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How to Clean an Inflatable Hot Tub – Step By Step in 2023

Are you one of the lucky ones with a hot tub? If so, then you know just how amazing they can be. Enjoying a spa experience in your own backyard oasis is a wonderful way to spend a relaxing evening or weekend with family or friends. 

But what happens when it’s time to spa clean? Don’t worry – it’s not as daunting as it may seem and it’s an essential part of owning an inflatable Jacuzzi.

With these seven easy steps, you can have your hot tub sparkling in no time.

How You Clean Inflatable Hot Tubs

a cleaning net next to a hot tub

Inflatable hot tubs need maintenance and care to ensure they remain in working order and are safe to use. You should be removing and replacing the water inside your inflatable hot tub about once every three months, but going to all the effort to refill your spa can be rendered useless if the inside of your hot tub hasn’t been adequately cleaned!

Below we will get into the steps and show you how to clean inflatable hot tub spas.

Step one – preparing the inflatable hot tub

Your first step in this process should always be to disconnect your hot tub’s power supply; running the filter pump or heater with no water in the inflatable hot tub can damage these components, so it’s best to eliminate this risk from the get-go!

Your next job is to fish out any large debris floating around on the hot tub surface, you can usually grab floating nuisances like leaves by hand, but we’ve found that a handy pool skimmer or spa net makes for the easiest method. 

Don’t skip this job, as large debris will block your filters when the water drains out, which can be a right faff to sort out once the drain plug is removed!

Have a quick whizz around the floor of your inflatable hot tub if you have a vacuum to hand before gathering your cleaning supplies. 

Below is an ideal list of what to use when cleaning inflatable hot tubs.

  • A soft cloth / sponge
  • Mild soap/spa cleaner
  • Your garden hose
  • Pool chemicals 
  • Filter cartridges

Step two – draining the hot tub water

When it comes round to changing hot tub water, the first thing to do is disconnect the pump from the tub and remove the filter housing and filter cartridges from the inside of your inflatable hot tub. It’s a good idea to give these components a good clean at this point, so rinse them off with your garden hose and remove any grime with a soft cloth.

Locate the drainage valve on your particular hot tub, which will usually be a screw cap placed towards the bottom of the shell. You don’t want to simply release the tub’s water where you stand, though! So use a garden hose adaptor to attach your hose to the valve, as this will allow you to channel the water to a safe drainage channel.

Suppose you’ve lost or misplaced your adaptor. In that case, we do recommend buying a new one online or directly from the manufacturer, as unleashing a wave of dirty water across your garden is not only unsanitary, but the chemicals present can cause harm to your plants and the local wildlife!  

Step three – Hot Tub Filters

someone cleaning a hot tub filter with hose and water

To get the most use out of your portable spa filters, you should clean each hot tub filter far more regularly than you drain and refill your inflatable hot tub. We’ve found that setting aside some time once a week to give the spa filter a quick rinse can extend its useful life measurably and prevent any yellow stains.

Simply remove the cartridges from the filter housing and rinse them off with your garden hose. You might also find that a quick wipe with a soft cloth helps to remove any filmy residue.

If your water filter cartridge looks particularly grimy and there are visible signs of wear across the frills, it’s probably time to replace it! This is as simple as wiping down the exposed housing and slotting in your new filter cartridge. 

Here is an extensive guide on how to clean hot tub filters easily.

Step four – The Jacuzzi surface.

The key to inflatable hot tub cleaning is to avoid chemical cleaners and hard-bristled brushes as humanly possible!

Starting with the outer tub walls, you should coat the surfaces with warm water from a spray bottle and firmly wipe them clean with a soft cloth. 

When it comes to cleaning the inside of your inflatable hot tub, you should avoid even mild soaps and detergents at all costs! The problem with these cleaners is that they create suds that can find their way into your air jets and filters, causing foaming and chaos when you switch the system back on.

Most areas of your inner lining will be easily cleaned with warm water, a soft cloth and a little elbow grease, but you may have some issues around the waterline where body oils, dirt and chemicals can build up. 

Try using a dedicated spa cleaner if you have trouble removing stains, or save yourself a little money by using a natural alternative like baking soda or white vinegar! 

You should also avoid using a scrubbing brush when cleaning your inflatable hot tub, as no matter what other sites may say, the hard bristles can wear away the PVC vinyl in your lining and risk punctures and damage that will be costly to repair.

Step five -The lid and cover needs to be cleaned

a man attempting to clean a spa

Don’t forget to give your hot tub cover a proper clean whilst you’re at it! This is especially important as when you keep your inflatable hot tub covered, the steam rising from the water carries body oils and grime upwards, accumulating and forming a mucky film. 

If you don’t give the lid a good clean alongside your hot tub, these accumulated natural oils will be loosened next time you pop the lid on, causing them to fall back into the fresh water and ruining all of your hard work!

You can use a mild detergent or soap when cleaning the hot tub cover, provided that you fully wash the surface down before reattaching it to your spa, but we recommend sticking to spa cleaners or natural alternatives where possible to minimise the risk of suds entering the interior.

Whilst you’re at it, it can be a good idea to coat the outside of your inflatable hot tub cover with a UV protectant spray. This seal prevents stains from forming and reduces the discolouration caused by UV exposure, limiting the amount of regular cleaning you’ll undertake! 

a woman cleaning parts of a hot tub

If you have some accessories for your inflatable hot tub, like cushions, headrests, or inflatable seating, it’s good to include them in your regular cleaning routine. Cleaning inflatable hot tubs can be a time-consuming task but it’s worth it in the long run!

Set these items down on the ground and hose them off with your garden hose. If you see any stains or a build-up of body and hair oils, you can give these a spray with spa cleaner or mild soap and wipe them clean with a cloth or old towel. Again, make sure to thoroughly rinse these items off with clean water before popping them back into your inflatable hot tub! 

Step six – refill the spa, add chemicals and enjoy

Now that your inflatable hot tub is sparkling clean, it’s time to refill it with fresh water and get the pH level nice and balanced. 

Refilling your inflatable spa is as simple as when you first bought the thing. Reattach the pump and ensure that the drainage valve and stopper plugs are sealed before using your garden hose to fill the interior with clean water.

As you’ve gone to all this effort to get your inflatable hot tub clean, it’s a good idea to use a water filter attached to your hose when refilling the hot tub water, as this will remove any dirt and impurities that may be present in your water supply.

Once you’ve filled your inflatable hot tub to the waterline, you’ll want to add your pool tablets or chemicals and run the filtration system to ensure that the pH level is back to where it needs to be. You should always have a hot tub water testing kit to hand, as this will help you keep on top of this vital aspect of cleaning a hot tub.

If there are any stubborn stains on the outside lining of your inflatable hot tub, you can try squirting a small amount of mild soap or mild detergent into your warm water, but make sure to thoroughly rinse down these surfaces with clean water once the stains have been removed.

How Often?

We recommend that inflatable hot tubs be drained and fully deep cleaned once every 3-4 months during regular use. 

As you continue to top up the same hot tub water with pool chemicals, the water will gradually become oversaturated and unable to properly maintain a healthy pH level. A hot tub that’s used on a daily basis will usually reach this point in around three months, giving you the optimal opportunity to drain the spa and perform a full deep clean.

To supplement these deep cleans, you should perform daily and weekly cleaning tasks. Skimming the water to remove floating debris and vacuuming the floor can be easily done after your daily dips, whilst removing and rinsing off the filters is a simple job that you can do once a week.

The Importance of Cleaning Your Hot Tub Regularly

family in a hot tub

Keeping your inflatable hot tub clean is essential for maintaining a safe and hygienic pool environment. It will also allow you to maintain the system’s inner workings and extend your hot tub’s life by several years.

As with any device that contains moving mechanical parts, general wear and the build-up of dirt and grime can affect your hot tub’s ability to work as it should. 

By regularly cleaning the floor and surface to remove dirt and debris, you’ll save your filters from becoming clogged, and giving the filters themselves a quick clean weekly will reduce the frequency in which they’ll need to be replaced. 

Keeping the water clean by maintaining a healthy chemical balance will reduce the amount of grime that builds up in the pumps and the pipe and help prevent the risk of bacteria or other nasty germs from contaminating your inflatable hot tub and damaging your health! 

This is our page for help with hot tub maintenance

How Long Does a Good Hot Tub Clean Take?

an image of a clock

To fully drain, clean and refill your inflatable hot tub, you’re looking at a good day of work!

Draining the water shouldn’t take too long as gravity will be on your side, but to properly clean and wipe down the exterior, interior, cover and accessories, you’ll be looking at around 1-2 hours of work, depending on the size of your tub.

Rinsing off or replacing the filters is a simple job that shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes, but you can expect it to take a further 1-2 hours to refill the spa and as long as 10-12 hours to get the thing back up to its maximum water temperature! 

You’ll then need to rebalance the pH levels and leave the filtration system running to make sure that the water is safe to soak in, so realistically you’ll want to book in your deep clean for when you have a full day to spare! 


Are these tips the same for a Lay Z Spa?

Yes, pretty much. Anything missed we cover in this guide to cleaning a Lay Z Spa.

How to remove yellow stains?

Our team have put together handy tips about how to remove yellow stains in an inflatable hot tub and what type of solutions you can use to get rid of them.

How to get rid of mould?

If you start to experience black spots in a hot tub, then check out our in depth cleaning guide to get rid of them as quickly as possible.

How to deal with Biofilm in a hot tub?

To find out what causes a slimy hot tub read this guide.

How do I clean a neglected hot tub that’s been sitting?

Getting a hot tub clean when it’s been neglected for some time can be a pretty time-consuming challenge, though the basic principles will be the same as those outlined in this guide!

The difference will be the amount of dirt and grime built up, which will be more difficult to remove and may well have caused irreparable damage to some of the hot tub’s components.

If there seem to be any problems with the pump or filtration system, you should contact the manufacturer’s support line or have a professional look at the components. However, if everything is working and just dirty, get ready for a lengthy deep clean!

Can you pressure wash a hot tub?

Generally, we don’t advise using a pressure washer to clean your hot tub, especially if your hot tub is inflatable. 

Pressure washers are very powerful tools and can easily wear down the lining of your spa and even tear the material, causing punctures to form. 

The vast majority of stains and grime can be lifted with hot water, elbow grease and the right spa cleaners, so we don’t reckon it’s worth the risk of damage to grab your pressure washer for this job! 

Now that you know how to clean a hot tub spa, it’s important to remember to do so regularly. Cleaning your tub keeps it looking great and functioning correctly and can also help prevent health issues and damage to the unit.

Remember always to use caution when cleaning any electrical appliance and consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions on caring for your hot tub. 

For more helpful tips on maintaining your spa, be sure to check out our other blog posts.

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.