How to Clean a Hot Tub Filter So It's As Good As New

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iStock / Getty Images Plus

No matter what kind of hot tub you have, it will have a filter that will need to be cleaned.

Regularly cleaning your hot tub filter is one of the most important maintenance items that any hot tub owner can do. It will ensure that your hot tub stays clean throughout the season and make the hot tub filter last longer.

While there are several means and methods on how often and how to clean your hot tub filter, we've got the run-down on the best way to clean a hot tub filter and how often you should be doing it.

How to Clean a Hot Tub Filter

To fully clean a hot tub filter, soak the filter in a special hot tub filter cleaning solution for a few hours. This will properly strip out all of the oils from your filter. To do this, you will need hot tub cleaner, a hose, and 5-gallon bucket.

  1. Turn the hot tub's power source off so it cannot turn on even accidentally.

  2. Check that there is no debris in the filter chamber that could accidentally go into the pump.

  3. Remove the filter. It's usually built into the side wall; you can identify the spot by seeing where the water gets sucked in to go to the pump. There should be a hatch on top of that wall that gives you access to the filter chamber. Consult your owners manual for specifically how to gain access if you can't find it.

  4. Fill a 5-gallon bucket with cleaning solution and water. Follow the instructions on the cleaning solution for how much to add. Mix well.

  5. Submerge the filter in the solution. It should be soaked for a minimum of 8 hours and a maximum of 24. You can leave it in the sun to help keep the solution warm and loosen the dirt and oils.

  6. Rinse the filter off with a hose. Be sure to rinse it well, otherwise the cleaning solution will make your hot tub foamy.

  7. Let the filter air dry completely.

  8. Reinstall the filter in the filter compartment, the same way it came out. Once installed make sure that the filter is secure and close the lid.

  9. Check to make sure that the filter chamber has water in it, then turn the hot tub back on. Verify that you are not sucking up any air and that the returning water is not foaming inside the hot tub. If you see foaming, rinse and dry the filter again to remove the cleaning solution.

How Often to Clean a Hot Tub Filter

Throughout hot tub season, there are different cleaning intervals for your hot tub filter. Hot tub filters should be cleaned weekly, monthly, and at the end of the season.

Weekly, you should rinse the filter off with a hose. For the monthly cleaning, use a hot tub cleaning solution to submerge the filter. For the seasonal (or as needed) cleaning, either use a cleaning solution, rinse with a filter comb to thoroughly clean between each filter pleat, or replace the filter.

No matter when you clean the filter, it is best to clean the filter when it is saturated with water. This will allow the oil and debris stuck in it to not dry and cake on the filter, which would make it much more difficult to remove even with a cleaner.

Weekly Hot Tub Filter Cleaning

The best thing to do to extend the life of your hot tub filter is to clean it weekly. A weekly cleaning does not give algae or debris the time to build up and alert you to any potential issues with your hot tub chemistry before it gets too bad.

To clean you hot tub on a weekly basis, remove your filter and use a garden hose (not a power washer) to clean any debris between the filter pleats. While you're cleaning inspect for any tears or rips. If your see either of these, the filter will need to be replaced.

Monthly Hot Tub Filter Cleaning

The monthly cleaning is slightly more in depth. For this cleaning you will be removing the oils and residue from the filter, while the weekly cleaning is meant to remove debris.

It's the same process as what was detailed above—filling a 5-gallon bucket with water and cleaning solution and letting the filter soak for up to 24 hours. Rinse it off and let it air dry before reinserting it.

Seasonal Hot Tub Filter Cleaning

When you clean your hot tub filter at the beginning and end of the season, you'll be doing what you do on a weekly and monthly basis in one session.

Always clean the filter at the end of the season before you winterize the hot tub so your filter starts out clean the following year and you don't allow the gunk to really take hold while it's not in use. The end of season cleaning should be done before draining the hot tub so the filter is still wet and the debris and oil are loose.

  1. First, remove the filter and inspect for rips, tears, or any brittleness in the filter, and check if the core is still solid.

  2. After inspection, hose the filter down, making sure as much debris is removed as possible.

  3. Mix water and hot tub filter cleaner in a 5-gallon bucket and soak the filter.

  4. After soaking for a minimum of 8 hours, rinse the cartridge using a filter nozzle to get as deep into the filter pleats as possible.

  5. Let it dry and re-install it.

If you notice any damage or discoloration while cleaning, opt to replace the filter.

3 Things You Can Use to Clean a Hot Tub Filter

Just because your hot tub filter is dirty, doesn’t mean that you need to spend money on a hot tub filter cleaner. There are other products and household items to use that will also clean your filter, such as:

  1. Vinegar

  2. Dish soap

  3. An all-purpose cleaner, such as Simple Green

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you clean a hot tub filter with vinegar?

Yes, you can clean a hot tub filter with vinegar. It not only removes oil but doesn’t foam the water up when you reinstall your filter. To clean with vinegar, simply mix vinegar and water in a bucket and soak the filter for up to 24 hours.

Can you put a hot tub filter in a dishwasher to clean it?

No, you cannot put a hot tub filter in the dishwasher. Dishwasher soap is abrasive and will break down the filter membrane.

When opening a hot tub, should you fill the tub or clean the filter first?

If your filter is dirty at the beginning of the season, clean it before you fill the hot tub with water. That way if you notice the filter is bad or damaged, you will not have a hot tub filled with water that wont have a filter, giving bacteria a chance to grow and running the risk of sucking something damaging into your hot tub pump.

Read the original article on The Spruce.