How to Clean your Hot Tub Without Draining it

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A hot tub can be a major investment – both in terms of the purchase cost of the item itself and the ongoing costs associated with maintaining it. Over the long term, a poorly-maintained hot tub can become unpleasant to soak in. More than that, it can become outright harmful to human health.

But draining and refilling a tub regularly can be incredibly expensive. Even a small tub can hold more than a thousand litres of water – which is orders of magnitude more than your household bath. Plus, the ordeal of filling the tub can be tremendously drawn-out.

So, if you want to clean the tub without draining it, what steps might you take?

Cleaning the Tub

Before you treat the water, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve given the interior a good scrub. This will ensure that any residual dirt is flushed through the system. Use a soft-bristle brush to run over the interior of the shell. Don’t use anything too abrasive, as doing so risks damaging the shell’s protective coating. 

To get to the very bottom of the tub, you might need a brush that’s attached to a longer pole. Or, you can simply use a scuba mask. If you spot any larger pieces of debris, you can scoop them out with a skimmer. This will help to ensure that the filter doesn’t become prematurely clogged up.

Cleaning the Filters

Your next step should be to deal with the filter. Turn off the tub and remove the filter. You might need to do some unscrewing to access it. Consult your tub’s manual. You can use a stream of pressurised water and some scrubbing action to get the filter clean. If you’re struggling, then it might be an idea to soak the filter in a solution of chlorine before you scrub. This will help to loosen up any lingering dirt and debris.

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Treating the Water

You’re ready to treat the water itself. First, however, you’ll need to test the existing pH – as you don’t want to be sitting in water that’s too alkaline or too acidic. Aim for something just above a seven. Any lower and you’ll have acidic water that can harm both you and the tub.

If your water is acidic, then you need an alkaline-based treatment, like sodium carbonate. Chlorine is a popular choice, and it’s available in either chlorine granules or tablets. The former will dissolve quickly – though it should be added carefully to prevent overdosing. 

Alternatively, you might consider bromine – which is slightly more expensive and has the advantage of lacking that distinctive chemical odour. As well as your ongoing sanitiser, you might also think about regular ‘shock’ treatments, which break down dead skin and organic compounds, leaving your tub sparkling clean.

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