Draining and Cleaning Your Hot Tub

Soaking in your hot tub after a long day is not only enjoyable, but it’s a great way to wind down.  But when not maintained properly, hot tubs can become dirty, slimy and full of bateria.  So, let’s talk about the proper way to drain and clean your hot tub so that you can relax in it worry free.

What you will need:

Cleaning towels, Intex, Terry Towels, Hot Tub
Cleaning grade terry towels are perfect for cleaning hot tubs
  1. Line flush
  2. Hose (or hoses)
  3. Terry towels (lots of them)
  4. Hot tub cleaner or a basic bathroom cleaner
  5. A small cup, bucket or pitcher
  6. Optional: New filters
  7. Optional: Sump pump

PRO TIP: It could take 4-6 hours to drain, clean and refill your tub, so start early in the day to give yourself plenty of time to complete your task.

It’s recommended that you clean your hot tub every 3-4 months or more depending on usage.  Due to their high temperature, hot tubs can be a breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and other grime that settles in the water.

Draining and cleaning your tub is important, but often users forget to flush out all the bacteria settling in the interior lines when it is drained. Because of that, it is highly recommended to perform a line flush before draining your tub. Line flush can be purchased at any pool store and is simple to use.  Before draining, add the line flush to the water, and let it circulate for a minimum of 20 minutes, up to a few hours depending on the directions.  That’s it!

The next step is crucial: TURN OFF THE POWER TO THE HOT TUB.  Forgetting to turn off the power could result in the tub motor turning on while no water is in your tub, which could ruin the system.  To make sure the power is off, you can even turn off the circuit breaker feeding electric to your spa.

Now it is time to drain the tub. Follow the instructions with your hot tub, which typically includes using the drainage valve or the optional use of a sump pump.

The drainage valve is tricky to open if you have never used one before.

Releasing Hot Tub Drain Valve
Releasing the Hot Tub Drain Valve

A. Locate the valve.

B. Remove the top cover. You may need to unscrew the valve cap.

C. Attach a garden hose to the valve and run the other end of the hose to a safe place for the water to drain.

D. Pull the garden hose at the valve connection spot until the valve extends outward. You may hear a pop when the valve opens.  You should also hear the water starting to run out of the hose.

The water will continue to drain. It will take 1-3 hours to drain on its own.  You can speed up that process by using a sump pump or by adding additional hoses.

Clean versus Dirty Filter Cartridge
Clean versus Dirty Filter Cartridge

While the water is draining, you can remove the hot tub’s filter and filter cartridge to clean it.  It is highly recommended to replace these filters when draining the hot tub, but if you don’t, you can just rinse them out thoroughly.  Use the sprayer jet of a hose to remove dirt and other residue.  You can simply water rinse them with a hose, or you can additionally use a filter cleaner, following the directions on the label.

PRO TIP: Wear some old clothes that you don’t mind getting wet or possibly stained from chemicals. You are going to have to get in the tub to dry it and clean it. 

Terry Towels, Intex, Cotton Towels
Wringing Out Water with Terry Towels

Once the hot tub is drained, there will be a little bit of water left inside of the wells. For this next step, you will need a small cup or pitcher and some terry towels. Simply absorb the extra water at the bottom of the tub wells with your terry towels, wringing them out into your cup or pitcher, and then removing that water. Repeat until all water from inside the tub is gone.

Grab your hot tub cleaner (or you can use a common bathroom cleaner) and some terry towels, and start to clean the inside of the tub.  We recommend starting at the top of your tub, moving to the floor.  Once you clean it, we recommend rinsing it with water and wiping it down again with a terry towel.

PRO TIP: It is important to not leave any spray in the tub.  Left over spray could cause water to foam after you refill it and affect the balance of your chemical levels.

Now that your hot tub is drained and clean, you can remove any draining hoses, push in the connector valve and replace the valve cover.  Reinstall the filters and start to refill your hot tub.  It is important to start to refill your tub by running the water through your filter and water lines first, then you can let the water start to fill the base of the hot tub.  The refilling process can take up to 3 hours depending on the size of your hot tub and the pressure of your water.  While you are waiting for it to fill, you can clean the cover and exterior of your tub.

Terry Towels, Clean, Intex, Absorbent
Use Terry Towels to Your Clean Hot Tub Cover

Once the hot tub is filled to its recommended fill line, turn off the water, and turn the electric back on to the hot tub.

You can now add chemicals to the recommended levels:

  1. Adjust pH to levels between 7.4 and 7.6
  2. Adjust Total Alkalinity to 80ppm
  3. Adjust Calcium Hardness to 100ppm

Once that is completed, you can run the tub and shock it.  Adjust the temperature, replace the cover and allow the tub to run a full 24 hours before checking the balance of the chemicals again. Once the water becomes balanced, you can relax again in your spa.

Happy Tubbing!

Intex DIY


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