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How to clean a hot tub in 5 easy steps

Our guide to making sure your hot tub stays clean and hygienic.

As the nights draw in, if you’re a hot tub owner you may be thinking about getting your tub out for one final use before it gets too chilly, or putting it away to save on energy costs. But before you send your hot tub into hibernation, it’s a good idea to give it a proper clean to avoid germs, bacteria, and mould from incubating during the autumn and winter.

  1. Drain the tub (and lines)

Draining the lines:

Hot tubs are designed to keep water at that lovely, warm temperature that makes it so inviting to sit and soak in. However, what is an inviting temperature to us humans, is also unfortunately the same for many types of mould and bacteria. That’s why it’s sometimes advisable to consider flushing out the lines of your hot tub before you drain the water, as this means you’re not just refilling the water through the same mould and bacteria-infested lines. Specialist line flushes can be bought online or from the right hardware shops to get the job done best.

Draining the tub:

For the benefit of both your tub and your hygiene, you should be draining your hot tub every three months anyway. But to give it a proper clean, you certainly need to drain it first. The first port of call, if you haven’t cleaned your lines (and second if you have), is to turn off the power to your tub. This is especially if you’re using a pump as water and electricity do not mix, and using machinery to drain the tub with the power still on puts you in danger.

Even just draining the tub through the usual means (specified in your tub’s manual) with the power still on can damage both the filtration mechanisms and motors as the pump can restart, thinking you don’t have enough water in the tub and start refilling itself. So, however you go about it, just make sure you’ve drained your tub before you start cleaning.

  1. Clean the surface and jets

Now that you’ve drained the tub, you can get to work on scrubbing the surface clean. All you need to do is wipe away any garden debris, dirt and other sediments that may have accumulated over the summer.

It’s recommended that you avoid regular household cleaning products when wiping down your hot tub, as the pH levels of these products can often disagree with the tub, damaging the shell and causing issues further down the line.

As an alternative, you can buy specialist cleaners just for this job, which protect your tub’s shell from damage that can be done by the abrasive particles in regular cleaners.

Alternatively, this spa and hot tub guide from King County details a handy DIY mixture that is similar to the chlorine cleaner which you can purchase in the UK from places like UK Pool Store. The store-bought mixture is about 50 parts per million (ppm), and the same effect can be achieved by mixing ¼ teaspoon of dichlor into 5 gallons (19 L) of water.

Or, for other handy DIY solutions, check out this list of DIY hot tub cleaners from Tips Bulletin.

Once you’ve finished, give the tub a wipe-down with a towel to restore the chemical balance of the tub and ensure that you’re not leaving a breeding habitat for mould and bacteria behind.

  1. Remove and clean filters

Removing filters:

The next step is to give your filters a clean. To do this you need to remove them from the tub by accessing the panel or cabinet around your pump. We’d also advise you to take a picture of the filter assembly before you take it apart so you know what it’s supposed to look like when it comes time to put it back together.

Spraying them down:

Once removed from your tub, wash your filters by spraying them with water. The goal here is simply to remove any lingering residue from the filter, so simply using your standard garden hose is all you need here.

You don’t need or want to use any sort of brush here, as this can just cause dirt to become trapped deeper in the filter. Then, if you made up a dichlor and water solution or have some tub cleaner on hand, use this to scrub the inside of your filter cabinet to avoid bacteria from growing in there.

Soak with cutting oil and disinfect:

Now (if available to you), give your filter a soak for a minimum of 60 mins in an oil-cutting solution.

Cutting oils are essentially a type of coolant that is designed for use in metalworking processes which help to keep the temperature, maximise the lifespan, ensure the safety of, and prevent rust on machine parts and metalwork. So, using one on your filter ensures that it is at its best once you return it to the tub.

Then, following the previous King County measurements (¼ teaspoon dichlor and 19L of water), disinfect your filter in your homemade 50-ppm chlorine solution. This should get rid of any remaining contaminants or grime that is left after the cutting solution soaking.

Or dishwash:

Alternatively, skip the oil soak entirely by cleaning your filter in the dishwasher twice over, turning it over in-between cycles. Just make sure you check your manual to see if it’s safe to put your filter in the dishwasher first and make sure you turn off the heat-dry cycle beforehand. Now just reinstall your filters and make sure everything is back in its original position and secure.

  1. Spot-clean specific areas

Once you’ve reinstalled your filters, clean around the other areas of the tub using warm water, a cloth, and specific cleaning agents (where necessary).

Key areas to clean:
  • Seat cushions (and the shell behind them).
  • The cover: Wipe down at least once a month and clean the underside by removing the cover and spraying it with a hose. Cleaners aren’t needed for this side.
  • Panels: Prevent any build-up of bacteria by wiping down the shell of your tub using a soft cloth and a neutral detergent to clean the outer panels before wiping away any remaining residue.
  1. Refill the tub

Now that you’re finished with the cleaning, you can refill the tub by running it back through the filter at first and then into the reservoir. Then turn the power back on to the tub and wait for a few moments to check for issues as the tub runs on hot.

Need a hand with your cleaning?

There’s a lot involved in cleaning a tub, just like every other cleaning job to do in around the house. By finding your nearest Merry Maids business today, you can enlist the help of domestic cleaning professionals for one-off or regular cleaning of your house, so you can get the time back to do what matters.

To find out more and book your free, no-obligation quotation on a range of professional and bespoke cleaning services, give us a call on 0800 021 3072 now.