How to Clean Hot Tub Filter
Updated: Nov 11
Having your own hot tub means you don't have to travel when you want to relax and unwind after a stressful day. But before you rush out and put in your order for a top-of-the-range hot tub, spend a few minutes learning about what you have to do to keep your hot tub clean and safe to enjoy its many benefits.
Clean hot tub filters are essential to avoid soaking in dirty water. A good cleaning schedule and hot tub care routine will increase the efficiency and longevity of what is a luxury addition to your home.
What are the Different Types of Hot Tub Filters and Their Parts?
There are four different hot tub filter types you can purchase. To avoid any issues with your hot tub or spa, you must choose the correct filter. There are three main parts to every hot tub filter:
Core: The main internal structure.
Media: The material that covers the filter. It is usually pleated. The media traps the dirt and other debris.
End Caps: They attach the filter to your hot tub plumbing.
The most popular choice for owners of hot tubs and spas.
Comprised of a cylinder that contains a filter made of plastic, fabric or paper.
Includes a slide inside the filter housing space.
Lasts for up to one year with regular cleaning.
Similar to a cartridge filter but made using a resilient ceramic.
Longer lasting than most others.
Lasts for several years before any need for replacing.
Regular maintenance is essential.
Most eco-friendly option.
Fossilized diatoms provide the filtering function rather than activated carbon.
These are spherical containers that contain gravel or sand.
The sand or gravel removes any unwanted substances as the water passes through.
Sand filters sit outside the spa.
Frequent cleaning with a specific type of sand is required.
Why Do You Need to Clean Your Hot Tub Filters?
Clean hot tub filters are critical for removing all contaminants from the water because these unwanted substances affect the water quality. Contaminants include body lotions, makeup, hair products, bodily fluids, dirt particles, sweat, and hair. Such debris must be removed regularly to keep the water clean and allow the hot tub to work correctly.
Filters remove all dirt and larger debris, but you must sanitize them at some stage. If they are not cleaned regularly, they stop working efficiently. Dirty filters can't effectively clean the hot tub water.
When the filter isn't functioning correctly, it will lead to costly and unhealthy problems such as oily or dirty water and the growth of potentially harmful bacteria.
The worst-case scenario could mean your hot tub becomes damaged, the circulation pump overworked, and the pipes clogged. All these issues are expensive to repair. So hot tub filter cleaning needs to be a priority!
What are the Signs That Your Hot Tub Filter Needs Cleaning?
Maintaining clean hot tub filters must be an integral part of a regular hot tub cleaning schedule.
But if you forget, there are signs you should look for.
One of the early indications is that you're using more harsh chemicals than usual to balance water pH levels. The water in your hot tub will also start to look cloudy.
If you don't have clean hot tub filters, you may notice that the water feels too soft or hard. Does it feel flaky or slippery on your skin?
Are the hot tub jets functioning correctly? If not, it might mean a dirty filter that needs treatment with some special hot tub filter cleaner - or replacement!
How Long do Hot Tub Filters Usually Last?
The life of a hot tub filter is affected by many things, for example, how hard it has to work and whether you clean it regularly.
Ceramic filters last much longer than most other types, typically a few years before they need replacing.
A standard cartridge filter is only designed to last a minimum of one year and a maximum of two.
You know your filter needs to be replaced when the filter material begins breaking down. When you notice this happening, replace the filter. It will save money, protect your hot tub's working parts, and help improve the water flow.
What is the Best Way to Clean Your Hot Tub Filters?
If you want to ensure the water quality in your hot tub is always good, the best thing you can do is regularly clean your hot tub filters.
There are many options, but the most effective is deep cleaning it using a spa filter cleaner, along with a weekly rinse.
To deep clean, you have to take out the filter. Then use a proprietary chemical solution to eliminate contaminants and accumulated residue.
The following steps will clean your hot tub filter effectively:
Mix the hot tub filter cleaner: It pays to have the chemical solution prepared, so you can place the filter into it quickly. Use a bucket large enough to hold enough water to submerge the filter completely. Next, fill the container with a hot tub cleaning agent or a DIY spa filter cleaner and water. Mix the correct water to filter cleaner ratio for optimum cleaning results.
Check the hot tub owner's manual: You'll find directions for the safe removal of the dirty filter and its location in the owner's manual.
Switch off the hot tub: You shouldn't run your spa without the filter. It could lead to the pump impellers becoming clogged. It could also affect the water quality.
Remove and check the filter: Check for discolouration or visible damage. If you find either, dispose of the filter. You can then put in a new filter.
Give the filter a quick rinse with warm water before submerging it in a large bucket containing the filter cleaner. This will remove large debris such as leaves, hair, small sticks, or other items. Check carefully between each of the pleats (on a paper filter).
Let the filter soak in the chemical solution overnight for the ultimate cleaning results. However, if the cleaner you're using is bleach, don't leave it soaking for longer than two to three hours.
Give the spa filter another quick rinse: you can spray the filter using clean water or a chemical rinse. A garden hose or clean spray bottle is ideal, but make sure the pressure is enough to clean any residue left.
Reinstall the filter: Let the clean filter dry completely, and then install it according to the owner’s manual.
How Often Should I Clean a Hot Tub Filter?
Filters need to be cleaned regularly. We recommend the following scheduled cleaning programme for hot tub filter maintenance. It will prolong their lifespan, help them remove bacteria effectively, improve water flow, and give you peace of mind.
Weekly - Quick Rinse
Once a week, rinse filters well with clean water. Take the time to spread out the paper filter pleats and remove any unwanted residue or debris.
Then, rinse again, using clean water from your garden hose or a spray bottle. Allow it to air dry before reinstalling it in your hot tub.
Monthly - Chemical Rinse
Once a month, remove filters, spray them with a hot tub filter cleaning product, and then submerge them in a bucket of water and chemical solution. Let it sit for around 15 minutes.
Then thoroughly rinse the filter with a hose or a spray bottle of clean water before reinstalling it in the spa.
Quarterly - Chemical Overnight Soak
A chemical soak takes the longest but is the most thorough cleaning process. Schedule a chemical soak overnight with your spa water drain and refill. You should do this every three to four months.
Switch off your hot tub.
Remove the filters.
Rinse them and remove any large debris.
Put them in the cleaning solution of chemicals and make sure they are completely submerged.
Leave them soaking in the solution for at least eight hours.
After they have soaked overnight, rinse them thoroughly and let them dry. Then put the hot tub/spa filters back in your tub/spa.
Additional Hot Tub Filter Cleaning Tips
Here are a few things you should try to keep your hot tub clean and in top condition!
Regularly check and adjust the chemicals in your hot tub water.
Use a spa testing kit to help keep the water balanced and sanitary.
For optimal cleanliness, use a cleaning wand to rinse between the pleats.
Scum bugs and scum balls help absorb contaminants and natural oils in the water and mean the filter has less work to do.
Schedule regular hot tub maintenance and cleaning.
Rinse yourself off before getting into your hot tub.
Never use a brush to clean the filter because it can damage the delicate fabric fibres.
Have a spare hot tub filter, so you have one hot tub filter to use while the other filter is being cleaned.
Are There Any Other Ways to Clean а Filter?
You can clean your tub's or spa's filter in other ways if you haven't got the time to visit the shops to buy something or you're looking for a cheaper option. Here are some additional tips:
Pros: This weak acid effectively removes mineral salt deposits and scale. Safe for skin exposure. No foam or residue. Good for keeping your hot tub clean.
Cons: Not as effective as some other DIY options or specially formulated cleaning solutions. Fails to remove heavy buildup or debris.
DIY Hot Tub Cleaner
Pros: Powerful and effective at removing contaminants that cause a buildup of bacteria and scum. Water and bleach solution will sterilize and clean the filter.
Cons: Bleach can damage the integrity of the filter fibres, which means the filter won't work as efficiently. It will also quickly become worn down or damaged.
Pros: Cleans the filter's fibres without wearing them down.
Cons: It can leave deposits and cause foaming if the filter isn't rinsed well.
Washing Up Liquid
Pros: A dishwasher detergent effectively cleans dirt, oil and tough buildups from a hot tub filter. No bubbling up or foaming.
Cons: When you don't rinse the filter thoroughly, any leftover detergent can dirty the water.
In a Dishwasher
Using a dishwasher is not advisable, even though you might think it's a simple and efficient method for cleaning a filter.
Cons: The dishwasher can damage the filter's fibres. The water stream in a dishwasher doesn't clean the filter pleats effectively.
The only real advantage of using homemade hot tub filter cleaners is that it saves you money in the short term. It's a last-ditch option if you've nothing else to use at the time.
However, a homemade filter cleaner is not generally recommended for cleaning dirt from hot tub/spa filters because it doesn't work effectively enough. Plus, you run the risk of voiding your hot tub's warranty.
The most effective way to keep your hot tub filter clean is to purchase a specialist cleaning solution specifically designed and manufactured by a reputable supplier from your local hot tub supply stores or online.
Spa Marvel Filter Cleaner is a good example, and it ensures your hot tub/spa filters are clean and operating at their best.
What You Should Absolutely Avoid When Cleaning Hot Tub Filters?
Never run your hot tub with no filter.
Avoid using a brush to clean the filter because it could damage the filter's fibres.
Don't put the filter back into the hot tub without rinsing it thoroughly.
Never put the hot tub filter cleaner directly into the hot tub to circulate through the water.
Don't use a damaged filter in your hot tub.
Never use a cleaning solution without reading the manufacturer's instructions.
Bleach is not a recommended filter cleaning solution as it damages the filter media and reduces its lifespan.
Avoid using household cleaners as foam can become a significant problem.
Try to avoid putting the filter back in without allowing it to thoroughly dry first. Doing so allows the fibres to reset and makes your hot tub filters more effective. Of course, you can put it back in wet, but giving it time to dry results in more effective filtration for longer.
When Should You Replace Your Hot Tub Filter?
Standard hot tub filters should be changed at least once a year. If it's a ceramic hot tub filter, replace it every couple of years.
You should also replace your hot tub filters if they become damaged in any way. If the media is ripped, the end caps become brittle, or the cartridge is bent, replace the unit straight away.
A hot tub is a luxury item, and many people already own one. However, before you rush out and treat yourself to one, you must understand they need regular maintenance to keep running correctly.
We've given you lots of helpful tips and hints and provided a step-by-step guide on how to clean your hot tub filter, so you've got all the information you need. As you can see, cleaning a hot tub filter is very simple. If you maintain your hot tub regularly and use clean hot tub filters, it will make sure it lasts.
Hot Tub Filter Cleaning FAQs
1. Can you soak hot tub filters in bleach?
It is not recommended because the bleach damages the filter's fibres.
2. Can you clean a hot tub filter in the dishwasher?
Not recommended because the process damages the filter and doesn't clean between the pleats.
3. Can you clean spa filters with vinegar?
Yes, this is an effective way of removing mineral deposits and scale but not oils and other contaminants.
4. Can you use baking soda for cleaning hot tub filters?
Not recommended for hot tub filters because it is difficult to rinse the baking soda off the filter. But you can use baking soda as a general cleaner for the surface of hot tubs.
5. Is it possible to clean filters with muriatic acid?
You should never wash filters for hot tubs with muriatic acid because it is too harsh for the filter elements and can damage the filter.
6. Can you use washing-up liquid for cleaning hot tub filters?
Washing-up liquid or detergent is not an effective cleaner for your filters. In addition, there is a risk of making the water dirty as it's difficult to rinse the detergent from the filter.
7. Can you put your hot tub filter in a washing machine?
This is not recommended because the filter banging against the metal drum of the washing machine could cause the plastic to crack.
8. Can you clean a hot tub filter with OxiClean?
All OxiClean will do is clean the filter casing.