How to Keep a Hot Tub Crystal Clear

Keep your hot tub water crystal clear with routine maintenance.
Keep your hot tub water crystal clear with routine maintenance. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Soaking in a hot tub is the perfect way to relax after a hard day. However, sitting in murky, cloudy water will likely just add to your stress. It is important to perform routine maintenance in order to keep the water crystal clear. One of the most important aspects of hot tub maintenance is making sure that the chemicals are balanced, because warm water provides a breeding ground for bacteria. If done properly, checking the chemicals and maintaining your hot tub should only take you a few minutes each week.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft-bristled scrub brush
  • Hose
  • Small bucket
  • 2 tbsp. chlorine bleach
  • Hot tub vacuum
  • Water test strips
  • Hot tub cleanser
  • Non-abrasive sponge
  • Soft towel
  • Sanitizer
  • Shock treatment

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Instruct those getting into your hot tub that they need to rinse off first. The human body is covered with sweat, oil and dirt, all of which can make the water cloudy. You can save yourself unnecessary cleanings by quickly showering before hopping into the hot tub.

Clean the filter once a month. The filter gets rid of the sand and other debris in your hot tub, so it can get quite dirty. Turn the hot tub off and remove the filter, which should be located underneath the skimmer. Gently brush any visible debris off of it, such as hair, with a soft-bristled scrub brush. Once it's visibly clean, rinse it with a hose until the water runs clear. Place the filter in a small bucket with 1 gallon of hot water and bleach, and allow it to soak for approximately 30 minutes before rinsing again with the hose.

Clean out rocks and other small debris from bottom of the hot tub. The filter isn't able to catch everything that is floating around in the tub, so you need a hot tub vacuum --sometimes called a spa siphon vacuum -- to clean out the rocks, sand, coins and other items that sink to the bottom. It is important that you turn the hot tub off and allow the debris to settle to the bottom before using the vacuum. Each vacuum has its own specific instructions, but they work just like a regular vacuum. Place the nozzle on the bottom of the tub and slowly suck up the debris.

Check and adjust the chemicals in your hot tub at least three times a week. The various chemicals that go into the water kill bacteria and keep the water in top shape. You can use water test strips to check the chlorine, pH, alkalinity and water hardness. According to Swim University, the pH of the water should be between 7.4 and 7.6, and the alkalinity needs to be between 100 ppm and 150 ppm. The test strip packaging will have all of the optimum values printed on it, so you can adjust the chemicals accordingly.

Drain your hot tub and clean the shell every three months. After you drain the water, apply a small amount of hot tub cleanser to a non-abrasive sponge and wipe the entire shell with it. Use a clean, damp sponge to rinse off the cleanser. You may need to rinse it a few times in order to get all of it off. Once there is no film left from the cleanser, dry the shell off with a soft towel.

Tips & Warnings

  • Protect your hot tub with a cover when it is not in use.
  • Use sanitizers and shock treatments during periods of heavy use.
  • Avoid using abrasive sponges and cleansers on the shell, as they will scrape off the protective coating.


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