How to Clean a Hot Tub in 7 Easy Steps

A clean hot tub
 Finmiki Images / Getty Images


  • WORKING TIME: 1 – 3 hrs
  • TOTAL TIME: 4 hrs – 1 day
  • SKILL LEVEL: Beginner
  • ESTIMATED COST: $40-300

Before You Begin

Be sure to consult with your manufacturer’s guide. Make sure you’re using the appropriate chemicals, including the correct combination and amounts, to avoid creating an unsafe situation.

Tossing in chlorine tablets from time to time won’t be enough to keep your hot tub fresh and hygienic, but the process of cleaning your hot tub is relatively straightforward. Aside from some simple steps each week to keep your hot tub in its best shape, deep cleaning your hot tub and replacing the water every three to four months will prevent foul odors, murky water, as well as more serious issues like mold and mildew. Learn more about how to clean a hot tub.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Sponges or non-scratch nylon scrubber
  • Five-gallon bucket
  • Garden hose
  • Sump pump (optional)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Towels


  • Line flush solution
  • Filter cleaner
  • Hot tub cleaner
  • pH kit
  • Chlorine/bromine tablets
  • Shock treatment
  • Protectant spray for sun damage (optional)


How to Clean a Hot Tub

  1. Flush Hot Tub LinesStart by flushing out any dirt and build-up that could be trapped in the hot tub’s plumbing. Add line flush cleaner directly to your hot tub’s water before draining (follow the product’s instructions to determine how much). Turn your jets on high and let the cleaner circulate for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  2. Drain Your Hot TubBe sure that the power and breaker are turned off. Drain the tub by opening the drain valve (you can connect a garden hose to divert the water) or using a sump pump. If you opt for the sump pump, set it in the deepest part of your hot tub and turn it off as soon as the pump stops to avoid damaging the shell.
  3. Clean Your FilterAs the water drains, clean the hot tub filter. Start by spraying the filter with a garden hose to remove larger debris, then soak the filter in five-gallon bucket with your filter cleaner for at least two hours (consult the instructions listed for your specific cleaner). As the filter soaks, wipe down the inside of the filter compartment with a damp cloth. Rinse the filter thoroughly before putting it back.TipIf your filter is difficult to access, take a picture while it’s still installed, so you know how to put it back.
  4. Clean the Hot Tub’s ShellOnce the water has drained, put on rubber gloves and spray the shell with a specialized hot tub cleaner. Use a sponge or nylon non-scratch scrubber to wipe away residue, being careful not to scratch the shell. Pay close attention to areas around the jets and other ridges where mold and mildew are more likely to grow. Rinse the shell thoroughly, using the hot tub drain or sump pump to remove the dirty water. Wipe down the shell with a towel to clear any leftover cleaning solution. Make sure the jets are open to prevent water pressure issues.TipMost experts recommend using a specialized hot tub cleaner to clean the shell, but you can also use a mixture of one part white vinegar and four parts warm water or a mixture of one part bleach and 10 parts water. However, never use these solutions together.
  5. Refill the Hot TubClose your hot tub’s drain, then insert your garden hose directly into the filter well. This will clear the new water of minerals like calcium and copper as it enters the tub and will push any trapped air out of your pipes. Move onto the next step as your hot tub fills, but make sure to monitor the water level to prevent overfilling.
  6. Clean Hot Tub Cover and CabinetYou may be able to use your hot tub cleaner on the cover (check the product instructions), but if not, wipe down the cover (inside and outside) with a 10% bleach to water solution. Clean the outer cabinet with a gentle wood cleaner or with a damp cloth and warm water.TipIf your hot tub sits in a lot of direct sunlight, consider purchasing a protectant spray for the cover.
  7. Turn Hot Tub OnTturn the breaker and power for your hot tub back on, but keep the air valves off. Let the water circulate for 10-20 minutes, then add chemicals (consult your manufacturer’s guide for specific instructions). Start with a shock treatment to get rid of any leftover bacteria, then check the pH levels and chlorine/bromine levels. Cover your tub and allow the chemicals to circulate for 24 hours. Retest the water once more after the hot tub has reheated and adjust the chemicals as necessary.

Tips to Keep Your Hot Tub Clean Longer

  • Follow the weekly cleaning regimen outlined above.
  • Clean the filter once a month and replace it once a year.
  • Keep your hot tub covered when not in use.
  • Call a professional to inspect your hot tub once a year.


  • What can I use to clean the inside of my hot tub?Use a specialized hot tub cleaner, a mixture of one part white vinegar to four parts water, or a mixture of one part bleach to 10 parts water to clean the inside of your hot tub shell.
  • How do you deep clean a hot tub?Deep cleaning a hot tub is more involved, and you’ll need to use specific cleaning solutions to clean the hot tub’s lines, filter, shell, cover, and exterior cabinet. You should also drain your hot tub and refill it with fresh water. Experts recommend repeating this process every three to four months.
  • Should I use vinegar to clean my hot tub?You can use a mixture of one part white vinegar to four parts water to clean the interior shell of your hot tub. Most manufacturing guides recommend cleaning your hot tub with a specialized hot tub cleaner.

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