Have you ever been in a Jacuzzi and started to itch? This is a common problem, but many people don’t know why it happens. In this blog post, we will discuss the truth about Jacuzzi jets and why they make you itch. We will also provide some tips on how to prevent this from happening!
So Why Do Jacuzzi Jets Make You Itch?
This is due to a phenomenon called “jet lag.” This occurs when the pressure of the water coming out of the jets is too strong, causing tiny particles in the water to become airborne. This irritates your skin and can cause itching or rashes. This can be especially uncomfortable if you have sensitive skin or allergies.
The itchy sensation usually goes away soon after you move the jet to another area of your body. If the itchiness persists or you see a rash a few days after getting out of the hot tub, you might have Pseudomonas folliculitis, also known as “hot tub rash.”
The two main reasons this problem happens are either because bacteria have grown on the jacuzzi jets, or because the chemical levels in the hot tub aren’t balanced.
Bacteria on Jacuzzi Jets Causes Itching
When we soak in a hot tub with our friends, we are sharing more than just the water. Our dead skin cells, sweat, and bodily fluids mix. If you’re squeamish about this idea, feel free to skip ahead. However, it’s important to remember that showering before getting in the tub can help minimize some of this icky interaction.
The reason gyms and spas make you shower before using the jacuzzi are that they know humans tend to have little bits of pee and poop stuck to their privates, especially in countries that use toilets without bidets. (If you want to get CLEAN, definitely consider a bidet attachment).
If not dealt with, these natural bodily fluids can lead to bacteria growth and contaminate hot tub water. You might think you’re diligent in draining and regularly cleaning your tub, but there are other places where residue can form and cause long-term problems. While chemicals will work to kill bacteria present, there is less need for them if fewer contaminants are introduced in general. A higher concentration demands more frequent application of disinfecting chemicals.
Itching can be caused by chemical imbalances in the Jacuzzi.
Without proper sanitation and filtration, jacuzzis can become hotbeds for germs and bacteria. The two most common chemicals used to sanitize jacuzzis are chlorine and bromine. If the levels of these chemicals are not managed properly, users may experience skin irritation, rashes, or itchy patches on their skin. Understanding how to maintain the correct chemical balance is key to preventing any discomfort from using the jacuzzi.
Not only is chlorine used in swimming pools and hot tub sanitizers, but did you know it’s added to drinking water as well?
Why do we chlorinate water?
As stated by the American Chemistry Council, chlorination eliminates harmful microorganisms that might cause gastroenteritis, Legionnaires disease, ear infections, and athlete’s foot.
How much chlorine is necessary to keep a jacuzzi clean?
The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that to be effective, jacuzzis should have a Free Available Chlorine level of 3-5 ppm (parts per million).
How can chlorine levels be measured?
Although chlorine immediately goes to work once you add it to your jacuzzi, killing germs takes a few minutes. The chlorine that has yet to react with bacteria or other contaminants is referred to as Free Available Chlorine (FCL). Meanwhile, the chlorinated ammonia from bathers’ urine and perspiration is called chloramine.
To get the “total chlorine” level, simply add both the FCL and chloramine concentrations. To keep your Jacuzzi running smoothly, be sure to test the FCL levels at least twice daily and have a device that will regularly add more as needed. However, don’t forget to check all levels – not just total chlorine!
What are the consequences of an imbalanced chlorine level?
If you add too much chlorine to your hot tub, it can cause skin sensitivity and irritation. A strong chemical smell of chlorine doesn’t necessarily mean there’s too much in your hot tub—what you are smelling is the chloramine or the chlorine byproduct from the chlorine that has already been used up. This is often a sign that you need to add more Free Available Chlorine.
Chlorine often breaks down quickly in high temperatures, whereas bromine is a more stable disinfectant chemical for hot tubs. Most commercial hot tub disinfectants contain both bromine and chlorine.
Why do jacuzzi sanitizers use bromine?
Though bromine is a more stable decontaminating agent than chlorine, it takes significantly longer for the effects to be evident.
What is the right amount of bromine to add?
Bromine levels should always be at 3-5 parts per million (ppm) to maintain tropical conditions and prevent the growth of bacteria.
How can bromine be measured?
If bromine reacts with ammonia present in water, it will be rendered useless for decontamination. The inactive remnants from bromine are called bromine–something that you want to avoid having too much of in your jacuzzi. To ensure this doesn’t happen, regularly measure the levels of active and available bromine present in your jacuzzi’s water.
What occurs if the bromine level is incorrect?
If there is not enough bromine in your jacuzzi water, it will not be as effective at decontaminating and could allow bacteria to grow. While bromamines may cause skin irritation and itching, some people say it is not as bad as the irritation caused by chloramines.
Not only is it important to have the perfect mixture of chemicals in your hot tub, but you must also filter out waste products from these chemicals (such as chloramines and bromamines) regularly. If you don’t, then chemical byproducts will accumulate over time and increase the chances that people using the hot tub will experience itchiness or develop a rash.
Five Ways to Immediately Stop Itching from Jacuzzi Jets
Now that you know the cause of your itchy skin or breakouts after using a jacuzzi, it’s time to find a solution. Here are five ways to stop itching and prevent “hot tub rash.”
1. Check the Levels of Cleaning Chemicals Regularly
To keep your Jacuzzi clean, you should regularly check the levels of free available forms of bromine or chlorine. As mentioned earlier, if these levels are too low, bacteria and algae may start to accumulate. To prevent this from happening, test the water twice a day when the Jacuzzi is being used. Adjust the amount of sanitizing chemicals accordingly.
2. Clean Jacuzzi Filters Every time the Pressure Increases
Filters primarily collect large chunks of pollutants. As the filter becomes dirtier, it will be difficult for water pumps to push water through the Jacuzzi filters. According to Darla Goeres:
As a cartridge becomes dirtier, the pump has to work harder to force water through it. When filter pressure increases to a predetermined amount (usually around 10 psi), it’s time for some routine maintenance: either cleaning the filters or replacing them entirely.
Changes in pressure can be an indication that it is time to replace your pool’s filter accordingly. Play it safe and check with the manufacturer or refer to the owner’s manual for detailed instructions.
3. Rinse Off Before and After Using the Jacuzzi
Before using the jacuzzi, all bathers should take off their clothes or bathing suits and shower with soap. Then make sure to fully wash off the soap before entering the spa.
It’s important that everyone showers right before getting in the hot tub so there’s less biofilm, and also to prevent any false alarms about your cleanliness from other yuck-averse people in the tub.
Use a gentle soap after you shower to ensure all the bromine is off your skin. If you have sensitive skin, be sure to use a hypoallergenic towel – I have very sensitive skin and this has been the best towel for me.
4. Regularly Wash Your Bathing Suit
Many people get a red jacuzzi rash in the shape of their bathing suits because the suit traps water (and harsh cleaning chemicals) against the skin. To avoid this, take off your bathing suit as soon as you leave the tub and wash it with a gentle cleanser—not just to save your clothing but also for future protection. Additionally, make sure to fully rinse your bathing suit while it is still on your body.
The colors in your bathing suit can become distorted from chlorine exposure. I learned this the hard way, so now I take extra precautions to ensure my bathing suit as well as my body is protected when swimming in chlorinated water. You mustn’t allow the chlorine to bake into your fabric by letting it air dry; otherwise, you’ll be re-exposed every time you wear it again.
5. Change Disinfectant Products
There are other cleaning chemicals available that use a lower concentration of chlorine or bromine, along with minerals such as silver and copper. You can also find a sanitizing solution called biguanide which doesn’t contain any bromine or chlorine, though it is more expensive. Always check with your manufacturer to see if solutions are safe for your jacuzzi model. Make sure you give the tub and jets a thorough clean once every month.
The Truth About Jacuzzi Jets and Why They Make You Itch
So now you know that the water from a jacuzzi jet hitting your skin could make you itch, but did you know it could also be caused by bacteria growing on the jet—or somewhere else in the spa? Most likely though, it’s an imbalance in the cleaning chemicals.