Project Guide

How to Clean a Hot Tub

Turn off Power and Drain
A man unplugs a power cord from an electrical outlet.

Because hot tubs run at such a high temperature, they are the perfect breeding ground for mold and other bacteria. 

  • Turn the power to the hot tub off at the circuit breaker. You don't want the pump or jets to kick on while you are trying to drain the water. 
  • To avoid any of these types of issues from contaminating your hot tub, it's important to flush the lines with a special cleaner prior to draining the water. 
  • Next, drain the hot tub according to the manufacturer's instructions. 
Clean the Tub
An empty hot tub is ready to be cleaned.

Now that the hot tub is empty, spray down the interior with water and apply a hot tub cleaner. Specially formulated hot tub cleaners are made to cut through grime and will make the cleaning process easier. 

The exterior shell of your hot tub is made to withstand buildup, so it can be gently wiped and sprayed clean with warm water. You can always clean a hot tub cover this same way. 

Tip: Always use protective gloves when using cleaners. 

Remove and Clean Filters
A person gently sprays a filter clean.

It's time to remove the tub filters. Because the filters main job is to remove grime and bacteria, they will develop buildup quickly. 

  • If you haven't replaced your hot tub filters in a year or so, replace them. If your filters are fairly new, spray them down with water from your garden hose, wipe them down with hot tub cleaner and rinse clean. Do not use a brush or anything too abrasive on filters. 
  • For an extra cleaning step, use hot tub chlorine to disinfect the filters. This will break up any buildup. Then spray clean with water. 

Tip: Some filters are easier to reach than others. Take a picture of the filter in place before you remove it so it's easier to re-install. 

Refill the Hot Tub
A person refills their hot tub.

Once your tub is clean, it's time to refill it with water. Typically, this can be done by placing your garden hose into the filter well. Be sure that the water flows through the filters and you see the tub itself filling with clean water. 

Next, turn back on the power to the hot tub. 

Treat the Water
A person holds a hot tub sanitizer tablet, preparing to add it into the water.

After a few hours, you will want to test the pH and chlorine levels in your hot tub and treat with a hot tub shock, sanitizer or clarifier. Always follow the recommended levels suggested in your manual.

Depending on whether you use hot tub bromine or hot tub chlorine, add chemicals to adjust the level. 

Once you have added the appropriate chemicals to clean a hot tub, close the lid and allow the chemicals time to work.

Maintain Regularly
A hot tub with a clean closed lid.

Much like a pool, hot tubs require some regular maintenance. One of the most important parts when learning how to clean a hot tub is figuring out a regular cleaning schedule that works for you. 

  • Sanitize using hot tub chlorine or bromine on a weekly basis. This will keep the water clean. 
  • Clean the filter monthly to remove trapped debris and grime. This will help keep your hot tub running well. 
  • Clean the hot tub shell every 3 to 4 months to prevent buildup. 
  • Keep the hot tub lid free of dust and leaves by cleaning it once a month or so. 
  • When not being used regularly, keep the hot tub protected with the lid.