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How to Clean a Hot Tub Without Draining It: 7-Steps [DIY]

how to clean a hot tub without draining it

Last Updated on September 6, 2023

Cleaning a hot tub is crucial to ensure proper hygiene, prevent skin irritations, and maintain the overall experience.

While draining and refilling a hot tub is the most thorough method, sometimes there may not be enough space or resources to facilitate a complete water change.  But you can still achieve a clean and inviting hot tub environment without draining.

To clean your hot tub without draining it, hand scrub the interior while the water is still in it. After that, use a skimmer or a spa vacuum to remove larger debris so that the water remains clear and free of any potential clogs.

We will discuss all the steps involved with cleaning a hot tub without draining it, ensuring that your relaxing space remains clean and inviting.

How to Clean a Hot Tub Without Draining It: Step-By-Step Instructions

How to Clean a Hot Tub Without Draining It: Step-By-Step Instructions

If you want to clean your hot tub in a non-draining way, you need to follow a few steps.

  • Step 1: Hand-scrub the interior
  • Step 2: Let dirty water run through the filter
  • Step 3: Remove larger debris with a skimmer or vacuum
  • Step 4: Clean the jets
  • Step 5: Clean the pipes
  • Step 6: Clean and rinse the filter
  • Step 7: Wipe down control panels and headrests

Let’s take a closer look at each step to get a thoroughly cleaned hot tub without draining it.

Step 1: Hand-Scrub the Interior

Start by scrubbing the interior of your hot tub while water is still in it to prevent dirt and bacteria from entering during the cleaning process. Here’s how you can effectively hand-scrub the interior:

  • Gather a soft-bristle brush specifically designed for hot tub cleaning.
  • Start at one end of the hot tub and work towards the other, ensuring you cover all surfaces.
  •  Pay extra attention to areas with visible buildup or grime, using circular motions to loosen any stubborn debris.
  • If there are hard-to-reach spots, consider using an extension for your brush to ensure thorough cleaning.

Step 2: Let Dirty Water Run Through the Filter

Let the loosened dirt and debris in the water run through your hot tub’s filter to improve the overall water quality.

As you scrub or wipe the hot tub’s interior, some dirt and debris will naturally end up in the water. Allowing this water to pass through the filter effectively removes smaller particles that may have escaped your initial cleaning efforts.

Step 3: Remove Larger Debris With Skimmer or Vacuum

Now, it is necessary to use a skimmer or spa vacuum to quickly and effectively remove any larger debris or particles from the surface and bottom of your hot tub. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Attach a spa vacuum to your hot tub’s suction line, or use a handheld spa vacuum if available. Move the vacuum head along the bottom of the hot tub, covering all areas.
  • Pay extra attention to any corners or crevices where debris may accumulate.
  • Once you’ve finished vacuuming, empty the collected debris from the skimmer net or clean out the collection bag of your spa vacuum.

Step 4: Clean the Jets

Once you’ve finished vacuuming, it’s time to tackle the next step: cleaning the jets of your hot tub. Over time, the jets can accumulate dirt and grime, affecting their performance.

To clean them effectively without draining your hot tub, remove the jets. Locate the retaining ring around each jet before removing it from your hot tub.

Use a wrench or a special jet removal tool to unscrew the retaining ring counterclockwise. Once the retaining ring is loose, gently pull the jet out of its housing.

Then, mix warm water and vinegar in equal parts (50% each) and soak the jets in this solution for about 3-4 hours. The vinegar helps to break down any built-up residue and kill bacteria.

After soaking, use a small toothbrush to scrub away any remaining debris from the jets. Pay attention to all the nooks and crannies to ensure a thorough cleaning.

Once cleaned, rinse the jets thoroughly with plain water before reattaching them back into your hot tub.

Step 5: Clean the Pipes

Hot tub pipes can also gather buildup that affects water flow. Use a soft toothbrush to scrub the interior of the pipes. Consider investing in a flexible brush designed specifically for cleaning pipes for deep cleaning.

Step 6: Clean and Rinse the Filter

To effectively clean and rinse the filter, you’ll need to remove it from the hot tub and gently scrub away any debris using a soft-bristled brush.

Start by turning off the hot tub and taking out the water filter. Once removed, use a water hose to spray down the filter and dislodge any loose debris.

Then, take your soft-bristled brush and gently scrub away any remaining particles on both sides of the filter. After scrubbing, rinse the filter thoroughly with water to remove any loosened debris or soap residue.

Step 7: Wipe Down Control Panels and Headrests

Use a hot tub surface cleaner or a disinfectant specifically designed for spa surfaces to wipe down the control panels and headrests.

Be cautious about choosing products that won’t mix with the water and disrupt the chemical balance.

How long can water sit in a hot tub without cleaning?

The length of time water can sit in a hot tub without cleaning depends on various factors.

Water quality, frequency of use, and maintenance practices all play a role in determining how long the water can go before it needs to be cleaned.

Generally, experts recommend cleaning and treating the water every 2 to 3 weeks to prevent the buildup of bacteria and algae that can affect both the water quality.

Can you utilize bleach to clean a hot tub without draining it?

Can you utilize bleach to clean a hot tub without draining it

While bleach can be effective for disinfection, it’s generally not recommended for cleaning a hot tub without draining it. Bleach can disrupt the water’s pH balance, potentially causing chemical reactions and skin irritations. 

Also, the residual chlorine odor and potential residue might affect your hot tub experience. Opting for hot tub-specific cleaning products or methods that won’t harm the water’s chemistry is safer.

Experience the Bliss of a Pristine Hot Tub Sanctuary

Maintaining a clean hot tub without draining it is possible and essential for optimal enjoyment. Following the step-by-step instructions, you can ensure a hygienic and inviting hot tub environment. 

Regular hand-scrubbing, filtering, and thoroughly cleaning jets, pipes, and filters will help keep the water clear and debris-free.

The longevity of clean water depends on factors like usage and maintenance. Prioritize water quality by avoiding bleach and opting for hot tub-friendly cleaning products.

With consistent care, you’ll relish a soothing soak in your sparkling hot tub haven. Relax, rejuvenate, and indulge in your clean and refreshing retreat.

How to Clean a Hot Tub Without Draining It: 7-Steps [DIY]

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