How to Clean a Jacuzzi

Having a jacuzzi tub or spa is truly a luxury, but cleaning it is not so luxurious. Still, aside from routine maintenance of your hot tub/spa, periodic cleaning is an absolute must for the life of the spa and for the health and comfort of yourself and those who use the spa. The procedure may seem intimidating at first, but with the proper equipment and a little extra time and effort, it can be quite manageable.

What You Will Need:

  • Submersible pump
  • Garden hose
  • Vinyl cleaner*
  • Spa Cover Scrubbing brush*
  • Spa filter cleaner
  • Large bucket
  • Scrubbing Mitt
  • Spa Shell Cleaner
  • Several towels
  • Water pre-filter (optional)

*These are necessary only if you are also cleaning the hot tub cover.

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Before doing anything, cut the power supply to your hot tub (unplug it or turn off the circuit breaker). DO NOT attempt to clean your hot tub unless you cut off the power to the spa.
  2. Attach your hose to the submersible pump as per the directions on your particular pump, and place it inside the spa at its deepest point. Turn it on for operation, placing the hose in an area safe to receive drainage water. (i.e. away from flowers, vegetables and plants). If your pump is electric, use extreme caution when plugging it in (make sure your hands are dry) and keep the plug and power supply AWAY from the hot tub and other water sources. NOTE: If you don’t have a submersible pump, you may drain your hot tub the old fashioned way, using a hose and gravity method. However, the gravity method will likely take about 2 hours, whereas the pump method will only take about 15 to 30 minutes.
  3. While your hot tub is draining, you may want to clean your spa cover. To begin, place your spa cover on a flat surface.
  4. Using a vinyl cleaner such as EcoOne Spa Cover Cleaner® (environmentally friendly and nontoxic—available at most pool and spa stores), or other vinyl cleaner of your choice, spray the spa cover and working one section at a time, scrub with the scrubbing brush or other soft bristle brush.
  5. Rinse the spa cover thoroughly with your hose and either towel dry or allow to air dry.
  6. When your spa is drained (most pumps will remove all but about ½ inch of water), take your scrubbing mitt (available at most pool and spa stores) and spa shell cleaner (again, we prefer EcoOne Spa Shell Cleaner® because it is environmentally friendly, nontoxic and effective) and enter the hot tub (it is easier to clean it from the inside).
  7. Working one section at a time, spray the cleaner on the entire interior, including walls, lips, pillows and jets and scrub with the scrubbing mitt. If you don’t have s scrubbing mitt, a soft nylon scrubbing pad (such as the kind you might use for your dishes) can be substituted. However, be careful that the scrubbing surface is not so coarse that it will damage the interior shell of the hot tub. If unsure, test a small, inconspicuous area first. Pay special attention to the filter compartment as it tends to attract a lot of dirt and grime.
  8. When you’re done scrubbing, rinse the interior of the tub thoroughly with a hose and put the pump back in to pump out the rinse water. There will still be some water residue at the bottom when the pump is done (usually about ½ inch), which can be absorbed with a few towels.
  9. While the rinse water is pumping out, remove your spa filter and rinse off any excess debris with the hose.
  10. Fill your bucket with water and submerge the spa filter in the bucket (there should be enough water to completely cover the filter).
  11. Add filter cleaner to the water (liquid or granular) as per the directions on the package and allow the filter to soak. For best results, the filter should soak for at least 24 hours. It helps to have a spare filter handy to reinstall in your hot tub while the one filter is being cleaned.
  12. Once the filter is finished soaking, rinse it thoroughly with the hose and replace.
  13. Your spa is now ready to be refilled using your hose. When refilling, to minimize the necessity of frequent cleaning, we recommend a pre-filter (available at most pool and spa stores, and some home improvements stores). The pre-filter attaches to the end of your hose, and filters out impurities, which can be especially helpful if you have hard or scaly water, well water or water high in mineral content.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Keeping up with the regular maintenance of your hot tub/spa will cut down on the frequency of cleaning. However, the hot tub should be drained and cleaned at least once every three months.
  • Leisure Time makes a good instant spa filter cleaner (found at most pool and spa stores), which is good for a quick filter cleaning in between regular cleanings.
  • If your spa filter does not come completely clean after a 24 hour soak in the filter cleaner solution, it may be time to replace it.
  • The product known as “Armor All” has been recommended by some an effective spa cover cleaner; however, we DO NOT recommend you use it. While it may make the cover look good, it has been found to actually deteriorate the vinyl over time, necessitating replacement of the cover.
  • If you are unsure of your ability to drain and clean your hot tub properly, you may want to call a professional, although some of them can be pricey.


  1. K.M. says:

    Add 1 cup of pool shock into the filled tub and then run the jets for 5 minutes. This will clean and sanitize your jets. I learned this from a home inspector.

  2. Shireen says:

    I just bought a home with a Jacuzzi and have absolutely no idea how to take care of it! It’s looking a dull grey color inside. When you mentioned a hose to drain the water, is that a special one that I have to purchase? I think it has a fiberglass bottom; can I still use pool shock to clean the jets?

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