How to clean a hot tub: simple tricks to get yours looking sparkly

Follow our step-by-step guide on how to clean your hot tub

How to clean a hot tub
(Image credit: Ron Lach / Pexels)

It’s the last week of T3’s Garden Tech Month, and this week has been all about entertaining in your outdoor space. Having the best hot tub in your back garden is a brilliant way to relax after a long day. It’s been found that regularly soaking in the water is surprisingly beneficial, including improving your sleep, speeding up injury recovery, soothing muscles and relieving pain.

But if your hot tub is looking a little dirty, you definitely don’t want you or your friends and family to be plunging into its murky waters. Cleaning or ‘shocking’ a hot tub might sound like a big chore but it’s surprisingly quicker and easier than you might think.

Here’s our step-by-step guide to cleaning a hot tub, including what products to use and how often you should flush it out.

How to clean a hot tub

To keep your hot tub in perfect condition, you should be cleaning and sanitising it often to keep it safe and enjoyable to use. The following steps are how to properly clean your hot tub. Remember to check the manufacturer’s instructions first before you start cleaning.

Flush out the lines

First, flush the hot tub’s lines. Doing this removes any dirt, bacteria, scale or build-up from the pipes that can accumulate in the plumbing system. If this isn’t done, these contaminants can affect the power and quality of your hot tub. To flush the lines, use a special pipe cleaning product (check what your manufacturer recommends) and follow their instructions for the amount and duration of cleaning.

Drain the water

Once the pipes are flushed, turn off the hot tub and drain its water. Again, follow the manufacturer’s instructions but most hot tubs will have a drain valve at the bottom or just inside its cabinet. Alternatively, you can use the best garden hose or a subversive pump to empty it.

Clean the jets & seats

Once the hot tub is empty, wipe away any dirt or sediment that was left in the tub after draining before scrubbing the jets, seats and inside of the hot tub using a specialised hot tub cleaner and a soft cloth. After this, rinse it and wipe it down with a towel.

Fully clean the filter

Next, clean the filter. This should be done weekly if you’re using your hot tub on a regular basis and it should be involved in this deep clean, too. After removing the filter, rinse it to remove any dirt and soak it in a filter-cleaning solution. Fully submerge the filter in the solution and leave it for 12-24 hours to remove all contaminants. Give it a final rinse, dry it completely and reinstall the filter in the hot tub.

Best hot tubs 2022: image depicts women sat in hot tub drinking champagne

(Image credit: Canva)

Wash the outside

Now the inside of the hot tub is clean, it’s time to tackle the outside. With a soft cloth and neutral detergent, clean the outside panels of your hot tub to remove any dirt. Wipe away any leftover residue and let it dry.

Spray down the cover

Your hot tub cover can collect a lot of dirt and grime, so it’s important to clean it regularly, especially if you see debris collecting on it. Use a hosepipe to spray off the dirt before wiping it down with a cloth. Some brands offer hot tub cover cleaner so if you have this, spray this over the cover.

Refill the hot tub

Once your hot tub is clean, refill it by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, this involves positioning your hose pipe in the filter housing unit and turning the water on. Once filled up, check the pH balance of the water and add a sanitiser. Finally, cover your hot tub with its clean cover or you can hop right in!

How to ‘shock’ a hot tub

The chemical balance of your hot tub changes often, mainly due to being in a warm environment, the water’s movement and bubbles, and your body oils entering the water. Because of this, you need to test the water regularly and if you notice any changes, this is when you need to shock your hot tub.

Shocking a hot tub is when you add a higher dose of chemicals to the water as normal. Also known as oxidising, this shock to the water reduces bacteria and makes it safe for you to use. Below is how to best shock your hot tub.

Best cheap hot tub deals

(Image credit: Lay-Z-Spa)

Check the water’s PH balance

To check the pH balance of your hot tub, take a test trip or a digital test reader and put it in the water. Make sure to put the strip in the same spot and at the same depth every time you test, so you get the most accurate readings. The correct pH balance for your hot tub should be between 7.0 - 7.4 with a bromine sanitiser or 7.2 - 7.6 with a chlorine sanitiser.

Add the shock treatment to the water

To start the shock treatment, turn on the hot tub jets to aerate the water. This allows the treatment to get into all the nooks and crannies of your hot tub rather than staying in one spot. From there, add in your chlorine or non-chlorine chemicals. Follow the chemicals’ instructions for the amount that you need and pour the treatment near the water inlets to circulate it. Let the water disperse it for 20 minutes.

How often should you clean your hot tub?

It’s recommended that you should deep clean your hot tub 3-4 times a year. If you’re using your hot tub regularly, you should be checking the water’s pH balance to keep on top of its cleaning and your hot tub’s filter should be cleaned once a month.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!