How Do Hot Tub Scum Sponges Work?

How Do Hot Tub Scum Sponges Work

Hot tubs are a great way to relax in your backyard. The warm pool of water can relieve the stress of the day while you are soaking in it. But what can make you worry is when your hot tub becomes dirty! A dirty hot tub can be filled with scum on the surface due to dirt and oil from your body staying in the water. Instead of cleaning your filters, there is one other way to help clean the scum from the surface of the water: hot tub scum sponges!

But how do hot tub scum sponges work? They are a cool little sponge that takes in the contaminants from the water and makes sure it does not mix in the water anymore! If you are skeptical about it, then I can show you exactly how effective they are at making sure your hot tub is scum-free. Let’s dive in and see how these little sponges actually work.

Key Takeaways

  • Hot tub scum sponges attract the oil from the surface of hot tub water and make sure it does not mix with the water again.
  • They are very effective at keeping your hot tub scum-free but you will have to make sure they are of good quality and do not get stuck in the filters.
  • Most scum sponges can be cleaned and reused again. However, disposable ones cannot be cleaned and need to be thrown out.
  • Make sure to wash the scum sponge according to the instructions of the manufacturer.
  • 5 hot tub scum sponge products that you can consider.

Science Behind Hot Tub Scum Sponges

The reason why you will have scum in your hot tub is because of the dirt and oil from your body being washed in the hot tub. Not only that but if you have moisturizers or body lotion on you, then those get washed away and remain on the surface of the water. Since they are hydrophobic (do not mix with water), they will remain on top of the water due to the water tension, never mixing together. Over time, these will accumulate to a point where they are visible and become a hazard. They can even start getting on the lining of the hot tub and give your hot tub an unclean look!

That is where the hot tub scum sponges come in! As the name suggests, scum sponges are made from sponges that can readily attract oil that sits on top of your hot tub water. This absorbent material sucks in the oil by attracting it and traps it inside the porous material. It can also do the same for dirt and lotion that sits on top of the water.

The crazy thing is, it makes sure that it absorbs the oil and keeps it within the holes of the sponge inside! The scum sponge will make sure that whatever is inside will not mix with the water outside, creating this unique filtration system where it keeps the water clear of oils!

Effectiveness of Hot Tub Scum Sponges

Effectiveness of hot tub scum sponges
Effectiveness of hot tub scum sponges

What most people are worried about when it comes to hot tub scum sponges is its effectiveness. Since most people think that a dirty sponge on top of the water will release the oil back into the water, the skepticism only rises. Luckily, the sponge material acts as the barrier between the oil and water and does not allow them to come in contact anymore! A good sponge will make sure of that and it can absorb more than 20 to 40 times its own weight in dirt and oil before not being able to absorb any more.

While we are on the topic of effectiveness, one problem a person using a scum sponge can expect to encounter is the sponger getting stuck on the filters. That can tend to happen and that would cause a mess more than just scum lines appearing on your hot tub. The good news is that this has a very simple solution to it. You can tie up the scum sponge so it doesn’t get washed away or get sucked up in the filters and it will be able to attract the oil from being stationary!

Over time, you can expect the effectiveness of the scum sponge to decrease because at one point it will not be able to hold any more oil inside. But since a good quality sponge can hold a lot of oil before needing to be replaced, you can expect it to last a long time before needing replacement or needing to be washed!

A poor-quality sponge will obviously not be able to hold the oil and dirt and re-release it back into the water. That is why you will need a good quality scum sponge to make sure that the sponge is able to clear up the water without further adding to the problem. That is the only way you can ensure its effectiveness.

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Cleaning and Reusability of Scum Sponges

Cleaning and reusability of scum sponges
Cleaning and reusability of scum sponges

Some scum sponges are one-time-use and need to be replaced when it absorbs as much as they can. But others can be reused over and over again just by cleaning them! You can clean them by hand where you need hot water and wash them thoroughly. There are some brands that suggest that you can use a dishwasher or washing machine to also clean it with detergent but you will need to follow the instructions of the manufacturer.

Just run warm running water over it or soak it in dish soap for about 10 minutes and then run water over it and squeeze it at the same time. Cleaning should only be done for the ones that are reusable. Cleaning disposable ones would not be good and it might re-introduce the oils from the inside back to the hot tub!

Make sure that they are machine-wash-safe and soap/detergent-safe before using them. If they are not, then awash them in hot water only!

5 Hot Tub Scum Sponges Products to Consider

There are no different types of scum sponges that I can suggest getting. So instead of different types, I can suggest some scum sponge products that you can consider for your hot tub instead!

5 hot tub scum sponges products to consider
5 hot tub scum sponges products to consider

1. ZorbO hot tub spa & pool oil scum absorber

Zorbo is a well-known brand of hot tub cleaners and is very effective in getting rid of scum from your hot tub. This one has a handle on top so it doesn’t get washed away within the filter and is washable. It is also good for a long time and its large surface area means that it will be a while before you need to replace it!

2. Star Splash scum star hot tub scum absorber

The honeycomb mesh of the Star Splash Scum Star is able to collect and absorb oil over a large surface area! It can effectively collect makeup and other debris as well so that your filtration system is not overworked. It has a little suction cup that you can attach to the hot tub surface so it doesn’t get dragged away.

3. Chuangdi 24 pieces of sponge

These hot tub scum sponge is very easy to clean and you can have an abundant amount that will last you for a very long time. They will remain in shape even after absorbing and washing and will remain in the water. Just need to make sure to avoid direct sunlight for this particular sponge.

4. ScumbugTM oil-absorbing sponge

The Scumbug is a very durable little sponge all in the shape of a bug! It has an even larger surface area with the little grooves on the side and you can easily attach a small rope through the eyes to make sure it doesn’t float away towards the filters.

5. Horizon scumball

The Horizon Scumball can hold over 43x its own weight at once in dirt and oil! The great thing about this one is that you can also put it in the filter basket without worrying about it getting damaged and it will help prolong the life of the filter as well!


1. Can I use a tennis ball in the hot tub?

Yes, you can! The surface of the tennis ball is able to attract the oil and absorb it while being too big and tough so it won’t get into the filter either.

2. What is the scum in hot tub foam?

The scum in hot tub foam can be a mix of many different things such as oils and microorganisms. For these, you might need a biofilm cleaner to get rid of it.

3. How do you prevent scum formation?

Making sure to clean your hot tub regularly and shocking it once per month can help keep scum from forming.

Final Thoughts

Hot tub scum sponges are great little products that can help keep the surface of your water clear from scum. They use the water tension of hydrophobic elements on the hot tub water surface like oil and attract it towards it. Even after absorbing the oil, it will keep it from entering back into the water which is why they are so great! Some can also be washed and reused multiple times before their effectiveness wears out so get your own scum sponge for your hot tub and keep the scum away!

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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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