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7 Household Products to Clean Your Hot Tub

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We want to let you in on a dirty little secret: you don’t need products made especially to clean your hot tub. Sure, it might feel easier to stop at your local pool and spa shop for a hot tub cleaner, but you really don’t need to.

The other thing is, maybe you’d prefer to use natural cleaners and avoid ingredients that can be toxic, especially if you have curious kids or pets in the house. Whatever your reason, there’s a good chance you already have everything you need at home to maintain a clean and healthy hot tub.

Household Products That Will Clean Your Hot Tub

Get to Know Your Cleaners

Before we jump into the everyday household products you can use to clean your hot tub, let’s talk about the types of cleaners you’ll find in your kitchen cabinet. This will help you understand what types of cleaners are best for certain types of work.

For example, you wouldn’t use bleach to clean a sensitive surface anymore than you’d use olive oil to clean your toilet. Let’s not even talk about what kind of mess that would be. Yikes.

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Knowing why these products work makes it easier to understand when and how to use them.

So what can you use that’s going to get the job done, but not damage your hot tub surfaces?

White Vinegar

If you’re conscientious about cleaning your coffee maker, you probably a bottle of white vinegar sitting in your pantry right now. And if that’s the case, you already know vinegar is an excellent cleaning agent. But have you ever wondered how to clean a hot tub with vinegar? It’s easy.

Typical white vinegar If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. will have an acidity of about 2.5pH, although it can go as high as 4pH. That means it’s strong enough to dissolve messes without the risks of heavy-duty commercial cleaners. For example, it’s less likely to damage a vinyl hot tub cover.

Vinegar cleans by charging the particles of whatever you’re scrubbing. Those charged molecules are then more attracted to positive and negative charges in water molecules, making the offending substance easier to remove.

You can use vinegar to clean all kinds of surfaces, but it’s especially helpful for removing scum lines in your hot tub shell. It’s also really inexpensive, so you’ll save money using vinegar instead of a specific hot tub cleaner If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. .

What You Need

Cleaning Instructions

  1. If you’re cleaning your hot tub shell, drain your tub first.
  2. Mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water in a bucket or spray bottle. Give it a good stir or shake to make sure everything is evenly distributed.
  3. If you’re using a spray bottle, spray your hot tub shell or cover thoroughly. If you’re using a bucket, carefully pour the vinegar-water solution over what you want to clean.
  4. Let the solution sit for fifteen minutes.
  5. Wipe down your shell or cover with a cloth or sponge. If you’re dealing with stubborn stains, you may have to repeat the process.
  6. Once your shell or cover is clean, rinse it thoroughly before refilling your tub.

You can also use vinegar to clean your filters. Simply soak your filters in a 50% water and 50% vinegar solution for two hours. Keep in mind you may need to use an actual hot tub filter cleaner If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. if it’s really grimy, or replace the filter if it’s beyond cleaning.

White House Distilled White Vinegar - 64oz Price: $9.99 If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 06/20/2018

If you’re looking for other ways to use vinegar to clean around the house, you may be surprised at how many uses it has.

Olive Oil

If you do any cooking at home, you probably have a bottle of olive oil If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. . This common pantry ingredient can also be classified as a detergent because, as an oil, it works to remove other oils that trap dirt.

Say you have a sticky sap stain on your hot tub cover or shell. It’s not something you can easily rub off or wipe away because the stain is basically glued to the surface with an oil film. A detergent or soap helps remove the stain by suspending the grease connecting the dirt to whatever surface you want to clean.

Once you’ve removed the sap, you can use a good surface protectant If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. to keep it from adhering so strongly in the future, saving you some time and elbow grease.

You’ve probably seen olive oil soap If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. in the natural aisle of the grocery store or at a health food store. That’s because olive oil is mostly made of triglycerides, which are the fatty storage molecules in plants and animals. Triglycerides are a primary component of traditional soap, so olive oil is a green alternative to harsher detergents.

What You Need

Cleaning Instructions

  1. If you’re cleaning your hot tub shell, drain your tub first.
  2. Pour a little olive oil onto your cloth or sponge. Gently rub the stain with your cloth until it breaks up.
  3. Once the stain has broken up, simply wipe it away.
  4. Wash your hot tub shell or cover with mild soap and warm water to clear away any oily residue.
  5. If you cleaned your shell, rinse your hot tub thoroughly to prevent foaming when you refill it.

Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 101.4 oz. Price: $34.68 If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 06/20/2018

Diluted Bleach

Say you’ve got a case of hot tub folliculitis on your hands. If that’s what you’re facing, you don’t just need to clean your tub. You need to clean and sanitize it.

Like vinegar, bleach breaks the bonds of stains. But it has the added benefit of killing bacteria. Bleach forms a variety of chemicals when added to water, including hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite anion. Hypochlorous acid kills bacteria while hypochlorite anions disrupts the natural processes of a bacteria, rendering it harmless.

You can also use bleach If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. if you have tough stains and scum lines vinegar can’t handle. Bleach destroys molecular chromophore bonds, which are what give the molecules color, which is what stains are.

Important: if you are going to use bleach to clean your hot tub, make sure you thoroughly rinse your tub both before and after cleaning and never, ever mix bleach with anything besides water. Mixing bleach with vinegar or other chemical cleaners can create highly toxic fumes which can irritate your eyes and skin or even cause respiratory failure.

What You Need

Cleaning Instructions

  1. Drain your hot tub. If you tried cleaning your tub with anything other than water, make sure you thoroughly rinse those areas.
  2. Wearing gloves, mix equal parts of water and bleach in your bucket or spray bottle.
  3. If you’re using a spray bottle, spray your hot tub down with the water-bleach mixture. With the bucket, carefully wet the insides of your hot tub with the solution. Try to avoid creating a huge puddle of bleach that you may have to step in later.
  4. Let the bleach rest for fifteen minutes.
  5. Scrub your hot tub down using a disposable sponge or soft rag.
  6. Thoroughly rinse your tub before refilling.

Bleach Price: $13.41 If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 06/20/2018

Baking Soda

If you’re looking for a versatile cleaner, look no further than a humble box of baking soda. Mixed with water, it creates a base cleaner, or you can use it as a mild abrasive. So if you have a particularly stubborn bit of scum that just won’t go away, simply add a bit of baking soda to your sponge and scrub.

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda - 4 lbs. Price: If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 06/20/2018

Simple Green

If you really want to know how to clean a hot tub without chemicals, Simple Green If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. might be closer to your preference. It isn’t chemical-free—everything is chemicals; some are just more potent or toxic than others. But Simple Green is non-toxic and biodegradable.

You can use it for both the interior and exterior of your hot tub, although you should avoid applying it to suede, leather, and unfinished wood. Your best bet is to always test a small, inconspicuous area when trying a new cleaner.

What You Need

Cleaning Instructions

  1. Drain your hot tub.
  2. Decide whether you want to use the Simple Green at full strength straight from the bottle, or dilute it based on how dirty your hot tub is.
    • For heavy-duty cleaning, mix one cup of cleaner for every cup of water.
    • General purpose cleaning uses one ounce of cleaner for every cup of water.
    • Light cleaning calls for one ounce of cleaner for every two cups of water.
    • Diluting your cleaner can also help save money, provided doing so doesn’t negate its effectiveness.
  3. If you’re diluting, mix the proper amount in a bucket or spray bottle.
  4. Spray down your hot tub or pour over the shell.
  5. Let the Simple Green work for two minutes.
  6. Scrub any dirt or stains with a soft cloth or sponge.
  7. Rinse with clean water. This is especially important, because this cleaner can cause hot tub foam if you don’t rinse properly, and then you’ll have an even bigger mess on your hands.
  8. Repeat steps or decrease dilution if the stains aren’t coming off.

Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner - 32 oz. - 2 pack Price: $17.50 If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 06/20/2018

Aside from cleaning your hot tub, baking soda is pretty much a miracle worker around the house if you’re looking for milder ways to clean.

Rubbing Alcohol

Using this one is actually more about looking good than it is about cleaning, especially if you have chrome or stainless steel fixtures in your hot tub. Staring at grubby, fingerprint-laden fixtures can get old fast. Alcohol will shine them right up.

What You Need

Cleaning Instructions

  1. Drain the tub and clean the shell first using your preferred method if the metal fixtures are under the water line.
  2. Add a small amount of rubbing alcohol to your soft cloth or sponge.
  3. Scrub the fixtures until they’re nice and shiny.
  4. Thoroughly rinse your hot tub before refilling.

Your hot tub isn’t the only thing around your home that has shiny fixtures and other surfaces that can benefit from a few swipes of rubbing alcohol.

Magic Eraser

Yeah, the jingle is catchy, but Mr. Clean Magic Erasers (or really, any brand of melamine sponge If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. ) is also an easy way to tackle stains, especially on the outside of your hot tub.

The sponge is made of a melamine polymer, which is an abrasive foam. Once activated by water, it can remove soap scum, grease, and dirt even in small crevices. Just wet it, wring it out, and scrub the grime away. Of course, if you’re tackling something under your hot tub water line, make sure to drain your tub and rinse thoroughly after cleaning.

Melamine Sponge (Magic Eraser) Price: $8.95 If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 06/20/2018

A Cleaner Hot Tub for Less

It might mean a little more elbow grease for you, but these household products can save you money while still keeping your hot tub clean. But once you know how to clean a hot tub naturally, there’s no need for a special trip to the pool store to get cleaning supplies, especially if you have a well-stocked pantry or cleaning cabinet.

Not only that, but you’ll feel better knowing you’re not adding even more harsh chemicals to your hot tub to keep it clean. That’ll put your mind at ease before your next relaxing soak.

Happy Soaking!

The Hot Tub Handbook

Learn How to Keep Your Hot Tub Clean and Clear All Year Long with This Illustrated eBook

You'll save $100 right away with this easy-to-follow digital handbook. This is the guide that hot tub manufacturer doesn’t provide you.

Click here to learn more

Last Updated: Monday, April 2nd, 2018