The 7 Best Hot Tub Cleaners to Make Your Spa Sparkle

A backyard spa is a year-round source of enjoyment—if you keep it clean. Here are the best hot tub cleaners to keep you soaking safely.

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Your outdoor hot tub is an all-or-nothing commitment. Treat it right, and you’ll enjoy years of soothing soaks, from summer parties to winter nights relishing that bubbly water. But neglect your hot tub, and it will come back to bite you. A dirty, contaminated spa can be a source of mold and algae, which can cause skin irritation and respiratory infections. As if hot tubs weren’t already an investment, poorly maintained ones can develop costly problems, including damage to filters, pumps and the solid surface shell. If you own a hot tub, maintaining it with the best hot tub cleaners is absolutely essential.

When buying a hot tub, a professional should walk you through all the necessary steps to ensure your new purchase stays pristine. Routine cleaning allows you to reap the many benefits of a hot tub while avoiding the potential headaches of poor care and maintenance. These top hot tub cleaner products make the job easier.

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Mav Aquadoc Spa Cleaner
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Best Overall Hot Tub Cleaner

AquaDoc Spa Surface Cleaner

We give this hot tub cleaner top marks for its all-purpose, multitasking functions, ease of use and positive customer feedback. The AquaDoc cleaner comes in a convenient spray bottle—just spritz it on hot tub surfaces, wait a few minutes, wipe down the area with a cloth or sponge and rinse. The product works on hot tub covers, too, and it’s even suitable for pool areas and bathrooms.

“Wow! I was so impressed with the results. My hot tub had waterlines that wouldn’t wash a way with anything. Then I sprayed this and let it sit a few minutes. When I came back I was shocked by how clean it was without even having scrubbed it yet,” writes happy customer Deyni.

Pros

  • No scrubbing required
  • Fast-acting formula
  • Removes stains, dirt, oil and scum
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Scent may bother some

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Quick N Brite Heavy Duty Hot Tub Cleaner
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Best Budget Hot Tub Cleaner

Quick n Brite Hot Tub Cleaner

This heavy-duty gel hot tub cleaner—suitable for solid surfaces and hot tub covers—comes with a sponge and cleaning cloth, so you won’t need to buy additional hot tub cleaning supplies. Let it sit for up to 30 minutes on especially dirty or stained surfaces, then simply wipe away. It’s a solid all-around cleaner at a value price, plus it’s biodegradable and nonabrasive, and there aren’t any harsh chemicals or odors.

The product was good for wiping down the inside of our emptied hot tub, but it really excelled for cleaning the hot tub cover. I was sure a new cover was needed, but the cleaner restored shine and minimized what looked like cracked vinyl,” shares five-star reviewer, Randi Park.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly price
  • Also works on hot tub covers
  • Leaves surfaces clean and shiny
  • Unscented

Cons

  • Some scrubbing may be needed

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Ecoone Hot Tub And Spa Shell Cleaner
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Best Eco-Friendly Hot Tub Cleaner

EcoOne Shell Cleaner Spray

This eco-friendly hot tub cleaner doesn’t contain harsh chemicals and is odor-free—a big plus for those with allergies or chemical sensitivities. It’s part of EcoOne’s line of “green” pool and spa products. The fast-acting concentrated surface cleaner spray works on all types of hot tubs, whether it’s made of hard fiberglass or an inflatable heavy-duty vinyl.

Had to use a little elbow grease, but the product did as advertised,” notes verified purchaser, KBW. “No odor and not harsh on your skin. I reordered the product to always have it on hand.”

Pros

  • All-natural ingredients
  • Completely odor-free
  • Budget-friendly price
  • Can be used on pool liners, too

Cons

  • Not ideal for tough mold and stains

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Leisure Ime Cover Care And Conditioner Spa Maintenance
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Best Hot Tub Cleaner for Covers

Leisure Time Cover Care and Conditioner

Outdoor spa covers exposed to the elements need special care to keep them looking spiffy. This Leisure Time conditioner is made specifically for covers, but can also be used on other vinyl surfaces, like car interiors and patio furniture. Spread a coating of the liquid cleaner on the cover, then buff to a healthy shine. Not only does it effectively clean and restore, but it also adds a protective layer that repels water, dust and dirt.

Among the hundreds of glowing reviews on Amazon, Larry Aceves, describes it best: “Our spa cover had gotten very worn looking and we weren’t sure we were going to be able to save it. This conditioner was like a miracle. The cover looks brand new and sheds water easily.”

Pros

  • Conditions and revitalizes dull vinyl covers
  • Provides ultraviolet (UV) protection
  • Works on various surfaces

Cons

  • Some users say two coats are needed

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Leisure Time Cartridge Filter Cleaner
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Best Hot Tub Cleaner for Filters

Leisure Time Cartridge Filter Cleaner

Hot tub and spa pros recommend cleaning hot tub filters every one to two weeks. This cleaning solution tackles tough dirt, grease and other accumulated residue. Take out the filter and soak it overnight in a bucket of water mixed with this hot tub cleaning solvent—the recommended ratio is one 32-ounce bottle per 8 gallons of water. Rinse thoroughly the next day and start enjoying your spa again! Note that several reviewers recommend wearing rubber gloves when you mix the solution and handle the filters.

Pros

  • Works for cartridge, DE and sand filters
  • Improves the efficiency of filters
  • Removes oil, grease, dirt and soap
  • Available in one, two, four or 12-pack options

Cons

  • Needs to set overnight
  • Doesn’t work on calcium build-up

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Ahh Some Hot Tub Plumbing & Jet Cleaner
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Best Hot Tub Cleaner for Pipes

Ahh-Some Hot Tub Plumbing & Jet Cleaner

Much like the pipes of a kitchen sink, the places you can’t see in your hot tub are where the really nasty stuff can lurk. Ahh-Some’s jet cleaner claims to work like “a complete colonoscopy for your hot tub” (yay, but yikes!) by removing built-up dirt, grease, white water mold and sludge from the inner workings of your spa. The manufacturer says the product also cleans hot tub cartridges and filters.

There are nearly 2,000 five-star Amazon reviews that rave about the effectiveness of this plumbing decontaminator. “We have a large outdoor spa that needed a deep cleaning, as it had not been used for some time. The tiny jar of Ahh-Some arrived and I was a bit skeptical. Following directions and using only a small amount, the results were fantastic!” says verified purchaser Vivian B.

Pros

  • Designed for hot tub plumbing infrastructure
  • One container provides four hot tub purges
  • Quick 15-minute cleaning cycle
  • Septic system-safe

Cons

  • Expelled gunk must be wiped away immediately

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Bio Ouster Weekly Hot Tub Cleaner, Conditioner, Clarifier
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Best Hot Tub Cleaners for Regular Use

Bio Ouster Weekly Hot Tub Cleaner

Reduce the amount of periodic cleaning your hot tub needs with a weekly dose of this cleaner and water clarifier. Simply add the prescribed dose directly to the hot tub water, turn up the jets and let it run for 15 minutes. Then, wipe down the gunk accumulated at the waterline. This product runs through pipes and helps clean them of accrued nastiness, resulting in clearer water.

Pros

  • Designed to use weekly
  • Comes with a month’s worth of cleaner
  • Easy and quick to use
  • Makes periodic deep cleaning easier

Cons

  • Larger spas will require multiple packs of product

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What to Consider When Buying a Hot Tub Cleaner

Deciding what to buy means assessing just how dirty your hot tub is. If you’re giving it some TLC after a long period of neglect, you might need a heavy-duty cleaner as opposed to an all-in-one or eco-friendly spray. You also need to decide how much elbow grease you want to commit to—some cleaners are wipe-and-go while others require scrubbing or buffing. Ultimately, consistent cleaning is a necessary part of protecting your investment.

Types of Hot Tub Cleaners

There are several hot tub cleaning supplies with specific functions that target different areas. Here the most common formulas:

  • General surface cleaner: For all hard surfaces, these solutions often come in spray bottles with an easy, spray-and-wipe application.
  • Hot tub cover cleaner: Specifically designed to clean and restore shine to vinyl covers, they’re usually sold in a liquid form that’s applied and buffed out.
  • Hot tub filter cleaner: This special soaking formula lifts dirt and grime out of the nooks and crannies of hot tub filters. Use about once every one to two weeks for optimal performance.
  • Hot tub pipe cleaner: Like a kitchen drain cleaner, these heavy-duty formulas clean the gunk you can’t see. Clean the plumbing every three to four months, or every time you change the hot tub water.

How We Found the Best Hot Tub Cleaners

As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.

FAQ

How often do hot tubs need cleaning?

Hot tub filters should be rinsed about once a week, with a deeper filter cleaning occurring at least once a month. This monthly filter cleaning is also a good time to wipe down the waterline and other exposed surfaces and run a cleaning agent through the pipes and filtration system.

Do you have to empty a hot tub to clean it?

Any of the products we included on this list work without draining the hot tub. Spray cleaners are especially suited for cleaning the waterline, where a layer of scum is most likely to form. For stains and build-up under the water level, you’ll need to drain your hot tub, clean it thoroughly and refill it.

What chemicals do you put in a hot tub to keep it clean?

The chemicals you use for cleaning a hot tub depend on the system you’ve installed. Your pool and spa pro should walk you through routine maintenance and cleaning tips, and provide you with a list of the necessary chemicals, including test strips to check for chemical balances. When in doubt, always refer to the instruction manual for the best cleaning and hot tub safety tips.

What can I use to scrub the inside of my hot tub?

Along with the best hot tub cleaners, a soft brush or scrubby tool should be sufficient to clean off most of the grime on the inside of your hot tub or jacuzzi. You can buy the items separately or purchase a maintenance accessory kit with all the hot tub cleaning tools you’ll need.

Elizabeth Heath
Elizabeth Heath is a travel, lifestyle and home improvement writer based in rural Umbria, Italy. Her work appears in The Washington Post, Travel + Leisure, Reader's Digest, TripSavvy and many other publications, and she is the author of several guidebooks. Liz's husband is a stonemason and together, they are passionate about the great outdoors, endless home improvement projects, their tween daughter and their dogs. She covers a variety of topics for Family Handyman and is always ready to test out a new pizza oven or fire pit.