We all love relaxing amongst the bubbles in our own personal jacuzzis! But, every hot tub owner knows that even after a week or two of regular use, these can begin to get awfully mucky, which begs the question, can you use household products to clean a hot tub?
Many manufacturers will have you believe that only specialised hot tub cleaning supplies can get the job done. However, whilst these are indeed very effective, they’re far from the cheapest (or most eco-friendly) products you can use when cleaning a hot tub.
In this article, we’ll dish the dirt on eight cheap and cheerful ways to clean your hot tub using only household cleaning products, many of which should be hiding in your cupboards right now! So without further ado, let’s dive in!
What Can I Use to Clean the Inside of My Hot Tub
No matter how careful you are, you’ll have to ensure you have an inflatable hot tub cleaning kit in order to remove the organic contaminants and other nasties that build up over time, as they’ll quickly contribute to a breeding ground for mould, bacteria and plenty of tough stains.
Whilst spa cleaners may be the most obvious choice, there’s actually a range of hot tub spa cleaning products you probably have that can work just as well!
Maybe the easiest to find on this list of hot tub cleaning supplies.
Olive oil is a primary ingredient in many high-quality soaps, mainly due to the triglycerides it contains. These fatty substances have the ability to attract other oils and greasy materials, making the stains much easier to wipe away from surfaces like your hot tub shell!
Olive oil is best used to remove sticky stains like sap, body oil and grease from the fabrics lining your hot tub and cover.
Drain your hot tub spa and allow it to dry before rubbing a small amount of olive oil onto the stains on the tub with a soft rag, now use warm water and mild soap to wipe away the olive oil before rinsing away any remaining soap with your garden hose.
Using Vinegar to Hot Tub Clean
One of the best cleaning products for a hot tub.
The acetic acid found in white vinegar does a great job of eating up any organic matter and helps dislodge stubborn stains without loads of elbow grease. It does this by charging the particles around it, quickly lifting soap scum and biofilm from just about any surface including your hot tub!
The best way to apply this hot tub cleaning product to your hot tub is to mix equal parts white vinegar and cold water in a spray bottle. Pop on some gloves, and make sure to drain and dry your spa before spraying the cleaning solution onto any stained areas, paying particular attention to the often murky water line!.
Leave the spa tub cleaner for about 15 minutes for the acid to get to work and then scrub the area with a sponge to lift the stains from your hot tub!
Cleaning a Hot Tub with Bleach
In a similar way to vinegar, diluted bleach does a great job of breaking up the bonds within tough stains, though a bleach-based cleaning solution has the added benefit of killing bacteria and germs. It’s a great solution for hot tub cleaning!
When mixed with water, bleach forms a variety of chemicals that safely destroy most bacteria, though you should never mix bleach with anything other than water!
Pop on some rubber gloves, mix equal parts bleach and cold water inside a spray bottle, and carefully apply the solution to any stains (especially around the water line!). Allow the solution to sit for around 15 minutes before wiping your hot tub down with a disposable sponge; you can now rinse your hot tub with clean water and refill it ready for use!
Lemon juice is another effective and environmentally friendly hot tub cover cleaner that relies on natural acids to keep your hot tub clean. The acid in lemon juice works in the same way as vinegar; only this method will leave your hot tub with a fresh and zesty fragrance instead of smelling like a chip shop. !
Cut four lemons into quarters and squeeze the juice into a bucket or spray bottle before adding an equal amount of clean water. Spray or rub the solution onto the stains on the hot tub with a damp cloth and allow the cleaner to sit for about 15 minutes to lift the stains from your hot tub.
Now just wipe away the hot tub cleaning solution with a microfiber cloth or a sponge and rinse away any remaining cleaner before refilling your clean hot tub with fresh water!
If you need DIY cleaning products for an inflatable hot tub, rubbing alcohol (AKA isopropyl alcohol) is particularly good at removing grubby fingerprints and unsightly stains from the metal fixtures that may surround your hot tub. Not only will this cleaner bring the sheen back to your handles, covers and panels, but it’ll also kill any bacteria present!
You’ll want to use rubbing alcohol with an alcohol content of at least 90% to ensure you sanitise the surface. You can apply this cleaner directly to your hot tub fixtures using either a microfibre cloth or diluting the rubbing alcohol with warm water in a spray bottle.
Ecover Cream Cleaner
Whilst not strictly a homemade hot tub cleaner, Ecover is an excellent (and entirely plant-based) all-purpose household cleaner that can be used for cleaning anything from kitchens and bathrooms too, you guessed it, hot tubs!
Using no harsh chemicals or dangerous compounds, this handy stuff can be diluted in water or applied directly to tougher stains on the tub with a sponge or cloth, relying only on gentle abrasion to lift and remove oils and grease from your hot tub shell.
This hot tub cleaner is completely biodegradable too, so you won’t need to worry about the water you use to rinse away the cleaner harming any of the plants and animals in your garden!
Another great household hot tub cleaner to look out for is Simple Green; developed initially to clean boats, like Ecover, it’s biodegradable and non-toxic. It can be used to keep both the interior and the exterior of your hot tub clean.
To help your money stretch a little further, we recommend diluting Simple Green at a ratio of one ounce of hot tub cleaner for every cup of water, though for tougher stains, you can just spray the hot tub cleaning solution straight from the bottle!
Apply a little of the hot tub cleaner directly to any stains on your drained and dried hot tub and use a soft cloth or sponge to lift the grime from the surface gently. Once the stains are removed, rinse the hot tub with fresh water and refill your Jacuzzi tub ready for use!
Baking soda is something of a double-whammy! When mixed with water, this substance forms a highly effective and non-toxic base cleaner and acts as a mild abrasive that’s great for removing stubborn stains and soap scum from a tub.
The mildly abrasive nature of a baking soda cleaning solution does mean that you’ll need to be careful around inflatable hot tubs, though as long as you’re using a soft sponge or a microfiber cloth, you should be ok!
Mix a little baking soda with warm water in a bucket or spray bottle, and apply the solution directly to any stains on your drained and dried hot tub shell and hot tub cover. Gently rub the cleaner into the stains with your sponge to lift the grime before wiping away the excess and rinsing your hot tub clean to be refilled with fresh water.
Things To Avoid
Though, for the most part, cleaning your hot tub with household and natural products is a pretty straightforward job, there are a few things you should avoid to make sure you’re not damaging the exterior of your spa or the pipes, filters and pumps that keep the tub working!
The most common mistake people is using an abrasive scrubbing tool to remove stubborn stains. Though this might be tempting, you’ll do more harm than good, as you’ll easily damage your hot tub’s linings and may even cause punctures in an inflatable model!
Don’t use a scrub brush or a toothbrush to tear through difficult stains. Instead, rely on the science behind the household cleaners we’ve mentioned, and exercise a little patience!
Another common mistake people make in cleaning their hot tub is using liquid detergent and/or dish soap, as these are usually the easiest to find around the house!
Although these cleaners will lift the stains in your hot tub, the residue left behind will cause problems. Any soap or laundry detergent still inside your hot tub when you refill it will be cycled through the hot tub pump and its air valves, damaging the pipes and causing bubbles to overflow through the whole system, presenting a costly nightmare of a clean-up!
Benefits Of Using Natural Cleaner
- Environmentally friendly – One of the biggest draws to using natural items to keep your hot tub clean is simply that you’ll avoid releasing harmful chemicals and toxic fumes into the environment.
This means you can safely dispose of the water you’ve used to rinse your hot tub without harming the plant and animal life around you. You’ll also avoid introducing damaging chemicals into your hot tub water when you refill the thing again!
- Saves money – This one’s a no-brainer! Specialised cleaning solutions for hot tubs are often incredibly pricey, though you’ll find that they won’t really clean your spa or tub any better than the cheap homemade hot tub cleaner solutions we’ve covered here!
Moreover, every homemade hot tub cleaner covered in this guide can be used for all manner of cleaning, cooking or maintenance tasks, so the smaller amount of money you’ve spent will go a long way.
- Easy to get hold of – To pick up a specialised jacuzzi cleaner, you’ll likely need to visit a specific shop that stocks a hot tub-related product or order it online and wait around for a delivery.
In comparison, baking soda, olive oil, vinegar and lemons can be found at just about any grocery store you can think of. In fact, you can probably just nip to your nearest corner shop to grab most of the supplies we’ve covered today!
How To Apply a Homemade Hot Tub Cleaner
No matter which method you choose when cleaning, the application process will be pretty similar, with the main things to look out for being the tools you use to get the job done and the routine you follow to ensure nothing gets missed!
For starters, you should always ensure you’re draining your hot tub, disconnecting the pump and the power supply and allowing the spa to fully dry before applying your chosen cleaner.
It’s best to wear gloves and a mask (especially when using bleach!) to protect your skin and lungs and make sure to use a soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge when scrubbing to avoid damaging your hot tub.
As well as cleaning the noticeable stains around the interior and exterior of your hot tub, you should check the air nozzles, filter housing and the hot tub filters themselves for any muck and grime. It’s a good idea to give any hot tub pillows, covers or other accessories a once over whilst you’re at it!
Once you’ve removed the stains and grime from your hot tub, it’s imperative that you thoroughly rinse away any remaining residue with fresh water.
Any acidity or alkalinity left behind by your homemade hot tub cleaner could mess with the water chemistry inside your spa, stopping the sanitisers from working correctly. If soap residue gets into hot tub pipes, it can quickly damage the pump with overflowing bubbles that can be a nightmare to clean up!
Where To Buy a Spa Cleaning Kit?
As you can probably tell by now, we’re big believers in homemade hot tub cleaners, be that baking soda, vinegar, lemon or olive oil. These can be easily found and bought cheaply from any supermarket and are environmentally friendly!
If you do feel more comfortable picking up a specialised spa cleaning solution or would like to have some on hand just in case, below, you’ll find a list of the most reliable Jacuzzi cleaner stockists we’ve personally used. These stores are noted for selling the best hot tub cleaning products.
- Pool and Spa Centre
- Hot Tubs UK
How often should you clean your hot tub?
We often get asked, how often should I empty my hot tub. Most experts recommend that you fully drain and clean a hot tub at least once every 3-4 months, though if your spa water is starting to look murky (and even a new hot tub filter is struggling), it might be time for a good scrub!
What is Biofilm?
Biofilms are living collections of bacteria and microorganisms that often form around the pipes and jets of your hot tub, as these areas are rarely drained of hot tub water and cleaned.
It’s effectively impossible to avoid biofilms, as your warm hot tub water full of body oils and skin cells offers the ideal environment for these bacteria to thrive. However, you can lessen their impact by keeping an eye on your chemical balance, cleaning your filters weekly and doing a deep clean every three months. This page talks about getting rid of Biofilm in hot tubs.
What are Chloramines?
Chloramines are created when the Chlorine sanitiser in your hot tub water comes into contact with ammonia-producing substances like body oils, urine and sweat. You’ll have dealt with chloramines before if you’ve ever noticed the strong chlorine smell that most of us associate with a clean hot tub!
Too many chloramines in your spa will negatively affect the water quality, stopping your chlorine sanitiser from working properly. That’s why we recommend regularly using test strips to check the “free chlorine” levels in your hot tub and be prepared to drain and clean your spa if the balance needs resetting.
Should you hire professional hot tub cleaners?
Not necessarily, we have plenty of guides on maintenance for your spa and it’s not too hard to clean any hot tub to a professional standard, provided you follow a set maintenance routine, though a complete drain and deep-clean can be pretty time-consuming, taking the best part of a day to complete.
If you simply don’t have the time for this or your hot tub has been left unattended for months and is filled with grime and gunk, by all means, call in the professionals, though for most cases, we’d say you’re better off saving the money!
And with that, you should have all the info you need to keep your spa clean using only common cleaners found around the house!
With a bit of patience and some trust in science, professionally cleaning your hot tub can easily be done without breaking the bank or harming the environment.
Remember to dilute the stronger cleaners like bleach, wear protective clothing to keep yourself safe and avoid using abrasive brushes, sponges or scourers, especially around inflatable hot tubs!
Take the time to fully drain and dry your spa before getting to work, and make sure that you rinse away any residue using your garden hose to help protect your hot tub from damage.
Most of all, we hope you enjoy the extra money you’ve saved by only relying on the cleaning properties of these commonly found items; maybe it can be invested in some new pool toys!