How to Clean a Spa or Hot Tub

Because of their exceedingly high water temperatures as well as the heavy use they get, spas tend to require frequent maintenance to keep them clean. The best tools for keeping a spa clean are basically the same as those used to clean swimming pools—just on a smaller scale.

Helpful Spa Cleaning Tools

As in a pool, a long-handled leaf skimmer net is necessary for removing large pieces of floating debris.

A spa vacuum can be powered in several ways. If your spa is not connected to the circulation system of an in-ground pool, a good solution is a vacuum that’s powered by a jet of water from a garden hose.

A more streamlined alternative to a vacuum, a spa wand also collects debris through suction. It may be powered either by pumping or turning the handle or by a rechargeable battery.

A bucket and a soft sponge are two low-tech tools that area very helpful when cleaning interior spa walls.

Skimming, Straining and Vacuuming

Since a spa is so small, even a minimal amount of debris can lower the efficiency of the circulation system. Bring out the skimmer each time you use your spa, and either vacuum or use a spa wand twice a week to remove debris that has settled to the bottom.

Debris-free baskets are essential to the proper operation of the circulation system. Clean the skimmers twice a week by removing leaves and anything else obstructing the water flow. With in-ground spas, the strainer baskets are hidden in the surrounding deck; for portable spas, the baskets are near the pump.

Cleaning the Inner Surface

Because total dissolved solids build up quickly, spa water needs to be drained fairly often. Emptying the spa provides an opportunity for cleaning the inner surfaces. Brush the spa interior to eliminate calcium scales and any algae buildup. A plaster-lined concrete spa can withstand stiff brushing, but fiberglass and acrylic spas are more delicate.

To clean tile, don’t use anything very abrasive or stiff that could scratch the tile or damage the grout. A pumice stone works well, removing scale like a giant eraser. A putty knife is also great for scraping off especially heavy scale. Another alternative is to dissolve the scale with a 50/50 mix of water and muriatic acid. (Muriatic acid is extremely corrosive, and its vapors can be toxic if inhaled, so be sure to protect your eyes and hands and work in a well-ventilated area when making the mixture.) Apply the solution with a nylon brush and scrub. Rinse well when you’re finished.

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Swimming Pools & Spas

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