How to Clean a Hot Tub Without Draining It?

Last Updated on December 14, 2020

I don’t know about you but I certainly do not look forward to draining my hot tub every time I want to clean it. Don’t get me wrong, draining your hot tub at regular intervals is a good and responsible part of caring for the spa but it doesn’t make the task any easier especially if you own a large hot tub.

You will need to disconnect the filter pump, get a garden hose adapter, refill the tub with fresh water, and rebalance the water in the tub after. Don’t even get me started on the time it takes to drain a hot tub. It could take days to fully drain and clean a hot tub.

The whole lengthy process makes cleaning your hot tub hectic before you even start. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a way to clean the tub without draining it first?

Well, you are in luck because there is. However, you need to know that there is no substitute for a thorough cleaning session and you will still need to change the water in the tub eventually. This method is for when you don’t have enough time to drain and clean the tub. So let’s get to it.

Can I Clean My Hot Tub Without Draining It?

Yes you can and there are different ways to go about it but you shouldn’t make a habit of it. Cleaning a hot tub with water in it is not a one-time cleaning task like you do when you drain the water in the tub. It’s more of a maintenance task. Cleaning your hot tub with water in it requires a few steps you need to execute regularly.

1. Clean the Waterline

The water line is that dirt line that forms on the inner surface of the hot tub right where the water reaches. The line is formed as a result of the dirt, sweat, chemicals, hot tub oils, and body lotions that accumulate over time. Doing this regularly will also ensure that the tub remains clean for a longer period.

Cleaning the water line is pretty easy. You can use warm water, a bit of dish soap, and a clean rag. Add a bit of dish soap to the warm water, then mix to form a lather.

Dip the clean rag into the mixture and use it to clean the waterline. There are also different hot tub cleaning liquids available in the market today and they aren’t costly too.

Safety Measures While Cleaning the Water Line

While cleaning the waterline, do not use a brush if you are cleaning an inflatable hot tub. The softest scrubbing brush can still cause scratches and dents on the surface of your inflatable hot tub and this will shorten the lifespan of the hot tub.

If you notice tough stains that do not come off with warm water and a bit of dish soap, then you need to use a stronger solution.

Chances are any hot tub cleanser will remove the stain easily. You can either spray the cleanser on the stain or just put a drop on the rag you are using and use it to wipe the stain. It should come off after this.

As a safety precaution while cleaning the hot tub with cleaning solutions or mixtures, do not let the cleanser drop in the water.

If you allow the cleanser to drop into the water in large quantities, then that will affect the pH level of your hot tub. The level of acidity in the water will be high and that will cause corrosion on the working parts of the hot tub.

2. Shock the Hot Tub

One of the easiest ways to have your water clean regularly is to shock the tub. “Shocking” also called “oxidizing” refers to the process of adding a higher than required dose of hot tub chemical to the water.

Hot tub owners are usually advised to shock the hot tub once a week depending on the level of bacteria and algae growth in the tub.

To shock your hot tub, get the required packet of chlorine shock and add it to the water as advised on the packet. The shock will kill and stop the growth of bacteria and other germs in the water.

Related Read: Can You Shock A Hot Tub With Bleach?

Safety Precaution While Shocking the Hot Tub

When you attempt to shock the hot tub, you need to pay attention to the instructions on the packet especially if you are using a chlorine shock. There isn’t a specified amount of chlorine shocked to be used for every hot tub, so you need to check the instructions for your hot tub or ask for help.

Also, you should ensure that the chlorine level in the hot tub is reduced to between 1 part per million and 3 parts per million.

If you submerge yourself in chlorine levels higher than that, it would be dangerous to your skin. The basic reason for shocking the hot tub is to kill the bacteria and germs in the tub and stop them from growing. That the chemical is meant to kill bacteria doesn’t mean it can’t harm you too so wait a while after shocking the tub before you get in.

3. Clean the Filters

The filters do a great deal of work to keep your hot tub as clean as possible. Often, dirt particles accumulate on the filters. This will impede the functionality of your filters. To clean the water filters, remove them, and use a garden hose to wash them.

If you have the time, you can soak the filters in a solution for a while. That will remove more dirt and debris than hosing them down.

The downside to soaking the filters is that your hot tub will be inactive for a while. So unless this is okay by you or you have another filter you can use, I would advise you to just wash the filters with a hose.

The filters get dirty easily and quickly depending on how dirty the water is, so doing this regularly will prolong the time you can use your tub without completely draining the tub.

Related Read: How Often Should You Change Your Hot Tub Filter?

Safety Precaution While Cleaning the Filters

Do not use detergent or dish soap to clean the filters. Just use water, preferably warm water for a quick wash and if you want to soak the filters, you should get a filter cleaning solution.

Remember the steps above only allow you to clean the tub without draining it then and there, but you will still need to drain the tub eventually. If you feel it’s time to drain the tub, then you should probably do it. Taking a dip in filthy water will put you at risk of contamination and infection.

No matter how many times you shock the tub or clean the filters, you will still need to drain the tub and give it a proper clean later on. So these are just temporary alternatives for when you need to clean the tub but you don’t have the luxury of time on your hands.

Related Read: How Do I Reduce The Noise In My Hot Tub?

Are There Self Cleaning Hot Tubs?

Not entirely. There are some products or hot tub models that are advertised as “self-cleaning” but even such hot tubs will still require a level of effort from the user.

It would be a dream come through to a have hot tub that completely cleans itself. I would certainly want to live in that world. Though I can’t dispute the level of technological advancements in the world, most hot tubs advertised as self-cleaning aren’t particularly self-cleaning.

“Self-cleaning” in most cases refers to an automatic or an advanced filtration system. A better filtration system will no doubt clean the water in the tub but so will the filtration system built in other hot tubs. The only difference is that an automatic filtration system will keep the water cleaner for a longer period.

How Can You Keep Your Hot Tub Clean?

Cleaning a hot tub is not the easiest of tasks but you can carry out some steps to prolong the time you can go without needing to completely drain and clean the tub.

1. Use Hot Tub Chemicals and Sanitizers Regularly

Hot tub chemicals like chlorine and bromine will do a good job cleaning the water in the tub. Just ensure to use them as instructed and always wait a while after you add chemicals to the water before getting in the tub

2. Shower Before Getting in the Tub

Most times, we use the hot tub in the evening by which time we would have dried sweat on our bodies and we would have used a handful of lotions, makeup, fragrances, and the lot.

Getting in the tub without taking a shower first means you bringing all that into the water and that will contaminate the water quickly.

3. Don’t Drink or Eat in the Tub

It’s not healthy to eat or drink while in the hot tub. This is because of the circulation of blood in our bodies while in the tub.

When you couple that with the fact that food particles and drinks can get into the water, you will find out it’s not a good idea to eat or drink in the tub.

4. Keep the Hot Tub Running Even When Not in Use

This will ensure the dirt and debris is picked up by the filters.

5. Use the Hot Tub Cover

Always cover the tub when not in use. That will prevent airborne debris and dirt from getting into the tub and thus causing problems later on.

I hope you found this article useful. Do remember that the above-mentioned cleaning methods are ONLY to be used as temporary provisions.

There is no substitute for draining and completely cleaning your hot tub regularly. If you drain and clean the hot tub, say every 2-3 months and you follow the ways to keep your hot tub clean, you wouldn’t encounter any problem running your hot tub.

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