In this article, we are looking at How To Clean Your Inflatable Hot Tub – and How To Keep It Clean After You’ve Cleaned It.
We saw in our guide When Should I Change The Water In My Inflatable Hot Tub? that you need to replace the water in your hot tub regularly. This is to keep the water clean, hygienic, and safe for your hot tub users.
If you just empty out the water and replace it, however, you might be putting your nice fresh water into a hot tub that is not 100% clean or hygienic itself. This means the water you are putting in can quickly become dirty again or, even worse, unhygienic and unsafe.
Therefore, every time you empty your inflatable hot tub, it’s worth spending 10-15 minutes giving it a thorough cleaning. This will end up saving you time – and maybe some problems – down the line.
And as you can see in our article How To Store Your Inflatable Hot Tub Away For The Winter, it’s also vital that you thoroughly clean (and dry) your inflatable hot tub before you store it away for any length of time.
Preparing Your Inflatable Hot Tub For Cleaning
Please remember: whenever you are going to empty your hot tub, and every time you are going to clean it, you must turn off the power to your hot tub first.
When you’ve done that, you are ready to empty your inflatable hot tub. Although each model is a little different in how to do this, the procedure is basically the same.
To start with, remove any larger pieces of debris, such as leaves, from the water using your hand or a spa net. This is so that they don’t block the drainage valve when the water empties out. If you have one, you might even want to use a spa vacuum to get any debris or bits off the floor of the hot tub, although it’s definitely not necessary to buy one of these.
When you have removed any leaves and debris from the water, you need to disconnect the filter pump. With it turned off and unplugged, insert any stopper plugs your model has. Then loosen the hose clamps and remove any debris screens from the inside (always refer to your owner’s manual or dvd if you are not sure how to do this).
Next, you need to disconnect the hoses from the filter pump, and remove the filter housing and filter cartridges from the hot tub. This is a good opportunity to give the filter a clean out, so wash it out well with a garden hose.
Draining Your Inflatable Hot Tub
Once the filter is disconnected and the housing rinsed thoroughly, you need to drain your hot tub. Your spa has a drainage valve at the bottom of the hot tub which you will need to unscrew or open. Before you do that, though, you don’t want the water to simply pour out of the tub where it is sitting. What you need to do is attach a garden hose to the drainage valve and have the water drain away through this hose.
Your hot tub will usually come with a garden hose adaptor, like the one on the left. You screw this onto the drainage valve and then attach your hose to the adaptor.
If your inflatable hot tub didn’t come with an adaptor or a drainage valve – or if you have misplaced them, as we sometimes do! – you can buy these cheaply and easily on the internet or from your local spa and pool store. Just make sure they will fit the make and model of your hot tub.
Keep in mind that the water from your hot tub has chemicals in it, and these can easily kill flowers and plants, as well as harm grass. Therefore, make sure you drain your hot tub water into a suitable drainage area.
How To Clean The Surfaces Of Your Portable Spa
Once your hot tub is drained, you’ll find that using some warm water and a soft cloth – along with a little hard work on your part – should remove most of the dirt on the outside surfaces of your inflatable hot tub.
Spray the surfaces with water from a spray bottle and wipe down firmly with your cloth. This will be sufficient for 99% of any surface marks or grime.
For more stubborn stains, try a squirt of mild detergent in some warm water, such as washing up liquid or – as we prefer – liquid hand soap. If you do use a detergent solution, remember to thoroughly rinse down the surfaces afterwards with clean water.
No matter how stubborn the stains are, you should never use a scrubbing brush on your inflatable spa, either on the outside or the inside. You might see some websites or videos saying it’s okay to use a brush; but even the softest of bristles can scratch the surface of your inflatable hot tub and shorten its lifespan.
For the inside of your inflatable hot tub, again you can use a soft cloth and some clean water.
You need to pay particular attention to the water line, as this is where a build-up of dirt, oils, and chemicals can occur.
If you find that just using water doesn’t move this build-up, or if there are some hard-to-clean stains, then you definitely want to avoid using detergents or soap. The problem with these is that they create suds, which you really don’t want inside your portable spa, as they can get into your air bubble jets and filter system. This will then cause foaming when you refill the hot tub and start using it again.
If you do find you have to remove stubborn stains, then there are several special hot tub surface cleaners you can buy. We like to use Leisure Time Citrabright All-Purpose Spa Cleaner from Amazon, which you spray on the stain and wipe over with a damp cloth or sponge. Although it doesn’t leave any residue, we still rinse the area well with clean water. You don’t need to use much of the cleaner to get rid of tough stains, so a bottle lasts a long time. It’s also good for cleaning up patio furniture as well!
If you are cleaning your inflatable hot tub before storing it away for any amount of time, then you need to make sure it is thoroughly dry before doing so. Don’t forget that we have an article on How To Store Your Inflatable Hot Tub Away, which you might find useful (opens in a new tab).
How To Clean Your Water Filters
Even though there are a wide range of inflatable hot tub manufacturers, and many models to choose from, the water filters they use are really quite similar, and so our advice on cleaning them is good for all types.
As they are key to keeping your portable spa functioning as efficiently as possible, in terms of water hygiene and cleanliness, you need to pay special attention to the water filters.
Most inflatable hot tubs have either one, sometimes even two or more, water filter cartridges. We recommend removing them once a week, and giving them a good cleaning. It’s relatively easy to do this – just hose them down with a regular garden hose.
We also find that using a special filter cleaning tool is a great idea, such as the one made by Northern Lights which you can see in the picture on the left. This gets great reviews from those who use it, as you can see through our link to Amazon. It attaches to your garden hose, and powers the water deep into the fins of the filter for a really good clean. It’s also adjustable, so you can control the force of the water as well. Using the tool helps prolongs the life of your filter, so you get the small initial outlay back by having to buy fewer filters
Top Tip: Every couple of months, put your filters in your dishwasher. This is a fantastic way to give them a thorough cleaning.
Remember, though, that water filter cartridges do not last forever. So make sure you have a couple of replacements on hand. There’s nothing worse than getting a filter out to clean it, and finding that it is looking worse for wear and needs replacing – but you don’t have one to hand. So always keep a few in your store cupboard.
How To Clean your Hot Tub Cushions and Pillows
If you have some accessories with your hot tub, such as cushions or a headrest, then you’ll want to give these a cleaning once a month as well.
Lift out the cushions and set them on the ground. Then remove the head rests and place them on the ground alongside.
Both the cushions and the head rests can be cleaned using a mild soap and water solution, with a soft cloth. You might find they both have a slight build up of body or hair oils. If this is the case, use some spa cleaner.
Always thoroughly rinse the cushions and pillows with fresh water, using your garden hose, before you put them back into the spa.
How To Clean The Spa Lid
Don’t forget to clean the underside of your hot tub cover and lid especially well.
That’s because whenever you use your hot tub and then put the lid on when you have finished, the steam from the water rises and is trapped by the lid or cover. This steam then condenses into droplets, and within these drops of condensation are the chemicals and even traces of body oils from the water. These will accumulate on the underside of the cover or lid and form a thin coating on the surface. When you start using your hot tub again, and the steam rises, it will moisten these dried-on chemicals and oils. These will then fall back into the water in the new droplets.
Therefore, we recommend that you definitely should use either a detergent and warm water solution or some spa surface cleaner for this underside of the lid.
As always, rinse the lid off thoroughly with clean water when you finish and before you put it back onto the spa.
One great way that helps cut down on cleaning the outside of your inflatable hot tub lid is to apply a product such as 303 UV Protectant. This is a spray-on product that repels dust and dirt, helping to keep your lid clean and free from stains. It also keeps your cover looking like new by protecting it from direct sunlight, keeping it from fading, discoloration, and cracking.
Tips On Keeping Your Inflatable Hot Tub Clean
Although it doesn’t take long to clean your inflatable hot tub, it is always a good idea to try and keep it as clean as possible. This saves you time in the long run. After all, the reason you have your hot tub is for enjoyment. Not work!
Here then are some tips on how to keep your inflatable hot tub clean, and save on cleaning time down the line.
Always Shower First
Always make sure that you, and anyone else using the hot tub, has a shower before getting into the spa. This will remove the body oils, lotions, cosmetics, and so forth, which come off in the hot water of the spa, and create a build up on the spa surfaces.
Keep Your Hot Tub Covered
Get into the habit of always replacing the hot tub cover when it is not being used. Even if you are just popping inside to make a sandwich, slip the cover on (no need to lock it in that instance, unless there are small children around). This prevents any airborne debris from settling on the water.
Putting the cover on also helps keep the heat in, and cuts down on heating and running costs. If you are interested in the running costs of a hot tub, there is an interesting article over on the thesimpledollar website on saving money on your hot tub usage (opens in a new tab).
Change The Water Filter
When you clean the water filter, which as we saw above you should do once a week, be honest with yourself as to how much longer you can use it for. If you think the water filter needs replacing, then do so.
Top Tip: If you decide it is time to change your water filter, then soak the new filter in a diluted hot tub filter cleaner for 24 hours before you fit it. We always recommend using Leisure Time Filter Cartridge Cleaner, which is bromine- and chlorine-free.
Fill a bucket or large bowl with water, and add the correct ratio of hot tub filter cleaner. Place the filter in the water, making sure it is fully submerged. Leave it in the solution for 24 hours, then remove and give it a good rinse before fitting the new filter in place.
Use Some ScumBugs
You’ll find that the toughest part of cleaning your inflatable hot tub is around the water line, and on the inside of the lid. This is where you get a build up of chemical residue, body oils, sweat, and so forth.
Thankfully, there is a product that greatly cuts down on this problem, by absorbing the chemicals, oils, and even debris and small insects that accumulate and build up in portable spa. These are the so-called scumbugs that you can read all about through our link over to Amazon.
Don’t be put off by the name though, as they work really well! They are chemical-free sponges that are shaped like a kid’s drawing of a large bug. They float on top of the water and absorb all the body oils, sweat, cosmetics, suntan lotion, and contaminates in the hot tub water, preventing a scum line from building up. What’s also great is that they are washable (we always wash ours in the dishwasher) and re-usable.
You’ll see there are different variations of these online, such as floating stars, floating flowers, a turtle, and so on. But the scum bugs are our #1 choice and are the best-selling variety on a number of websites.
They are definitely one of the cleaning products that make many inflatable hot tub owners’ lives so much easier.
We hope this article has proved to be helpful. We also hope that it shows you how easy it is to clean your inflatable hot tub.
Take some simple steps before you use the hot tub, give your hot tub a good clean every time you change the water, and then add some scumbugs, and you’ll find it quickly becomes a part of your routine.
Now that you have cleaned your inflatable hot tub, and it is like new, it’s time to re-fill it with water. Once that’s done, you’ll want to keep the water as clean as you can, to cut down on cleaning time in the future. So be sure to check out our comprehensive article on How To Keep The Water Clean In Your Inflatable Hot Tub. Thanks for reading!