Hot Tub Chemicals 101: What You Need and How to Use Them

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The very purpose of owning a hot tub is for the benefit of enjoying it—whether that enjoyment involves soaking away a hard day of work at the end of the day or relaxing on the weekends with family or friends.

Having the necessary familiarity with the required chemicals and the proper manner to use them is essential for any hot tub owner. No matter the type of hot tub you have, there will be maintenance involved, including maintaining the proper balance of chemicals to aid in preventing the development of harmful bacteria.

However, the question is—what chemicals are needed and how are they used to treat the water in your hot tub? The main required chemicals include a sanitizer, a sequestering agent (that removes heavy metals), and chemicals that will help adjust and balance the water’s pH and alkalinity levels.

Proper Storage of Hot Tub Chemicals

The most appropriate manner and place to store your chemicals for your hot tub is where you will access them easily. If you feel like it is a constant struggle to get to your chemicals, you are more than likely not to be as diligent about caring for your water.

With that said, some suggestions will keep your chemicals effective and serve to keep you healthy and safe.

Hot Tub Chemicals 101

Keep your hot tub accessories and chemicals safe with a deck box

  • If possible, store your chemicals in a cabinet or a container that can be locked. The best choice would be one that is waterproof yet still aesthetically pleasing in your yard.
  • Chemicals of any type are best to be kept cool and dry. Chemicals for hot tubs, by their very nature, are designed to dissolve in the presence of moisture. They are to be kept separate from other products so as not to get them wet or mixed. If your climate tends to be hot, or your backyard receives a lot of sun, you may consider storing them in your garage.
  • Always maintain the chemicals in their original package. You will be able to reference back to the manufacturer’s instructions for use if needed.
  • Secure the chemicals in a safe place out of reach from children.

Hot Tub Chemicals Needed

No one wants the headache of having to deal with an issue with their hot tub water. However, if the need arises you will want to be prepared. In the worst-case scenario, you may have to wait twenty to thirty minutes to enjoy your relaxing soak while you give the chemicals time to work.

Having to wait a while is a much better scenario than having to resolve yourself to not being able to enjoy your hot tub.

PH Adjusting Products

To keep your hot tub’s pH in balance, you will need to keep on hand a pH increaser and a pH decreaser. Just as their names indicate, an increaser will need to be used when pH is low and a decreaser when the pH is high.

You are probably wondering at this point—what is pH? PH indicates how acidic or how basic the water in your hot tub is. To be able to soak in your hot tub safely, you will want to make sure that the water registers as neutral.

If the pH is low, your skin can suffer irritation, and you run the risk of ruining your spa. If the pH is high, you run the risk of eye and skin irritation, and your sanitizer will prove to be ineffective.

Shock – Non-Chlorine

Using a shocking agent will release oxygen into the water, thus working in a similar way that chlorine does. When you shock the water, the total chlorine level in your hot tub will rise above the level recommended, but only for a brief time. This rising will aid in sanitizing the water and will remove those contaminants that you do not want—such as bacteria and chloramines.

Sequestering Agent

With the use of a sequestering agent, you will remove any calcium or heavy metals that your water may contain. When metals or minerals are present in your hot tub water, it will take on one of four unsightly colours—red, brown, green, or blue. If you find the appearance of your hot tub water has taken on one of these four colours, you will need to use a sequestering agent. The agent needs to be added when you add the water to your tub.

Sanitizing Agent

Your hot tub water can get bacteria germs from the people in it or the environment around it. With the use of a sanitizer, you will be able to keep the water not only balanced but safe for use. Two types of sanitizers can be used—chlorine or bromine. We recommend using granules, as they will not only dissolve quicker but will also work to sanitize the water quickly as well.


If you find that your hot tub water is foamy, you can temporarily fix the issue with a defoamer. Foam in a hot tub is typically caused by things such as cosmetics, lotions, and body oils. Keeping on top of the water routine and making sure to shower before relaxing in your hot tub can go a long way to preventing your water from becoming foamy.


When routinely testing the levels of chemicals in your hot tub, make sure to also check for calcium hardness. With this measurement, you will be able to determine how much magnesium and calcium are present in your hot tub water. If your calcium is not balanced, it can lead to not only foamy but also cloudy water. Hot tub owners are highly suggested to keep a calcium hardness increaser, as well as decreaser, on hand in their hot tub chemical stash.


When owning a hot tub, it is vital that the water is properly balanced with the correct types and amount of chemicals. Keeping diligent about the chemical balance in the water will go a long way towards enjoying your hot tub. Making sure that you keep a variety of hot tub chemicals on hand if the need for last minute treatment of your hot tub water should arise. No one likes having a hot tub and not being able to enjoy it due to not having the necessary chemicals. Contact us today for recommendations on the right chemicals for you hot tub.


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