Everyone wants a budget-friendly solution to keep the pH level in check for their hot tubs. That is why baking soda is quite popular among hot tub owners. But you probably heard a few complaints on the internet that baking soda has the potential to harm hot tubs. What is the truth? Using baking soda in the hot tub a good idea or not?
Using baking soda in the hot tub can be a good idea as it can increase the pH level and alkalinity in the water effectively. Compared to other chemicals it is relatively safe to use and is budget-friendly.
Understanding Hot Tub Maintenance with Baking Soda
Do you know what baking soda is? Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a white crystalline powder that is a mild base. It’s more than just a baking ingredient or a fridge deodorizer. In the context of hot tubs, it’s a versatile player in water maintenance. But what exactly does it do? Let’s break it down.
Your hot tub’s pH level is a measure of how acidic or basic the water is. Ideal hot tub water should have a pH between 7.2 and 7.8. If it dips below this range, the water becomes too acidic, which can irritate your skin and eyes and even damage the hot tub components.
When your hot tub’s pH is on the low side, adding baking soda can nudge it back to the sweet spot. It’s a gentle way to increase the pH without causing drastic changes that might harm the tub or its users.
Think of alkalinity as the stabilizing force for pH. It helps buffer the water and keep the pH levels from fluctuating wildly. The ideal range for total alkalinity in hot tubs is typically between 80 and 120 parts per million (ppm).
If the total alkalinity is lower than recommended, baking soda can raise it. This, in turn, helps stabilize the pH levels.
Why Not Just Use Commercial Products?
Sure, there are plenty of commercial products out there for adjusting pH and alkalinity. But baking soda is a cost-effective, readily available alternative. Plus, it’s gentle and natural, which is a big win if you’re trying to reduce your chemical footprint.
Table: Quick Reference for Baking Soda Usage in Hot Tubs
|Substitute for Chemicals
|No, only for pH and alkalinity
|Frequency of Addition
|As needed, based on regular testing
|Effect on Cloudy Water
|Helps if due to pH/alkalinity imbalance
|Safety for All Hot Tubs
|Cleaning Hot Tub Cover
|Effective and safe
|Impact on Filters
|Safe for cleaning
|Risk of Overuse
|Can cause high pH/alkalinity
The Science Behind Baking Soda and Hot Tub Water Chemistry
Let me break down the science behind baking soda and how it works for your hot tub water below:
Understanding the Chemistry
- Baking Soda’s Chemical Makeup: Sodium bicarbonate, the scientific name for baking soda, is a weak base. This means it has the ability to neutralize acids, which is key in managing the pH levels in your hot tub.
- The pH Scale: The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Below 7 is acidic, and above 7 is basic (or alkaline). Baking soda, being a base, pushes the pH towards the higher end of the scale when added to your hot tub.
The Alkalinity Connection
- Role of Alkalinity: Alkalinity acts like a buffer for the pH. If your hot tub’s alkalinity is in the right range, it prevents the pH from swinging wildly, making your water chemistry more stable and predictable.
- How Baking Soda Fits In: By increasing the total alkalinity, baking soda indirectly helps in stabilizing the pH levels. This is crucial for the longevity of your hot tub and the comfort of its users.
The Impact on Hot Tub Water
- Water Clarity: Proper pH and alkalinity levels, maintained with the help of baking soda, can lead to clearer water. Imbalanced water can become cloudy and uninviting.
- Equipment Longevity: Acidic water (low pH) can corrode hot tub components. By using baking soda to maintain a neutral pH, you’re essentially prolonging the life of your hot tub.
Table: Baking Soda’s Effect on Hot Tub Water Chemistry
|Effect of Baking Soda
|7.2 – 7.8
|80 – 120 ppm
Why Some People Recommend Not to Use Baking Soda in Hot Tubs?
Here’s why some folks might say “nah” to using baking soda in hot tubs:
- Can Mess with Balance: If you go overboard, it can throw off your hot tub’s pH and alkalinity. That is why using in right quantity is crucial.
- Temporary Fix: It’s more of a quick fix than a long-term solution. Doesn’t replace the full range of hot tub chemicals you need.
- Precision is Key: Getting the amount just right can be tricky. Too little or too much, and you be getting the opposite of what you expected.
- Not a Clean-All: Great for pH, but doesn’t tackle bacteria or algae. You’ll still need your regular sanitizers for that job.
- Scaling: Baking soda may cause scaling issues by interacting with other chemicals.
Should Hot Tub Owners Use Baking Soda In Hot Tub?
Baking soda is not a game changer, you can not fix everything by using baking soda. You may need to use other chemicals to kill the bacteria and keep the pH in check. But baking soda can be a budget-friendly and fantastic sanitizer for short-term or occasional use.
The benefits of using baking soda in the hot tub are:
- Cost-Effective Solution: Baking soda is significantly cheaper than many specialized hot tub chemicals. This makes it an economical choice for regular maintenance.
- Easy to Find: You can pick up baking soda at virtually any grocery store, making it a convenient option.
- Gentle on Hot Tub and Skin: Unlike some harsh chemicals, baking soda is gentle on both your hot tub’s surfaces and your skin.
- Natural Product: For those looking to reduce their chemical usage, baking soda is a more natural alternative.
- Balanced Water: By stabilizing pH and alkalinity, baking soda makes the water more comfortable for your skin and eyes.
- Safe Soaking: Properly balanced water is safer for you and helps prevent issues like skin irritation and eye problems.
- Supports Other Chemicals: When your hot tub’s pH and alkalinity are balanced, other chemicals like sanitizers work more effectively.
- Longer Lasting: You will need to use less sanitizer over time, which can be a cost-saving benefit.
- Easy to Use: As we’ve seen in the step-by-step guide, using baking soda doesn’t require any special equipment or complicated procedures.
- DIY Friendly: It’s an easy DIY solution for those who prefer to handle hot tub maintenance themselves.
Table: Comparing Baking Soda to Commercial Products
|Can be expensive
|Ease of Availability
|Available at specialty stores
|Impact on Hot Tub
|Can be harsh
Step-by-Step Guide to Adding Baking Soda to Your Hot Tub
Now that you have a better understanding of the why, let’s talk about the how. Adding baking soda to your hot tub is a straightforward process, but it’s important to do it correctly to ensure the best results. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you along.
1. Test Your Hot Tub Water
Before adding anything, test your hot tub water. You’ll need to know the current pH and alkalinity levels to determine how much baking soda is needed.
Testing Kits: Use a reliable testing kit. These are readily available at pool supply stores or online.
2. Calculate the Amount of Baking Soda Needed
As a general guideline, you’ll need about 1 tablespoon of baking soda per 100 gallons of water to raise the total alkalinity by about 10 ppm. For pH, it’s a bit more variable.
Be Precise: It’s better to add a little and test again than to overdo it. You can always add more if needed.
3. Preparing the Baking Soda
Dissolve It: Mix the required amount of baking soda with water in a bucket. This helps it dissolve and distribute evenly in the hot tub.
4. Adding Baking Soda to the Hot Tub
Pour the dissolved baking soda into the hot tub while the jets are running. This ensures it mixes thoroughly with the water.
Even Distribution: Walk around the tub as you pour to spread it out as much as possible.
5. Wait and Test Again
Allow the water to circulate for a few hours before retesting. This gives the baking soda time to work its magic.
Reassess: Test the water again. If the levels are still off, you can repeat the process.
Tips To Using Baking Soda For Hot Tub
Follow these tips when using baking soda for your hot tub:
- Test the water before and after adding baking soda.
- Dissolve the baking soda in water first.
- Don’t add too much baking soda at once.
- Allow time for the baking soda to circulate.
- Don’t forget to retest and adjust if necessary.
Alternatives To Baking Soda For Hot Tubs
Looking for an alternative to baking soda for your hot tub? Here are a few options:
- pH Increasers: Specifically designed to raise pH levels, these products are formulated for hot tubs and pools. They’re more precise than baking soda. Such as Chlorine and Bromine.
- Alkalinity Increasers: Similar to pH increasers but specifically target alkalinity levels. Great for when you need to adjust alkalinity without affecting pH too much.
- Borax: Another household item, borax can also raise pH levels, though it’s a bit stronger than baking soda.
- Vinegar: For lowering pH, vinegar can be a natural alternative. It’s acidic, so it can help balance overly alkaline water.
- Commercial Hot Tub Balancers: There are various products available that are specifically designed to balance hot tub water, covering pH, alkalinity, and more.
Remember, while baking soda is not a replacement for chemicals in hot tubs, it can be used as a pH and alkalinity balancer. Using baking soda in a hot tub is generally safe, just make sure you use an adequate amount and in the right way. Baking soda has the potential to cause scaling issues by reacting with other chemicals in your hot tub. So, take precautions when adding baking soda to the hot tub water.
I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.