How to clean swim spa filters

By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

Published May 15, 2024

This is Hydropool's guide to cleaming your swim spa filters. To ensure each dip remains a pristine experience, it's crucial to keep the heart of your spa's cleanliness – the filter – in top-notch condition.

Filters play a pivotal role in maintaining the clarity and purity of your spa water, catching dirt and debris and preventing contaminants from spoiling your tranquil retreat.

At our retail stores we make a point of walking through this part of swim spa ownership, so that they know what’s involved in maintaining them when they buy. We created this guide because we’re asked about cleaning filters frequently at our retail outlets, and we wanted an easy way for everyone to understand what is involved.

Neglecting the filters can lead to a decline in water quality and hinder the performance of your swim spa, resulting in unnecessary stress and repairs.

With our step-by-step guide, we'll walk you through the process of cleaning your swim spa filters efficiently and effectively.

So in this article, we will go over the following steps:

  • The frequency of filter cleaning
  • How to remove the filter
  • What to do when regularly cleaning
  • Deep cleaning your filters
  • Extra tips on swim spa filter cleaning
  • When to replace your swim spa filter (and what to look for)

By the end, we hope you’ll know just want to do with your swim spa filters.

Who often do I clean my swim spa filter?

No matter what swim spa you own, it's essential to maintain a regular filter cleaning schedule to keep your spa in top condition. A good rule of thumb is to perform a basic cleaning weekly and a more thorough cleaning monthly.

But that regime can change depending on a variety of factors. The frequency of cleaning your filter cartridges depends on several elements:

  • Check your owner’s manual for specific recommendations. Different models may have unique requirements.
  • Consider how often you use your swim spa and the number of users. If you’re using it a lot or have had multiple pool parties, you’re going to want to rinse your filter more often.
  • Pay attention to warning signals or error codes indicating restricted water flow. If anything like this happens, checking your filter is standard procedure.

How do I remove my swim spa filter?

Before you begin, ensure your swim spa jets are entirely turned off to avoid any safety hazards. Nothing should be moving when you begin to do any work with the filter.

  • Locate your filter: It is typically housed inside a canister or under a lid within the spa. Consult your owner's manual if the filter is not immediately visible.
  • Follow your owner’s manual instructions. This will usually involve turning the filter counterclockwise and gently lifting out.

What is my weekly swim spa cleaning process?

Once a week, inspect your filter for any damage such as major rips or tears, which would necessitate replacement rather than cleaning.

  • Use a garden hose to rinse debris from the filter. In the winter, you can take the filter completely out and clean it in your laundry sink or any deep sink.
  • Position the hose at a 45-degree angle and clean between the pleats without damaging them.
  • Do not use a high-pressure wash feature. Your goal is to rinse out debris, and not put too much pressure on the filter.
  • Perform a detailed inspection and remove any stubborn debris manually.

What is my monthly swim spa cleaning process?

For a more thorough cleanse every month:

  • Repeat the weekly cleaning steps to remove loose debris.
  • Prepare a large bucket with water and add an appropriate amount of recommended spa filter cleaner. This will be sold at your swim spa retailer store.
  • Submerge the filter in the cleaning solution for a minimum of one hour to overnight, depending on the product instructions.
  • Use your garden hose to rinse off all cleaning solution from the filter. This is important as you want to remove any of the soap before it goes back into your swim spa. If you don’t do a thorough cleaning here, you may end up with bubbly, soapy water.
  • Check the filter for any remaining dirt, debris, and inspect for damage.
  • Once clean and inspected, replace the filter back into your swim spa.
  • People often have two swim spa filters that they switch back and forth, so you can simply install the second one while cleaning the first and vice versa.

By maintaining this cleaning regimen, you will extend the lifespan of your filter and ensure your swim spa operates efficiently.

What other tips are there to help your swim spa filters?

In addition to cleaning your filters:

  • Keep your spa water balanced by using the proper chemicals! We can’t stress this enough: It’s the no. 1 thing you can do to keep your filters and your swim spa in top condition (and save money on ongoing costs).

When should I replace my swim spa filter?

You should always refer to your owner’s manual to see if it gives you a schedule. Typically, swim spa filters should be replaced every 1-2 years, but this can vary based on usage and care.

Here are other elements to look for:

  • Persistent Dirty Appearance: If your filter still looks dirty or discolored after a thorough cleaning, it may be time to replace it. Stains that won't go away suggest that the material has degraded and can no longer perform as efficiently.
  • Damaged Filter Material: Look for any signs of damage such as rips, tears, or fraying in the filter material. When the structure of the filter media is compromised, it can no longer trap contaminants effectively.
  • Decreased Water Flow: If you notice reduced water flow or increased pressure in the spa even after cleaning the filters, this may indicate that the filters are clogged and can no longer be properly cleaned.
  • Foul Odor: A smell coming from the filter after cleaning suggests a buildup of bacteria or mold inside the filter material, which typically means the filter needs to be replaced.
  • Increased Spa Maintenance: When filters degrade, they lose efficiency, potentially leading to cloudy water or sanitizer demand increases. If you're spending more time and effort on spa maintenance, a new filter might be necessary.
  • Unusual Noises or Error Codes: If your spa displays error codes related to water flow or heating, or if you hear unusual noises from the pump or heating system, it could be due to a failing filter.

Remember, while regular cleaning is important, using a worn-out filter can put a strain on your swim spa's circulation system and reduce the overall quality of your spa experience. Always keep a spare filter on hand so that you can readily replace it when the time comes and enjoy uninterrupted use of your swim spa.

How do you clean swim spa filters?

Cleaning swim spa filters are a necessary part of owning a swim spa. But it’s a relatively simple procedure that you can build into your weekly maintenance routine.

We are asked about swim spa filters regularly at our retail stores, and that’s why we wanted to write this article. We wanted to explain the weekly and monthly routines for cleaning and give you tips on when it’s time to replace your filter.

We hope we answered all your questions! But if we didn’t, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a local retailer who can assist you.

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