Clear Up Cloudy Hot Tub Water: Here’s How

A hot tub is a great place to relax after a hard day but if it’s cloudy, it’s not so appealing. Unfortunately, cloudy, milky, or foamy hot tubs are a fact of life for hot tub owners. What can you do to get your water sparkling and clear again? We’ve got some helpful tips.

First, let’s talk about why different issues happen to the water.

  • When water is cloudy it seems to have small particles floating in it. The particles are not large enough to touch, and they may just be air particles. It can happen for different reasons, including unbalanced core levels, often a low sanitizer level, suspended insoluble particles, dead algae, organic debris, dirty filters, heavy usage, or aeration with the jets on.
  • Milky hot tub water has a white tint that’s difficult to see through, making the water look like milk. Like cloudy water, it can be caused by different things. In fact, it’s often cost by unbalanced core levels, though this time it would be a high sanitizer level, suspended insoluble particles, dead algae, organic debris, or a dirty filter.
  • If your hot tub is foamy, it can leave a film around the waterline or on top of the water. The buildup that causes foamy hot tub water is typically the result of non-organic products like makeup, deodorant, and detergent.

So, how do you solve your hot tub problems. As you might expect, the solutions for cloudy or milky water are very similar.

  • First, check the filter. The filter should be your first thought when you’re trying to fix hot tub water issues. Hot tub filters are responsible for removing dust, dirt, algae, and other things that get into the water. A clogged filter or the one that’s not positioned correctly won’t work efficiently. After establishing they’re correctly positioned, rinse your filters thoroughly or soak them overnight in a cleaning solution to make them better able to clean your hot tub water.
  • Next, address the water balance. Check to make sure it’s at the right pH, and that the sanitizer is neither too high nor too low.
  • Clear the water with a non-chlorine shock. Shocking your spa can often clear the water without requiring too much sanitizer. If your filter is clean, the shock will be likely to clear the particles and solve the cloudiness issue. If your problem is milky water, the shock will oxidize non-organic particles and dump them into your filter, so you’ll need to clean the filter thoroughly afterward.
  • Consider a clarifier. There are clarifying products on the market that can clump small particles together, allowing them to be filtered so that the water can clear.
  • When all else fails, empty the hot tub. If you’ve tried everything you can think to try, and your water is still cloudy or milky, drain your spa. Flush the system and start over with a fresh tank of water. Especially if your problem is due to heavy usage, this is often the best way to handle it.

Foamy hot tub water is best managed by prevention. You can keep your hot tub clear of non-organic materials by showering before you get into it and refraining from using detergents on your bathing attire. It’s not really necessary to wash bathing suits with detergent after you’ve been in the hot tub; rinsing them with tap water and hanging them to dry is sufficient, and it’s better for your hot tub’s water. If you end up with foamy water despite your best efforts, try these methods for clearing out the buildup.

  • Clean the filters and shock the spa. Just as with cloudy or milky water, these steps can often solve the problem.
  • Use products that can clear the foam. There are products that act as a quick fix to clear the foam, but they should be used sparingly, as they don’t prevent the problem from reoccurring. You can use these to clear the foam from the waterline, but they shouldn’t be used long-term because they can make the water cloudy or milky.
  • Drain the water and flush the hot tub. Most of the time, foaming can be fixed without the need to drain and refill the spa. If you do decide it’s necessary, do a pipe flush to flush the system before you drain it.

Hot tubs do require some maintenance, and it’s smart to follow certain best practices for keeping them in great shape. Clean your filters regularly, at least once a month, and check your pH level at least once a week. Add sanitizer after each use to clean the water, and drain and refill the tub at least once every four months.

If you don’t yet have your own hot tub and you’re ready to install one, call Aaron Pools. Established in 1972, this family-owned-and-operated business has a dedicated, award-winning team with over 400 years of combined experience. We love to help improve the quality time that families spend together at home, and that’s why we’ve installed more than 2,000 swimming pools and hot tubs, from Cape Cod to Connecticut. For the best possible service from our highly experienced installation team, call 508.996.3320 or contact us today.

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