How to Deep Clean Your Spa or Hot Tub

spa-cleaning-supplies purchased thru istockNow that it is officially spa season, I figured this would be a good time to talk about how to clean your spa to keep it in tip-top shape. Spa owners usually drain and refill their spa when water conditions don’t seem quite right, or every 3-4 months regardless.

Spas need periodic deep cleaning because over time the surfaces inside the spa and the plumbing can begin to accumulate excessive amounts of bacteria harboring biofilm. Biofilm becomes resistant to all sanitizers and is difficult to remove. It can cause cloudy water, slime formation, or bad odors that cannot be cleared up and these are all signs that it is time to purge, drain, clean and refill your spa.

How to Deep Clean Your Spa

1. Remove and Clean your Spa Filter Cartridge

You are going to spend some time making sure your spa plumbing and other surfaces are crystal clean, but if you don’t clean the filter you are going to be running clean water through a dirty filter allowing buildup to occur more quickly.

ilter-perfectNow is a good time to soak the cartridge overnight with a cartridge cleaner solution; Filter Perfect is a great choice. For more info on how to deep clean your cartridge filter element check out Martin’s post “How to Really Clean a Pool Filter Cartridge”. After cleaning, leave the cartridge out of the spa to dry, while moving on to the following steps.

2. Purge Plumbing Lines

spa-purgeAs I mentioned, biofilm will build up in plumbing lines over time, and if we don’t get rid of the bacteria in the plumbing it doesn’t matter how clean the interior of the spa is because your water is flowing through biofilm filled pipes and bringing that bacteria back in to the spa. By adding Spa Purge and allowing your spa to circulate overnight, the build up of biofilm is stripped from the plumbing lines and other hidden areas that they have attached themselves.

3. Drain and Clean the Spa


Now that we’ve purged all of the gunk from the filter and plumbing lines, we need to drain the water and deep clean the spa’s surface. Check your owner’s manual for specific draining instructions for your model spa; they can all be a bit different. Usually, there is a water spigot near the equipment pack that connects to a garden hose. You can also use a submersible pump, like the Water Wizard pump. Just connect it to a garden hose and plug it in. Drains spas fast!

Once you have completely drained the spa you can move on to cleaning the inside of the spa. A soft rag should easily remove dirt on your hot tub shell. Be sure to take some extra time cleaning the water line where the most build up will occur.

If you have a jet removal tool, remove the rotators on your spa jets, and use a toothbrush, bottle brush or textured sponge to clean inside and around your spa jets, skimmer and drain.

Spa Cleaner is great to remove the grime and restore the shine. Spa cleaning chemicals remove grease and scale without leaving any residue. Be careful not to use kitchen or bath cleansers, which may contain abrasives, phosphates or cleaning agents that are best not used in a spa or hot tub environment.

4. Clean Spa Pillows and Any Other Accessories

Remove the pillows from the spa. Some pillows are secured to the spa with plastic screws, so be sure to check for this so you don’t damage the pillow or the spa trying to remove it. Pillows can be cleaned with a mild soap and water solution or you can use the Spa Cleaner I mentioned above. If you use a soap solution be sure to rinse off thoroughly and wipe dry to remove any soap residue.

Cleaning the interior surfaces is most important, but to maintain the look and value of your spa or hot tub, an annual exterior treatment is also recommended. A spa cover conditioner is the best way to clean and protect your spa top, and if your wood spa skirt is looking tired, pick up a half-pint of Minwax, to restore tone and protect with polyurethane.

Do you have any good tips that help you keep your spa sparkling clean? Leave us a comment below! As always, if you have any spa or hot tub cleaning questions, please give us a call at 1-800-288-7946.

Jackie Wolski
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

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