How to clean a hot tub

Want to know how to clean a hot tub after you've bubbled away your cares? Follow our guide and enjoy crystal clear water

How to clean a hot tub
(Image credit: Royal Tubs )

Looking for top tips on how to clean a hot tub? You've come to the right place. Take time out to clean your hot tub properly and you'll be rewarded with crystal water to sink into.

Hot tubs are the perfect place to lay back and relax, whatever the weather, and let your cares float away on the bubbles. Once we used to enjoy them on holidays or mini breaks, but now we can have these little pieces of paradise on our own patios.

But as the spa washes away your worries, the water can get soupy with the combination of sun lotion, sweat, dirt and beauty products, plus any bits of garden detritus that might have been blown in.

Read on for our top tips to keep it sparkling clean, then check out the best hot tub deals in our buyer's guide

How to clean a hot tub 

The best way to clean a hot tub will to some extent depend on the type of hot tub you have in your garden and how often you use it. To keep it ready for a dip, and functioning at its best, you need to have a regular cleaning regime.

We've covered the different types of designs below, along with an ideal cleaning schedule, so you can be sure you'll keep your hot tub clean and bacteria free. 

1: How to clean a custom-built or permanent hot tub

  • After use, fish out any large leaves or bits of floral flotsam that might have been blown in.
  • Wipe away any tidemarks that might be evident around the side of the tub with a clean damp cloth. Or try using a hot tub cleaning pad
  • Check the levels of pH and sanitiser (chlorine or bromine), which kill off bacteria in the water, and make sure they’re maintained. You can do this using a hot tub/pool testing kit. The pH should ideally be between 7.2 and 7.4. Too low and it will be acidic, which can cause corrosion, too high and it will be too alkaline, letting scale build up and making the water cloudy. Both can irritate eyes and skin and affect the efficiency of the sanitiser, which can affect the tub’s function. 

2: Hot tub cleaning tasks – once a week

  • Clean your skimmer basket. Turn off the spa, unscrew the basket, pull it out and clear out any debris it has captured.
  • Check the pH and sanitiser levels.
  • Shock dose the water using chlorine shock granules and non-chlorine shock granules. This breaks down chloramines, formed from the sanitiser reacting to things like dead skin and sweat, making the water cloudy. It will also kill bacteria and clear the cloudy water. You should also shock the tub if you haven’t used it for some time. 

3: Hot tub cleaning tasks – every three to four months

  • Drain the water. Before doing so, put in a pipe cleaning product to let it circulate and flush out the pipes and equipment. Turn off the jets and leave the tub overnight.
  • Next morning, unplug your hot tub and let it drain completely. Check your filters. Use rubber gloves and wipe down the inside of the tub to remove any scum. Use a soft damp cloth or sponge. If you want to use a natural cleaning product, try distilled vinegar, which is purer than white vinegar. 
  • Don’t use an abrasive or harsh cleaning product that could scratch the surface of your hot tub. 
  • Don't use washing up liquid, unless you want your water extra foamy.
  • Fill your tub with clean water. Turn the thermostat to cold or minimum until after the spa’s filled and the pumps/jets are working properly, then turn your thermostat back to the setting you prefer.
  • Balance the alkalinity and pH of your spa water as quickly as possible. This can take a few days. Put in appropriate start up chemicals (your spa’s operating and care instructions should specify which ones).

4: How to clean a hot tub filter

You can do this every four to six weeks by spraying off with the garden hose or running it through the dishwasher. Make sure not to use soap or dry by heat.

5: How to clean an inflatable hot tub

  • To thoroughly clean an inflatable hot tub, drain it every three to four weeks.
  • When it’s empty, clean the inside with warm soapy water and a damp microfibre sponge. Don’t use abrasive products or brushes that can damage the inside.
  • Rinse thoroughly with a hose until there are no soap bubbles.
  • The filter should be cleaned once a week and replaced after a month.