How to Choose the Right Chemicals for Your Hot Tub


When it comes to hot tubs, chemicals are a necessary part of the equation. Chemicals keep the water clean and free of contaminants, and they also help to prevent the growth of algae and bacteria. But with so many different types of chemicals on the market, how do you know which ones are right for your hot tub? In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of chemicals available for hot tubs, as well as tips for choosing the right ones.

The following chemicals are necessary to help maintain your hot tub and keep the water sparkling:

  1. Sanitizers
  2. Scale inhibitors
  3. pH increasers and decreasers
  4. Clarifiers
  5. Defoamers
  6. Filter cleaners

By using these chemicals, you can prevent algae and bacteria from building up.

If you want your hot tub to stay clean and bacteria-free, then you’ll need to regularly clean it. Fortunately, there are many great cleaners on the market that have been specifically designed for this purpose. They will not only kill bacteria but also dissolve any dirty buildup around the rim of the tub. Below we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite products to help get you started.

Chemicals You Need for Your Hot Tub

Don’t worry; you don’t have to spend all day cleaning your hot tub. With the right products, you can clean and sanitize your tub in just a few hours! (You’ll need to use similar chemicals for a swim spa.)

It may sound too good to be true, but let’s take a look at the chemicals you need and which products work best.

If you’re using sanitizers in your hot tub, never mix them! If you want to change from one sanitizer to another, first flush the lines, drain the tub, and then clean your hot tub before adding a different sanitizer. Water treatments help keep your hot tub water clean and free of bacteria and germs.

Read through this article Why Jacuzzi Jets Make You Itch to find out what happens if you choose not to treat your hot tub water properly! There are a few chemicals you’ll need to purchase for your hot tub, and we’ll go over what each one does:

1) Chemical Sanitizers

A chemical sanitizer is necessary to not only remove bacteria but also disinfect the water and keep it clean. A sanitizer eradicates dangerous bacteria from your hot tub water.

If you don’t sanitize your tub, all sorts of bacteria will grow and take over your nice, relaxing space.

There are three effective sanitizers that you can use in your hot tub to eliminate germs, algae, and bacteria, each with its benefits. When picking a sanitizer, be sure to pick one that is compatible with your filtration system.

Chlorine Sanitizers

Chlorine is an oxidizer that works to get rid of pollutants in the water. The pungent smell we all pair with chlorine occurs when chlorine and water mix and form chloramines. Chloramines are what make the water stink!

If you’re looking to simplify the care of your tub’s water, chlorine is available in tablet form or floaters. Just be aware that when using these products, you will have to monitor the chlorine levels more frequently and remove the products once balanced water is achieved.

Chlorine granules are the best way to control algae growth, destroy most organic contaminants and kill bacteria in water. 

Granules work well because they provide a slow release of chlorine into the water, where it is then protected against UV radiation from the sun by stabilization. This also increases the product’s shelf life.

Recommended: Spa Selections Chlorinating Granules

Spa Selections Chlorinating Granules


Chlorine granules kill bacteria, organic materials, and algae quickly and easily! Simply add to your hot tub after use while the filter pump runs overnight. You’ll wake up to a clean hot tub with no sediment on the surface!

Bromine Sanitizers

Bromine, an alternative to chlorine, functions by ionizing the water and breaking apart any dirt particles. Even though it’s not the optimal choice for mineral systems, bromine can be less harsh on sensitive skin than chlorine.

Bromine takes a while to dissolve in hot tub water and can make your skin feel icky. If you do use it, always rinse it off when you get out. 

Oxygen Sanitizers

If you have sensitive skin, oxygen is a more mild solution to chlorine and bromine that can be used in your hot tub. And, as a side note, if you also suffer from blotchy or splotchy skin, bamboo towels are the best option for you.

You need to use oxygen tablets and oxygen liquid together. They work in unison to kill germs and bacteria present in your hot tub water. 

The advantage of using oxygen tablets is that one tablet can last an entire week when treating 396 gallons (1,500 liters) of water— simply add another tablet each time you enter the hot tub.

2) Scale Inhibitors

If you have a scale in your hot tub, you’ll probably know it as soon as you get in the water; it can feel like sandpaper. But mineral buildup can also accumulate unseen in the plumbing system and heating elements, causing gradual damage to your tub. To remove scale build-up and prevent it from returning, drain the tub and clean it with specialized products. Also, make sure to keep chemicals properly balanced in the water

Recommended: Spa & Hot Tub Scale Remover

Spa & Hot Tub Scale Remover


This product is a unique scale remover that can quickly and easily remove lime and scale buildup. Available in an easy-to-use 32-ounce (900 ml) spray bottle, this product should be used weekly to keep your hot tub clean and sparkling.

We’re confident you’ll find that this product exceeds your expectations and does more than its fair share to keep your hot tub sparkling clean!

The Hot Tub Scale Remover will:

  • Remove existing scale buildup 
  • Prevent new scale formations from occurring 
  • Keep calcium deposits at bay to maintain water clarity

To clean your hot tub, simply drain it and then spray the surface with a scale remover diluted in water. Let the solution sit for 10 to 15 minutes, and then rinse it off.

 3) pH Decreasers and Increasers

In hot tub speak, pH increasers and decreasers are commonly known as “balancing chemicals.” These chemicals are necessary to keep your hot tub water within a specific range:

To maintain a healthy pool, you should aim for the following pH levels:

  • between 7.4 and 7.6; 
  • total alkalinity levels of 80 to 120 parts per million; 
  • calcium hardness of 150 to 250 ppm.

To ensure your hot tub water is sanitary, test the levels of chlorine, bromine, and pH regularly. If all three readings are within the acceptable range, then your water is balanced and safe to use. The frequency of testing and treating should depend on how often you use your hot tub.

Recommended: SpaGuard PH Decreaser and SpaGuard PH Increaser

 SpaGuard PH Decreaser and SpaGuard PH Increaser.


The SpaGuard pH Decreaser will reduce the pH and alkalinity levels to acceptable levels. This will preserve your equipment’s longevity and hinder the formation of scale. If the pH or total alkalinity is too low, add the SpaGuard pH Increaser to raise it back up to normal. A low pH level makes the water feel acidic and can cause burning if it gets in your eyes or nose.

4) Hot Tub Clarifiers

If the water in your recently cleaned hot tub appears cloudy and dirty, there are a few potential causes. It could be an issue with the water balance or dirty filters, or you may need to add a clarifier weekly. A hot tub shock treatment should also be administered once a week to keep the water clean.

Recommended: SpaGuard Water Clarifier 

SpaGuard Water Clarifier


For best results, use 2 tablespoons per 300 gallons on the first use or 1 tablespoon per week for maintenance. The SpaGuard Water Clarifier will help collect small particles of debris together until they are large enough to be caught in your filter. This product will leave your hot tub’s pH level unaffected.

5) Hot Tub Defoamers

Too much foam is a common issue among hot tubs. It can become thick due to soap, deodorant, oil, shampoo, and lotion residue which then accumulates on the water’s surface- making it unhygienic looking and feeling!

Too little calcium in your hot tub water can result in an excess of foaming as well as decreased surface tension. This, subsequently, makes it easier for oil and water molecules to mix. There are many ways to destroy and prevent foam from appearing in your hot tub; some chlorine treatments only break down the foam while others called “defoamers” both break down the foam and target the root cause. Although, be cautious of how much defoamer you use because adding too much can make your water appear cloudy or milk-like!

Recommended: Pool & Spa Anti Foam Defoamer

Pool & Spa Anti Foam Defoamer


This super-concentrated water silicone defoamer prevents foam formation in the water and does not cloud the water or leave any oily residue in your hot tub. Available in 32 oz, 1, and 4-gallon containers, the Pool and Spa Anti-Foam Defoamer have a 30-day money-back guarantee; some customers have even used this product to clean out dishwashers and washing machines with excellent results!

 6) Hot Tub Filter Cleaners

Filters play an important role in making sure your hot tub water is clean, clear, and free of debris! They work to remove dirt, grime, and other particles from the water. Over time, filters can become clogged with dirt and debris which can restrict water flow and cause the hot tub to shut down. 

A standard hot tub filter should last at least a year; however, how often it needs to be replaced will depend on how frequently you use the hot tub and how many people use it regularly. 

You’ll want to soak your hot tub filters in a specialized cleaner once a month. This helps remove all the dirty particles that have accumulated over time.

Recommended: AquaDoc Hot Tub Filter Cleaner Soak

AquaDoc Hot Tub Filter Cleaner Soak


This filter soak only requires 60 minutes, as opposed to other overnight soaks. Not to mention, it will get rid of grease, suntan lotion, dirt, and scale- thus also prolonging the lifespan of your spa.

Before Soaking in Your Hot Tub for the First Time, Do This…

Before using your hot tub for the first time, there are crucial steps to follow–especially if you have never owned one before. You’ll need to keep the water’s pH levels in check by adding the correct chemicals. To do this:

  1. To get started, double-check that all plumbing was installed as the owner’s manual says.
  2. Then, clean the inside of the tub using a non abrasive cleaner and towel.
  3. After that, add the filter cartridge and fill the tub with fresh water.
  4. Afterward, turn on your tub to make sure the jets are working properly.
  5. Lastly, test the water and add chemicals 

Final Thoughts 

Be sure to keep hot tub chemicals out of reach from children and pets, in a cool dry location. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least 12 hours before entering the tub after adding sanitizers, giving the products enough time to work.

After you’ve set up your hot tub and made sure the water is at a comfortable temperature, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy. But don’t forget that even though laundry isn’t on your mind while you’re in the tub, you’ll need to regularly clean both the inside of the tub and the filter itself to make sure algae doesn’t have a chance to grow. Consistent temperatures also lengthen your hot tub’s lifespan, so be mindful of that when choosing how long to stay in.