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Can I Use A Shop Vac To Clean My Hot Tub?

There are many ways and products to clean a hot tub as you can see from this hot tub vacuum cleaning list. The problem is that most methods don’t quite remove all the dirt and water from your spa. If you’re constantly left with a little residue during the draining process, you may have wondered, can I use a Shop Vac to clean my hot tub?

In our ten-year tenure as the internet’s leading hot tub guide, we’ve made it our mission to teach every hot tubber the tips and tricks needed to make looking after these products as simple as possible. When it comes to hot tubs, we’re your guys! 

So, down to the question, it’s more than possible to use a Shop Vac to clean your hot tub. You’ll just have to check a few things first. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through what to look for in a Shop Vac, how best to drain and clean your pool with one and any other info you may need to perform a safe and effective clean. Let’s get into it! 

What Is A Shop Vac? 

A Shop Vac is basically a very powerful vacuum cleaner, so much so that they’re often used to clean up messes on construction sites. 

They make use of a motor to produce suction, a hose with a cleaning head and a large container in the back to store any sucked-up debris.

Some Shop Vacs are designed only for dry use, meaning they can clean up dirt and dust with no issues, though the container at the other end isn’t designed to hold water. 

To use a Shop Vac with a hot tub, you’ll need a wet/dry shop vac, as these models have a waterproof container attached that can safely hold any sucked-up spa water! 

How a Shop Vac works

The basic principles of a Shop Vac are similar to that of household vacuum cleaners. They use an electric motor to power an internal fan that sucks air into an intake port or hose. 

This suction is able to carry dirt inside the device, where it’s stored in a container to be disposed of later.

A wet/dry Shop Vac is slightly different in that the fan is placed above a waterproof container at one end. This allows the vacuum to suck water up and safely store it without damaging the fan or risking spillages.

Using A Shop Vac To Hoover A Hot tub

Provided you have the right model, using a Shop Vac is really simple. Turn off your hot tub and remove as much water as possible by taking out the drain plug and attaching a hose to channel the water to an appropriate drain. 

Make sure that the wet dust bag/container is attached to your Shop Vac. Most wet/dry vacuums come with separate bags for each type of cleaning, so it’s essential to check that you have the correct one fitted.

You’ll want to make sure that the cleaning head or the opening of your hose is as wide as possible to better suck up the remaining water in your hot tub. With this confirmed, plug in your Shop Vac and switch it on.

Pop the hose into your hot tub and press the vacuum button to begin removing all the water left in the base of your spa. Most hot tubs will still have a little water sitting in the jets and the filter intake after draining, so run your Shop Vac over these areas to suck it all out.

With all the water gone from your hot tub, run the Shop Vac over the base again to get rid of the last bits of grit and debris on the surface, and wipe down your spa with a cloth or some towels to remove any worn-in grime.

You can also use your Shop Vac to suck up the water left after you rinse and clean any of your spa surfaces post-draining!

How To Use A Shop Vac To Drain Water?

A Shop Vac can also be used to drain water from a hot tub, it won’t be as fast as using a portable submersible water pump, but with a few modifications, it can be a reasonably effective way to drain an average-sized hot tub! 

Can you drain a full spa using a Shop Vac?

You’ll need to use a large diameter hose for this job, as otherwise, the vacuum will struggle to suck up a large amount of water in your hot tub, and it’s best to remove your dust container or bag as otherwise, you’ll be changing it an awful lot!

With this covered, you can simply suck up the water by popping the hose below the water level and turning on your Shop Vac, though a slightly quicker method involves using the vacuum to start a siphon. 

To do this, drop one end of your long vacuum tube into the hot tub water and connect it to your Shop Vac. 

Turn the vacuum on for a few seconds to get the water flow moving and then turn off the Shop Vac and remove it from the tube. 

The water should now drain from your hot tub through the tube onto the ground or any drain you’ve positioned it over.

How To Use Shop Vac For Water Pump

Many Shop Vacs have a “water pump” feature; this can be used to create a makeshift sump pump by attaching a garden hose to a port on the side of the collection canister. 

By doing this and powering on your Shop Vac, you can effectively pump water through the device and back out again through the attached hose.

Do you need a submersible pump?

A submersible pump will offer the least time-consuming way of removing water from your hot tub, these devices are able to suck up water much faster than a Shop Vac, and they can be used as a backup sump pump in the event of a power failure.

Though we certainly recommend investing in a submersible pump if you’re serious about hot tub ownership, a Shop Vac can do a similar job in a pinch, albeit not quite as quickly or effectively! 

Shop Vac For Pool Sand In Hot Tubs

When cleaning your hot tub, you’ll often notice a build-up of pool sand and fine particles collecting around the base. Shop Vacs can be very effective at removing this debris, though you’ll have to keep in mind that they’ll also suck up your spa water with it! 

If there are large amounts of sand and grit on the floor of your hot tub, it might be worth giving it a once over with a Shop Vac, though if you have a small pool, you may need to add a fair bit of water back in.

Are there better alternatives?

A handy pool vacuum may be a better option, as these devices usually remove dirt from the water by catching it in filters and releasing the remaining water back into the hot tub. 

Adding a quick whizz round with a spa vacuum to your daily cleaning process can help to extend the life of your filters and jets. It may even help your spa chemicals last longer, so we recommend investing in one if you regularly use your hot tub! 

Using a garden hose or homemade alternative

You could even try using a humble garden hose for this job. If not, we often get asked, how do you make a homemade spa vacuum? In this guide, we’ll show you how and why it might be a better option than a lot of the other vacuum models out there.

Do you have to use a Vacuum?

One of the more common questions we get asked online is how can I clean the bottom of a pool without a vacuum? People would sometimes prefer to be thorough and do it using alternative methods, so we’re here to show you what they are.

Last Word 

So that’s Shop Vacs! Not only are these powerful vacuums great for tough cleaning jobs around the house, but they’re also incredibly effective at removing grit, sand and other irritating particles from your hot tub.

You’ll need to make sure that you’re using a model suitable for wet/dry use and that the collection bag attached is waterproof and suitable for the job, but once that’s covered. Using a Shop Vac to drain or clean your hot tub really couldn’t be more straightforward.

It’s still worth having a submersible pump on hand if you want to drain your hot tub fast, and a spa vacuum can be better suited to smaller cleaning tasks. Still, for making sure that the bottom of your hot tub is bone dry after a drain, there’s simply nothing more effective than a good Shop Vac! 

John Devlin

Hello, Welcome to my website. I’m John, and I created the InflatableHotTubGuide while researching these spas nearly a decade ago. Since its creation, the site has become the leading UK resource for many models. As a passionate hot tub user, I love to test and explore all the latest machines this industry keeps creating. I hope you find our content helpful.