How to Clean a Hot Tub Without Draining It: A Full Guide

Cleaning your hot tub is integral to maintaining its cleanliness and reducing the risk of contracting different skin irritations that can be quite a hassle for a homeowner.

However, draining all the hot tub water and filling it out again can take time, and sometimes you need more patience to wait for it.

Fortunately, there are simple ways how to clean a hot tub without draining it. If you’re up to the challenge, we’ll break it down for you below on how to do the self-cleaning.

How to Clean a Hot Tub Without Draining It A Full Guide (1)

How to Clean a Hot Tub Without Draining It

As we’ve mentioned, cleaning your hot tub without completely opening the drain plug is possible. It takes patience to do the self-cleaning properly!

If you want to know the steps, we’ve listed them below. Check it out!

1. Recycle the Hot Tub Water Into the Swimming Pool

This step can only take place if you have a swimming pool with a filtration system that is connected to it.

To do this, you need a submersible pump to flush out water from your hot tub and flow it directly to the swimming pool.

While it can be a great remedy for cleaning your hot tub with a cleaning solution, we strongly recommend doing it not so often.

However, regular surface cleaners are more gentle and cleaner alone.

Once you’re done using cleaning solutions, the next thing to do is use a spa polish to refine the hot tub shell.

2. Scrubbing the Hot Tub Interior

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While the water is still in the pool, the next thing you would want to do is scrub out the interior.

If you don’t do this step, grime and bacteria will firmly stick to the tub and infiltrate the water once you fill it out.

This part is important for preparing your hot tub for the next step. In doing so, we recommend using a soft cloth and a soft-bristled brush to avoid scratching the surface.

For deeper parts of the tub, we highly recommend looking for an extended rod wherein you can attach your brush to hard-to-reach areas.

You might also need a sieve or a skim net to catch debris, leaves, and film from the water’s surface. This way, you prevent gunk build-up from clogging the hot tub pipes.

TIP: You should head to your local pool supply store and look for a hose you can use when draining excess cloudy water in hot tubs.

3. Balancing Water Chemistry

To check for pH level, you need test strips for an accurate reading when balancing water chemistry.

Once results are in, you next want to balance everything from acidity, alkaline levels, and calcium.

Chlorine granules are often used when performing chlorine shock. Ideally, you want your hot tub’s water to hover around a pH level of 7.2 to 7.8.

Cloudy and dirty water is often the result of chemical imbalance. You can also use test strips if you are also experiencing this.

NOTE: If you are dealing with dirty water, we recommend using chlorine-shocking water rather than the non-chlorine shock method when draining hot tubs.

4. Reusing Hot Tub Water in the Bathtub

This step can only be done if you have a nearby hose or bathtub. In addition, you will also need a submersible pump for this step.

Do not manually drain water from the hot tub into the bathtub, as it takes a long time to drain it.

You can repeat this cleaning process as much as you want for the next 5 to 7 days and drain the spa.

5. Filtering Hot Tub via Reverse Osmosis Method

The filtration system on a hot tub works by filtering out all unnecessary particles; sometimes, that’s not the case.

What you need is a local professional mobile water recycler to do the job for you.

How it works is by professionals letting the green water pass through the truck-mounted filtration processes.

Once clean water is achieved, the water is then recycled back to your spa.

6. Brushing Hot Tub’s Water Line

Using a hot tub ejection chemical is the best way to remove organic matter buildup along the tub lines if your filtration system can’t do it alone.

In addition, to be more precise in cleaning the hot tub jets, you can use a soft-bristled toothbrush to scour through the inner parts of the jet openings.

However, brushing the hot tub water lines can be challenging if your spa has sat out for a long time. It may take rigorous brushing to clean everything up.

Therefore, we recommend you clean the jets before attaching them to your hot tub.

7. Remove and Clean Hot Tub Filter

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The next procedure is to remove and clean the hot tub filter. There might be clogs and gunks from the initial cleaning of your spa tub.

As a result, it may be beneficial to remove a few bolts to loosen some parts to give you access to the spa filter.

Once you’ve removed the filter, use a medium-pressure garden hose and spray it directly onto the filter. Be careful not to overdo it, as it might damage the filter cartridges.

We highly recommend cleaning products such as chlorine to ensure nothing goes untreated, especially in hot tubs.

8. Clean Hot Tub Control Panels, Hot Tub Pillows, and Head Supporters

The control panels and head supporters are one of the easiest parts to clean. It is why we put it in one of the last steps.

Unfortunately, hot tub owners forget about them most of the time.

The best way to clean them is by using cleaning products to sterilize the spa surface while using a damp cloth to wipe down grime and dirt.

Furthermore, we recommend combining normal cleaning products with fresh water to increase sanitizer levels.

This way, harmful chemicals that may cause skin irritations and infections can be washed away once you’re rinsing them off.

9. Soak the Hot Tub Jets

Clean your hot tub jets and soak them using white vinegar and a warm water solution. 

Also, you can use baking soda or any proprietary hot tub cleaner to remove stubborn stains and clean your hot tub.

It would be advisable to soak the jets for around four to six hours before you drain the solution to ensure effective and efficient cleaning throughout its parts.

It is important to clean the jets to ensure they can provide a more powerful flow from the hot tub’s interior.

10. Treating the Hot Tub’s Water

When treating hot tub water, we highly recommend using quality cleaning products to ensure everything is effective.

While the basic steps do not guarantee 100% effective cleaning, they are needed to make your hot tub clean and at its best.

To do this, use chlorine tablets to remove any buildup bacteria, balance the low pH level and bring it back to normal pH levels.

In addition, for you to check the Bromine levels in your hot tub, a test strip is a good way to have a precise reading.

As we’ve mentioned, normal pH levels in your hot tub should be around 7.2 to 7.8.

TIP: Always check chlorine levels to ensure you are dealing with safe water.

How Should You Maintain Your Hot Tub?

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Cleaning is an essential part of maintaining your hot tub. Fortunately, this can be done in the comfort of your home using the following methods. Check it out!

1. Regular Cleaning

If you want clean spa water, do regular cleaning on a weekly basis. The cleaning process should be relatively easy if you do it weekly.

But if you do it rarely, you might want to experience removing dirt and grime on a different level.

It is one of the reasons we recommend you do it weekly to avoid the buildup of dirt, grime, and bacteria.

2. Using a Hot Tub Cover

A hot tub cover is an essential part of the regular maintenance of your tub. If you have a hot tub cover, it will prevent air bubbles from attracting dust and debris everywhere.

3. Keep the Hot Tub Water Running

Always keep the hot tub running even when it’s not in use. This way, your filter ensures everything is perfectly clean and removes dirt and gunk buildup from the tub.

4. Don’t Eat and Drink in the Hot Tub

You get to enjoy a clean and dirt-free tub if you’re not eating and drinking inside of it. Keep food from the tub.

5. lean Yourself before Entering the Hot Tub

Like most indoor pools, it is important to shower first before entering the bathtub.

This way, you remove creams, body oils, and other contaminants from entering the tub, which results in further dirtying and the buildup of chemicals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you have additional questions regarding how to clean the hot tub without draining and everything in general, you might find them below.

Can You Run Bleach Through a Hot Tub to Clean It?

No. While it might be a good idea to clean your tub with a bleach cleaning solution because it’s great at killing bacteria and germs, it’s NOT recommended.

It is because bleach can dry the skin and cause skin irritations. When cleaning your tub, you can use dry chlorine to sanitize the entire tub.

How to Treat Acidic Water?

pH levels shouldn’t be well below the 7-point mark. Anything below that, and you’re dealing with acidic water.

Low pH levels in the water can often lead to problems for the owner and the hot tub itself.

Treating acidic water, we often use alkaline-based chemicals to increase pH levels. One of the common chemicals used for this method is sodium carbonate or commonly known as soda ash.

Add soda ash based on the instructions and check if everything is on the normal level after six hours. Add if necessary.

How to Treat Basic Water

When the pH level of water is well over the optimal mark, chlorine isn’t the best choice to maintain pH levels.

Clear signs of basic water are when there’s a calcium buildup and molds on the sides of the hot tub’s shell.

To address this, you can use muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate to lower the pH levels of the tub. Like treating acidic water, add, if necessary, until you reach normal water quality levels.


How to Clean a Hot Tub Without Draining It

Draining water is the best way if you want thorough self-cleaning. But if you don’t want to waste water, the steps are pretty easy, in our opinion.

As a hot tub owner, it is important to do regular maintenance to make your hot tub clean and look nice. Moreover, it is still best to drain the entire tub twice a year.

We hope this article on how to clean a hot tub without draining helped you make your life easier in so many ways possible

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