Hot Tub Cleaning – How to Clean a Hot Tub

hot tub cleaning infographic overview

Cleaning a hot tub is easy. There are no complicated steps and you don’t need any specialized equipment. This simple guide covers everything you need to know about hot tub cleaning in 7 simple steps. We’ve even included some basic safety tips, a cleaning schedule, and a Hot Tub Cleaning FAQ.

How To Clean Your Hot Tub – Simple Guide

woman relaxing in a hot tub with arms behind head

How do you clean a hot tub? The good news, it’s very simple. Follow this simple step-by-step guide and you’ll have your hot tub sparkling clean and ready to go in no time. You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning a hot tub. However, below are the general steps you need to follow.

1: Power Off the Hot Tub

You should always hot tub cleaning by switching off the power. You don’t want any live electricity in the unit while you’re cleaning it. And, there’s a chance the motor will kick in when you drain the water below a certain level.

Switch the device off and unplug it from your power source. If the unit is hard-wired into an electrical connection, locate the circuit breaker and flick it to the off position. This prevents the hot tub from accidentally switching on during cleaning.

2: Drain the Hot Tub

Next up, you need to remove all the water. To drain a tub you should refer to your manufacturer’s guidelines. In most cases, you need to attach a hose to the drain outlet and run it to a place you’re happy to discharge the tub water. You’ll need to locate the unit’s sump pump or drain plug to release the water. And, then run it to a suitable area – such as an outdoor drain.

3: Clean the Interior

Once the tub has been drained of all water you can begin cleaning the tub interior. Most people use a specialist hot tub cleaning solution for the best results. However, you can also use a mild chlorine mixture – if your manufacturer explicitly permits it, see below.

man relaxing in a clean hot tub

• Hot Tub Cleaning Solution

The easiest way to clean a hot tub is to use a dedicated hot tub cleaning solution. You can pick these up in most home and outdoor stores. They’re great for removing residual dirt and grime yet gentle enough to avoid damaging the hot tub surface.

Follow the cleaning product instructions and apply it to all surface areas using a non-abrasive cloth – microfiber works well. You can add water as you go using a garden hose for some extra help removing stubborn stains or debris.

Chlorine Solution

Many hot tubs can be cleaned using a mild chlorine solution. Check your device’s user manual before applying chlorine – some manufacturers advise against it. In general, you should create a 50 parts per million solution. You can do this by adding a quarter teaspoon of dichlor chlorine granules to five gallons of water.

Rinse Thoroughly

When you’re finished cleaning the tub interior you should perform a thorough rinse to remove all cleaning solution. Get your hose out and give it a good spray. Make sure there’s no residual cleaning solution on the interior surface. It all needs to be washed away before adding water and returning the hot tub to regular use.

Avoid Using Vinegar

You may hear of people using vinegar to clean their hot tubs. We recommend you do not do this. Vinegar has a very low pH level and can damage your hot tub interior when applied to the surface. For best results, you should follow your manufacturer’s guidelines and stick to using either a dedicated hot tub cleaning solution or a mild chlorine solution as described above.


4: Clean the Lines

Don’t forget to clean the tubing lines. These lines carry warm water to the tub. And, it’s the kind of environment microbes thrive in. There’s no point in performing a stellar hot tub cleaning job and then flushing bacteria back in using dirty lines.

You’ll need to buy a bottle of line flush cleaner at your local DIY store. Your best bet is to ask a staff member for a cleaner that works well on hot tub tubing. Follow the instructions on the product label for best results.

In most cases, you’ll have to circulate a mixture of cleaner and water through the tube lines to remove debris and microbes. If the discharge water is cloudy you may need to repeat the cleaning procedure for the hot tub interior.

5: Clean the Filter

You’ll need to clean your hot tub filter as well. This unit isolates dirt and debris as water circulates through the hot tub tubing. They can get quite grubby if left untreated and we recommend you take them out and wash them regularly. To clean your hot tub filter, you’ll first need to locate them.

a couple relaxing in an outdoor hot tub

Refer to your user manual for their location and specific cleaning instructions. In general, you’ll need to open an access panel and release them. This usually involves unclipping them and gently removing them from the connecting water lines.

Begin your filter cleaning by thoroughly rinsing them under a garden hose. Spray the water to remove any loosely attached debris and grime. Do not brush the filters as this can cause damage and push dirt deeper into the filter media.

Then, use a dedicated filter cleaning solution to perform a deep clean. In many cases, this will be the same cleaner you used to clean the hot tub interior. Follow the instructions on the filter cleaning product. This often involves preparing a bucket of solution and soaking them overnight. The next day, perform a thorough rinse and return them to their filter housing and reconnect all tube lines.

6: Clean the Cover

You’ll need to spend some time cleaning the hot tub cover. The outside surface can become dirty. Especially during the fall and winter seasons when trees shed their leaves and weather conditions deteriorate. Use a brush to sweep the outer surface clean and spray with a hose to remove dirt and stains.

The underside of the cover should be a lot cleaner. In general, a spray with a garden hose will be enough to clean the underside. However, you can use a hot tub cleaning solution and a non-abrasive cloth if it needs some extra attention. When done, allow to air dry, and then return the cover to the tub.

7: Refill the Hot Tub

Once you’ve finished our hot tub cleaning routine – you’re done. Your hot tub should be looking and smelling like new. It’s time to refill it with water and leave it ready for use. Close the training valve and return water using the manufacturer’s guidelines.

In most cases, this involves returning water via the inlet line connected to the filter unit. Once the water is in place you can switch the device back on. Reconnect the tub to your electrical supply and power on the circuit breaker if you switched it off before you began cleaning.

Hot Tub Cleaning Safety

Here are some basic safety tips you should be aware of when cleaning a hot tub. Although it’s not the most dangerous job in the world there are a few potential pitfalls you need to take into consideration

jet streams in a hot tub

Power Off

Always power off the device before you begin cleaning. The device should be electrically isolated before you commence.

Manufacturer’s Guidelines

Consult your manufacturer’s guidelines before you begin cleaning. Note any specific instructions and stick to them to avoid unintended damage.

Cleaning Solutions

Refer to your user manual for a list of cleaning solutions that can be used to clean your hot tub.

Safety Clothing

Wear appropriate safety clothing when cleaning a hot tub and using chemical cleaning solutions. These include safety glasses, rubber gloves, and a protective apron.

Avoid Mixing Chemicals

Do not mix chemical cleaning solutions. Doing so can trigger a chemical reaction and release toxic fumes.

How Often Should You Clean a Hot Tub

How often a hot tub should be cleaned depends on several factors. Level of usage, maintenance, filter performance, and source water quality all play key roles. And, you’ll need to consult your user manual for specific advice for your device. In general, we recommend the following hot tub cleaning schedule.

Hot Tub Cleaning Schedule

  • Sanitizer & PH Levels: Balance Every Week
  • Filter: Clean Every Week.
  • Water: Weekly (oxidizer shock dose)
  • Water Tubes: Every 3 Months
  • Tub Interior: Every 3 Months
  • Full Service: Every 12 Months

Hot Tub Maintenance

Hot tub cleaning is just one part of a more comprehensive hot tub maintenance schedule. Good hot tub maintenance also includes several steps. These include:

  • Water Testing
  • PH Adjustment
  • Chlorine Sanitizing
  • Shock Treatment
  • Filter Maintenance
  • Hot Tub Cleaning
  • Water Replacement
  • Visual Inspection

Hot Tub Cleaning FAQ

hot tub with a womans legs on the side of the tub

What is the Best Cleaning Solution for Cleaning a Hot Tub?

The best thing to clean a hot tub is a dedicated hot tub cleaning solution. These solutions are highly effective at removing residual dirt and grime that clings to the surface of the hot tub interior.

Can You Clean a Hot Tub Yourself?

You can easily clean a hot tub yourself by following a series of 7 simple steps.

1: Power Off the Hot Tub
2: Drain the Hot Tub
3: Clean the Interior
4: Clean the Lines
5: Clean the Filter
6: Clean the Cover
7: Refill the Hot Tub

See our guide above for more detail. We cover everything you need to know about cleaning a hot tub in simple easy-to-follow language.

Should I Add Chlorine to My Hot Tub Every Day?

You should regularly add chlorine to your hot tub to maintain hygiene and prevent microbe growth. To determine how often you should add chlorine you should test the water to determine the chlorine level and adjust accordingly. Hot tubs should maintain a chlorine water level of 1-3 parts per million (ppm).

Can You Use Vinegar to Clean a Hot Tub?

No, you should avoid using vinegar to clean your hot tub. Vinegar is highly acidic and can damage the hot tub surface interior. Refer to your manufacturer’s guidelines for advice on which cleaning solution should be used. In general, it is recommended you use a dedicated hot tub cleaning solution.


About the Author


• Sauna Specialist

Meet Jake, a man with a passion for sauna therapy. Jake’s background is in science and his passion is wellness and fitness. Growing up in Orlando Florida, Jake enrolled in Florida International University where he graduated with a BS in Biological Sciences.

As a young man, he worked in the spa and wellness center at the renowned Breakers Palm Beach luxury hotel. Here he developed his skills and understanding of client-centered wellness delivery. Upon graduating from Florida International University he took up a research position focusing on the application and practical effects of steam therapy.

His research has contributed to advancing the understanding of steam sauna therapy and how it can be applied in the occupational health environment. His work in this area has been officially recognized for its impact on the field.

Jake is a devoted fan of the Orlando Magic basketball team. When not working and advancing his research he enjoys attending games at the Kia Center in downtown Orlando. He also likes to remain active in his local sports community and volunteers as a basketball coach for his local youth team.

With his background in scientific research and passion for wellness, Jake is a valuable addition to the Home Sauna Heaven writer’s team where he shares his knowledge and understanding of sauna therapy, steam sauna therapy, and how they can be used for best effect.

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