Cleaning Spa Filters – The Ultimate Guide for 2023

One of the most important factors when it comes to having a safe bathing experience and your hot tub’s efficiency is cleaning the hot tub filters and replacing them periodically.

If you have just purchased a new Jacuzzi, cleaning hot tub filters may seem like a fiddly or daunting task. Don’t worry. We’ve over 10 years of experience when it comes to cleaning spa filters. 

Today’s post from our outdoor living collection will help you understand why hot tub filter cleaning is so important, show you how to clean a hot tub filter correctly and answer some common questions about filter cleaning. 

How To Clean Hot Tub Filters – A Home Remedy

Below we will walk you through how to clean hot tub filters so you get it right the first time.

Spa filters work by your hot tub’s pump sucking water through the filtration system, returning it free of debris and thereby keeping your water clean. It is the first stage of the filtration process, so if there’s an issue with your hot tub’s filters, this will cause further ones down the line, for example, clogging your hot tub jets which could cost money and time in the long run.

Hot tub filters are made from pleated polyester material with a plastic core. The pleats create a huge surface area allowing dirt particles and debris to become trapped in the filter material. The amount of water pumped through will vary depending on your model and your spa’s filtration system. So now you know how they work; how do you keep your hot tub filter clean? 

Follow our step-by-step guide to hot tub filter cleaning 

The Best Way to Do Hot Tub Filter Cleaning

a man rinsing filters with a hose

Now you know why it’s essential for your hot tub filters to be cleaned regularly; let’s dive in and see the best way to clean hot tub filters! 

1. Turn the unit off and remove the housing

If you want a clean hot tub filter, the first thing you need to do when cleaning hot tub filters is remove the filter cartridge, following the manufacturer’s instructions as it will differ depending on your hot tub model. Most simply unscrew from the housing, but if it doesn’t come out easily don’t force it as you may damage the thread. 

 Turning off the unit is important as running a hot tub without a filter can cause severe damage. 

2. Inspect and rinse the hot tub filters 

Once you have removed the hot tub filter, you need to inspect it for damage; if it is badly stained or frayed, you should replace it or try taking it apart or disassembling it to inspect further. You will need to swap filters regularly, especially if you own an inflatable hot tub spa. If the filter is in reasonable condition, you can rinse it with clean soapy water from your hose to remove large debris, quickly give it a scrub and then place it back into the hot tub. 

However, this won’t remove the build-up of natural oils and grease, so you should remove the filters for deep cleaning once a week.

3. Using a hot tub filter cleaner

There are many hot tub filter cleaning options available from both hot tub supply stores and online and these are great for cleaning a hot tub filter thoroughly. These are better than homemade hot tub cleaning solutions and safer.

They can be used either diluted in a clean spray bottle for a quick rinse or added to a bucket of warm water with the filter left to soak for the required amount of time.

Recommended filter cleaner

Clearwater produces an affordable hot tub filter cleaner with up to 20 uses in a litre bottle which does a fantastic job of removing grease from your hot tubs or spas filter. You can also purchase a brush specifically designed to clean deep into the filter pleats without damaging them or the hot tub. 

4. Hose water again and dry thoroughly

a green hose coiled up

Once the hot tub filter is clean, you should give it a quick blast with the hose again to remove any chemical residue which could cause foam. It’s vital to let it dry completely before putting back into your spa.

If you are going to soak your filter, it’s a good idea to have some spare so you can still use the hot tub with newly filtered water while the dirty one is doing its thing! 

5. The filter housing

There would be no point in cleaning the filter cartridge and putting it back into a filthy filter housing, so before replacing the clean filter, use a hoover to remove large debris like leaves, grit and sand from the inside and wipe with a damp cloth.

Why Cleaning Hot Tub Filters is Vital

a set of feet in a hot tub

Safer for bathers

Your spa filter works alongside your chosen sanitiser and other chemicals to keep your hot tub water in pristine condition. If the filter becomes dirty or clogged, it will eventually start to reduce the filter’s effectiveness. This can upset the delicate balance of your water quality, causing problems like mould inside a lazy spa, cloudy water or, even worse, serious illnesses and hot tub disease. If bacteria does contaminate the spa, it can leave people with rashes or another type of illness. That’s why the cleanliness of the tub is by far the most important aspect and the cleaning process should be thorough to ensure excellent results.

Saves money

image of a pound sign

Regular hot tub filter cleaning as part of your ongoing hot tub care and maintenance routine will save you money in the long term. If your spa’s filter is clogged, the chemicals you use to sanitise your tub (Chlorine or Bromine) will have to work much harder to kill germs and debris than in the tub’s main body, where they are needed, so you will use more. 

Cleaning protects components. 

As mentioned above, the pump pulls water through the circulation system. If a filter is filthy, debris can make its way into your Jacuzzi’s working parts, including the sensors, heater and circulation pump itself, causing them to become faulty. 

So if you are experiencing lots of error codes, it could actually be a problem with your hot tub filters. 

How to Clean Lazy Spa Filters

You can use the tips above for cleaning Lay Z Spa filters. If you are unsure, then please refire back to the official Lay Z Spa website or take a look at our general guides where we have plenty of advice on hot tub maintenance in the UK. From cleaning and buying to specific articles dedicated to Lay Z Spa.


There’s a lot of debate about this; it depends on how often and how many bathers use the hot tub. We recommend a quick rinse after each use, although a couple using a spa once or twice a week may find a weekly rinse sufficient. 

We also recommend thoroughly cleaning your hot tub filters after heavy use or parties. Soaking them in one of the many hot tub filter cleaners will remove the build-up of body oils, dirt and other debris like hair that becomes trapped in the filter’s pleats. 

You can only really wash ceramic filters; there are lots of online articles advocating cleaning your hot tub filters in a dishwasher or washing machine, 

However, whilst this may be great at removing debris and dirt, the high pressure of the water can damage the filter media and they will need replacing more often. This is also why a jet wash shouldn’t be used to rinse your filter cartridges. Also, any leftover laundry detergent could have a negative impact on your water chemistry. 

Give them a quick rinse with the garden hose after every use and a deep clean by soaking them in a special filter cleaner solution overnight every so often.

If your hot tubs filters don’t work correctly, you will first notice issues with your water quality. Experts recommend changing the tub filter in hard-shell options once a year, with some ceramic hot tub filters lasting up to five years. 

However, an inflatable hot tub filter should be changed every 6-8 weeks. After a while, you will notice signs a dirty filter needs replaced; they will be stained, the pleats will be a little frayed and they may even have started to become stiff due to calcium build-up.

If you are in need of replacement hot tub filters, then you can pick them up relatively cheaply online or from a variety of stores.

Whilst some hot tub owners swear by a diluted bleach solution to clean a hot tub filter, like all harsh chemicals, bleach will damage the fibres and shorten the lifespan of a tub filter, so we recommend a filter cleaner designed for the job. 

One of the best natural hot tub filter cleaners is a solution of equal parts distilled vinegar and water. Simply leave the filters to soak in a bucket of the solution for at least a couple of hours. This will destroy the bacteria but remember to rinse thoroughly, or the acidity level in the water will rise.

Whilst baking soda is effective at removing dirt from the outer shell of your hot tub; it isn’t the best option for cleaning hot tub filters. This is because it is difficult to rinse off and will raise the tub’s alkalinity.

Whilst cleaning filters in a dishwasher is not recommended as it’s much too harsh for the delicate fabric, some experts advise using dishwasher detergent as it is designed to cut through tough grease. Simply dilute with an equal amount of water and let them soak for 24 hours.

Yes, you can use Simple Green for both cleaning spa filters and the exterior of your hot tub. Grab a spray bottle and mix with water at a dilution ratio of 10-1. This can be reduced for really dirty filters. Just remember again to rinse well.

Yes, vinegar is a very good cleaning solution for hot tub filters, effectively removing bacteria. All you need to do is fill a bucket with half and half distilled vinegar and water and let the filters soak for a few hours before rinsing.

Last Word

someone putting there filter back in there hot tub

There are several ways to clean a hot tub filter, from a quick rinse with the garden hose to soaking them in a bucket overnight with a good quality hot tub filter cleaner and each can be effective, so it really depends on how often the hot tub is used and how dirty the filter is as to which you want to use. 

Keeping a hot tub clean is essential not only for health reasons but also to keep your hot tub in tip-top condition.

Dirty filters result in water issues that can be expensive to sort out and impact the spa’s inner workings. We recommend rinsing after every spa session and using a spa filter cleaner regularly. 

You will see many hot tub cleaner alternatives, from soaking filters in salt water to using vinegar; however, we wouldn’t recommend them. Any residue left behind will affect your water chemistry and you may even have to learn how to shock a hot tub to restore the balance. We also don’t advise using a dishwasher if you want a filter to last! 

More on spa cleaning

We hope you have picked up some tips on how to get your inflatable spa sparkling clean and now know how to clean a spa filter the right way!

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.