How to Clean Hot Tub Filters

Hot tubs can be a wonderful thing to own, but over time you’ll notice that the water quality begins to change. This often means that it is time to change out and clean the filter that your hot tub is using. Filters generally need to be changed every 2 weeks, even if water quality issues are not being noticed. Having a filter rotation is your best option. You can swap out a dirty cartridge for a clean one and then take your time in cleaning the filter.

If you want to know how to clean hot tub filters, these are the steps you’ll want to follow, along with any specific product instructions, to have the best possible experience.

  1. Rinse out the filter once it has been removed. Your filter needs to be pre-rinsed with a clean water source to begin removing some of the film that will be on it. Using a standard garden hose for this process is usually the easiest method. Then soak the filter cartridge in a non-foaming cleaning compound that is designed for overnight cleaning. 

Once the overnight cleaning process has been completed, allow the filter to air dry. For some units, this may be all that is required to be ready for placement in the hot tub once again. If there is still cleaning that needs to be completed, then the following steps may need to be followed. 

  1. Remove any scale buildup that you find. Some source water will have high mineral content in it. This will cause scale to begin building on the hot tub filter cartridge. You will need to either manually scrub this scale off with a non-scratch brush or use a cleaner that can remove calcium deposits. Using a muriatic acid cleaner for this process which is designed for hot tub filter cartridges will typically provide you with the best results. 
  1. Do not use laundry detergents or dish soap to clean your filters. This will create foaming issues within your hot tub if you do so. Only use cleaning agents that are specifically designed for your hot tub for best results. Make sure the cleaner you use is also designed for cleaning pleated cartridges if necessary. A hot tub which has excessive foam may require you to clean out the jets and water delivery mechanisms in addition to the filter, which would require following the hot tub winterizing steps. 
  1. There are other acidic agents which can remove scale. If you don’t like the idea of using muriatic acid to clean your filters, then a 1:20 bleach ratio cleaner can also be used. White vinegar is another option, though it will make your hot tub smell like vinegar for a while after you install the clean cartridges. Other vinegars are not recommended: red vinegar may stain the filter, apple cider vinegar may leave organic agents on the filter, and neither makes for a pleasant soaking experience. 
  1. Spray out a paper filter from the inside out. Many paper filters work by removing small contaminants from the water stream, which clogs the natural pores of the filter over time. Spraying from the outside-in will not remove these contaminants. You’ll need to spray the filter from the inside out instead. A standard garden hose can take care of this task. Do not use a power washer for this process as it will likely damage the filter. 
  1. Recognize when a filter needs to be replaced. Even the best hot tub filters have a general lifespan of about 12 months. Some may be able to make it to the 18 month mark with regular maintenance. If you run a filter past its recommended time of use, there is the risk of increasing your power consumption rates when using your hot tub. Your filter cartridge manufacturer has specific instructions regarding the life of your filter, proper disposal methods, and specific cleaning methods that can extend its life. 

One of the most common reasons why a hot tub stops working properly is because the filters for it have not been cleaned as they should. A little work every other week to clean out the filters can prolong the life of each cartridge and prevent costly damage from occurring to your equipment. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions, use this guide to cleaning hot tub filters as a reference, and you’ll be able to enjoy all of the benefits a hot tub can provide for months and years to come.

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