How to Clean Hot Tub Plumbing (Beginner’s Guide)

By Calvin | Last Updated: May 29, 2021 | Maintenance / Cleaning

If these contaminants are left unattended in the hot tub’s plumbing, they can solidify over time and clog the lines of the hot tub making it difficult for water to reach the pump and flow through the jets. This issue can quickly escalate and cause the pump to burn up since there isn’t any water in it.

This is why it’s usually advised to clean the hot tub plumbing before it gets clogged by debris but that is easier said than done. Unlike other parts of the hot tub like the shell that is easily accessible to the user, you can’t reach the pipes of the hot tub.

So how do you clean something you can’t even reach? The simple answer is to use a hot tub line flush. Hot tub line flush will break down all the grime that has accumulated in the hot tub plumbing over time making it easier for the filter to trap them while the water is being circulated.

But that’s just the simple answer. Let’s dive deeper to discover how to clean and prevent a build-up of grime in the hot tub plumbing.

If you want to learn how to clean hot tub plumbing lines then you should check our post. We included the 9-steps we do every time we want to clean the plumbing system.

How to Clean Hot Tub Plumbing

Using hot tub line flush is the best way to clean the hot tub plumbing but you shouldn’t just add the line flush. There are a few preparatory steps to take to ensure you clean the plumbing properly.

Turn Off the Hot Tub

The first thing to do is to turn off the hot tub. It’s never a good idea to clean the hot tub while it’s on. The control switch to turn off the hot tub is usually located on the control panel.

Clean or Replace the Filters

After turning off the hot tub, you should take out the filters for a good clean. The filters are the part of the hot tub that is responsible for trapping dirt and debris. The filter prevents dirt and other contaminants from being circulated in the water. If the plumbing lines are clogged, one of the reasons for that is because the filters are clogged too or dirty.

Another reason for cleaning the filters is to make it easier for the filters to pick up the debris that will be flushed out from the pipes. When you add the line flush to the hot tub plumbing, the line flush will break down the contaminants in the plumbing lines so the filter can trap them when the hot tub is turned on.

If the filters are dirty, then the contaminants being flushed out from the pipes wouldn’t be picked up and they would just be circulated in the water all over again. So this is an important step you shouldn’t skip. If the filters are damaged or worn out, you should replace them.

Shock the Hot Tub

Shocking the hot tub means adding a high dose of sanitizers like chlorine and bromine to the water. This kills every bacteria, algae, and any other germs in the water.

You can use non-chlorine shock if you prefer that. After adding the sanitizers, turn on the jets and let them work at high speed for about 30 minutes. This allows the sanitizers to be well circulated in the water before you move on to flush the plumbing system.

Related Read >>> How to Lower Chlorine Levels?

Add the Hot Tub Line Flush

The next thing to do is to add the hot tub line flush. Add the right amount of the line flush to clear the biofilm from your hot tub’s plumbing system. After adding the line flush, turn on the jets and let them run for about 30 minutes too. The line flush will be circulated through the plumbing lines and through the hot tub too.

The hot tub line flush will break down any grime, slime, or dirt that has solidified over time inside the lines of the hot tub. After the line flush has broken down these particles, would be flushed out of the plumbing lines and trapped by the filters.

After about 30 minutes, you should turn off the jets and the hot tub. Then cover the hot tub and leave it for a few hours. It’s usually best to do this in the evening or at night so the hot tub can be left overnight.

Drain the Hot Tub

The best way to completely rid your hot tub of any grime that may have accumulated in the plumbing lines is to drain the hot tub. Not only does this get rid of the grime that has been flushed out of the plumbing lines, but it’s also beneficial to you.

After adding the hot tub line flush to the plumbing lines, the water in the hot tub will be filled with all sorts of contaminants that will make the water very dirty and unsafe for you. Adding another dose of sanitizer might work but you will quickly notice grime and debris floating in the water again. The best bet is just to drain the hot tub.

Hot tubs usually have a valve at the base of the hot tub. This valve can be opened or turned to drain the hot tub. You should connect a hose to the valve so the water isn’t drained around your hot tub.

Related Read >>> How to Lower Alkalinity in a Hot Tub?

Clean the Hot Tub

After draining the hot tub, you should clean the shell of the hot tub before refilling it with fresh water. Don’t use detergent to clean the hot tub. You should use special hot tub cleaners or cleaning solutions to clean the hot tub.

Many detergents have a high level of acidity and that can corrode the plumbing lines of the hot tub. Hot tub cleaning solutions are a safer option. The hot tub cleaners come in spray bottles, so you can just spray the solution on the shell of the hot tub and wipe it with a rag.

Another alternative is to use a mixture of white vinegar and water to clean the hot tub. Baking soda works too but it should be used with caution. Mix a bit of white vinegar with water and use the solution to clean the shell and other parts of the hot tub.

After cleaning the hot tub, ensure to rinse it thoroughly to prevent any chemical from being left behind while you refill the hot tub. After rinsing the hot tub, leave it to dry.

Related Read >>> How to Get Rid of White Mold in a Hot Tub?

Refill the Hot Tub

when the hot tub is fully dry, you should refill it with fresh water. You should use a hose filter while refilling the hot tub to prevent excess minerals, metals, and other solids from getting into the hot tub.

Many of us use fresh water to fill our hot tub. Freshwater isn’t the cleanest of water sources. Freshwater usually has metals like iron and minerals like magnesium and calcium inside the water body. Not to mention other solids and particles that may be floating inside the water.

If you add that water directly into the hot tub, you will have a nasty case of biofilm build-up in the plumbing lines of the hot tub.

Add Sanitizers to the Water

After refilling the hot tub, you should add sanitizers to the water. Either bromine, chlorine, or any other sanitizer should be rightly added to the water in the hot tub. This will ensure you have gotten rid of any contaminants in the hot tub plumbing.

You may also consider shocking the water. After adding the sanitizers, you should turn on the hot tub and let the jets run for a few minutes so the water is well circulated and the chemicals can get to every nook and cranny of your hot tub plumbing.

You should also wait a few hours or days after adding sanitizers to the water before soaking in the water. The human skin doesn’t react well to these sanitizers and it takes a while for the sanitizers to be well dissolved in the water, so you should wait at least 24 hours after adding sanitizers to the water before using it.

The Last Resort

If you have done all of the above and you can still notice particles floating in your water or a nasty smell coming from the hot tub, then that usually means the plumbing lines have been severely affected by grime and contaminants.

The best-case scenario, if this happens, is to put a call through to your plumber or hot tub installer to come and have a look at the hot tub plumbing.

He or she might have to take the hot tub apart to know what’s wrong. The solution is usually to replace the pipes of the hot tub.

So now you know how to clean the plumbing lines of your hot tub, but when should you clean the hot tub plumbing? The answer to that question is below.

Related Read >>> How to Get Rid of Hot Tub Spiders?

When Should You Clean the Hot Tub Plumbing?

The hot tub’s plumbing lines should be cleaned whenever you drain and refill the hot tub. Cleaning the hot tub’s plumbing is not the easiest of tasks so this isn’t something we would advise you to do every week. However, you should always add a line flush to the plumbing lines of your hot tub whenever you drain the hot tub.

The hot tub should be drained every 3 months if it is used occasionally and just by 2-3 people. If the hot tub is used heavily or used by more than 5 people, then you should drain the hot tub every month or every two months. This is because the higher the number of bathers, the higher the possibility of having contaminants in the water.

Another indicator that you need to flush the plumbing lines of your hot tub is if you notice skin rashes on your body after using the hot tub. This means the water is heavily contaminated by biofilm (or bacteria). If you also notice the water is becoming murky, smelly, or you start to notice particles floating in the water and sticking to the shell of the hot tub, then it’s time to flush the plumbing lines.

How to Prevent Grime From Accumulating in the Hot Tub Plumbing

The best way to prevent grime and debris from accumulating in your hot tub’s plumbing system is to maintain a good cleaning routine of the hot tub.

This include:

All of these steps will prevent the build-up of grime, slime, debris, dirt, bacteria, and of course, biofilm in the plumbing lines of your hot tub. Yes, we know. It takes a lot of work but it’s all worth it to have a safe and clean hot tub.

So there you have it. Check out other posts on this website for more hot tub tips and ensure to leave a comment below if you liked this post. Have a nice day.

Hi, I'm Calvin Hall, the owner of Hot Tub Wiki. I worked at a local Spa Service for a few years before creating this website. I have owned several hot tubs and fixed a thousand of them. So, I know a thing or two about hot tubs.