or towel.
  3. Rinse again well so that there is no cleaner residue remaining.

Step 6: Refill your Hot Tub Water

  1. Close your hot tub’s drains so water does not escape when you add your fresh water.
  2. Place your water hose in your filter housing unit so that the freshwater goes through the filtration system before going into your hot tub to avoid airlocks.
  3. Fill up to the water line.

Step 7: Turn the Power on and Add Cleaning Chemicals

  1. Turn on the circuit breaker to your hot tub.
  2. Let it run for a few minutes to be sure no odd noises are coming from your filter system. If there are, you may have incorrectly reattached your filter and need to take it out and put it back in.
  3. Add appropriate amounts of PH, alkaline, and calcium hardness levels to your hot tub water.
  4. Turn off your air valves so that the chemicals can distribute properly.
  5. Test the PH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels using test strips.
  6. After 15-20 minutes, put the hot tub cover back on and allow the chemicals to sit for 24 hours and for the water to heat back up to at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 27 degrees Celsius.
  7. Retest your chemical levels again to be sure everything is where it should be.

Tips to Keep Your Hot Tub Water Clean

  • Balance your water chemicals regularly
  • Shock your hot tub regularly
  • Clean your filter regularly
  • Keep water filled to the water line
  • Keep the cover on when not using the hot tub

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