how to clean hot tub filter

How to Clean Hot Tub Filters – Ultimate 2024 Guide

Posted by Alex Clamp in Blog post, Maintaining a Hot Tub Guides on 25th April 2023

Indulging in the warm embrace of your own hot tub is a luxurious way to unwind, but to keep this oasis functioning optimally, maintenance is key. Performing critical upkeep, like cleaning the filter, is a must to keep your hot tub bubbling with relaxation.

Here we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of hot tub filter cleaning, as well as the best deep cleaning products and accessories so you can keep your sizzling sanctuary running like new.

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Types of Hot Tub Filters

When it comes to hot tub filters, there are a few different types available on the market. The most common type is the cartridge filter, which is typically made from a filter material like polyester or pleated paper. Other types of filters include sand filters and diatomaceous earth (DE) filters, but these are less commonly used in hot tubs.

How Often Should I Clean My Hot Tub Filter?

Regardless of the type of filter you have, it is important to clean your tub filters regularly to keep your hot tub running smoothly, extend the life of your hot tub, and save you valuable time and money in the long run.

How often you need to engage in hot tub filter maintenance depends on a variety of factors, including how often you use your hot tub and how many people are using it.

As a general rule, you should aim to clean your hot tub filter at a bare minimum of at least once every three months, however, if you can, WhatSpa? recommends you build both a weekly and monthly hot tub filter clean into your regular maintenance routine for the absolute best and long-lasting results.

How to Clean Hot Tub Filters

how to clean hot tub filters

Step 1: Turn off the Power

Before beginning the cleaning process, it is important to turn off the power to your hot tub. This will prevent any accidental electrocution and ensure your safety while working on the filter.

Step 2: Remove the Filter

Once the power is turned off, you can now proceed to remove the dirty filter from the hot tub. Locate the filter compartment and carefully remove the filter from its housing. It is important to handle the filter with care to prevent any damage.

Step 3: Rinse the Filter

The next step is to rinse the filter with a garden hose to remove any loose debris and dirt. Hot tub accessories such as the Aquatix Pro Filter Cleaner Attachment can help to get in between the pleats when rinsing your filter and speed up the rinsing process.

To effectively clean your filter, place it on your grass or patio and use your highest-pressure nozzle to get rid of any debris that may be stuck. Also, remember to rinse both the top and bottom of the filter to remove any contaminants from the plastic, and give it a good ol’ shake once completely rinsed.

Step 4: Soak the Filter

After thoroughly rinsing your filter, you can now soak it in a filter-cleaning solution. WhatSpa? recommends that you use a commercially available filter cleaner as opposed to making any homemade solutions from vinegar, bleach or laundry detergent due to the risk of damaging your filter or its plastic components.

Large 5L bottles of filter cleaning solutions can often be found online for less than £20, such as the Pro-Kleen Hot Tub, Pool & Spa Filter Cartridge Cleaner. This will provide you with 10 filter treatments, so simply add around 500ml of the solution to 10L of warm water and soak your filter overnight in a large plastic bucket!

Note: Be sure to wear protective equipment such as plastic gloves and eyewear when handling the filter cleaning solution, as it can often irritate both your skin and eyes if mishandled without adequate care!

Ensure you have a plastic bucket large enough to fully submerge your filter in the cleaning solution, and you should ideally leave your filter to soak for 12-24 hours to allow the solution to penetrate the filter and remove any contaminants such as oils or grease.

Step 5: Rinse Again

After soaking your hot tub filter overnight, be sure to rinse the filter again using a high-pressure nozzle to remove any remaining dirt and the cleaning solution.

Remember, you don’t want foamy hot tub water when you reinstall the filter to your tub, so be sure to keep rinsing until the water dripping off the filter is 100% clear.

Step 6: Dry the Filter

Once the filter is thoroughly rinsed, you can now proceed to dry the filter. It is important to allow the filter to dry completely before reinstalling it in the hot tub. You can let it air dry or use a clean towel to dry it manually.

Step 7: Reinstall the Filter

how to clean a hot tub filter

After the filter is completely dry, you can now reinstall it in the hot tub. Carefully place the filter back into its housing and ensure that it is securely in place. Once the filter is in place, you can turn on the power to your hot tub and enjoy a relaxing soak.

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Hot Tub Filter Cleaning Alternatives

Instant Hot Tub Filter Cleaner Sprays

Hot tub owners who are short on time rejoice! Despite instant filter cleaning sprays offering a much less thorough rinse and clean of your hot tub filter compared to an overnight soak, the minimal time and effort required to maintain your filters make filter sprays an attractive option.

Simply follow the previous first 3 steps by turning off your hot tub at the isolator switch, carefully removing the filter from its housing, and giving it a quick and proper rinse down to remove any dirt and loose debris from the pleats.

Only then once you have equipped suitable protective gloves and eye protection, we then recommend using an Instant Filter Cleaner Spray to thoroughly spray over the entire surface of your filter.

Once completed, then allow at least 15-20 minutes for your filter to stand and absorb the cleaning spray solution, before again thoroughly rinsing the filter with a high-pressure nozzle or Aquatix Pro Filter Cleaner to help remove any leftover contaminants from the filter media material and reduce any potential hot tub foaming.

Finally, leave adequate drying time for your hot tub filter to air dry in your outdoor space before returning the filter to its filter housing!

How to Cut Down on Filter Maintenance

hot tub filter cleaner
Photo © Jacuzzi

Rotate Your Filters

You can maximise your hot tub’s leisure time by rotating two clean filters in and out. By alternating between them, you can minimise maintenance while still enjoying the use of a clean filter on occasion. This ensures that each filter is cleaned thoroughly since you have more time to do so – keeping your relaxation stress-free!

Scum Absorbers

Cut down on filter maintenance with scum balls or scum absorbers! These convenient and often playful-looking sponges are designed to draw contaminants and residues away from the hot tub water surface and leave your filter with a lot less work to do.

Simply keep them in your hot tub after usage, and they’ll do the hard work for you and your filter – leaving crystal-clear hot tub water behind when your bathers have gone home.

WhatSpa? recommends the ScumRay Hot Tub Scum Absorbers which offer a reusable, eco-friendly and cost-effective solution for trapping scum and body oils after your soaks!

Rinse Before You Soak

Make sure to give yourself a quick rinse before entering your hot tub, especially if you’ve been sweating or have any kind of products on, such as sunscreen, lotion, and hair gel.

If you want to avoid creating slippery floor surfaces around the house after your rinse, an outdoor shower could also be a great value addition to your hot tub garden area!

For maximum relaxation during and after your hot tub sessions, make a quick indoor or outdoor shower rinse a part of your pre-hot tub routine!

Stay on Top of Hot Tub Water Chemistry

cleaning hot tub filters

In addition to regular cleaning, one of the most important things you can do to reduce filter maintenance is to ensure that your hot tub’s water chemistry is properly balanced. This means regularly testing the pH and chlorine levels and making any necessary adjustments to keep the water within the recommended ranges.

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The Dangers of Dirty Hot Tub Filters

hot tub filters

Poor maintenance of your hot tub filters can lead to major problems with your hot tub’s pump and the heater of your spa. When clogged, water flow is hindered which puts too much strain on the motor leading to reduced circulation, weak hot tub jets, and cloudy or dirty water.

This can all lead to the possibility of costly repairs to restore cleanliness and proper functioning, so be sure to maintain regular filter upkeep so you can ensure optimal performance for years to come!

How Long Should Hot Tub Filters Typically Last?

Well, it depends on a few factors. The quality of the filter, the frequency of use, and the amount of bather load will all play a role in determining the lifespan of a hot tub filter. In general, though, you can expect a quality hot tub filter to last anywhere from 1-2 years with regular use. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the filter and replace it as needed to ensure that you keep your hot tub clean and safe for use.

When Does My Hot Tub Filter Need to Be Replaced?

hot tub filter

Damaged Media Material

A good indicator that it is time for a replacement filter is when the paper media material starts to show signs of breakage or wear, so make sure you regularly check the condition of the filter’s media material to ensure there are no signs of damage!

Reduced Circulation & Water Flow

Another important factor is proper circulation and water flow, so if you begin to notice that your hot tub’s water isn’t circulating properly or the water flow appears to be reduced, it may be a sign that the pump powering your hot tub’s jets needs to be serviced or replaced.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you soak a hot tub filter in bleach?

To keep your hot tub running optimally, bleach is not a recommended hot tub filter cleaner solution. Unfortunately, it can corrode the delicate media and reduce its lifespan – which means more money out of pocket in replacement costs down the line.

Can you use washing-up liquid or dishwasher detergent to clean a hot tub filter?

The short answer is yes, you can use washing-up liquid to clean a hot tub filter, but it is not recommended as a long-term solution. Washing-up liquid is formulated to remove grease and dirt from dishes, but it may not be strong enough to remove all contaminants from your hot tub filter.

To ensure your hot tub is well-maintained, it’s always best to stick with products specifically designed for hot tubs and avoid experimenting with other homemade cleaning solutions.

Can you use vinegar to clean a hot tub filter?

The acidity in vinegar can help to break down and dissolve built-up mineral deposits, natural oils, and dirt that can clog up spa filters, but it won’t prove as effective when it comes to particularly stubborn buildup or debris.

It is important to note, however, that vinegar should be used with caution, as it can cause damage to certain filter types if left to soak for too long or if it is not diluted properly, but it can offer an inexpensive and readily available alternative to a spa filter cleaner or chemical cleaning solutions if used correctly.

Do hot tub filters need to be dry after cleaning?

Yes, a wet filter can trap bacteria and other harmful contaminants that can quickly multiply and render your hot tub unusable. We highly recommend that you allow the filter to air-dry completely before reinstalling it back into your tub!

What is the brown stuff in my hot tub filter?

If you notice brown particles accumulating in your hot tub filter, it’s likely a sign that your water chemistry needs attention. It could be coming from organic material, such as dead skin cells or oil – or even metals like iron and copper!

Regularly cleaning out the filter is key to keeping things running smoothly and safeguarding against damage down the line. Shock treating your tub with chlorine/bromine will help break down any organics while adding a metal sequestrant can stop discolouration from elemental buildup.

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About the author

Alex Clamp

I am the Content Writer and Marketing Officer at WhatSpa? Magazine. I have worked at WhatSpa? for over 8 years, and I recently graduated with Distinction from Northumbria University with a Master's degree in Occupational and Organizational Psychology. My role at WhatSpa? is to ensure that all hot tub lovers can easily access the highest quality and most up-to-date content, news and information from within the UK wet leisure industry.

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