How To Soften Hot Tub Water Naturally?


To have a good hot tub soaking experience, you will need perfectly balanced hot tub water. By ‘balanced, I meant that the waters’ unseen health perimeters should be well within the standard margin to call it safe. Terms like hard water and soft water are frequently used to describe tub water health situations. Unbalanced hot tub water that has a high pH level and is highly alkaline is called hard water. Whereas if the water’s pH is lower than normal and acidic, that is called soft water. Hard water needs to be softened before it is safe to use for soaking in a hot tub.

There are plenty of ways to soften your hot tub’s hard water. But not all of them are natural methods. Natural methods are a more user-friendly and inexpensive hard water softening solution. In this article, we will narrate all the possible natural methods to soften your hot tub’s water. We will also cover why you should use natural water softening methods and tips to keep your hot tub water soft.

9 Ways To Soften Hot Tub Water Naturally

There are several ways to soften hot tub water naturally, Of them, 9 of the best natural ways to soften your hot tub are below with step by step application process:

1. Baking Soda

Baking Soda

Baking soda is the most common substance available to soften hot tub water naturally. It is a versatile cleaning agent and upon application can reduce water’s pH level to a more neutral level. They do it by dissolving the hardening mineral particles. This causes mineral scaling to reduce and further leads to soften the hot tub water. The application process is:

  • Switch off the hot tub and test its pH level before soda treatment.
  • Add ½ cup (50-60g) of white vinegar for every 100 gallons of water in your hot tub.
  • Switch on the hot tub and let it circulate properly with water for at least an hour.
  • Test your hot tub water’s pH levels and adjust them if necessary.

Effectiveness: Low

2. Vinegar


Vinegar is another natural substance to soften your hot tub water naturally. They are found in almost every household. Based on variation they are used as a cooking assisting substance and sometimes as a cleaning material. Scientifically, they are Acetic acid that softens hard water by removing the calcium and magnesium ions from the water. Its application is rather simple:

  • Test your hot tub water hardness level.
  • Add one cup of white vinegar for every 250 gallons of water in your hot tub.
  • Turn on the pump and initiate shocking the tub.
  • Allow the vinegar to circulate throughout the tub water for at least an hour.
  • Remove any buildup visible after the treatment. Retest for any improvement.
  • Drain the treated water and refill with fresh water for better results.

Effectiveness: High

3. Borax


Borax is a salt compound that is also known as sodium borate or sodium tetraborate. It is a natural mineral that can soften hard water and prevent buildup in tub water. Upon application, they remove excess chlorine and other chemicals to make the hot tub’s water soften. In the process of softening your hot tub’s water, they also remove odors caused by hardening materials. Their application process includes:

  • Measure the pH level of your water to understand the hardness level.
  • Add 1/2 cup of borax for every 100 gallons of water in your hot tub.
  • Allow the borax to dissolve in your hot tub water for at least one hour.
  • Test your hot tub water’s pH levels and adjust them if necessary.

Beware of using borax at a limited level; otherwise, it can raise the pH level too high and make the water alkaline.

Effectiveness: Moderate

4. Citrus


Citrus family fruits and similar organic products are suitable for softening the hot tub’s water. Lemon is one such common ingredient available close at hand. Lemon contains citric acid, and applying lemon juice in sufficient quantity can raise the acidity of the water. This way, hot tub water can transform from alkalinity to acidity, thus softening the water. Its application steps are:

  • Squeeze two medium-sized lemons for each gallon of hot tub water.
  • Depending on your tub’s water capacity, apply the required amount of lemon juice.
  • After application, keep the hot tub that way overnight.
  • Test the pH level for softening results.

This process will take a lot of lemons and similar effort. But they are effective at softening hot tub water.

Effectiveness: Moderate

5. Epsom Salt

Epsom Salt

Epsom salt can be considered a unique application to fight hot tub water hardness. Don’t mix Epsom salt with your day-to-day use, as the first one is magnesium sulfate, whereas the latter is sodium chloride. When Epsom salt is applied to the tub’s hard water, it dissolves and replaces the calcium and magnesium ions that add to the hardness of the water. These ions are replaced by sodium and potassium ions present in the Epsom salt, decreasing the hardness of the water and making it softer. How do I apply Epsom salt?

  • Pour about 1/2 cup of Epsom salt per 100 gallons or 1 cup per 250 gallons of hot tub water.
  • There is no need to use the jets, as the salts will naturally dissolve overnight.

Contact a professional or hot tub manufacturer before using Epsom salt. Because they can raise the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) level beyond 1,500 ppm, which is considered hazardous.

Effectiveness: Low

6. Rainwater


Rainwater is another pure natural substance that can harden hot tubs. If you have access to rainwater, then you can store it in a container. If you have an outdoor hot tub, then you can simply unwind the cover and let the rainwater pour on the hot tub. Rainwater is naturally soft in nature. Similar to Epsom salts, they contain potassium and magnesium ions. When rainwater falls on the hot tub water, it picks up calcium and magnesium along the way. They release potassium and sodium ions instead. This way, rainwater reduces the total hardness of the tub’s water.

However, all the chemical reactions may not happen as efficiently as mentioned above. Rainwater also has magnesium, calcium, chloride, etc. elements at a low to moderate level. That’s why this process may not be highly effective. Use rainwater after it has been raining for 5–10 minutes. They happened to be cleaner.

Effectiveness: Moderate

7. Boiling


Another natural way to soften hot tub water is simply boiling it. When water is boiled, calcium and magnesium solubility increases. It leaves the hard substance in a sediment form. This sediment will most likely be white and chalky in color. That’s the calcium and magnesium of hot tub water leaving. However, this method is only effective against ‘temporary water hardening’. Its application process:

  • Put the water in a clean metal medium.
  • Start heating the container until it starts boiling.
  • Let it boil for at least 5 minutes.
  • Stop heating the container and leave it to cool down.
  • Remove the chemical sediment using a spoon or fork.
  • Transfer the clean water into the hot tub for use.

Boiling doesn’t get rid of all the impurities in hard water, only the calcium. However, calcium is usually what causes the unpleasant smell and taste, so it can greatly improve your water.

Effectiveness: Low

8. Charcoal


Activated charcoal is one of the few natural resources that keeps water clean. It helps clean water by adsorbing chlorine and other toxic materials from it. Note that ‘adsorbing’ is different than absorbing, as adsorbing binds the water impurities chemically on the surface rather than absorbing them physically. Among the benefits of using charcoal to soften water is that it does not break or interfere with water’s other chemical structure. This way, you don’t have to worry about any probable side effects.

To imply this method, pack a small bag with some ‘activated charcoal’ and leave it hanging by the hot tub water surface. It can take a few days to see any visible effect, but they are surely doing their work. Change the charcoal bag periodically to get a better result.

Effectiveness: Low

9. Draining


Among all the methods mentioned above, draining your hot tub partially or fully and refilling it with fresh new water is the most effective method. Because hot tub waters see a lot of external use of cleaning agents. There is also waste material coming off your body while you soak. So one way or another, your hot tub water gets polluted after certain times. The application of those cleaning additives makes the overall environment even worse. As a result, it is preferable to drain your hot tub’s water on a regular basis.

Effectiveness: High

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Does Hard Water Cause Scum And Biofilms To Grow?

Yes, hot tubs hard water can cause scum and biofilm to grow in them. Hot tub water getting contaminated with too much calcium, magnesium, and other such minerals causes the water to be hard. It also makes the water perimeter unstable and causes scum and biofilms to grow in the hot tub.

Signs That Your Hot Tub Water Needs To Be Soften

Signs That Your Hot Tub Water Needs To Be Soften

If your hot tub’s water becomes hardened for some reason, you will be able to see indicating signs. By following these signs, you will need to analyze your hot tub’s water and eventually take softening steps.

  • Cloudy Water: Your hot tub’s water getting cloudy is one of the primary signs that it has reached a certain hardened level. Various chemicals and internal and external minerals cause an insoluble reaction against each other, which makes the water cloudy. You may sense bad odors at the same time.
  • Body Symptoms: Soaking in hardened hot tub water can affect your body negatively. You may feel dry hair, itchy eyes, and a rash on your skin if you frequently use such water.
  • Corrosion and Stain: Hot tubs hardened water can also affect the tub’s hardware. Hardened water contains intense chemicals and minerals. This can lay over your hot tub’s surface and cause staining and corrosion all over it.

Why You Should Soften Hot Tub Water Naturally?

Why You Should Soften Hot Tub Water Naturally?

If you are wondering why you should choose natural methods to soften your hot tub’s water over artificial methods, then the reasons are plenty in number. Natural methods are more user- and hot tub-friendly because they imply softer formulations to soften the hot tub. Some of the reasons are:

1. Installation Cost: Natural methods to soften hot tub water are very inexpensive compared to artificial methods. Artificial methods require expensive chemicals to buy and heavy machinery to install. whereas natural methods use household products to soften the hot tub.

2. Low Maintenance: Natural ways to soften hot tubs don’t imply heavy chemicals, which can leave a harsh impact on the hot tub, leading to lower maintenance. Also, as there is no heavy machinery involved, you don’t need additional maintenance for them either.

3. Lower Water Wastage: By using natural methods to soften hot tub water, you can actually lower excessive water waste. Traditional softening chemicals and installments cause you to use more water than you would without them.

4. Keeps Healthy Minerals: Another reason you should go for natural water softening methods is because they only take away the hardened minerals from the water. Traditional methods remove a lot of useful water minerals along with minerals that cause your water to be hard.

Tips To Keep Your Hot Tubs Water Soften

Taking preventive measures to keep your hot tub’s water soft will likely cause you fewer headaches about hard water and soft water. Maintaining your hot tub properly is at the core of those preventive measures. Here are some of the tips that you will find helpful to prevent your hot tub’s water from getting hard:

  • Put a protective cover on your hot tub when not in use. This will prevent external debris from falling on the tub and leading to water contamination, hard water, etc. issues.
  • If possible, circulate your hot tub’s water regularly. This will keep the pump and filters on. That way, water will get filtered more frequently, and hard minerals will dissolve quickly.
  • To identify and eliminate the possibility of hot tub water getting hard, you must test different water perimeters regularly. pH and alkalinity levels should be checked and kept at nominal levels.
  • Regular soaking and frequent use of cleaning agents will likely make the water unbalanced over time. That’s why it is better to drain, clean, and refill the hot tub once a month.

What Is The Overall Most Effective Method To Keep My Tub’s Water Clean?

The most effective overall method to keep your hot tub’s water free of contamination and hardness is the reverse osmosis, or RO, method. It implies ion exchange between the ionized resin and the unwanted water molecules. It is also one of the best non-chemical-based water cleaning solutions.

Final Thoughts

Most people tend to use artificial methods involving heavy chemicals and installments to soften their hot tub water. But you may have to face some of their side effects, which can range from minor to severe. That’s why it is always better to get help from nature to soften your hot tub water. Natural elements and methods can slowly but surely soften your hot tub water with comparably little to no harmful impacts. Household substances like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon; methods like boiling, using charcoal, and draining; and natural methods like rainwater can help you soften your hot tub’s water naturally. They will likely enrich your hot tub soaking experience to a whole new level.

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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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