How to Clean a Hot Tub That Has Been Sitting

When your hot tub is not in use, it’s a good idea to clean and sanitize the water. But when you live in an apartment with no outdoor space, cleaning may be harder than expected.

The “hot tub sitting empty for years” is a problem that can happen to anyone. The best way to clean it is by using vinegar.

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Hot tub upkeep is without a doubt the most unpleasant aspect of owning a hot tub. It’s all too easy to overlook appropriate maintenance and end up with an unusable hot tub. Fortunately, returning your hot tub to its former splendor is a straightforward procedure.

The best way to clean your hot tub depends on its design, how long it’s been sitting, and how frequently it’s been used. Chrome-shelled tubs are often easier to clean than acrylic-shelled tubs. Although the procedure seems to be extensive, it may easily be completed in a single weekend. Continue reading to discover more about how to take care of your hot tub.


The Complete Guide to Cleaning Your Hot Tub


While this is a simple procedure, having a better grasp of the nine stages needed in properly cleaning your hot tub will save you time and money. 


  1. If the water in the hot tub has been sitting for a time, empty it completely to eliminate the majority of any bacterial development. The time it takes will be determined on the number of gallons in the hot tub. Draining the water quickly after using your hot tub will make it easier for your jets to clean the pipework afterwards.
  2. The next step is to fill the tub with new water. Do not be concerned about how soon the water gets contaminated. You’re going to have to empty it once more.
  3. This is where you will place your cleaner. Turn on your jets after adding as much as your specific cleaner recommends. Be prepared for what comes out since here is generally where the worst of the bacteria muck builds up. You’ll want to leave the jets running for anything between an hour and overnight. The length of time bacteria have been congregating in your pipes will determine this.
  4. Turn off the jets and grab your skimmer (if you don’t have one, any fine mesh net with a short handle will do). Drain the tub and skim off the muck layer that has collected on top of the water.
  5. You should unplug the hot tub’s power supply for safety reasons. Simply turning it off does not eliminate the possibility of self-injury. 
  6. Now comes the most difficult phase. You’ll need to scrub the tub. It’s better to use a gentle scrub brush and avoid using any cleaning agents that are too abrasive, since they might harm the tub’s walls. You’ll want to make sure the tub is as clean and dirt-free as possible, which may take some time. Some people even use a pressure washer to get rid of all the residue. While this method is effective, be sure your tub is solid enough to withstand the stress.
  7. Allow time for the tub to dry. Pull the filter in the meanwhile. Most of the time, a simple garden hose will enough to clean the filter. If the filter is difficult to clean, or if you know it has been used for more than a year, you should replace it.
  8. Finally, add new water to the tub. Check the pH and chlorine levels in the water using test strips. To minimize harm to the tub and its inhabitants, maintain the pH balance at 7.5. Chlorinating hot tubs is best done using sodium-dichlor. To get the required chlorination level, follow the package directions.
  9. You’re ready to start using your hot tub like it’s fresh new.

Choosing the Right Cleaning Products for Your Hot Tub

To flush out your pipes, you may use a variety of hot tub plumbing cleaners with your jets. They all have their own distinct formulae, so do some research before deciding which one to use on your hot tub.

There are also a variety of products designed to clean the hot tub’s inner shell, including a few common home items that may be used to clean your hot tub: 

  • White vinegar is the most popular, since it cleans without inflicting any harm. It may be used to remove scum and dirt rings. 
  • Any thick resins or saps that made their way into your tub while you weren’t looking may be loosened with olive oil. 
  • As a mild abrasive, baking soda may be utilized. 
  • Any stubborn stains may be cleaned using distilled bleach. Bleach is the most likely to harm the tub and should only be used as a last option.

How to Recover from Years of Neglect

Perhaps you purchased a new property with an old hot tub, or perhaps life got in the way of your leisure, and you went years without filling up your hot tub. In any event, cleaning and repairing a hot tub years after its last usage is simple if you follow the suggestions above and take a few additional precautions.

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The wiring in an outdoor tub that has been exposed to the weather may have been affected. Unfortunately, this is not an issue that you can solve on your own. Only a skilled electrician can evaluate and assure the safety of your hot tub’s wiring, so you may want to have one come in for a look.


Empty and refill the tub once you’re confident it’s safe to do so, then clean the jets with a professional hot tub cleaner, skim any big debris, drain the tub again, scrub the interior, and perhaps clean the filter and add chlorine to the water. Tubs that have been unused for more than six months may need to be cleaned again.

When you’re ready to fill the tub, do the following: 

  • Keep an eye out for air bubbles or other signs of major leaks. 
  • Check all of the jets to make sure they’re working properly. 
  • Allow the tub to dry after draining it. 
  • Examine it thoroughly for any flaws. If not repaired correctly, cracks, mildew, and mold damage in the tub’s shell may become expensive concerns. 
  • Examine the rubber seals that surround the jets for any signs of deterioration.

A tub with an acrylic shell is more readily damaged than one with a chrome shell, necessitating the use of gentler cleaning chemicals and procedures. You may use any commercial jet cleaner. While there are a variety of professional shell cleaners available, as previously said, many common home cleaners will do.

Above everything, have patience. Clearing the pipes and thoroughly cleaning the tub may take many efforts.

How to Keep Your Hot Tub Clean


After putting in the time and effort to refurbish your hot tub, you’ll undoubtedly want to maintain it in peak condition. A few simple processes may assist with this.

Daily Weekly Monthly Yearly
Without any additional cleansers, run the jets for at least 15 minutes. Clean the tub by draining it and wiping it down. Examine the seals and jets for wear and damage. Follow the steps outlined above to complete the cleaning procedure.
Examine the tub shell for any damage. Remove the filter and rinse it.   Have the wiring in the hot tub inspected by an electrician.
The hot tub cover should be cleaned and secured. Check the pH and chlorine levels in the water.    

It’s also useful to know what causes your hot tub to get unclean or damaged in the first place. 

Body oils and other organic materials are released into the water as you soak in the tub. This may cause clogging and damage to the jets if it builds up in the pipes. Keeping the filter clean may assist to mitigate the harm that these oils might do.

The shell, cover, and electrical systems of the tub may all be worn down by the elements. For indoor hot tubs, this is less of an issue. 

Both of these components may induce changes in the water’s chemical equilibrium, necessitating frequent pH and chlorine testing.


Owning and maintaining a hot tub is a significant time commitment, but it is well worth it. The amount of labor required to clean a hot tub is determined on how long it has been ignored and the environment in which it has been left. You can clean and repair your hot tub and keep it functioning by following the instructions in this article, no matter how long it has been lying unused.


This “how to clean a used hot tub” is a guide on how to clean your hot tub after you’ve gone through it. This will ensure that the water stays fresh and clean for future use.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you clean a hot tub that has been sitting empty for years?

A: You should clean a hot tub that has been sitting empty for years with vinegar and baking soda.

How long can a hot tub stay empty?

A: Hot tubs typically only last for six weeks before the water inside needs to be replaced.

How do you deep clean a hot tub?

A: Cleaning a hot tub is not an easy task, but if you have the right tools and know what to do, it can be done. You will need some mild bleach and water as well as scrubbing pads or brushes that are meant specifically for cleaning fiberglass surfaces. Make sure before using anything on your hot tub that you test it out on an inconspicuous area of your spa first!

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