How to Get Rid of Cloudy Spa Water

By Calvin | Last Updated: July 11, 2021 | Maintenance / Water Chemistry

Having trouble with a cloudy hot tub or spa water? Keep reading to know what it means and to find out how to deal with it.

Cloudy spa water simply put means dirty spa water that is unclear, unsafe, and unclean. Taking a dip in such water can make you sick and will cause some sort of skin irritation.

So what exactly is cloudy spa water? And how can you prevent it? The answer to that and everything you need to know about cloudy spa water will all be revealed below.

If you want to learn how to fix cloudy spa water then check our guide. We explained what causes it, how to prevent it, and how to get rid of it.

What Is Cloudy Spa Water, Anyway?

Cloudy spa water or cloudy hot tub water is when the water in the hot tub has tiny particles that are floating inside and over the surface of the water in the spa. These tiny particles are usually too tiny to even touch and they make the water unclear. The tiny particles are formed as a result of different reasons ranging from poor water filtration to decaying organic debris in the water.

Hot tubs or spas usually contain a small body of water. On average, hot tubs can hold 400 gallons of water (and about 700 gallons at best). The water in the tub can also remain there for months without being changed. This is because chemicals and sanitizers like chlorine and bromine are regularly used to keep the water clean and safe.

The combination of these sanitizers with the hot tub oils, bodily fluids, body care products, dirt, leaves, and the likes inside 400-gallon water makes the water very unclear. When you turn on the hot tub, all of these residues get heated together with the water and you start to notice these tiny particles floating in your water. Trust us, this isn’t the kind of cloud you want in your spa.

The hot tub filtration system is meant to sieve out these residues and dirt but the filters can only do so much. Eventually, you will notice cloudy water in your spa especially if the spa filters are damaged, too dirty, or worn out.

What Causes Cloudy Spa Water?

Cloudy spa water has different causes all of which can be grouped under poor hot tub maintenance. Let’s face it, if you maintain a regular checkup and cleaning routine of your hot tub, then you wouldn’t need to worry about murky or cloudy water. Let’s check out some of the causes of cloudy spa water.

Natural Matter

Natural matter refers to the tree pods, leaves, grass, pine needles, and other debris that nature throws into your hot tub. This debris and dirt can cause different problems to the hot tub. One of which is cloudy water.

These natural matters add dirt, grime, and can even carry other organisms like larvae and worms into the water. The worst part is that the sanitizers and chemicals you use to clean the water in the spa can’t deal with these natural matters.

The chlorine, bromine, and other chemicals used in the water will have a hard time breaking down and dissolving these natural matters. The debris can also damage the filtration and circulation system of your hot tub.

If this happens, then you have a compound problem on your hands because not only do you have natural matter in your water, the spa’s filtration system is also damaged meaning the filters can’t sieve out these natural matters and the chemicals can’t break them down either. All of this will lead to a nasty case of cloudy spa water.

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

Poor Water Chemistry

The water in the spa isn’t changed regularly and can be there for months. Chemicals are usually added to clean the water and reduce the formation of algae and bacteria in the water.

These chemicals need to be added in the correct ratio. If you add the chemicals wrongly, then you will have unbalanced water chemistry. Unbalanced water chemistry will most likely lead to cloudy water. A good rule of thumb is to follow all the instructions regarding the application of the sanitizers so you don’t end up with unbalanced water chemistry.

You should keep the pH level of the water below 7.5 and the alkalinity shouldn’t be above 150ppm. The right level of alkalinity for a spa is between 80ppm and 150ppm. Anything above this will cause cloudy water.

Related Read >>> Can You Use a Hot Tub if You Have Too Much pH?

Metal in the Water

No, we are not talking about hard metal or shiny steel. If you are the type that plugs a hose directly to a running tap or source of fresh water, then you are most likely adding a lot of metal to the hot tub. Metals like iron, copper, lead, and the likes are usually in the water that flows through the tap.

These metals react differently to the chemicals and sanitizers you add to the water in the spa. The combination of these metals and the chemicals cause reactions that can affect the water chemistry leading to cloudy water. You can use a hose filter to prevent the build-up of these metals in your spa water.

Related Read >>> How to Remove Hot Tub Scum?

Damaged or Worn-out Filtration System

The spa filters help to trap the debris that enters the water. As the water circulates, the dirt and other debris in the water are trapped by the filters. If the filters are damaged, worn-out, or too dirty, then the system can’t trap the dirt in the water. The dirt will just pass through and will be circulated with the water causing cloudy spa water.

Bodily Residue

As humans, we produce a lot of waste and we use a lot of body care products. When in the spa, the heat causes the bathers to sweat as the body tries to adapt and cool itself down. This sweat together with other substances from our body mixes with the water in the spa. You don’t even want to think about the possibility of tiny droplets of feces being introduced into the water too… gross!

All of these bodily fluids combined with hair care oils, shampoo, body lotion, perfume oils, deodorants, and the likes cause an accumulation of grime that can build up in the jet lines, clog the filter, and eventually lead to cloudy spa water. This is even worse when you have many bathers using the same spa. It could cause infections, the spread of illnesses, diseases, and the lot.

Related Read >>> How to Keep Hot Tub Water Crystal Clear?

Food Particles

Yes, the food you eat can cause cloudy spa water. How? When you eat, the crumbs and residue from what you consume fall into the water. These crumbs can clog up the filtration system making it difficult for the filters to sieve out the particles in the water. You already know that can cause cloudy water.

The food and drinks you introduce in the water can also cause the water to produce strange smells and can cause a build-up of scum in the water. None of this is good for the hot tub or the user.

Now you know what causes cloudy spa water but how can you prevent and fix it? Let’s find out.

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How to Fix Cloudy Spa Water

Getting rid of cloudy water from the spa isn’t difficult but you need to follow the steps below.

Check the Filtration System

Cloudy spa water is primarily caused by a damaged or worn-out filtration system. If the filters are working well, then there wouldn’t be particles floating in the water because the filter would trap them and stop them from circulating in the water.

So first of all, check the filters to ensure they aren’t damaged. Then wash them. If the filters aren’t damaged, then they might be too dirty or just clogged up by dirt that they can’t trap any other particles.

Test the Water Chemistry

The next thing to do is to test the water chemistry in your spa. There are different spa testing kits that you can use for this. You can buy any of them or take some water out of the spa and have it tested.

Chances are the water chemistry would be off. It might be too acidic or too alkaline. If there is a need to alter the water chemistry, you can use a ph decreaser or a ph increaser to fix the water balance.

Use Water Clarifier

When you are sure the water chemistry is balanced, you can add a water clarifier to the water. A water clarifier will help to clog the particles in the water together so it’s easier to pick or scoop them out with a net.

The water clarifier should also be added correctly and with caution so you don’t alter the water chemistry. Another alternative is to shock the spa. You can use non-chlorine shock to shock the water. In most cases, shocking the water will help to solve cloudy spa water.

Drain the Spa

This is usually the last option but one of the best. If the spa is too cloudy, then there is no need to try and fix or clean it. The best bet will be to empty the spa and then clean it. While cleaning it, you should pay attention to the walls of the spa.

They might have been stained by the cloudy water. After cleaning the spa, let it dry and then refill it with water. Make sure to use a hose filter while refilling the spa to reduce the amount of metals and solids in the water.

How to Prevent Cloudy Spa Water

The prevention of cloudy spa water takes dedication, a proper cleaning routine, and a few other steps.

Check and Clean the Filters Regularly

When the spa’s filtration system is clogged, damaged, or worn out, the debris and dirt that enters the hot tub would be circulated with the water. So a way to prevent cloudy spa water is to regularly check the filtration system of your spa.

If you notice the filters are damaged, you should replace them with new ones. You should also maintain a proper cleaning schedule for the filters. A good idea is to clean the filters once a month.

Shock the Spa

Shocking the spa will help to reduce the growth of algae and bacteria in the water and in the long run, it will help to limit any chances of cloudy spa water. Different products can be used to shock the water but most people use a non-chlorine shock.

Apply the Sanitizers Correctly

The chemicals and sanitizers used to clean the water in the spa should be added in the right amount. Using too much or too little chemicals and sanitizers will disrupt the water chemistry of the spa and this can lead to cloudy spa water.

You should check the guidelines regarding how to add these chemicals to your spa. You can also contact professional help if you aren’t too sure about how to go about it.

Maintain a Shower First Principle

Always ensure to take a shower first before you get in the spa. This will reduce the likelihood of having bodily residue and body care products floating inside the water.

Drain and Refill the Hot Tub

Always drain the spa as at when due. If the spa is used heavily, probably daily, and by many bathers too, then you should drain the spa at least once in two weeks. If the spa isn’t heavily used or you are the only one using it, then you can leave it for a month or two before draining it. After draining the spa, you should use the opportunity to clean the walls of the spa, the filters, and other working parts of the spa before refilling it again.

Related Read >>> How to Get Rid of Bugs In a Hot Tub?

Use Hose Filters

Always use hose filters when refilling the spa. The hose filter will reduce the number of metals and solids that go through the hose into the spa.

All of these methods will help you prevent cloudy water in your spa and fix it if you already have it. So there you have it. I’m sure you now know how to fix cloudy spa water and prevent it. If you have any questions, make sure to leave a comment below. 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.