How to Clean a Hot Tub [Expert Guide]
When you think of buying a hot tub, you probably envision relaxing after a long day, quiet evenings with your spouse or incredible backyard parties with friends and family. A hot tub is an investment in you, your home, and the lives of your loved ones. It’s a fantastic experience and it’s always ready when you are.
But if you’re like most people, when you consider owning a hot tub, you may also be concerned at you think of the cleaning and maintenance required. After all, aren’t hot tubs hard to clean and maintain?
Thankfully, the answer to this question today is “no.” With modern advances in self-cleaning systems and incredible materials that stay clean much longer, a little regular attention goes a long way.
By following these simple steps, you’ll keep your hot tub clean, fresh, and always ready for relaxation and fun. Best of all, these simple hot tub cleaning instructions are easy to do and don’t take much time at all.
Keep your hot tub clean and running efficiently with these tips:
Keep Your Hot Tub Covered
Premium insulating and protective hot tub covers come standard with all Bullfrog Spas models. The cover not only keeps out leaves and dust, it also shades your hot tub when not in use and preserves the life of your spa. To help prolong its life and keep your spa cover looking as good as new, clean and condition it about once a month.
To begin, remove the hot tub cover and lay it on a flat, clean surface, then rinse with a garden hose to remove any loose debris and dirt. Next, clean the top vinyl portion of the cover with a mild dishwashing soap and a soft bristle brush, scrubbing in a gentle circular motion. Rinse the cover thoroughly and dry with a clean cloth. To condition the cover, use an appropriate vinyl conditioner (check your owner’s manual for compatibility). Be sure to never use a petroleum-based product or other cleaning agents that may damage the finish of your spa cover. If your spa cover is exposed to tree sap, which happens occasionally, you can use a small amount of BBQ lighter fluid on a rag to remove it. Wipe clean and immediately apply vinyl conditioner to the area.
Key Takeaway: Keeping your hot tub covered is the simplest way to keep it clean. You want your hot tub ready to go the minute you feel like getting in, and the hot tub cover will keep out debris and have it ready to go. Taking care of the cover will keep it looking good and functional so it can effectively do its job.
TIME: 15 Minutes
Clean Your Filters
It is important to clean your hot tub filters regularly. It’s easy to do. Cleaning your filters regularly will go a long way to keep your water clean and improve the longevity of your spa. It is recommended that you clean your filters every 3 to 6 weeks depending on how often you use the spa. With proper cleaning, hot tub filters last quite a long time but eventually they need to be replaced. Bullfrog Spas filters should be replaced roughly every 1 to 2 years depending on usage frequency.
To clean your filters, start by placing the spa in “hold” mode, then remove the filter cap, filter plate and then the hot tub filter cartridges themselves. Remove the cartridges by turning counter-clockwise. Once removed from the spa, use a high-pressure garden hose to spray clean the fabric filtration material. Work from top to bottom on each pleat. Avoid using a brush to clean filter cartridges, as this could cause damage to the filtration medium.
If you notice that your cartridge has collected suntan lotions or body oils, soak the cartridge in warm water with a filter cleaner or detergent. To remove calcium deposits, soak your cartridge in a plastic container using a 1:10 muriatic acid to water ratio and then rinse clean with water. Once you’ve finished cleaning your filters, simply reinstall your cartridges and reset the control system.
Expert tip: It is helpful to set a monthly reminder (on your phone or in your calendar app) to clean your filters. Doing so regularly will extend the life of your filters and keep your hot tub clean and ready for use.
TIME: 20 Minutes
Change Your Water
Your spa cover will keep your water protected and your automatic filtration and purification system will remove impurities on an ongoing basis. The hot tub chemicals you use will also go a long way in keeping the water clean. However, it is still necessary to change your hot tub water at occasional but regular intervals. It’s usually best to change the water every one to four months, depending on visible water conditions and how often you use your hot tub.
To change your spa’s water, begin by identifying an area in your yard that can drain a large quantity of water. Be sure to avoid areas that could drain into a basement window well, a neighbor’s yard or any other area that could lead to water damage. Most spas drain at about 5 gallons per minute. It is usually ok to drain water onto vegetation, however, be sure to test your water first to make sure that the sanitizer level (Chlorine or Bromine) of the water is less than 0.5 PPM. Follow these simple steps to drain your spa. First, turn off the power at the breaker. Next, locate the drain. On most Bullfrog Spas, the drain is located on the right side of the spa base below the equipment compartment door. Pull the drain out with a slight clockwise turn, then remove the drain cap. Attach a standard garden hose to the drain spout to activate the drain. Once the hot tub water is completely drained, pull the drain spout all the way out, remove the hose, replace the drain cap, and push the drain back into the spa.
Alternatively, you can purchase a pump system to drain the water from your spa. While your spa is empty, clean the acrylic shell (interior) with a spa surface cleaner (see the section below). Be careful not to expose your empty spa to direct sunlight as it may cause damage.
To refill your spa, simply place your garden hose into the filter compartment and turn on to fill your spa. Filling at the filters will help prevent air pockets and keep your water clean. After your hot tub is refilled, be sure to follow your manufacturer’s instructions for sanitizing new water.
Key Takeaway: This process may sound more complicated than it is. Just follow the steps, and after the first time, you will feel like a water-changing pro. Unless your hot tub requires more regular water changes, set a reminder to change the water about every new season, or every three to six months. This will help make sure your system stays clean.
TIME: 60 minutes
Cleaning the Spa Shell Surface
When changing your spa’s water, or any time you find it necessary, take the time to quickly clean the shell (interior) of you spa. Regularly cleaning the interior of your spa only takes a few minutes and prevents buildup at and below the water line.
A small amount of mild dishwashing soap or a window cleaner work out well as hot tub cleaner. Apply with a soft damp cloth or sponge, rinse well, and dry with a clean cloth. Use a mild acrylic cleaner or mild detergent to treat any stubborn stains. For hard water spots or light scratches, contact your authorized Bullfrog Spas dealer. If you own a Bullfrog Spa with the JetPak Therapy System™, don’t forget to clean your removable JetPaks® as well using the same method described above. If you notice a line at the water level of your hot tub shell, don’t panic. These lines occur when oils, lotions, and hair products build up on the surface of the water. They’re easily removed with a spa shell surface cleaner—just be sure to pick a cleaning agent that won’t leave soap residue in the water, such as an acrylic surface cleaning product from your dealer or manufacturer or mild glass cleaner.
Expert Tip: An easy way to remember to clean your spa shell surface is to do it every time you change your hot tub water. You will be amazed at what a difference cleaning the surface makes. It is a relatively easy thing to do, but it makes your hot tub look like new. It also protects the surface so it will last longer.
TIME: 15 Minutes
It Doesn’t Take Long to Clean Your Hot Tub and Keep it Clean
Don’t let the small amount of necessary hot tub maintenance get in the way of owning and enjoying your hot tub. A spa is always ready and waiting for relaxation, stress relief and fun. Simply invest a small amount of time in regularly cleaning your spa, and you’ll enjoy a beautiful and relaxing spa for years to come. By following smaller maintenance steps on a on a regular basis, you can avoid larger maintenance or repair jobs. Plus, your hot tub will feel that much more relaxing when it is regularly clean and always ready for use.
TOTAL TIME PER MONTH: 30-60 Minutes
Consult with Your Spa Dealer
If you ever have any questions about cleaning or maintaining your spa, don’t forget that you can always reach out to your spa dealer. If you can’t find the answer to your question in your owner’s manual or our FAQs, dealers are more than happy to provide recommendations. Let their experience make your life easier so you can relax in your pristine hot tub.