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Cleaning Hot Tub Cover – The Ultimate Guide for 2023

Hot tub covers aren’t only your first line of defence against dirt, debris, harsh weather and accidental baths. They’re also instrumental in trapping your hot tub’s heat during storage, so including them in your regular hot tub maintenance routine is a must for any serious spa owner! 

But, during our ten-year tenure as the internet’s leading inflatable tub guide, we’ve learned that keeping your hot tub cover clean, protected and in good working order can actually be a little more complicated than you’d think.

Don’t let that last line worry you! Cleaning a hot tub cover is not as fiddly as cleaning hot tub filters.

Our team of experts are here to give you the lowdown on all you need to know when working out how to clean your hot tub cover. 

So, let’s get into it! 

The Best Way To Clean A Hot Tub Cover – 5 Steps

spraying a surface and wiping it

1. Remove the lid

You don’t want any dirt or spa cover cleaner entering your water so it’s important to do hot tub ph testing regularly to ensure the balance is correct. Once you are happy, go ahead and remove the lid.

For some, this is simple, only requiring you to unzip the cover to detach it. Other fancier models include a lifting arm mechanism. If this applies to you, unfasten your spa cover from your hot tub cover lifter and fully remove it from the rest of the jacuzzi. 

Larger hot tub spas have covers that fold or can be separated into pieces. Have someone help you to remove a spa cover like this and either detach each piece or lay the whole thing down flat; this will limit how often you’ll need to shift it around! 

2. Rinse

Grab your hose and rinse any loose dirt and grime from the hot tub surface, don’t forget about the cover’s underside, and be careful when flipping it over. If it’s just not the cover but you also have a yellow ring around a hot tub, then consider our other guide as we help solve that issue.

Remember, your hot tub spa cover isn’t as tough as you’d think, so start with a gentle pressure setting to avoid damaging the linings or foam core. You can gradually increase this pressure if needed, but avoid the highest settings! 

3. Scrub using a vinyl hot tub cover cleaner

Most hot tub spa covers are made from vinyl, so you should use an appropriate vinyl cleaner. Use a soft cloth or soft brush when cleaning your hot tub cover; abrasive scourers will damage the vinyl surface. Spray your cleaner in small patches whilst scrubbing in circular motions to prevent the solution from drying before you’ve had a chance to work it into the stains! 

If you’re undergoing cover cleaning regularly, you may sometimes stick to just the top side, but be aware that the cover’s underside will become stained with evaporating body oils and pool chemicals, so you’ll need to give this area a good scrub at least once every few months! 

4. Dry the spas cover

Now the bulk of your cover cleaning is done, all that’s left is rinsing and drying! 

Use a low-pressure setting on your garden hose to wash off any remaining dirt, and grab a soft towel to dry the vinyl. We reckon it’s also a good idea to let your spa cover rest for 10-15 minutes so it can fully air dry, as you’ll avoid the risk of it slipping out of your hands when you reattach it!

Top Tips For Cleaning An Acrylic Cover

a hot tub on concrete with steps

The smooth finish of an acrylic cover protects the surface from becoming clogged with pollen, leaves and other debris, so you’ll generally only need to hose the hot tub and cover down to get it clean. However, there are a few handy acrylic hot tub cover cleaning tips you should keep in mind.

1. Hose down periodically to remove loose debris

If you have an acrylic hot tub cover, you should hose it down with water weekly. Regular cleaning will help to prevent stubborn stains from developing on the hot tub, and the smooth finish on these covers makes rinsing them down a super simple task! 

2. Clean hot tub cover with vinegar

Did you know you can clean a hot tub cover with vinegar?

If your hot tub sits under a tree line or other areas where birds like to perch, you’re probably sick of cleaning up bird poop off the cover! Thankfully, you can make a cheap and effective acrylic cover cleaner with equal parts vinegar and warm water, which can be used to spot-clean bird droppings in no time! 

3. Use oil to wipe away sap from overhanging trees

Tree sap can be a nightmare to clean up, so instead of scrubbing away and scratching your cover, use either vegetable oil or olive oil to lift the stains on the hot tub before simply wiping them away with a soft cloth! 

What to Use To Clean Your Hot Tub Cover.

a group of cleaning products

Once this is done, remove the cover and place it on a flat, non-abrasive surface (grass is best!) within reach of your garden hose; in terms of cleaning supplies, you’ll need:

  • Garden hose
  • Vinyl cleaner
  • Soft-bristled scrubbing brush
  • Drying towel
  • Bleach solution (or eco-friendly mould and mildew cleaner)
  • UV vinyl protectant
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Tarp

If you don’t have all of these, don’t worry; here is another list of homemade hot tub cleaning supplies that can also help. If you need more help, take a look at the cost of servicing a hot tub and what other tips and tricks you can try to keep your spa in great nick.

Future Protection

a bottle of soap

Now that we know what to do when cleaning a hot tub cover let’s look at how we can protect the hot tub from future damage! 

1. Use a vinyl protectant spray.

Hot tub care is important and freshly cleaned vinyl is much better at absorbing things, so it’s a good idea to spray a little protectant treatment onto your cover and hot tub after a clean and a towel dry. 

A good vinyl protectant will help prevent dirt and debris from taking hold in the crevices of your cover and reduce UV exposure and weathering damage! 

2. Keep out of the sun and direct sunlight

A hot tub cover is an expensive bit of kit, and vital in maintaining your spa, so we recommend covering your cover with a tarp during long periods of no-use. This will protect it from dirt, UV damage and weathering; this simple tip can drastically extend the life of your coverings! 

3. Use saddle soap to condition the lid.

Saddle soap is used to condition leather products to protect them from the adverse effects of weathering and UV damage. As vinyl is not dissimilar to leather, this stuff works just as well on your hot tub cover! Simply rub some into the vinyl with a soft-bristled brush.

4. Keep felines away

We’ll put up with a lot from our furry friends, but hot tubs are not an excellent place for them to be hanging out. Check out how to stop a cat’s claws from damaging a hot tub in our thorough guide.

Cleaning The Foam Cores

foam covers

Now you’ve learned how to clean a hot tub cover, let’s check out how to hot tub cover care for the exterior and keep it in tip-top condition. 

  • Find the hidden zippers – Most hot tubs have a cover that has have foam cores that need to be cleaned every 3-6 months. Check the underside for a zipper to remove the foam inserts; this may be hiding around the hinge area or beneath a fabric lip.
  • Remove the core for inspection – Check the foam core for signs of mould and mildew, and use this opportunity to patch any tears in your cover’s linings with tape or repair patches.
  • Clean with a weak bleach solution – Whilst using bleach isn’t the way to clean mould off a hot tub cover, it’s great at destroying mould and mildew! Mix 1 part bleach with 10 parts warm water and scrub the cover’s interior/foam cores with a soft brush.
  • Rinse, air dry and flip – Rinse off the bleach away from any wildlife and towel dry the foam cores. Let them rest for some additional air-dry time, though keep them out of direct sunlight as they may melt! 

Flip the foam so it’s facing the opposite way to when you removed it and carefully reassemble the cover, just like flipping a mattress; this prevents sagging! 

How Often Should You Tackle This Job?

To keep even an older cover fresh and protected, we recommend a thorough clean of your cover once every 1-3 months, though it’s a good idea to wipe the cover and rinse weekly to prevent any stubborn stains from forming on top of the cover! 

Things to Avoid?

Though your hot tub cover is pretty sturdy, there are some things you should avoid to prevent any unwanted damage; here are a few examples:

  • DON’T use abrasive cleaners containing salt, ash, pumice etc., as the tiny particles will scratch your hot tub cover.
  • DON’T place your cover on abrasive surfaces like gravel or concrete.
  • DON’T use oil-based protectants like vaseline as they’ll amplify sun rays, essentially cooking your cover in the sunlight.
  • DON’T sit or leave heavy objects on your cover.
  • DON’T leave your cover over a spa with imbalanced water chemistry; this can lead to bleaching, vinyl puffiness and stitching disintegration. 

Can You Jet Wash Hot Tub Covers? 

a jet wash

Whilst a blast from a jet wash will remove, gunk and grime from your hot tub cover, it’ll also damage the vinyl, increasing the likelihood of rips forming in the hot tub.

If you want to keep your hot tub cover in good shape (without digging out your hot tub vinyl repair kit), it’s best to avoid the excessive force of a pressure washer on the hot tub. Instead, use a low-pressure garden hose to wash away the dirt and gently scrub in some vinyl cleaner with a soft-bristled brush.

More on Cleaning Garden Spas

While cleaning inflatable hot tubs is pretty straightforward, sometimes specific cleaning issues arise.

How to clean Biofilm

Biofilm is not something you want in a hot tub. See how to remove Biofilm in your inflatable hot tub here.

How to clean hot tub cover mould

Mould is super dangerous. See how to get rid of any hot tub mould in this guide.

Last Word

a hot tub with the lid off

Well, that’s your lot! By following the steps in this guide, you should have a clean hot tub cover in no time. Always avoid sharp surfaces, abrasive cleaners and high-pressure water jets! 

Any points we missed? How do you clean a hot tub cover? Let us know.

Cleaning your hot tub cover is straightforward but always check whether your cover is made from vinyl or acrylic, use the appropriate hot tub cover cleaners for the job and consider applying a protectant to ward off UV damage. Follow these steps every 1-3 months and your cover should last for many years to come! 

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.