The 6 Best Hot Tub Cleaners to Make Your Spa Sparkle
A backyard hot tub is a year-round source of enjoyment—if you keep it clean. Here are the best hot tub cleaner picks to keep you soaking safely.
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Your outdoor hot tub is something of an all-or-nothing commitment. Treat it right, and you’ll enjoy years of soothing soaks, from summer hot tub parties to winter nights relishing that bubbly hot 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 causes skin irritation and respiratory infections. Poorly maintained hot tubs can develop costly problems, including damage to filters, pumps and the solid surface shell. If you own a hot tub, maintaining it with a hot tub cleaner is absolutely essential.
When buying a hot tub, a pool or hot tub 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.
AquaDoc Spa Surface Cleaner
We give this hot tub cleaner top marks for its all-purpose, multi-tasking 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.
- Easy cleaning without scrubbing
- Fast-acting formula
- Removes stains, dirt, oil and scum
- Available in a two-pack
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 these 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, nonabrasive and there’s no harsh chemicals or odors.
- Budget-friendly price
- Leaves surfaces clean and super-shiny
- Some users say scrubbing is still needed to remove tough dirt and stains
EcoOne Shell Cleaner Spray
This eco-friendly hot tub cleaner contains no harsh chemicals and is odor-free—a big plus for those with allergies or chemical sensitivities. It’s part of the brand’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.
- All-natural ingredients
- Completely odor-free
- Budget-friendly price
- Some users say it’s too gentle for tough grease and dirt
Best Cover Cleaner
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 or 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 were’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.”
- Conditions and revitalizes dull vinyl covers
- Provides UV protection
- Works on multiple surfaces
- Some users say two coats are needed
Best Hot Tub Filter Cleaner
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!
- Works for cartridge, D.E. and sand filters
- Overnight, deep cleaning with little elbow grease required
- Available in one, two, four or 12-pack options
- Some users report the product creates foam in their hot tubs
- Doesn’t work on calcium build-up
Best Pipe Cleaner
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 Cleaner and Purge Gel 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 glowing Amazon reviews that rave about the effectiveness of this deep-cleaning plumbing decontaminator.
- Quick 15-minute cleaning cycle
- Concentrated gel formula means a little goes a long way
- Septic system-safe
- Expelled gunk must be wiped away immediately
- Multiple cycles may be necessary
What to Consider When Buying Hot Tub Cleaner
There are a lot of hot tub cleaners on the market. 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 clean 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, spritz-and-wipe application.
- Hot tub cover cleaner: Specifically designed to clean and restore shine to vinyl covers, they are 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 or two weeks for optimal performance. It needs to be used once every one or two weeks.
- Hot tub pipe cleaner: Like a kitchen drain cleaner, these heavy-duty formulas clean the gunk you can’t see. Clean plumbing every three to four months, or every time you change the hot tub water.
How We Chose the Best Hot Tub Cleaner
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.
How do you clean a hot tub without emptying it?
Any of the products we included on this list will 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?
A soft brush or scrubby tool should be sufficient to clean off most of the grime from inside your tub. You can buy the items separately, or purchase a maintenance accessory kit with all the hot tub cleaning tools you’ll need.
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