A hot tub in your yard seems like the perfect respite after a long day at work. You can finally put your feet up and relax in clean, hot water! The problem, of course, is that your hot tub needs to be very sanitary if you don’t want to be worried about soaking in bacteria every time you get in. Warm water promotes germ growth and if the water is hot enough to keep them away, it’s usually too hot for humans.
With proper monthly checks and precautions taken each time you use the hot tub, you can avoid being a hotel for unwanted germs. Here are some tips on preventing germ growth.
Keep up with weekly maintenance
You should test the chemical levels in your hot tub as often as recommended by your hot tub owner’s manual. This may be weekly, or as often as three times a week. Having a hot tub is a lot of work! You should be looking for sanitizer levels, pH, and alkalinity to make sure they are within the recommended range. If they are high or low, take measures such as adding sanitizing agents.
Shock the water weekly
If you need to remove organic matter like dead skin cells or cosmetics (which is very important), use shock oxidizers weekly. It’s a good habit to get into if you use your hot tub frequently! This starves the bacteria in your tub, preventing them from clogging your filter. If you add fresh water, make sure you use a chlorine shock agent, and once the chlorine levels are established, use non-chlorine shock agents.
Clean the filter and cover monthly
To keep bacteria from building up in the filter, thoroughly clean the filter once a month. Make sure you use a garden hose to spray water between the pleats of the filter to get the dirt out first, then soak it in a bucket of your preferred filter cleaning agent before hosing it off again. While you’re at it, take the vinyl cover off and use vinyl cleaner to clean the top, then apply a vinyl protector to the top. Use the garden hose to rinse off dirt on the bottom, then let air dry and put back on the tub.
Drain the tub every three months
Clean the acrylic shell of the hot tub every three months, or once a season. You can use bathroom cleaner and wipe down the surface with a sponge, as long as neither is abrasive. Get any oils, dirt, or film off the surface and the surface clean before filling the tub again. Any bacteria can linger here if you don’t scrub it down regularly.
Add fresh water
Recycling hot tub water over the long term is never a good idea. Refill the tub with clean, fresh water and add chlorine shock. Make sure you check your manufacturer’s recommendations to get the chemical balance just right, but chlorine levels should be between 3 and 5 ppm and pH between 7.2 and 7.8. Do chemical checks more frequently after filling the tub until it is stable.
Avoid getting your tub dirty
The best way to cut down on bacteria is to avoid introducing them in the first place. Jump in the shower and scrub off before you get into the tub. This will also help keep the water from clouding up. When leaves or rocks fall into the tub, if you can easily scoop them out, do so. Wear flip-flops from the house to the tub, and make sure you keep the cover on when you aren’t about to use or using the hot tub. Find a local store for your supplies or order online from stores such as Arctic Spa for Hot Tubs in the UK.
Regular chemical tests are one of the most important factors in knowing what is going on with your hot tub – if chlorine or bromine levels are wrong, bacteria might be taking over. Don’t be afraid to use shock treatments as directed to keep your water clean at all times. Keeping your hot tub clean and germ-free doesn’t have to be a lot of work. As long as you keep up with your usual maintenance routines and redouble your efforts to keep bacteria out of the tub in the first place, you can keep your water clean even when guests are over.
Lauren Burton is a hygiene consultant. Her articles mainly appear on health and hygiene blogs where she enjoys sharing her insights.