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Should You Use Enzymes in Your Hot Tub?

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If you’re a hot tub owner, chances are you have heard some pool and spa experts talk about enzymes. But should you use enzymes in your hot tub?

Should You Use Enzymes in Your Hot Tub?

To answer that question, first we must learn exactly what enzymes are and how they affect your hot tub. Once we understand what enzymes are and what they do, we can then make a decision on whether to use them.

What Are Enzymes?

The biggest enemies of hot tub water quality comes from straight from our bodies. These contaminants are oils and grease that enter the water when we enjoy a nice soak in the warm water. Over time, or even after a heavy bather load, these oils and greases can accumulate in the filters of our spas and even coat the shell.

Now, in the past, the only way to remove these contaminants was by draining and cleaning the hot tub. After the hot tub is cleaned, you then have to refill it and use a chemical such as chlorine or bromine to properly sanitize the water. All in all, that is a very time consuming solution. Never mind the elbow grease it takes to get everything clean.

In recent years, there has been a big push away from chemicals as more and more consumers look to reduce their exposure to what many consider to be harsh chemicals. At the same time, hot tub makers were looking for easier and more efficient ways to properly remove grease and oils from hot tubs. Thus, enzymes were born.

Enzymes use natural ingredients that target grease and oil to break them down before they accumulate in your hot tub. In many ways, they act as a natural sanitizer in your hot tub just like chlorine or bromine.

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Early Problems with Enzymes

Early versions of spa enzymes weren’t without their problems. Many enzymes needed to be in liquid form in order to be effective, but the shelf life of this liquid was very short. That meant that the enzymes would break down before they were even used. Another big problem was normal sanitizers such as chlorine and bromine would actually break down the enzymes before they even had a chance to do their job.

Modern Enzymes

However, today, things are a bit different. Most modern enzymes have been created to withstand the effects of sanitizers and most even have a pretty decent shelf life. They’re made with natural ingredients that will target grease and oil and break it down in your water before it ever has a chance of reaching your filter.

Are Enzymes Enough?

With the big push to be more natural and rely less on chemicals, many hot tub owners are now considering going natural with their water care. They do this by only using enzymes to clean and sanitize their spas. Unfortunately, while they do a good job on grease and oil, they are not as effective against bacteria and other types of organic contaminants. When all is said and done, you can probably reduce your dependence on chemical sanitizers if you use enzymes, but I would not recommend using them alone.

Remember, you have to consider all the different types of contaminants when you clean your water, and not just one or two specific types of contaminants. That’s why you are probably better off if you use a combination of chlorine or bromine alongside enzyme treatments for your water.

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What About Your Equipment?

In most cases, enzymes are perfectly safe for most hot tub filtration systems. In fact, the reduced dependence on harsh chemicals in favor of a more organic solution will actually be beneficial to your equipment. Over time, chlorine and bromine can wear out your filtration system. By using a more natural approach, you can save your hot tub components from some wear and tear.

So Are They Right For You?

At the end of the day, it is really up to you. If you don’t mind going with the traditional chemical sanitizers, then you can probably live without them. However, if you would prefer to use a more natural approach to your hot tub care, then enzymes may be a great fit for you. Just don’t rely on them alone. If you do, you will quickly discover that your water isn’t as clean as it probably should be.

Parting Thoughts

There are many crazy claims out there about enzymes and what they can do for your hot tub. Some of them are true, but don’t be fooled by some of the crazier claims out there. Remember that the best overall solution is to use enzymes as part of your regular water care routine but don’t ever replace chlorine and bromine entirely. By using enzymes alongside your chemical sanitizer, you can greatly improve your water quality and make maintenance on your hot tub much easier to do.

Happy Soaking!

Recommended Reading

Hot Tub Chemistry 101
Keeping your hot tub chemistry in check is not only important for your tub, but also for the people in it. Check out our complete guide to hot tub care.
How to Store Hot Tub Chemicals and Supplies
All hot tub owners should learn how to store hot tub chemicals and supplies to keep them safe from damage and out of the reach of children.
How to Balance the pH in a Hot Tub
Fix high or low pH in your hot tub fast, so you can relax knowing your spa is safe from damage, and you're safe from water-borne illness.
How to Choose the Right Hot Tub Chemical Brand
Learn what you need to know so you choose the right hot tub chemical brand the next time you are in need of chemicals for the water in your spa.

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Last Updated: Tuesday, February 14th, 2017