How to Clean a Hot Tub Filter

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Owning your own hot tub allows you a wonderful way to relax and unwind at the end of the day. Part of owning a hot tub is understanding when and how to clean it, starting with the filter. Nobody wants to slip into a bath of dirty water but every time a person gets into your hot tub, the creams, makeup, deodorant and hair products on their body leave residue behind for your filter (and chemicals) to clean up. Asking guests take a quick shower before entering the hot tub is good practice, though it likely won’t get rid of all of the residue on their body. The good news is, keeping a hot tub filter clean can be relatively easy, especially if you are consistent in your cleaning approach. Remember, a dirty filter means an even dirtier hot tub. It could even result in clogged pipes or pumps – a costly result of an easy to manage problem.

Why You Need to Clean Hot Tub Filters

Since a hot tub filter lives beneath the surface of a hot tub, it is easy to forget about it until the problem has already begun. The difficulty is spa filters are the things that help keep your spa water clean. Spa filters are designed for capturing dirt, hair, and in some cases even bacteria. It’s up to you to remove all that gunk on a regular basis. The more time that passes between cleanings, the more likely it is that the residue being left behind by you and your visitors is no longer being filtered effectively out of the water you are bathing in.

Create a routine for when you are going to clean your hot tub filter. Depending on the number of people in your spa, you may choose to give it a quick rinse right after you’ve enjoyed a soak. For a deeper clean, perhaps setting your calendar for a monthly reminder that will help encourage a more regular spa cleaning.

Cleaning a hot tub filter needs to be done thoroughly. Understanding the different parts that make up the filter, taking it out of your spa to clean and using the proper products to clean it will help keep your spa and filter in tip top shape.

Hot Tub Filter Parts

Cleaning a hot tub feature involves understanding each of its parts. Generally, a filter for a spa consists of three main areas.

The main part is called the media. The media is usually made from a pleated spunbound polyester, and starts off as white to allow hot tub owners to easily see the dirt on the filter. As the water moves through the filter, the media will catch the dirt and debris.

The central part of the hot tub filter is called the core. As the name suggests, the role of the core is to offer some support and structure for the media. Generally speaking, the core is made from a piece of hard plastic. By creating a more stable structure for the filter, the core and media can stand up to the water current created by the jets and therefore capture more of the debris from the passing water.

Last but not least are the end caps. Named appropriately, these are two circular discs inserted on either end of the filter to hold both the core and media in place. end caps will often also offer an attachment port so they can be clipped into the spa within the filter chamber.

How to Clean Hot Tub Filters

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Consistency is key when it comes to keeping spa filters clean. As a starting point, remove the filter from within the filter chamber. A weekly rinse with fresh water will suffice between cleanings to remove any buildup or residue. During your quick weekly cleans, water is the best approach either under your hose or faucet, opening and rinsing between the pleats in the media. Do not use intense pressure for this clean – you do not want to damage the filter. A gentle steady stream will work best. Before putting the filter back into your spa, allow it to air dry completely.

When it’s time for the deep clean, recommended on a monthly schedule or more often, we suggest using a combination of water and a hot tub filter cleaning solution. The addition of the cleaning solution will help to remove stubborn residue and contaminants that perhaps did not come off with water alone. Like with the weekly clean, the filter must be removed from the filter chamber for the cleaning.

After each clean, check whether you will have enough supplies to support your next clean or whether additional supplies will be needed. Being prepared will allow the process of cleaning to be smoother and more consistent with less potential for delays.

Keep your cleaning supplies on hand so you’re always ready to clean the filters, both on your regular schedule and if something should unexpectedly spill into the water. Depending on whether you are using a laundry sink or hose, you may want to use a clean bucket for soaking your hot tub filter, if it needs it. Helpful products to complete the clean include spa filter cleaner, hot tub filter chemical rinse and hot tub filter chemical soak.  Additionally, if you can purchase an additional hot tub filter, this will allow a little more flexibility in timing for that deep filter clean. You can allow the dirty filter to soak overnight, while enjoying a clean filter back inside your tub. If another filter is not an option, you’ll need to wait until your filter is clean and dry to reinsert it into your spa.

Additional Hot Tub Filter Cleaning Tips

What you clean your filter with is very important. Though some hot tub owners like to use bleach for a deep clean on the hot tub shell, we never recommend using such a harsh chemical in your spa, especially when it comes to the filter. The bleach could potentially destroy the fibers that comprise the media, essentially requiring the need for a replacement filter a lot sooner than you would need it otherwise. Similarly, household cleaners are not designed for use on the filter itself, though they can be very effective in cleaning the shell of your tub. Using household cleaners on your filter could result in lots of foam in your tub even after you think you’ve completely rinsed the cleaner out.

The dishwasher has been considered by those looking for a cleaning shortcut as an option for a hot tub filter, and the results were not positive. Like with other chemicals, dishwashing detergent is not designed to be used on the fibers that make up the media or the plastic that the core is created from, and you may find yourself replacing your filter much quicker than expected.

Beyond just cleaning your hot tub filter, there are other things to consider in order to keep your filter and spa clean and fresh. Making sure to regularly check and adjust the chemicals in your hot tub water either on your own or by bringing us in a water sample to check for you will help to keep your spa balanced and clean.

A hot tub filter cleaning wand can be a great tool to help ensure the appropriate amount of water pressured is applied between the pleats. Additionally, Zorbies – essentially floating sponges designed to absorb oils and dirt that may be floating in the water are a great additional tool for keeping the water clean. These can be left in the hot tub and replaced every 90 days and taken out to clean once dirty as well. They also support the filter by doing some of the work of keeping the water cleaner, so the filter has less work to do.

As mentioned previously, being proactive by regularly rinsing your filter and using an effective filter cleaner, will prolong your filter’s life and make it work more efficiently. Maintaining a regular cleaning schedule and rinsing off before getting in your hot tub will help to keep things as clean as possible day to day.

When to Replace Hot Tub Filters

Regardless of how well maintained your hot tub is and how clean you keep your filter, there will eventually come a time when the filter needs to be replaced. Generally speaking, a spa filter can last up to a year. Keeping an eye on the media for signs of wear and tear, looking between pleats for any breakage or discoloring and keeping an eye out for differences in the general cleanliness of the water in your spa will be good indicators of when the time for a filter change is approaching. Additionally, any cracks, discoloration or brittleness in the end caps on your hot tub filter is a good indication there may be a need to change.

If you tend to have guests in your hot tub regularly, or use your spa very often, you may want to replace your filter more frequently or rotate between two filters to allow for more thorough deep cleans.

Conclusion: A Clean Filter is a Happy Filter

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Keep your hot tub working and feeling it’s best with a clean hot tub filter. A clean filter is a happy filter and an even happier hot tub owner. We offer services to clean and care for your hot tub and we are always happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the maintenance of your hot tub. We look forward to helping you keep your relaxing oasis fresh and clean. Contact us today!


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