How to Clean a Hot Tub without Draining
First off... I have to say that draining the spa is usually recommended every 3-4 months, to replace with fresh water that contains far fewer dissolved solids, wastes and disinfectant byproducts. Fresh water is easier to filter, sanitize and is healthier for bathers.
But... I understand that there are times and places where draining the spa is not appropriate. Like when refill water is limited or unavailable, or when your city or county has water restrictions in place, prohibiting the draining of swimming pools, and hot tubs.
So... if you can't drain the spa as often as you should here are several ways to clean a hot tub without draining it completely, or ways to reduce draining.
1. RECYCLE THE HOT TUB INTO THE POOL
This option only works if you also have a swimming pool, or can borrow a neighbor's pool. With a small submersible pump, empty the spa into the pool, and after wiping down the spa interior, and cleaning with our Spa Cleaner chemical, and for a finishing touch, polishing with Fast Gloss spa polish, refill the spa from the pool.
2. RECYCLE THE HOT TUB INTO THE BATHTUB
This option only works if you have a bathtub within garden hose distance of the hot tub, and spa water that's not gross. Using a small submersible pump, empty 50-60 gallons into the tub, and use it for bathing. Do this for a whole week and you can empty the entire spa.
3. FILTER SPA WATER THROUGH EXTERNAL POOL FILTER
This option only works if you have access to a pool pump and filter, like an aboveground system that mounts on a skid, with a plug in cord for the pump. Hook up a pool-size filter and pump and you can turnover filter all of the water through a large filter in just a few hours. Rinse, Repeat.
4. FILTER SPA WATER WITH REVERSE OSMOSIS
This one only works in the driest parts of the country, where a new type of service company has sprung up. Mobile water recycling trucks can visit your home and pump out the pool or spa water, run it through the super effective truck mounted filters, and return it to the spa in minutes, perfectly clean and clear.
5. Balance the Spa Water and Shock
This one you probably know all ready - test and balance the pH, Alkalinity and Calcium levels, and then shock the spa with a granular chlorine shock. Read the label for dosage instructions, and then double or triple the amount, if your hot tub water is in really bad shape.
6. SCRUB THE SPA
Use a soft brush to scrub off any film and dirt, then use a skim net and a spa vacuum to remove the debris. A large hose can also be used as a siphon vacuum, by filling the hose with water, capping one end, and pulling it down to a point lower than the other end.
7. SCRUB THE PIPES
How do you scrub the pipes you say? Using a spa purge chemical to dissolve built-up biofilm lining the pipes and jets. A toothbrush can be used around the jet openings, but to clean a spa that has been sitting - it's necessary to remove the bacterial films inside the pipes and equipment. Problem is, after using Jet Clean, or other spa pipe cleaner like Ahh-Some, you'll need to drain the spa! You may want to do this step earlier....
8. SOAK THE JETS
Many of the jets in the spa may be removable, and can be soaked in a 50:50 solution of vinegar and water to remove any calcium build-up. Removing the jets also allows you to get deeper into the pipes to clean the small areas.