Last Updated: April 12, 2020

Some people think that getting clean hot tub filters simply means buying a new one to replace the old one.

But it’s actually possible (and perhaps even necessary) to keep using your old hot tub filter by cleaning it.

This is because your filter can come into contact with bath scum or dust (depending on where it’s located).

However, you may not yet know the best way to clean tub filters. And you may not even know that there is more than one way to perform this important maintenance task. And if you’re a newcomer to the world of owning a hot tub, cleaning the filter components of the hot tub may seem like a confusing and daunting task.

In this article you will learn the quickest and easiest ways to clean hot tub filters.

This will include how to recognise the various parts of a tub filter and how to clean them from start to finish. I’ll also give you some tips and tricks to make this process easier. All of this will be done with easy to read bullet points.

Cleaning your whirlpool filter does not have to be confusing or scary so, let’s get started.

Structure of a Hot Tub

Before you learn to clean the tub filters, it is helpful to consider the bathtub structure as a whole.

Understanding the structure of the entire tub will help you know which parts to avoid and what to focus on. It will also help give you a better idea of how clean your entire tub actually is and know when cleaning is necessary.

Shell

This is the outer wooden shell of the whirlpool tub. It is usually made from wood but can sometimes be from a different material like fiberglass or sometimes stone. This will usually look very attractive and aesthetically pleasing.

Insulation Inside The Shell

Inside this shell may be insulation and this helps the tub retain heat. You can sometimes see into this area if there is a small access door.

The Tub

This is the part of the hot tub where you sit. It’s the part of the tub that contains the foot rest.

Controls and Heater

The controls are located on top or side of the tub. They will be with in easy reach so that you can turn the bath controls on and heat it up while lying comfortably in the tub

Jets

The jets are what power and push water through to make the tub have that “Jacuzzi” feel. There may be up to four or ten jets depending on the size of your tub. They are attached to water supply pipes which allow the water to power through.

Filter

The filter ensures that your water stays clean. It does this by preventing air and dirt from getting into the pipes and damaging the pump. The filter will be located inside its own housing area that has a swing door or screen.

Pump

The pump is what moves the water through the entire tub system. Without the pump, your tub might not work.

Tubes

The tubes pass through the tub and transport water between all major parts of the system. They run from the filter to the pump and from the pump to the nozzles.

Difference Between Jacuzzi and Bathtub

Jacuzzi is  actually a brand for a company. It manufactures both bathtubs (baths installed in bathrooms) and whirlpools or spas (usually outdoor bathtubs). The brand is by far the most popular and is now commonly used for hot tubs or spas, but occasionally for bathtubs.

Structure Of Hot Tub Filters

Now that you know more about the structure of the tub, it’s time to figure out the filter. Of course not all filters are the same but in general there are only 3 main parts that you should know.

Lid

The filter lid consists of the lock ring and the vent valve. The lock ring is what holds the filter in place while it’s working. It is also what prevents the entire filter from shifting to the wrong position. If the filter moves out of the correct position it will get dirt and grime into your tub. The valve, on the other hand, is what prevents air from entering the piping, which would wreck havoc on the entire system.

Base

This part of the filter is usually made of durable plastic or sometimes metal. Together with the locking ring it holds the filter in place and prevents it from moving. It is usually connected to the pipelines so that water can move through the filter.

Body

The body of the hot tub filter contains the cartridge. The cartridge is the part of the filter that you are most interested in as this is what actually filters your water. It is the part that needs to be cleaned regularly and replaced about once a year. Most of the time this is a big white cylinder that slides into the body of your filtration system.

How Do You Know It’s Time To Clean The Hot Tub Filter?

Notice this is about cleaning the hot tub “filter” *NOT* “Jacuzzi”?

Of course the tub itself should be cleaned after every use and perhaps on occasion when you’re doing your routine spring cleaning.

Below is a list of suggestions of how best to clean and maintain your hot tub filters.

Monthly

It is a good idea to check your filters once a month if you use it regularly. Make sure the tub is turned off and not pumping any water before takingthe filter out.

Visibly inspect it for any large pieces of residue or debris. Remove anything that you can see by hand. Flush some water through and rinse the filter completely. Let it dry out and then carefully replace it before putting the tub back on.

If you’re not sure if it’s working properly then get a water test kit. Use this to double check that it is actually filtering your water and not just moving water around.

Every Three Months

A good way to maintain the longevity of your filter is to do a “spring clean” every three months or so. Do this by removing the filter and performing a thorough clean with some cleaning solution. Use the instructions that I provide later in this article to properly clean the filter before letting it dry and then replace it.

Annually

Most hot tub filters need replacing every year unless the manual say otherwise. To do this simply discard your old filter and replace it with a new filter.

How To Clean A Empty Hot Tub

This is not intended to sound patronising. But cleaning a hot tub with power jets, pumps and electronic controls is not the same as cleaning a regular tub. You should be aware of some things that require extra care.

The cleaner your hot tub is the less work your filters will have to do. Filters that don’t have to work so hard will last longer and be easier to maintain.

The steps below will quickly walk you through the best way to clean an empty hot tub.

  • Disconnect the main power supply from the hot tub. It is important that the pump does not work while the tub is being cleaned, both for your safety and so you don’t accidentally damage the device.
  • Pump out all the water from the tub.
  • While that is being pumped out, take out the filters and rinse them out.
  • Rinse them until they turn white.
  • Put a hose in to the jets so that all the debris inside can flood out.
  • Then empty out all the dirty water.
  • Once the tub is empty, wash it down with your favourite detergent.
  • When it is clean wipe down with a dry cloth.
  • Now it is time to replace all the filters and turn on the power supply.
  • There are more things you can do like balance out the pH, use a water test kit to make sure the filters are working etc. However, this is the main hot tub cleaning process.

Is this too much work for you? Pay a professional. Amazon now provide cleaning services. This means that you can read reviews before you buy and fall back on Amazons reliable customer services if anything goes wrong.

5 Ways To Clean Your Hot Tub Filters

The good news is that cleaning your hot tub filter is a lot easier than cleaning the bath tub. The even better news is that you can clean them with detergents that you probably already have in your kitchen right now.

Below are six of the most popular ways to clean your tub filter DIY style.

Keep in mind that the filter type you have affects the cleaning option you want to use. Review the details below and choose the one that best suits your needs so you can get the best results.

1. Clean Hot Tub Filter Dishwasher Detergent

One of the best ways to clean the filters in your tub is to simply wash them with dish washing detergent. It’s easy, quick and free (assuming you already have dishwashing soap at home)! This method works great if you want to clean hot tub filters that are not too dirty.

Materials Needed:
  • A cup of dish washing detergent.
  • 1 large bucket.
  • 5 gallons of hot water.
  • 4 tablespoons of trisodium phosphate.
Process:

1. Remove the filter from your tub and place it in the large bucket.

2. Fill the bucket with five gallons of hot water.

3. Mix detergent and trisodium phosphate in hot water.

4. Let it soak for at least 24 hours.

5. Remove the filter and rinse out the remaining soap mixture thoroughly.

6. Allow the filter to dry for at least another 24 hours before you put it back in the tub.

2. Clean Hot Tub Filters With Bleach

Using bleach to clean your hot tub filter is good if you suspect that there are any bacteria or viruses lurking in your filter. But keep in mind that not all hot tub filters can withstand prolonged exposure to harsh chemicals like bleach because it is a very aggressive chemical. So if you use this method try to keep the exposure to bleach to an absolute minimum. Also, try to avoid using chlorine on your filters.

Materials Needed:
  • ¼ cup of bleach.
  • 1 large empty bucket.
  • An old towel.
  • 5 gallons of hot water.
Process:

1. Remove the filter from your tub and put it in the large empty bucket.

2. Add 5 gallons of hot water to your bucket container.

3. Add ¼ cup of bleach until well blended.

4. Let it soak for 1 hour max but take it out sooner if it starts to look clean.

5. Remove the filter and use lots of water to rinse off any remaining bleach.

6. Allow the filter to dry overnight or for as long as is necessary.

7. Replace the filter in your tub.

8. Turn the tub back on from the power source.

3. Hot Tub Filter Cleaner Alternative (Natural and Chemical Free)

If you are concerned about exposing yourself and your family to harsh chemicals then you should use organic materials. These are gentler methods that can be a good option for filters that are not very dirty.

Also note that if you have hard water (water with high levels of certain minerals that cause limescale) this type of cleaning may not be strong enough to do the job. However, if your filter is only moderately dirty then this can be a great choice.

Materials Needed:
  • 1 large bag of sea salt.
  • A large container like a bucket.
Process:

1. Place your filter in the empty bucket.

2. Fill the bucket with enough water to completely cover the filter.

3. Add a lot of sea salt. The amount you add depends on the amount of water in your bucket. It should be about 1 cup of sea salt to 1 gallon of water.

4. Let the filter soak overnight.

5. Completely rinse off all the sea salt from the filter.

6. Allow the filter to dry overnight before replacing it in your tub.

7. This process may need to be repeated several times to remove stubborn dirt.

8. Turn your tub back on once the filter is back in.

4. Cleaning Hot Tub Filters With Vinegar

Vinegar is another popular way to keep filters clean. This is because vinegar has lots of natural cleaning properties all without the harshness of home cleaning detergents or chemicals like bleach. It is also a very affordable way to clean hot tub filters.

However, its not a very powerful method so may not be as effective on extremely dirty filters. Vinegar is best for light to moderately dirty filters where you’re not concerned about things like bacteria or viruses.

Materials Needed:
  • A large empty container like a bucket.
  • One large bottle of white vinegar.
Process:

1. Take the filter out of the tub and place it in the bucket.

2. Fill up the bucket with enough water to completely cover the filter.

3. Pour about half of the vinegar bottle into the mix. However, this depends on the size of your bucket as you may need to add more. Try to maintain a water to vinegar ratio of 20 (vinegar) to 80 (water).

5. Let the filter soak for at least 3 hours.

6. Remove the filter and rinse thoroughly with fresh water.

7. Allow the filter to dry completely before replacing it in the tub.

8. Turn the tub power back on to complete the process.

5. Cleaning Hot Tub Filters With Filter Cleaners

There are lots of specialist filter cleaners that can make the job a lot easier. This is good for those people that simply want the guarantee that the detergent will work.

Bleach might be too strong, vinegar and salt might not be effective, while regular washing detergent may not be strong enough.

So using a specialist filter cleaner will solve all these problems.

It is designed to fight the bacteria, dirt and viruses that other cleaning methods just can’t cope with. All this without damaging the filters with harsh chemicals like bleach.

Materials Needed:
  • An old towel.
  • The spray bottle of filter cleaner.
Process:

1. Take the filter out of your hot tub and place it on an area like your patio or a tarp in your yard.

2. Spray the filter generously with the filter cleaner in your spray bottle. Be sure to spray into all the folds of the filter.

3. Allow the filter to stand for at least 2 hours to allow the cleaner to fully penetrate.

4. Rinse the filter thoroughly.

5. Use the old towel to pat down any excess water in between the wrinkles.

6. Let the filter dry out for as long as is necessary.

7. Put the filter back in the tub and turn the device back on.

Dashed Line

Dashed Line

 Tricks and Tips To Get The Cleanest Filter

By this point you are probably pumped and ready to start cleaning but here are some helpful tricks and tips. They are just a few things to keep in mind that can make the process much easier.

  • Always dry the hot tub filter before replacing. I mean COMPLETELY dry. We are sometimes tempted to put the filter back into the tub before it’s dry. I mean it’s going to get wet any way right? Wrong. It might still have some residue of the cleaning solution. This means that it can foam up and transfer that soap to your skin potentially causing some skin irritation. Avoid this by simply drying out the filter completely.
  • Do you have hard water in your home? Hard water is water that causes white limescale around your pipes, plumbing, appliances and crystal deposits at the bottom of your kettle. Hard water will effect your hot tub filter. This means you should probably change the filters more often than 1 year. However, he best long term solution is to get a water softener.
More tricks…
  • Have replacement filters ready. This means you will not have any down time. You can put in the new filters while the older ones are being cleaned and you’re waiting for them to dry and vice versa.
  • You should probably replace filters that are older than one year. If you don’t use your tub frequently then you may want to replace the filter every two years.
  • Don’t just clean the filter, also clean the area that houses the filter. This is because this area might have some dust, dirt, sand or debris that can later contaminate your filter.
  • Check the filter every time you perform a deep clean. Take this time to review it for any signs of damage, looseness or potential future problems like cracks. Doing this will prevent any large nasty surprises in the future.

Clean Hot Tub Filters The Easy Way

So now you know everything there is to know about cleaning hot tub filters. The only thing left to do is to choose your favorite hot tub filter cleaning method and get started.

Mr Water Geek Thinking

It’s really not that difficult to do but if you’re looking for the “easy way” then why not get someone else to do it?

Amazon now provide a bunch of home services including cleaners.

The prices are very reasonable and you’re covered by Amazon’s robust customer care services. You even get to read verified customer reviews before you purchase.

Of course, if you pay for a cleaner they wont just clean the hot tub filter you will get the whole bathroom (or whole house for that matter) cleaned too!

Click on the image below to see the prices in your area.

I'm a health author, science enthusiast and 100% certified geek. My passion is to help you take control of your health and well-being by understanding the true importance of good quality water and healthy hydration.

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