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The 22 Hot Tub Supplies You Absolutely Need

Matt Giovanisci, Founder and CEO of Swim University By Matt Giovanisci | December 22, 2023

Do you have everything you need to take care of your hot tub? It takes a lot more than just chemicals to keep your spa clean and running smoothly. Here are hot tub supplies that every owner should have in their home. 👇

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This is a list of must-have supplies I personally use for taking care of a hot tub or swim spa (Jacuzzi). There are some items here you probably didn’t even know you needed but have been lifesavers. I broke it down into two groups: chemicals and cleaning supplies.

However, if you want some extras, check out my list of the best hot tub accessories.

Hot Tub Chemicals

First, let’s start with all the hot tub chemicals you should have on hand. I recommend keeping a healthy supply of these spa chemicals stored in a large plastic container near your hot tub for quick and easy access.

1. Water Test Strips

These are essential for regularly checking your pH, free chlorine or bromine levels, alkalinity, and calcium hardness. I recommend test strips over liquid or digital test kits because they’re fast and cheap. Plus, they’re foolproof.

Our Top Pick
Test Strips for Pools and Hot Tubs

Tests for 7 important chemistries in seconds: Total Hardness, Total Chlorine, Total Bromine, Free Chlorine, pH, Total Alkalinity, and Cyanuric Acid.

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However, test strips can be less accurate than a liquid or digital test kit for measuring your water chemistry. That said, I’m not worried about accuracy as much. As long as you can get a decent reading of the ideal ranges, you should be fine.

2. Chlorine or Bromine

Chlorine or bromine is commonly used to keep the water clean and free from bacteria and algae. For chlorine, you want the reading to be between 1 ppm and 3 ppm (parts per million). For bromine, between 3 ppm and 5 ppm.

I recommend using chlorine (or bromine) granular with a mineral cartridge so you can keep your readings a bit lower (0.5 ppm to 1 ppm). A mineral cartridge goes inside the filter well and needs to be replaced when you drain and clean your hot tub every 3-4 months

Our Top Pick
Zodiac Nature2 Hot Tub Stick Mineral Sanitizer

Reduce the amount of chlorine (0.5ppm) you use in your hot tub by adding this mineral sanitizer to your filter system and let the power of minerals sanitize your water.

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I also recommend using bromine or chlorine granules (powder) instead of chlorine or bromine tablets in a floater. It’s much easier to control the dosage, and it’s easier to add. Having a floater in the tub gets in the way and could add too much sanitizer to the spa water.

3. Spa Shock Treatments

Non-chlorine or chlorine-based shock treatments help to break down organic waste and restore sanitizer effectiveness. I recommend always having non-chlorine shock (oxidizer) on hand. This will work for chlorine, bromine, and salt water hot tubs.

Oxidizer (Non-Chlorine Shock) for Hot Tubs

Also known as oxidizer, non-chlorine hot tub shock helps revitalize your chlorine or bromine so it can actively sanitize your water. Use an oxidizer at least once a week but ideally after each hot tub soak to keep your water sanitized.

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You can also use chlorine shock for bromine and salt water hot tubs.

Note: If you use a biguanide sanitizer (Soft Swim or BaquaSpa), you’ll need a shock designed explicitly for that chemical system.

If you want to learn more about shock, check out this article on shocking your hot tub the right way.

4. pH Increaser and Decreaser

Adjust the pH level of the water, ensuring it remains in the ideal range for comfort and equipment protection. Keeping your pH between 7.4 and 7.6 will also make your sanitizer (chlorine or bromine) more effective.

You should have both a pH Increaser and a pH Decreaser on hand. These come in small bottles and should last you a while.

If you need more information about pH, check out these guides:

5. Alkalinity Increaser

Maintaining the total alkalinity of the water helps stabilize the pH levels. The ideal range of alkalinity in the water should be between 100 ppm and 150 ppm (parts per million).

I recommend using an Alkalinity Increaser specifically designed for hot tubs.

Money-Saving Tip: You can also use baking soda to raise the alkalinity in your hot tub. But make sure the active ingredient is sodium bicarbonate, and there are no additives.

If you need more information about alkalinity, check out these guides:

6. Water Clarifier

A water clarifier clumps small particles together for easier filtration to keep the water clear. We make a 3-in-1 hot tub water clarifier that also includes a conditioner to make the water feel great on your skin.

Our Top Pick
Hot Tub Weekly Cleanse: Water Conditioner & Clarifier

Our once-a-week treatment combines hot tub cleaner, conditioner, and water clarifier to give your hot tub water a soft & silky feel. Plus sparkling clean water!

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This chemical is optional. But if you have issues with cloudy water, it might be just the thing.

7. Anti-Foam (Defoamer)

To quickly eliminate surface foam, which can be caused by lotions, detergents, or excessive organic material in the water. This should only be used to remove foam temporarily. (You can also use the shop vac I recommend later in this article).

Hot Tub Anti-Foam

A quick relief to reduce foam in your hot tub. But not a complete remedy.

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If you have a chronic issue with foaming, check out this article on getting rid of hot tub foam for good.

Hot Tub Cleaning Supplies

Now, let me break down the essential cleaning supplies every hot tub owner needs to have. I’ve also included some interesting items you wouldn’t expect.

8. Filter Cleaner

You should clean your hot tub filters with a powerful cleaning solution once every 3-4 months. This will help prevent cloudy and foamy water.

Our Top Pick
Hot Tub Filter Cleanse: Deep-Cleaning Soak

Soak your hot tub filters in our deep-cleaning Filter Cleanse solution, rinse with water, and your filters will look brand new in 24 hours!

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We make our own filter-cleaning solution. It’s a soaking chemical rather than a spray. The spray cleaner is more work and doesn’t get the hard-to-reach places between all the filter pleats. Soaking it in a deep cleaner is a better option and less work on your part.

Keep Another Set of Hot Tub Filters for Backup

While you soak your filters in a cleaning solution, have an extra set of filters on hand to replace in your hot tub. Keep rotating them. This will ensure your hot tub always has clean filters ready to go. And they’ll last longer too.

Tip

9. Scum Remover

No matter what, scum will eventually form on the water surface. This scum comes from our bodies soaking in hot water. It’s a good idea to keep a Scum sponge in the water to prevent it.

Our Top Pick
Zorbie Hot Tub Scum Absorber

It effectively traps scum and absorbs body oils, to help with water clarity and enhancing your hot tub experience.

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Money Saving Tip: You can also use tennis balls in your hot tub to absorb scum. Just toss in a few. When they’re done, you can rinse them off and use them for their intended purpose.

10. Line Flush Cleaner

At Swim University, we recommend draining and cleaning your hot tub every 3-4 months for a number of reasons you can learn about here. And each time you do that, you should purge your plumbing of any gunk with a line flush cleaner.

We created our version called Hot Tub Detox. It’s available in our high-quality hot tub cleaning kit, which also includes a water clarifier, filter cleaner, and microfiber cloth.

Our Top Pick
Hot Tub Water Care Kit

Our hot tub kit makes taking care of your water easy. It includes Hot Tub Weekly Cleanse, Detox, and Filter Cleanse to use every 3-4 months for deep cleaning.

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11. Spa Cover Cleaner and Protectant

To clean and protect the hot tub cover from the elements and UV damage. You should do this at least once a month. Here’s the hot tub cover cleaner and UV protectant I recommend.

12. Hose and Nozzle

You might already have a garden hose and nozzle for filling, topping off, or draining the hot tub and rinsing off filters. But I wanted to give you my favorites for cleaning a hot tub and why I love them so much.

My favorite hose is this one. I use it all the time, and it never kinks up on me.

Our Top Pick
Heavy Duty Lightweight Garden Hose
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My favorite nozzle is one that’s generally used for industrial purposes. It’s not cheap, but it’ll really clean your filters and the inside of your hot tub. Plus, the grip and trigger are much easier on your hands.

Our Top Pick
Garden Hose Nozzle Sprayer

This hose nozzle is made from premium zinc alloy, robust, and much stronger than plastic water nozzles. This spray nozzle also has a high-quality anodized finish to prevent rust, corrosion, and wear.

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13. Hose Filter

Whenever you have to refill your hot tub, you should always use a hose filter. This will remove a lot of the metals and minerals in your tap water, so you start with the cleanest water.

Just attach it to the end of your garden hose and place it inside your filter well when you fill-up the hot tub.

Our Top Pick
Hose Filter with Flexible Hose Protector

Fill your pool or hot tub with this hose filter that'll filter your water so you can have a fresh start with water chemistry.

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14. Sump Pump

When you drain your hot tub, you can use the built-in drain plug. But it’s much faster to use a sump pump. I recommend this one because it’s quick and easy to use.

15. Portable Wet Vacuum

This is a fun, optional piece of gear that everyone should own. This little handheld battery-powered shop vac is great for sucking the foam off your hot tub surface and getting any leftover water or debris out of your tub when you drain and clean it.

Our Top Pick
Cordless Wet-Dry Vacuum

This cordless vacuum includes an easily washable HEPA filter, heavy-duty, 5-foot hose, on-board storage, and it's easy to transport.

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I own one of these but never thought to use it to get rid of hot tub foam. I gotta thank the Hot Tub Lady for that idea!

Portable Wet Dry Vacuum

16. Scrub Daddy

You need a soft sponge or brush that won’t scratch the surfaces of your hot tub. That’s why the original Scrub Daddy sponge is my personal favorite. It’s a hard sponge that’ll remove calcium deposits. But when you dip it in the warm hot tub water, it’ll soften to clean the scum around the water line.

And according to Clean HQ, you can use it on the jets. They claim, “…if you have jets in your bathtub, you can use your Scrub Daddy on them as well.”

Our Top Pick
Scrub Daddy Sponge

Experience versatile cleaning with this temperature-controlled scrubber. It's firm in cold water for tough messes and soft in warm for gentle cleaning. Safe on over a dozen surfaces, including glass and stainless steel, it's scratch-free and ideal for everything from dishes to cars.

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17. Bucket

You will always need a handy bucket for mixing cleaning solutions or for soaking small parts and filters. Plus, you can use this bucket for storage. The Yeti bucket is the best bucket I’ve ever used. Hands down!

I use cheap buckets all the time, and they always end up hurting my hands and getting scratched up. The Yeti bucket is expensive, but it’s one of the best investments you’ll ever make in your life. Trust me on this one. Buy it once and own it for life. I use mine for anything and everything.

Our Top Pick
Heavy Duty 5-Gallon Bucket

A 5-gallon bucket is very handy to have for mixing chemicals, soaking filters, or testing for leaks.

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18. Chemical-Resistant Gloves

Use these to protect your hands from chemicals and dirt during cleaning. Here are the ones I use for everyday cleaning.

19. Skimmer Net

Every once in a while, you may need to skim the surface of the water to remove leaves, bugs, and other floating debris. I recommend getting a cheap pool skimmer to keep near your hot tub.

Cheap Pool Skimmer Net

This lightweight pool skimmer net is perfect for effortlessly cleaning leaves and ultrafine debris from pools and spas.

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20. Spa Vacuum

A handheld vacuum to remove debris from the bottom of the hot tub. This one is a simple design made by Polaris (who also makes my favorite pressure-side automatic pool cleaners).

It’s a long wand that sucks debris into a filter inside the rod with a manual pulling and pushing action. And because it’s not battery-powered, it’s more affordable, easier to use, and works every time you need to use it to spot-clean the bottle of the hot tub.

BONUS: Emergency Hot Tub Supplies

Sometimes, things can go wrong with your hot tub. And it’s better to be prepared than sorry. Here are a few optional supplies to keep on hand.

21. Hot Tub Leak Sealant

Even if you take great care of your spa, you may still get a hot tub leak. The key to keeping a small leak from turning into a big problem is to seal it up as soon as possible.

So keep some hot tub leak sealant on hand for emergencies.

22. Filler And Sandpaper

If you notice cracks or scratches in your hot tub shell, you can fill them in and buff them out yourself. Shells are usually made of acrylic, vinyl, or rotomolded plastic, so you’ll need to buy a filler that matches your spa.

And be sure to use fine-grit sandpaper when you buff it out. Remember, you want to smooth it out, not create a whole bunch of new scratches.

Need More Hot Tub Maintenance Help?

Matt Giovanisci, Founder and CEO of Swim University
Matt Giovanisci is the founder of Swim University® and has been in the pool and spa industry since 1993. Since then, his mission is to make pool and hot tub care easy for everyone. And each year, he continues to help more people with water chemistry, cleaning, and troubleshooting.
Save Time And Money With Our FREE Hot Tub Cheat Sheet
Download this FREE printable cheat sheet to keep your hot tub clean and clear. You’ll never worry about your hot tub again with this easy-to-use guide.

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