How to Clean a Hot Tub

Regularly cleaning your hot tub is the key to its successful long-term use. It is a multi-step process which should be followed on a regular basis to prevent germ and detergent build-up. Knowing how to clean a hot tub begins with following the manufacturer’s instructions for draining the tub. You’ll need to remove all of the water from the main tub in order to have a successful cleaning experience.

Once you’ve drained the main tub, you’ll then be ready to follow these additional steps so you can have a clean hot tub to enjoy once again.

  1. Start with a whole spa cleaning effort. The best way to give your spa a general cleaning is to use a mild cleaner that is also non-abrasive. The cleaner should also not produce suds when exposed to water for best results. Use a soft, lint-free rag or a scratchless brush to apply the cleaner to all interior surfaces of the hot tub. Some cleansers may need to sit for a specific period of time before being removed and others may need to air dry. Follow the instructions of the cleaner for best results. 
  1. Baking soda can take care of stubborn surface areas. Once you’ve finished with the general cleaning work of the hot tub, you may find that there are some areas of dirt, grime, or scale that didn’t come off. For these small areas, you can use household baking soda to clean the area. Get a wet rag, apply the baking soda to it, and then lightly scrub the hot tub with the mixture. For difficult areas of scale, you may need to leave the baking soda on for 5-10 minutes to penetrate the scale. Repeat as necessary until the surface areas become clean. 
  1. Use a shining agent if desired. Once the hot tub has dried from your cleaning, you may apply a shining agent to the tub to improve its appearance. Each shining agent has specific manufacturer’s instructions that may need to be followed. Not every product will work with every type of hot tub either. Do not apply a shining agent until you know for certain that it has been designed to work with the hot tub you own. 
  1. Remember to clean your spa pillows. Many spa pillows have specific manufacturer’s instructions which must be followed to the letter for best results. Because each product is so different in cleaning standards we cannot offer any generalized advice beyond this to get them clean. 
  1. Don’t forget to clean the cover for your hot tub as well. Many hot tubs have vinyl covers that protect them when not in use. To clean this cover, the first step is to remove it and then spray it with water to loosen dirt or debris that may have built up on it. A standard garden hose is generally sufficient for this. 

Once it has been wet down and the dirt or debris removed, you’re ready to apply a cleaning solution to the vinyl cover. A standard cleaning solution is 2 gallons of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of standard dish soap. If you don’t want suds on your cover, then baking soda will also work in this ratio. 

Take the cleaning solution and scrub the top of the vinyl with a large sponge in sweeping circular motions. Continue to do so until the entire cover has been coated with the cleaning solution. Rinse the top clean. You’ll want to rinse the bottom of the vinyl off with clean water only (no soap) and use a clean sponge to remove any stubborn dirt or debris. Then apply a thin film of vinyl protection once dry to extend the life of the cover. 

  1. Clean out your filter cartridges. If you’ve cleaned out the rest of the hot tub, then you might as well clean the filters while you’re at it. We have a step-by-step filter cleaning guide that can take you through this process. 
  1. Fill the hot tub with water once again. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your hot tub to properly fill it up once again. If you notice foaming or suds beginning to form, then stop filling the tub, drain it, and rinse it out with clean water. This will prevent detergent damage. You may also wish to consider showering without soap before using your hot tub and using the rinse cycle only without laundry detergent to clean your swimsuit for better results. 

Knowing how to clean a hot tub can help you maximize the life of your unit and improve your enjoyment of it on a regular basis. Use this guide, along with the specific manufacturer’s instructions you may need to follow, to achieve the best possible results so that you can always enjoy a clean hot tub when you’re ready to relax.


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