Hot tubs are relaxing and enjoyed by their owners and guests. If not properly cleaned or taken care of, the relaxing hot tub can become too dangerous and dirty to use. For these reasons, some people may be tempted to throw some bleach in the hot tub and let it go to work so they can use their hot tub again without replacing the water. This is a mistake; your hot tub needs special care. However, there are some parts in your hot tub that are appropriate and safe for bleach to be used on.
Unlike whirlpool tubs, hot tubs are designed to hold the same water over long periods of time. For this reason, you need to treat the water to keep it clean. There are special chemicals like pH balancers and chlorinating granules, available to keep the water in your hot tub clean, similar to the way you would keep the water in your swimming pool clean. You cannot just randomly put these chemicals into a hot tub; there is rhyme and reason to the process.
Keep the pH level around 7.6 to 8.2 and the alkalinity at 100. Use pH indicator test strips, like Thermo Care Test Strips, to test these levels. Afterwards, you may need to add specific chemicals like pH/Alkalinity Up or pH/Alkalinity Down, based on the results in order to raise or lower the pH level. You also need add chlorine (not bleach), like Brilliance Chlorinating Granules, to your spa every couple days, but check with your manufacturer or local hot tub specialist to see how often and how much you should add for your specific size tub and frequency of use. You can purchase the test strips and chemicals at your local or online pool or hot tub store (e.g. Aqua Pool and Stores and hottubchemicals.com). If you don't keep up with the proper dosing of chemicals, the water can hurt your eyes, the water can become cloudy and algae can start to grow, just to name a few.
Adding chlorine does not mean bleach. Do not add bleach to your full hot tub in order to keep the water clean. There are special chlorine granules, like Spa Ease Chlorinating Granules, that are safe for the tub water and safe for the persons who are using the tub water. You can however, use bleach to clean your filters and clean the hot tub shell--only when it is empty, not full of water. You will of course, need to rinse it thoroughly. Drying is not necessary.
Cleaning the Filter
Filter manufacturers state that you need to use a filter cleaning product to clean filters; however, you can choose to clean them with a homemade solution, which contains bleach. Bleach may corrode the fibers in the filter over time, but you should replace the filter yearly anyway. Know that using bleach may result in replacing the filter sooner, but it will not hurt the water or the persons using the tub. You will normally clean your filter with a just a hose, however, to clean lotions, body oils and other things that are not removed by the hose, mix one-fourth cup of bleach per three gallons of water. Then soak your filters for 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly before putting them back in the hot tub.
Cleaning the Hot Tub Shell
You will need to empty and clean your hot tub from time to time, usually every three to four months for most hot tubs. To clean, empty your hot tub. Add ½ c. of chlorine bleach to three gallons of water. Take a sponge or rag and clean the shell of your hot tub. Rinse all the dirt and bleach away before refilling. Again, you do not need to dry the hot tub before filling it back up.