Water Care

Water Care for Your Hot Tub

Hot Tub Maintenance Basics

Depending on the model, your spa may have an automatic circulation system or is on a schedule that ensures it runs once or twice daily. These cycles circulate the water for around 15 to 20 minutes (or longer) to ensure all the water in your tub passes through the filters. If your hot tub doesn’t have an automatic cycle, make sure you set it for 15 to 20 minutes, twice a day, to ensure your water’s been refreshed.

Use a Hydromop in your hot tub. Hot water extracts oils, lotions and soap from your body and clothes that sometimes your filters won’t be able remove.  The Hydromop will soak up these oils and help keep your water clean.

Cleaning your hot tub is a critical part of hot tub maintenance.  All hot tubs are prone to developing scum, but if your spa’s outdoors, keep an eye out for debris like leaves, wind-blown trash, and the occasional stray critter, too. Keep the waterline and seats clear for a clean tub and to help prevent potential water issues.

A weekly cleaning with a sponge and some white vinegar on your spa’s shell will keep things neat. Use it to scrub away the scum line at the water’s edge. Make sure you clean the inside of your hot tub as often as possible, and don’t forget to wipe down the shell, too. While you’re at it, give the inside of the hot tub cover a quick once-over with a 10% bleach solution to keep mildew at bay. Use a protectant on outside to protect the marine grade vinyl.

Plan to drain your spa completely for a thorough cleaning every three to four months, or more often if you’re using it often, or having a lot of guests in it, or both. Water is like a sponge and will only last so long until you will have to change it.

Don’t Forget Your Filters. They’re on the job whenever your hot tub is running, and your hot tub filters need a good cleaning to work properly. You can clean them by simply rinsing, spraying, and soaking.

Rinse your hot tub filters as often as possible with warm water or your garden hose, especially if you’ve been using your spa more than usual. Soak your filters in chemical cleaner every month and when you drain and refill your hot tub to extend their life and loosen any stubborn particulates. Rinse them thoroughly afterward. When your filters get to the point where even a chemical soak doesn’t completely clean them, it’s time to replace them.


Hot Tub Chemistry is balancing – pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels.

Before you add anything to your spa, you need a baseline reading on your water chemistry. Once you’re hot tub’s full, test your water to determine the pH and alkalinity levels.  You may also bring a water sample to the store and we can test it for you.


Aim for a pH level of 7.2 to 7.8. Values below this range will be too acidic. The water might eat away at your hardware and will likely irritate your skin and eyes. Values above the range will be too basic. The water will reduce your sanitizer’s effectiveness, and will be prone to cloudiness.


For alkalinity, aim for 80-120 parts per million (ppm). If alkalinity gets too high, it can cause scaling and cloudiness.


Add the sanitizer of your choice according to the directions on the package, and test again to make sure your pH and alkalinity are within optimal ranges. You can speed up the mix rate of your chemicals (and help your hot tub heat more quickly) by turning off the air valves.  May sanitizer may be needed if you are using your spa heavily, or have many people in it.

Unique and Non Chlorine Shock

If you’re using your spa after a long period of inactivity or you’ve been using it heavily, it’s a good idea to shock your hot tub to make sure it’s completely sanitized. Make shocking a regular part of your scheduled hot tub maintenance to keep your water safe and clean.  Using Unique also help with foaming and Clarity issues as well as preventing scaling build up.

Calcium Hardness

Keeping you calcium hardness in line is important. You want it between 150-200ppm.  While your water does need some calcium to keep your pH levels balanced, having high levels can lead to scaling and buildup that is difficult to remove and cause irritation to your skin and eyes.  On the other hand, though, low calcium hardness levels can wreak havoc on your tub and plumbing and leave your skin feeling slimy and unclean.

Testing, Testing

Test your water every week, either with test strips or a liquid test kit, and adjust your water chemistry as necessary.

Tip: Keep a good supply of essential chemicals on hand so you’ll be ready to tweak your water as needed:

  • pH increaser
  • pH decreaser
  • Alkalinity increaser
  • Sanitizer ( chlorine , bromine , etc.)
  • Shock
  • Test strips


Plan for Success with a Hot Tub Maintenance Schedule

Consistency and simplicity is key to a maintenance schedule.  You’ll find it’s much less stressful—and much easier to keep track of tasks—when you break the process into manageable steps that won’t overwhelm you.

Each hot tub is different, but every hot tub benefits from simple and consistent maintenance. It’s easier than you might think to set up a schedule that’ll keep your hot tub clean.

Plan Your Hot Tub Maintenance

Before you do anything else, decide how you want to keep track of your tasks. You can go high-tech by setting up calendar reminders in apps such as Google Calendar or Apple’s iCloud, or keep things simple with a paper calendar or a dry-erase board.  FROG Water Care is an app that many people have found to make maintaining their spa easier.

Daily Hot Tub Maintenance

Check your sanitizer levels. Sanitizer keeps your spa water clean and free from bacteria that might otherwise sicken your friends and family.

Chances are, a few moments will be all you need to attend to your home spa’s daily maintenance. Make sure your checklist includes:

Ensure the spa cover is clean and secure. A properly secured cover keeps heat, water, and chemicals in, while keeping debris, pets, and kids out.

Check the water temperature and adjust as necessary. Take careful note of any drastic temperature changes, as they could indicate a serious system issue.

Check for damage to the cover and spa. This is especially important for outdoor spas, which are exposed to animals and the elements.

Weekly Hot Tub Maintenance

Check the water’s alkalinity.

Check and balance the pH. Along with alkalinity, hot tub ph is one of the most important parts of hot tub chemistry.

Check your sanitizer levels. Sanitizer keeps your spa water clean and free from bacteria that might otherwise sicken your friends and family.

Clean above the water line. Wipe away debris that might contaminate the water and throw off the chemical balance.

Test your hot tub water. Every single week, check your alkalinity, pH, and sanitizer levels, and if you adjust them, test again after the period recommended by the manufacturer. NOTE: this step counts as one of your thrice-weekly checks. Yay for efficiency!

Sanitize and shock the water. When you shock your hot tub, it recharges your sanitizer and keeps your hot tub healthy.

Rinse your hot tub filter with water. A clean filter is worth its weight in gold and protects against cloudy water, funky smells, bacteria, and the much-dreaded algae bloom.

Wipe down your spa cover. Cleaning the cover inside and out protects against mold , mildew, and the nasty smells they bring.

Monthly Hot Tub Maintenance

Clean your filter with a chemical soak; it gives your filter a deep clean. Have your water tested at the store to insure your accurate with your water care.

Quarterly Hot Tub Maintenance

Once every three or four months, your hot tub will need some in-depth attention. Empty it out, give it a good clean, and make sure everything’s in good working order. Schedule a drain and refill day that lines up with your other tasks to give yourself time to clean the cover and attend to your hardware while the spa is out of commission.

Give your filter a chemical soak. This is the super version of the chemical rinse, and gives your filter the deep clean it needs to keep your hot tub free of contaminants.

Install a new mineral cartridge, copper or silver-as the water moves thru the 4 month cartridge, ions are released in the water which attack algae and bacteria.  The result is that a large percentage of your sanitation needs are taken care of with the mineral cartridge.

Drain, clean, and repair your hot tub. The best time to make repairs is when you drain and clean your hot tub. And a quarterly drain and clean frees your whole hot tub from chemical buildup and other gunk and goop that can cause performance issues. Soaking your filter while the tub is empty kills two birds with one stone!

There are also products on the market such as Spa Marvel.  Spa Marvel is a water treatment that is to be used in conjunction with your daily sanitizer.  Spa Marvel reduces and eliminates itching, rashes and odors.  It can prevent scum lines and minimize scale.  It also softens your skin and makes your water easier to balance.  Spa marvel is a product needs to be changed every three to four months so it works well with a quarterly maintenance program.

Yearly Maintenance

Many of the tasks we recommend could, in theory, be done annually without significant impact on your hot tubbing experience. But for optimal performance and the happiest hot tubbing, we’ve recommended them as monthly or quarterly tasks instead.

Remember, while your hot tub is empty and drained, you can attend to weekly or quarterly tasks such as cleaning, repair, and system flushing.

Flush the lines to remove bacteria and biofilm. It’s actually a good idea to use System flush any time you drain and refill your hot tub.

Have a professional perform a visual inspection.

Inspect your cover. Keep an eye out for physical damage, moisture absorption, and mildew or mold infestations.

November 6, 2019 in help, tips

Winterize your spa video

Read More
December 31, 2018 in help, installation

Installing Your New Spa

Pre-Delivery Information You’ve purchased a new spa. With a little preparation and care, your spa will give you many years of enjoyment. This FREE PDF has been designed to provide…
Read More
November 15, 2018 in tips

Prevent or limit freeze damage to your spa

Find out how to prevent or limit freeze damage if you find your spa not heating and review several tips for prevention.  Common problems leading to freeze damage include dirty/expired…
Read More
November 1, 2018 in help

Winterizing your spa

Professionally winterizing your spa is an option you may wish to consider.  Speaking for me, using my spa in the winter is quite enjoyable, and I do so as often…
Read More