Regularly cleaning and draining your hot tub is one of the best ways to ensure clean, clear, easy to maintain water. Unfortunately, not many hot tub owners have an effective cleaning schedule. Today, we will show you how properly clean every part of your hot tub.

How To Properly Drain and Refill Your Hot Tub

The most basic and effective way to clean your hot tub is by draining out all of the water, cleaning the surface of the hot tub, then refilling it. Draining the water does two things:

  • It allows you to add in fresh water, which will improve the feel of the water and give you a better bathing experience.
  • It gives you an opportunity to clean the shell of the hot tub.

How To Drain and Clean The Hot Tub

To drain the hot tub you must first turn off power to the hot tub. Once the power is off, you can attach a garden hose to your hot tub’s drain. Once your hose is attached, put the other end of the hose where you want the water to go and open the drain valve to start draining the hot tub.

Note: In some cities you are not able to drain your hot tub or pool into the street. Fortunately, low levels of chlorine or bromine won’t affect your grass and other plants. If you’re worried about your lawn, just test the water before draining to ensure that the bromine levels are 10ppm or below (5ppm or below if using chlorine).

Once the hot tub stops draining, get a shop vac to remove the remainder of the water in the hot tub. You can also put the end of the shop vac hose up to the jets and suctions to remove some of the water in the plumbing.

When all of the visible water in the hot tub has been removed (there will always be a small amount in the plumbing that you won’t be able to remove), spray the shell with a non-sudsing hot tub cleaner like Clean & Perfect and then remove it with some paper towel or a cloth.

Filling The Hot Tub

Once the hot tub surface has been cleaned, close the drain valve and remove your garden hose. You can then begin refilling the hot tub. When refilling your hot tub it is important to fill it from the filter area. This allows the pump to fill with water first and will prevent potential airlock issues when you turn the hot tub back on.

When the hot tub has been fully filled, turn the power back on and let the hot tub start to heat up. When the hot tub has heated to around 70 degrees Fahrenheit you can add in your initial chemicals.

In order to maintain good water quality you should repeat the draining and refilling process every 3-4 months, depending on how often you use the hot tub.

Read More: “Brady’s Hot Tub Maintenance Guide”

Note: Gravity drains in hot tubs can take several hours to drain the hot tub and will often still leave a significant amount of water in the hot tub. To make the draining process easier we recommend getting a submersible pump. These can be purchased relatively inexpensively and can drain fully drain a hot tub in a matter of minutes.

How To Clean Hot Tub Plumbing

Over time, water-loving bacteria known as biofilm builds up in the plumbing of hot tubs. These bacteria cover themselves in a protective layer of slime that is resistant to sanitizers like chlorine or bromine.

Biofilm greatly decreases your sanitizer’s effectiveness as the residual in the water is constantly being used up trying to get rid of the biofilm. This means that your water will go through more sanitizer than it needs to and will turn cloudy very easily. You may also notice a visible ring at the waterline or discolouration on your filter.

While the standard drain and clean procedure does help to keep your water clean and clear, it doesn’t solve biofilm build up in the hot tub plumbing. How do you clean the plumbing? For that, you’ll need a hot tub plumbing cleaner like Spa Flush.

To clean your plumbing with a hot tub plumbing cleaner, simply add the cleaner 30-60 minutes before draining your hot tub. Make sure your jets are on during this time to allow the cleaner to flow through all of the plumbing.

After a couple of minutes you should notice a thick foam start to build up on the surface of the water. This foam will be dark grey, brown or black in colour. Suck up this foam with your shop vac until it begins to turn white. Once the foam is white the biofilm has been removed and you can begin draining and refilling your hot tub.

Note: It is not necessary to clean the plumbing every time that you drain and fill the hot tub. Depending on how often you use the hot tub, you should clean the plumbing once per year.

How To Clean Your Hot Tub Filters

Your hot tub’s filter is key to the overall filtration system. To keep your hot tub running efficiently, prevent water quality issues and avoid potential damage to the hot tub pump, you need to regularly clean the filter.

To clean your hot tub filter simply remove it from the hot tub every 3-4 weeks and rinse it off with a hose or in your laundry tub to remove any dirt or debris caught in the filter.

Along with these basic cleanings, you should also chemically clean the hot tub filters every 3-4 months to remove trapped oils and lotions. To chemically clean a hot tub filter you will need to purchase a hot tub filter cleaner, typically a powder.

Dissolve the cleaning powder into a bucket of water large enough to fit your hot tub filter. Put your filter in the bucket with the cleaning solution and let sit overnight. When the time is up, remove the filter and rinse it with a garden hose. It is then ready for use.

Cleaning Your Hot Tub Cover

The last part of your hot tub that you should regularly clean is the cover, especially the underside of the cover. Because the underside of the cover is in a hot, damp environment there is a tendency for mildew to grow on it over time, especially in the seams.

To clean the hot tub cover, simply inspect it every few weeks to look for signs of mildew. If you notice any, spray it with a non-sudsing hot tub cleaner like Clean & Perfect and remove it with a paper towel or cloth.


Key Takeaways

  • Regularly draining and cleaning your hot tub is very important to maintaining hot tub water quality.
  • Your hot tub should be drained, cleaned and refilled every 3-4 months, depending on use.
  • Biofilm can build up in the hot tub’s plumbing. Biofilm buildup can cause water quality issues and will cause your hot tub to go through more sanitizer than needed.
  • Your hot tub’s plumbing should be cleaned every 12 months.
  • Hot tub filters should be regularly rinsed (every 3-4 weeks) to maintain their efficiency. They should also be chemically cleaned every 3-4 months.
  • Hot tub filters should be replaced every 18-24 months.

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