Cleaning Hot Tub Filters – Everything You Need To Know

Cleaning hot tub filters

Cleaning hot tub filters is a crucial task that often gets overlooked by new hot tub owners. But it plays a vital role in maintaining the overall health and longevity of your hot tub. The filters work tirelessly to trap dirt, oils, and other contaminants, ensuring that the water remains clean and clear. Neglecting cleaning and maintenance can lead to a range of issues, from poor water quality to expensive repairs.

So, how do you go about cleaning your hot tub filters?

You can use storebought chemicals or DIY products to clean your hot tub filter every week, every month, and every 3 months. This frequent cleaning schedule ensures the longevity of your filters, clean and hygienic water, and your health safety.

Understanding The Anatomy of Hot Tub Filters

Do you know what is a hot tub filter? 

A hot tub filter is a device within a spa’s filtration system, designed to trap and remove debris, contaminants, and impurities from the water. 

To truly grasp the importance of cleaning hot tub filters, it’s essential to understand their structure and function. I have explained the anatomy of hot tub filters for you in an easy way below.

Understanding the anatomy of hot tub filters
Understanding the anatomy of hot tub filters

Filter Media

Type: The most common type of filter media used in hot tub filters is pleated fabric. This fabric is designed to maximize surface area, allowing for efficient trapping of particles from your hot tub water.

Function: The pleats in the filter media capture and hold dirt, oils, and other contaminants, preventing them from re-entering the hot tub water.

Core Structure

Material: The core of your hot tub filter is typically made from a sturdy, corrosion-resistant material like PVC.

Purpose: It provides support to the filter media and ensures proper water flow through the filter.

End Caps

Composition: The end caps of your filter are usually made of durable plastic or rubber.

Role: They seal the ends of the filter, providing a snug fit in the filter housing and preventing bypass of unfiltered water.

When to Clean Your Hot Tub Filters?

When to clean your hot tub filters
When to clean your hot tub filters

Maintaining the cleanliness of your hot tub filters is not just a one-time task but a continuous process.

The frequency of cleaning depends on various factors, including: 

  • Usage.
  • Hot tub size.
  • Environmental conditions.

You should at least clean the filters using the water rinse method daily or weekly.

Here’s a table on when you should clean your hot tub filters to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

Cleaning TypeFrequencyPurposeMethod
Weekly RinseEvery WeekRemove loose debrisRinse under running water
Monthly CleanEvery MonthRemove oils and greasesSoak in a filter cleaner solution
Quarterly SoakEvery 3 MonthsIntensive cleaningOvernight soak in deep-clean solution

Why Adhering to This Schedule Matters

  • Prevents Damage: Regular cleaning prevents damage to the filter and the hot tub’s pump and heating systems.
  • Maintains Water Quality: Clean filters are essential for maintaining the clarity and hygiene of the hot tub water.
  • Extends Filter Life: Proper maintenance can significantly extend the life of your filters, saving you money in the long run.

Case Study: The Impact of Regular Filter Cleaning

A study by a hot tub maintenance company showed that hot tubs with filters cleaned according to the recommended schedule had 70% fewer service calls related to water quality issues than those that did not adhere to a regular cleaning schedule. This highlights the importance of regular maintenance in ensuring the efficient operation of your hot tub.

Signs Your Hot Tub Filters Need Cleaning

Keeping an eye on your hot tub’s performance and water quality can help you determine when it’s time to clean the filters. Here are some telltale signs that your hot tub filters require attention:

  • Reduced Water Flow: If you notice a decrease in the jet pressure or water flow, it could be a sign that the filters are clogged and blocking normal water circulation.
  • Cloudy or Dirty Water: When filters are dirty, they can’t effectively trap contaminants, leading to cloudy or visibly unclean water in your hot tub.
  • Unpleasant Odors: A musty or foul smell coming from your hot tub water can indicate bacterial growth in the filters, signaling that they need a thorough cleaning.
  • Foamy Water: Excessive foam on the water’s surface can be a sign of contaminants and oils that the filters are failing to remove.
  • Increased Frequency of Chemical Use: If you find yourself using more chemicals than usual to maintain water balance and clarity, it might be due to inefficient filtration.
  • Visible Debris: Bits of leaves, hair, or other debris stuck in the water or clinging to the filter’s surface are clear indicators that cleaning is overdue.
  • Change in Filter Color: A noticeable change in the color of the filter material, such as darkening or staining, suggests a buildup of dirt and grime.
  • Automatic Shut-off or Error Messages: Some modern hot tubs have systems that alert you or shut off automatically when the filters are too dirty, so heed these warnings.
  • Reduced Jet Power: A noticeable decrease in the strength or power of the hot tub jets often indicates clogged filters, which hinder water flow and jet performance.

How To Clean Hot Tub Filters: Detailed Guide

How to clean hot tub filters Detailed guide
How to clean hot tub filters Detailed guide

Cleaning hot tub filters can be divided into 3 types: 

  1. Weekly hose rinse
  2. Monthly chemical rinse
  3. Quarter chemical soak

As a hot tub owner, you will need to follow all three types of cleaning for your filter maintaining a proper frequency.

Here’s a detailed guide on how to clean your hot tub filters.

What you need:

Weekly Hose Rinse: Basic Debris Removal

  • Frequency: This should be done weekly, or more frequently if your hot tub is heavily used or exposed to a lot of debris.
  • Step-by-step guide:
    • Remove the Filters: Turn off your hot tub and carefully remove the filters. Always handle them gently to avoid damage.
    • Rinse with a Hose: Use a garden hose to rinse off the filters. The water pressure should be strong enough to dislodge debris but not so strong that it damages the filter material. Focus on the pleats where debris commonly accumulates.
    • Inspect and Air-Dry: After rinsing, inspect the filters for any signs of damage. If they are in good condition, leave them out to air-dry completely before reinstalling them.

Monthly Chemical Spray and Rinse: Thorough Cleaning

  • Frequency: Perform this deeper cleaning method monthly, or sooner if you notice signs of clogging or reduced water clarity.
  • Step-by-step guide:
    • Pre-Rinse: Before applying any chemical cleaner, give the filters a quick rinse to remove loose debris.
    • Apply Filter Cleaner: Use a commercial hot tub filter cleaner, following the manufacturer’s instructions. These cleaners are specially formulated to break down body oils, lotions, and other substances that a simple water rinse can’t remove.
    • Let It Sit: Allow the cleaner to sit on the filter for the recommended amount of time, usually around 15 minutes.
    • Rinse Thoroughly: After the cleaner has had time to work, rinse the filters thoroughly with a hose. It’s important to remove all traces of the cleaner to prevent foaming or chemical imbalances in your hot tub.
    • Dry Before Reinstalling: Let the filters dry completely before putting them back in your hot tub. This helps the fibers in the filter to reset and improves their efficiency.

Quarterly Chemical Soak: Intensive Cleaning

  • Frequency: Every three months, or as needed based on your hot tub’s usage and location.
  • Step-by-step guide:
    • Prepare a Soaking Solution: Mix a strong filter cleaning solution or create a homemade mixture (like water and white vinegar) for a more natural approach in a bucket.
    • Soak the Filters: Submerge the filters in the solution and let them soak for an extended period, usually overnight. This allows the solution to deeply penetrate and dissolve stubborn grime and mineral deposits.
    • Rinse and Dry: After soaking, rinse the filters thoroughly to ensure no cleaning solution remains. Allow them to dry completely before reinstalling them in your hot tub.

Mistakes to Avoid While Cleaning Hot Tub Filters

I have made a list of mistakes you should avoid:

  • Ditch the Pressure Washer: Using high-pressure water seems like a quick fix, but it can wreck your filters. Stick to a gentle hose rinse to keep them in good shape.
  • Don’t Skip Cleaning Days: It’s tempting to ignore filter cleaning when your water looks crystal clear, but regular cleaning is a must. A simple weekly rinse and a monthly chemical clean will do wonders.
  • Household Cleaners? Big No-No: Grabbing bleach or dish soap might seem handy, but they’re not friends with your hot tub filters. These can mess up both the filters and your water chemistry. Opt for specialized filter cleaners instead.
  • Let Them Dry: Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to drying your filters. Wet filters can be a playground for bacteria. Give them time to air-dry completely before popping them back in.
  • Remember to Replace: Filters aren’t immortal. Even the best-cared-for filters need a retirement plan. Typically, you’ll want to replace them every 1-2 years.

Hot Tub Filter Maintenance

Hot tub filter maintenance
Hot tub filter maintenance

Try your level best to maintain these simple hot tub filter maintenance tips:

  1. Weekly Rinse: Regularly rinse filters with a hose to remove loose debris.
  2. Monthly Deep Clean: Soak filters in a cleaning solution monthly for thorough cleaning.
  3. Check for Damage: Regularly inspect filters for wear or damage.
  4. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Use gentle, filter-specific cleaners to avoid damaging the filter material.
  5. Dry Completely: After cleaning, ensure filters are completely dry before reusing.
  6. Replace When Needed: Replace filters as recommended by the manufacturer or if they show signs of significant wear.
  7. Keep Spares Handy: Have spare filters to use while cleaning the others.
  8. Follow Manufacturer’s Guidelines: Always adhere to the cleaning instructions provided by the filter manufacturer.

When to Replace Hot Tub Filters

Knowing when to replace your hot tub filters is crucial for maintaining water quality and equipment efficiency. Generally, filters should be replaced every 1-2 years, depending on usage and maintenance. However, if you notice persistent issues like cloudy water, reduced jet power, or visible wear and tear even after cleaning, it might be time for a replacement sooner. Regular inspections can help you determine the right time to switch them out.

Options to Clean Hot Tub Filter

Options to clean hot tub filter
Options to clean hot tub filter

You can either use store-bought products or DIY methods to clean your filters. I have elaborated on both ways below:

Store Bought Products

  1. Filter Cleaning Wand: Filter cleaning wands are considered to be the best hot tub filter cleaners by many.
  2. Filter Cleaning Solution: Look for a specialized cleaning solution made for spa filters. Filter cleaning solutions can break down oils and grime without damaging the filter material. 
  3. Filter Flosser: This tool attaches to your garden hose and is designed to clean between the pleats of your filter, ensuring a deep clean.

DIY Hot Tub Filter Cleaning

Cleaning Hot Tub Filters with Vinegar

  • Pros: Vinegar, being a weak acid, is great for removing scale or mineral salt deposits. It’s safe for skin contact once the filter is back in the hot tub and doesn’t foam up or leave harmful residues.
  • Cons: Vinegar may not be as effective for extremely dirty filters with heavy buildup, as it’s milder than other cleaning agents or specialized solutions.

Bleach as a DIY Hot Tub Cleaner

  • Pros: Bleach is a strong agent that can tackle contaminants, scum, or bacteria buildup, leaving the filter looking clean and sterilized.
  • Cons: The harsh nature of bleach can damage the filter fibers, reducing its effectiveness and lifespan. This makes it a less ideal option for hot tub filters.

Laundry Detergent as Jacuzzi Filter Cleaner

  • Pros: Laundry detergent is designed to clean without damaging fibers, making it a potential option for paper filters.
  • Cons: If not rinsed out thoroughly, laundry detergent may foam up, leading to more buildup in the hot tub.

Clean Hot Tub Filter with Dishwasher Detergent

  • Pros: Dishwasher detergent excels at cleaning tough oil and grime without foaming, and is generally safe for skin exposure.
  • Cons: Thorough rinsing is crucial after using dishwasher detergent to prevent any residue from contaminating the hot tub water.

Cleaning Hot Tub Filters in the Dishwasher

  • Pros: The dishwasher might seem like a convenient and efficient option, given its effectiveness in cleaning greasy kitchenware.
  • Cons: Dishwashers can damage the delicate fibers of the filter and often fail to clean inside the pleats thoroughly, leading to suboptimal cleaning.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, keeping your hot tub filters clean is essential for a sparkling, hygienic spa experience. Whether you opt for commercial cleaners or explore DIY methods, regular maintenance is key. While DIY options can be cost-effective and convenient, they might not always provide the thorough cleaning needed for optimal filter health. For best results, consider using specialized filter cleaning solutions. 

Remember, clean filters mean a cleaner hot tub, ensuring you can relax and unwind in safe, crystal-clear waters. So, give your hot tub filters the attention they deserve, and enjoy the blissful spa moments!

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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.

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