How to Clean a Hot Tub that Has Been Sitting

Hot tubs are a great way to relax and unwind after a stressful day. However, they need regular maintenance in order to keep functioning properly. If your hot tub has been sitting idle for some time, it’s important that you take the appropriate steps to clean it in order to ensure it is safe and hygienic before you use it again. 

How to Clean a Hot Tub that Has Been Sitting

In this blog post, we’ll be exploring all of the steps necessary how to clean a hot tub that has been sitting – from getting rid of unwanted debris and build-up right through to sanitizing everything with chemical solutions. So read on if you want to learn more about returning your neglected hot tub back into sparkling condition!f

What Kills Bacteria in Hot Tubs?

Bacteria are constantly present in hot tubs, but if the hot tub has been sitting for some time, it’s more likely that bacteria may have grown to unhealthy levels. Fortunately, it is possible to kill most of these bacteria and make the hot tub safe to use again.

Chlorine is one of the best ways to kill bacteria in hot tubs. Chlorine is a chemical that is used to disinfect and sanitize water, and it can be added to the hot tub either manually or through an automated system. When chlorine is added to the hot tub, it forms hypochlorous acid, which kills the bacteria.

The amount of chlorine needed will depend on the size of the hot tub and its current levels of bacteria.

Another disinfectant that can be used in hot tubs is bromine, which is an alternative to chlorine that works similarly. Bromine is less corrosive than chlorine, so it may be better suited for some hot tubs.

Finally, ultraviolet (UV) light is an effective way to kill bacteria in hot tubs. UV light works by disrupting the DNA of the bacteria, rendering them unable to grow or replicate. This method is becoming increasingly popular among hot tub owners, as it can be used without having to add any chemicals to the water.

By using chlorine, bromine, and/or UV light, it is possible to kill bacteria in hot tubs that have been sitting for some time. This will help ensure that the hot tub is safe to use and that it meets health standards.

9 Methods on How to Clean a Hot Tub that Has Been Sitting

1.  Drain the Tub

Can Use a Garden Hose

The first step is to drain the tub. This can be done by opening the drain valve and allowing all of the water to empty out. If your hot tub does not have a drain valve, you can use a garden hose to siphon the water out.

Once all of the water has been drained, use a sponge and mild detergent to clean any debris from the bottom of the tub.

If necessary, use a brush to scrub away any caked-on dirt and debris. While cleaning, be sure to wear gloves and protective eyewear. Make sure the area is ventilated so that fumes do not accumulate.

2.  Remove Any Debris

Once the tub is empty, remove any debris that may be inside, such as leaves or dirt. Use a long-handled brush or broom to sweep the surfaces. Vacuum out any crevices and dispose of the dirt properly.

You may also need to use a sponge or cloth to remove any dirt or grime from the walls. If needed, you can use a mild cleaning solution to get rid of any hard-to-remove stains.

Though, make sure to test any solution on a small area first to ensure it won’t damage the surface. However, avoid using any harsh chemicals, such as bleach or ammonia, as these can corrode the tub.

3.  Clean the Filter

The next step is to clean the filter. This should be done with a hose and a filter cleaning solution. Be sure to rinse the filter thoroughly afterward. Though it is important to clean the filter regularly, it is especially important after a hot tub has been sitting for a long period of time.

 To Clean the Filter

Additionally, use a filter brush to scrub away any debris that may have collected around the edges of the filter. While you are at it, check the filter for any signs of damage or tears.

4. Clean the Inside of the Tub

Once the filter is clean, you can start cleaning the inside of the tub. Use a mild soap and a soft brush to scrub away any dirt or grime that has built up over time. Make sure to get into any hard-to-reach areas that may have been neglected. Rinse the tub with fresh water and use a wet/dry vacuum to remove any remaining debris.

After the tub is clean, it’s time to start sanitizing it. Although the sanitizing process will depend on the type of hot tub, chlorine is often used as a broad-spectrum sanitizer.

You may need to use a chlorine test strip to measure the correct amount of chlorine needed for your particular hot tub. Once the chlorine is added, let it circulate through the hot tub for 10-15 minutes before draining and refilling with fresh water.

5.  Rinse the Tub

After you have scrubbed the inside of the tub, rinse it out with clean water to remove any soap residue. Use a garden hose to fill the hot tub with water, and use your hands or a soft sponge to help agitate the water while it is filling up. If the water is not draining through the filter, you may need to use a long-handled brush to help move debris around.

This will help dislodge any obstructions. Once you have filled the hot tub with water and rinsed it out, turn on the filter to help circulate the water. Leave it running for at least an hour before draining it again.

6. Clean the Outside of the Tub

While you are rinsing out the inside of the tub, take a moment to clean the outside as well. Use mild soap and a soft cloth to wipe down the exterior of the tub. Be sure to pay extra attention to the corners, handles, and other areas that can collect dirt easily. If your tub is extra dirty and requires a more powerful cleaner, use a non-abrasive cleanser.

 To Wipe Down the Exterior

You may also need to scrub stubborn dirt spots with a soft brush or sponge. After you have finished cleaning the outside, rinse it off with clean water. While you are rinsing, inspect the outside for any broken parts or damage that may need to be repaired.

7. Refill the Tub with Fresh Water

Once you have finished cleaning both the inside and outside of the tub, you can refill it with fresh water. Be sure to add in some fresh chlorine before you turn on the jets. If you are using a manual chlorinator, use two tablespoons of granulated chlorine per 500 gallons of water.

For an automatic chlorinator, add one cup of chlorine granules to the skimmer basket before turning it on. This will help keep the water clean and free from bacteria and algae growth. Try to keep the chlorine levels between 3 and 5 ppm.

8.  Run the Jets for 20 Minutes

After adding fresh chlorine to the water, run the jets for 20 minutes in order to circulate it throughout the entire system. This will help to ensure that the hot tub is fully sanitized. Be sure to check the chlorine levels after this step and adjust as necessary.

If the hot tub is still cloudy or has any offensive odors, the chlorine level may need to be increased. While the jets are running, this is a good time to inspect the filter and any other components of the system for any wear or damage that may need to be addressed.

9.  Drain and Refill Again with Fresh Water

After running the jets, it is important to drain and refill the tub with fresh water in order to remove any leftover chemicals from the previous steps. To do this, disconnect the hoses from the hot tub and turn off the power.

Open up any drain holes in the bottom of the hot tub and allow all of the water to flow out.

Refill the Tub With Fresh Water

Once it is empty, fill it with fresh water and reconnect all of the hoses. Turn on the power and run the jets for another 15 minutes to allow the fresh water to circulate throughout the hot tub. Finally, drain and refill with fresh water one more time. This will ensure that all of the chemicals have been removed from the hot tub before use.


If you have a hot tub that has been sitting for a while and needs to be cleaned, don’t despair. With a little elbow grease and the right cleaners, you can get your hot tub looking like new again. 

Just follow these simple steps on how to clean a hot tub that has been sitting, and you’ll have your hot tub shining in no time.

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