How Do You Clean Hot Tub Filters?

By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

Published May 15, 2024

Your hot tub has been delivered, and you’ve tried it and love it. You’ve figured out how to balance your water and everything couldn’t be running better.

But wait, what’s that other thing you know you need to do? Clean the hot tub filter?

You do need to do it! In this article, we’re going to cover regular filter maintenance.

But as a new owner you may not know how or how often you should be cleaning your filter, or even that you have to.  

This is something we go over with customers at Hydropool regularly, as we know people often have questions with it. So in the article below, we will discuss:

  • How often should I clean my hot tub filters?
  • What needs to be done on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis with a hot tub filter?
  • Does self-cleaning mean I don’t have to clean my hot tub filter?
  • When should I replace my hot tub filter?
  • What should I not do with my hot tub filter?
  • What are the parts of a hot tub filter?
  • Is there any natural way to clean my hot tub filter?
  • Does hard water affect my hot tub filter?
  • What signs will tell me when to replace my hot tub filter?

Hopefully by the end of this article, you’ll have a strong sense of how to deal with your hot tub filter!

 

 

How often should you clean your hot tub filters?

Here is the core process that you should follow regularly. Note: It is important to never run your hot tub without a filter in it. When cleaning, make sure your hot tub has all the jets shut off. You don’t want debris getting into the mechanical part of the hot tub: That’s what your filter is designed to keep out! Some people have two filters and rotate them as a solution to keep their hot tub going during these times.  

Weekly Cleaning

Each week when testing your water, remove the filters from your hot tub and rinse them with a garden hose or in a deep sink under the water tap. Spread apart the pleats in the media to remove trapped hair, dirt and debris. Allow the filter to completely dry before putting back in your hot tub.

Monthly Cleaning

Once every three months, you will be required to clean your filter in a specialized chemical rinse. Make sure you ask your hot tub dealer which type of filter cleaner they recommend and buy a bottle when you get your hot tub so that you will be prepared.

Remove your filter, spray down with the specialized cleaner and allow it to sit for 15 - 20 minutes. Thoroughly rinse with water and allow to dry before replacing. Make sure to rinse well - if any spray cleaner has been left on the filter it will cause foam in your hot tub water once you put it back in.

Quarterly Cleaning

Every 3-4 months, the water in your hot tub should be changed. This is also the perfect time to do a complete filter cleaning, otherwise known as a chemical soak. Remove the filter and place in the chemical solution provided by your dealer and let soak for 24 hours. Thoroughly rinse all of the solution off and allow to dry before replacing.

Are there any exceptions to cleaning your hot tub filter?

Every hot tub is different, but each one that’s sold today requires some filter cleaning, no matter the manufacturer.

Some, however, have two filters that are of the same type, some have two filters that each filter different elements. In that case, you need to speak to your local retailer or follow the instructions in the owner’s manual to ensure you are cleaning the filters correctly.  

Does having a self-cleaning hot tub mean I don’t have to clean my filter?

Oh, we wish! Hydropool sells a self-cleaning line of hot tubs with its Signature line. But that refers to the system of cleaning the water out of the hot tub: You don’t need skimmers or vacuums or other pieces like that, as they are all built into the hot tub itself. You can learn more about self-cleaning by watching this video. Self-cleaning lowers your maintenance to the minimum, but it can’t take it completely away.

What are the parts of a hot tub filter?

A hot tub filter is comprised of three main parts, which is important to be aware of.

Core - The core is the main internal structure of the filter. This is what provides a powerful force of water flow - if the core of the filter cannot handle the integrity of the filter, the water flow will be affected.

Media - The media is the exterior fabric-like pleated material covering the filter. Water passes through the media, where dirt and debris become trapped.

End Caps - The end caps are just what they sound like. Plastic material at each filter end which attaches the filter to the spa plumbing.

When should I replace my hot tub filter?

It is important to know right off the bat that you should purchase a new filter every year or so. Your filter may need to be replaced sooner if the end caps or media has been damaged. Keeping the filter of your hot tub clean is such an important part of hot tub maintenance. In certain circumstances, a dirty filter can void your warranty.

What are the signs that it is time to change your hot tub filter?

Signs that a hot tub filter needs replacement include:

  • persistent bad odors
  • visible damage to the media or end caps
  • reduced water flow
  • an inability to clean the water even after the filters have been rinsed out

Factors that could shorten the lifespan of a filter include:

  • high usage
  • frequent exposure to high levels of oilsm lotions, or cosmetics from bathers
  • imbalanced water chemistry
  • cleaning the filter too aggressively or with improper methods

Regular assessment of the filter's condition during each cleaning will help you determine when it's time for a replacement, ensuring your spa water remains clean and hygienic.

What should I not do to my hot tub filter?

What not to do with your hot tub filter?

  • Make sure that you never use bleach to clean your hot tub filter.
  • Never place your filter in your dishwasher to be cleaned.

Both of these scenarios will damage your filter, degrading the core and media parts of the filter.

Also never use laundry soap to clean your filter. The soap will not completely rinse off and chances are you will end up with foamy water. This goes for dishwasher, hand soap and dish soap as well.

Is there any way to clean my hot tub filter without chemicals?

If there’s anything at all we’d suggest trying (other than the recommended filter cleaners) it is that you use a solution of water and white vinegar to help break down the mineral deposits and other build-ups.

Soak the filter in the vinegar solution overnight, then thoroughly rinse it with water. Vinegar is a mild acid that can serve as a natural cleaning agent, but it may not be as effective as specialized chemical cleaners for removing all types of debris and bacteria.

Does hard water affect my hot tub filter?

In hard water areas, mineral deposits can accumulate more quickly on spa filters, potentially requiring more frequent cleaning or special treatment.

Owners in such areas might need to use a demineralizing agent or a filter cleaner specifically designed to tackle calcium and lime build-up.

This is the kind of thing best discussed with your local retailer as they will know the rough water levels in the area. You can also bring in a sample to your local retailer and have them test it. Most retailers have a method of water testing to advise you on how to balance the water in your hot tub (and if they don’t, they aren’t a great retailer for you).

How do you clean hot tub filters?

This article is your complete guide to hot tub filters. We covered how to clean them, their parts, what to do and what not to do.

A hot tub filter is one of the most crucial parts of your hot tub and it requires weekly maintenance. It’s not a lot of work, but it will go a long way to ensuring your hot tub lasts and that your water stays as clean as possible.

We hope we answered all your questions in this article about your hot tub filter, but there’s a chance we didn’t. If that’s the case, please get in touch with your local retailer who can help you out.   

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