Like their fixed counterparts, portable hot tubs require care and regular maintenance to keep them functional, safe and clean. However, they have a small filter that is easily blocked and needs frequent cleaning.

Special maintenance kits as well as a meticulous reading of the product manual will give you the requisite tools to lengthen the useful life of the hot tub. The following are a couple of tips on caring for your portable tub and keeping it clean.

Test Water pH

Use test kits to determine the alkalinity of the tub water. The ideal range is a pH between 7.4 and 7.6 though some manuals contend that anything between 7.2 and 7.8 is acceptable. If your portable hot tub did not come with a test kit, you can purchase one at a pool and spa supplies store online or near you. Specific instructions will vary from product to product.

Whenever the alkalinity is outside the desired range, use the tablets in the water balancing kit to return it, bring it up or down to the right pH. A low pH is too acidic and can degrade the vinyl as well as damage the tub. A high pH can lead to an accumulation of mineral deposits. Check the pH at least once a week.

Clean the Filter

The most vital part of hot tub cleaning is purifying the filter. Remove the portable hot tub’s filter once a week and clean it. You might have to check the owner’s manual just to be sure where exactly the filter is located since it’s not the same for every hot tub model. Most times, it’s near the heating unit or close to the ground on the tub’s exterior. Some portable tubs have two filters.

The filter itself is a compartment beneath a removable cap. Once you access it, clean the filter by first using a paper towel to wipe away debris. Next, hold the filter under running water to remove any fine dirt. Be on the lookout for leaves, grass or other debris in the hot tub; clean the filter as soon as you notice such dirt. It’ll keep the tub’s plumbing in good working order.

Filter cartridges have a finite lifespan. Check the portable hot tub’s manual on the recommended replacement period.


Drain and Clean the Tub Regularly

Portable hot tubs should be drained every three to four weeks depending on product instructions, frequency of use and the environment in which the tub is kept. Once empty, use a damp sponge (or soft cloth), mild liquid soap and water to clean the inside. Avoid scrub brushes and harsh cleaners as these can damage the tub surface.

Use a hose to thoroughly rinse the tub until no soap foam is visible. If you’re draining and cleaning it for winter storage, leave to dry before folding and storing. This is important because trapped moisture may lead to mildew or mold which can stain the tub. Mildew stains will not always come off with mild soap and water; you may need a special cleaner for the PVC-vinyl that removes stains but maintains the vinyl’s pliability.

When you need to use the tub again, refill it while going through the standard sanitation and alkalinity testing procedure. Remember to keep the lid on whenever the hot tub is not in storage but not in use.

Take a Shower Before

The human skin continuously sheds dead cells as part of a natural process of rejuvenation. In addition, the average person will accumulate varying levels of sweat and grime during the course of their day.

The hot water in a portable tub will loosen this dirt from the skin and gradually form an unsightly layer of dirt on the water surface and the tub’s sides. That’s why it’s important to make a habit of taking a shower beforehand. Overall, it reduces the time, effort and frequency of tub cleaning.

Regular and thorough cleaning keeps a portable hot tub running longer. While there are recommended cleaning cycles (some say every 3 or 4 weeks), the frequency of cleaning should be primarily determined by the frequency of use.

If the operator’s manual is unclear or you otherwise have any difficulty knowing the how and the when, contact the manufacturer or a local spa supplies store. Most supplies stores will be happy to help since this is an opportunity for them to sell replacement parts and cleaning products.

That said, the product manufacturer should be your first stop since they understand their portable hot tub better than anyone else.

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