When we first heard that we had to shock our inflatable hot tub, we must admit we were a little worried. Apart from the fact we had no idea what it meant, it sounded such a huge and scary thing to do!
If you’re like we were, and you’re unclear about what shocking is and how to do it, then our article will help you all the way.
What Does It Mean To Shock Your Inflatable Hot Tub?
To keep the water in your inflatable hot tub clean, hygienic, and safe for your users, you need to add a sanitizer to the water from the moment you start to use your hot tub. This is a chemical that comes in tablet form or granules, and the two most popular choices are chlorine and bromine (the third, less-common sanitizer is a mixture of minerals).
A sanitizer’s function is to attack and destroy any harmful nasties that get into the water. These are things like bacteria, algae, and germs.
However, sometimes the sanitizer needs a helping hand to cope with bigger problems, so you need to shock it.
This means adding adding a large quantity of chemicals to the water, in order to destroy any micro-organisms present, and to break down any organic matter in the tub, such as human hair, body oils, skin cells, suntan lotion, and so on. It also removes dead sanitizer and re-establishes the correct level of sanitization, so the water is sparkling clean once again.
When Should You Shock Your Inflatable Hot Tub?
You need to shock your inflatable hot tub:
- When you first fill up your hot tub and every time you re-fill it
- As soon as you see any signs of algae or slime
- If the water starts to smell
- If the water looks cloudy or it turns a strange color
- If the water starts to foam
- If someone has peed in your hot tub
- After periods of heavy usage
Even if none of these apply, hot tub experts recommend that you shock your inflatable hot tub at least twice a month, or even weekly if you use your inflatable hot tub 4-5 times a week. This will keep the water – and the hot tub itself – safe from any invisible nasties that might be lurking, and it will ensure the water is always sparkling clean and hygienic.
How To Shock Your Inflatable Hot Tub
Check the pH level
Before you shock your inflatable hot tub, you need to check the pH level of the water. We have an easy-to-understand guide on how to do this, which you can read here: How To Test The Water In Your Inflatable Hot Tub (opens in a new tab). We strongly recommend you read this guide before you shock your hot tub.
Although you might have little or no knowledge of science and chemistry, it’s actually very easy to do a pH test of your water, as you can see in our article.
You need to buy some hot tub test strips, such as the Poolmaster 4-Way Spa Test Strips which cost only a few dollars for a container of 50. They’re even color-coded so all you need to do is dip one strip in your hot tub water for a few seconds, wait 20 seconds, and then compare the strip to a color chart on the side of the container to see the pH level of your water.
With the pH reading at the correct level, you’re ready to shock your hot tub.
Which Shock Do You Need?
First off, the shock you use depends on the sanitizer you use. As we mentioned before, there are three main sanitizers used in inflatable hot tubs:
If you use chlorine tablets or chlorine granules in your inflatable hot tub, you need to use chlorine granules to shock your water.
These destroy any contaminants and matter in the water powerfully and quickly. They also turn the old dead chlorine sanitizer into a gas, which then escapes into the air.
The negative side of using chlorine granules to shock your hot tub is that they give off a strong chlorine smell while they’re doing their work. This is unpleasant, and might even irritate your eyes and nose. The answer is to shock your inflatable hot tub overnight, to reduce the effect.
To shock your portable hot tub with chlorine granules:
- Fill a bucket with water from your inflatable hot tub.
- Dissolve 1 oz of granules for each 500 gallons of water your hot tub holds in the bucket (that’s about 1 tablespoon of granules)
- NEVER add water to chemicals – always add your chemicals to water!
- Turn on the air bubble jets and add the dissolved chlorine
- Keep the cover off and leave the air bubble jets going for an hour, then switch them off.
- Leave your inflatable hot tub cover for a further 15-20 minutes, to let the gases escape.
- Put the cover back on and leave your hot tub overnight (or for several hours if you’re doing it during the day time).
- Test the chlorine level of the water, to make sure it’s in the acceptable range of 1-3 parts per million (ppm). If not, test every 30 minutes or so until the level is correct.
- Your inflatable hot tub is now safe and ready to use.
If you already use chlorine granules to sanitize your inflatable hot tub, then you don’t need to buy a special chlorine shock. You can use the same chlorine granules you use as your sanitizer.
If you use chlorine tablets, however, you are going to need to buy a container of chlorine granules, such as Spa 56 Chlorinating Granules which you can find on sites such as Amazon.
If you use bromine as your water sanitizer, than you need to use bromine granules to shock your hot tub.
Although bromine isn’t as popular among inflatable hot tub owners as a sanitizer, it does have one advantage over chlorine when used as a shock: it doesn’t give off that strong chlorine smell.
The procedure for shocking your inflatable hot tub with bromine granules is the same as for chlorine granules:
- Fill a bucket with water from your hot tub and add 1oz of bromine granules for each 500 gallons of water your hot tub holds (that’s about 1 tablespoon of granules).
- Stir the granules until they are dissolved.
- Turn on the air bubble jets and add the dissolved bromine
- Keep the cover off and leave the air bubble jets going for an hour, then switch them off.
- Leave your cover off for a further 15-20 minutes, to let any gases escape.
- Put the cover back on and leave your hot tub overnight (or for an hour if you’re shocking your hot tub in the day time).
- Use a test strip to check the bromine level of the water. It needs to have a reading between 2-6 parts per million (ppm). If it’s too high, re-test every 30 minutes.
- When the bromine level is within the correct range, you can start using your hot tub again.
If you use bromine granules in your hot tub already, then you can also use them as your shock. If you use bromine tablets in your chemical float, however, you’ll need to buy some bromine granules. The ones we suggest are the Spa Essentials Brominating Granules, which come in 2lb containers over on Amazon.
Strictly speaking, a mineral sanitizer isn’t a sanitizer! It’s a mix of silver, copper, and other minerals. However these only act to reduce the amount of chlorine or bromine you use as a sanitizer. So if you choose a mineral sanitizer, you still need to add either chlorine or bromine to the water.
What this means, is that if you use chlorine along with your mineral sanitizer, then you need to use chlorine granules as your shock. If you use bromine along with your mineral sanitizer, then you need to use bromine granules as your shock.
You can find the procedure to follow for each of these in the corresponding section above.
Using Non-Chlorine Shock In Your Inflatable Hot Tub
If you visit hot tub blogs or read what people are saying on sites like Amazon and Walmart, you might see discussion around using a non-chlorine shock. A good example of this is a product like Oxy-Spa Non-Chlorine Hot Tub Shock.
This gets mixed reviews from inflatable hot tub owners, with some saying it’s the best thing ever, while others say it doesn’t work at all, that it turns their water slimy and even yellow!
In our experience, it is a good alternative to chlorine and bromine, and it’s useful if you have sensitive skin that reacts to chemicals. However, you need to keep a constant eye on your pH levels, your sanitizer levels, and also shock your inflatable hot tub at least once a week.
So although its big advantage is the lack of chlorine or bromine in your hot tub water, you’ll need to work harder if you choose to use one of these non-chlorine shocks.
If you go down this route, to avoid having any chlorine or bromine in your water, then you’ll need to use a mineral sanitizer such as the Nature 2Spa Mineral Stick. Bear in mind, however, that this is designed for use with rigid hot tubs and it’s supposed to go inside the rigid hot tub filter system.
Unfortunately, the filter system in an inflatable hot tub doesn’t work in the same way. As a result, you’ll need to find a way to tie or attach the mineral stick to your inflatable hot tub filter. This can be a little clunky and time-consuming; but you might be handy and this is something you can manage.
So there we have it – all you need to know about how to shock your inflatable hot tub. We hope it has answered all your questions, and maybe laid any worries or fears to rest. As you can see, it’s actually easier than you think.
Before you go, please do read the following safety rules for handling inflatable hot tub chemicals. It’s always better to be safe. Thanks for reading!
- Always read the label of any inflatable hot tub chemical before use and follow the instructions carefully.
- Never mix different inflatable hot tub chemicals.
- Always add chemicals to water, never add water to chemicals.
- Never add chemicals to your inflatable hot tub while there are people in it.
- Make sure you only use inflatable hot tub chemicals in an area that is well-ventilated.
- Beware of strong winds when you are using granules.
- If you accidentally spill any granules, make sure you clean them up immediately
- Keep all inflatable hot tub chemicals locked away out of reach of children and animals.
- Thoroughly wash your hands after using inflatable hot tub chemicals
- It’s a good idea to wear gloves and goggles when you’re working with inflatable hot tub chemicals.