Can You Use Liquid Bleach in a Hot Tub?

Purchasing a Hot Tub is easy but maintaining it requires a lot of effort. You may have come across certain individuals recommending you to use liquid bleach in place of chlorine or bromine for your hot tub to cut down the maintenance cost, but mind you, it can be very costly in the long run.

Liquid bleach is usually sold for large swimming pools having a considerably high pH rating and oxidizers. While your hot tub is fairly smaller in size, you should never use liquid bleach in it. Unless it is a one-off circumstance where you need it for shocking your hot tub.

If you are somewhat familiar with science, you may want to question why the answer to using liquid bleach in a hot tub is a big fat “No”.

While chlorine and liquid bleach both contain oxidizers and do the same job, why is it that it is strictly prohibited by hot tub manufacturers not to use liquid bleach? To answer this question, let’s break it down into different elements.

You can use it to clean a pool, but can you use liquid bleach in a hot tub? No, you can't. Liquid bleach is mostly made for large swimming pools, and since the hot tub is very small compared to the pool then it's not a good idea to use it. The only way you can use liquid bleach in a hot tub is if you want to shock it and not clean it.

What Is Liquid Bleach?

Liquid bleach is a cleaning chemical that is made up of calcium hypochlorite. It is high in pH and contains approximately 65% strength compared to normal household bleach. Liquid bleach is usually manufactured for large swimming pools due to its high pH levels and relative strength.

While it behaves similarly to a chlorine substance that is used in a hot tub, it can be very dangerous if used in a hot tub. Generally, temperatures in a swimming pool are relatively normal compared to that of a hot tub where temperatures can go on the far extreme. This makes the usage of liquid bleach suitable for swimming pools.

Because liquid bleach is an oxidizer that cannot deal effectively and efficiently at high temperatures, it can make the pH levels uneven in a hot tub. This can mess up certain parts of the tub as it may cause erosion on the surface area where it is high in strength along with the erosion of the pipes and the jets that get exposed to it.

If you are using a hot tub that has various parts connected with rubber such as the pump, blower, and jets, liquid bleach can severally affect them by causing them to erode at a much faster rate leading to a reduction in its lifecycle.

Where you have spent at least hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on your hot tub, it is recommended to make use of chlorine that is manufactured specifically for hot tubs to ensure its longevity.

Related Read: How Soon Can You Use A Hot Tub After Adding Chemicals?

What Is the Difference Between Pool and Hot Tub Chlorine?

Chlorine comes in different forms. These include liquid form and powdered form.

For pools, generally liquid chlorine is used to kill the bacteria and get rid of nasty elements manifesting it. Whereas for hot tubs, a powdered form of chlorine is used for keeping the tub bacteria-free and getting rid of nasty stuff by shocking it.

Most of the components in liquid chlorine and powdered chlorine are the same. The major difference is the strength of the chemical and the pH levels associated with it. Liquid chlorine generally has a pH level of at least 10 parts per million whereas powdered chlorine has a pH reading between 2 to 4 parts per million.

If you use liquid chlorine in your hot tub in place of powdered chlorine, you may end up experiencing more than one of the following problems:

  • Itchiness of the eyes and skin
  • Hair loss damage over time
  • A really bad odor similar to that of a public swimming pool
  • Erosion of surface area of the hot tub
  • Frequent problems in the sewerage pipes
  • Mechanical problems in the hot tub associated with jets, pump, filters, among others
  • Imbalance of water in various parts of the hot tub

Powdered chlorine, on the other hand, is made up of a tablet which is easier to insert in a hot tub. Although it takes time to dilute evenly in the hot tub, it is generally more effective to use because it has a stable pH reading and is more hot tub friendly.

It is also recommended by hot tub manufacturers to make use of powdered chlorine if they are to facilitate warranty in the unfruitful event where a hot tub breaks down during the warranty period.

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What Is Better for Hot Tubs Bromine or Chlorine?

While Bromine is comparatively more superior, it is very similar to Chlorine as it helps getting rid of bacteria and other nasty elements that manifest in hot tubs.

To make it easier for you to decide between bromine or chlorine, we have enumerated their pros and cons below:

Bromine Pros/Cons

Pros:

  • It remains stable at high temperatures making it more suitable for hot tubs, especially inflatable hot tubs that are used directly in the sunlight.
  • The odor released by bromine is not so strong making it comfortable for users to enjoy a prolonged bath session in the hot tub.
  • It is less reactive in nature making it more suitable for use. It does not cause problems such as skin irritation or itchiness, making it better for users having sensitive skin.
  • It is more effective in killing bacteria and other harmful elements that manifest in hot tubs.
  • It stays in the hot tub for a prolonged period preventing refueling at every usage.

Cons:

  • It cannot be stabilized easily when exposed to UV rays.
  • It is less effective if used in water having a temperature less than 75-degree Fahrenheit.
  • It makes the appearance of the water very cloudy because it is not as effective in getting rid of human oil as is Chlorine.
  • It attaches itself very firmly to the human skin making it difficult to rinse it off.
  • It is twice as costly as Chlorine.

Chlorine Pros/Cons

Pros:

  • Chlorine is very inexpensive compared to its alternative Bromine.
  • Chlorine comes in various forms most common of which is tablet making it easier to use in a hot tub.
  • Chlorine can be stabilized very easily, especially in inflatable hot tubs that are exposed to direct sunlight which contains UV rays.
  • Chlorine is very effective in getting rid of human oil. This helps in maintaining a very crystal-like appearance of water in a hot tub compared to that of Bromine where the water appears very cloudy.
  • Chlorine is very effective in water temperatures that are below 75-degree Fahrenheit.

Cons:

  • Since chlorine dissipates at a very uneven rate, it is fairly difficult to maintain a stable pH level when used in a hot tub.
  • Chlorine is highly reactive in nature because it contains oxidizers. This makes it very unsuitable for users who have sensitive skin as it may cause problems which include itchiness of the skin, eyes, and hair, among others.
  • Chlorine does not stay in the water and evaporates very quickly, thus requiring refueling very often.
  • It is not suitable for use in water temperatures that are above 75-degree Fahrenheit.

Based on our SWOT analysis we would recommend you to go for Bromine. However, if you are more alienated towards using Chlorine, then there is no harm in using it unless you have a very serious skin problem.

Related Read: Is It Safe to Allow My Hot Tub Run Constantly?

Can You Shock a Hot Tub With Bleach?

Shocking a hot tub is very different than using Chlorine or Bromine for a regular bath. Shocking has to do with getting rid of bacteria and the unusual sticky elements that get leftover after the bath and require a strong shot of Chlorine Shock or Non-Chlorine Shock having pH levels as high as 10 parts per million.

The question that arises here is whether you can use household bleach to get rid of these without purchasing an expensive Chlorine Shock?  The answer to that is somewhat “Yes” and mostly “No”.

You see, Chlorine Shock is manufactured primarily for hot tubs. That means that it is easy to administrate and safe to use. On the contrary, household bleach is manufactured for endless tasks as long as it is considered safe to use. Your typical household bleach is not as strong compared to Chlorine bleach.

That means you may have to use three to four times as much as household bleach compared to Chlorine bleach to effectively get rid of bacteria.

While you may end up getting rid of bacteria, you run the risk of voiding your hot tub warranty. Because certain manufacturers exclusively have terms and conditions that prohibit cleaning of hot tubs with regular household bleach, you have no other option but to use Chlorine bleach.

This is because your household bleach can cause the surface area of the hot tub to erode. Also, it may react differently to other mechanical parts associated with the hot tub which may cause the motor to stop functioning effectively, the pipes to stop letting the water in at a faster rate, or may altogether leave a very bad odor in your hot tub.

Whether or not you use household bleach or Chlorine bleach to shock your hot tub, it is recommended to wait a while before the hot tub dries out and the pH levels stabilize. Make sure to keep a test strip handy at all times as you will be needing it to check for the pH levels before you can take a relaxing bath in your hot tub.

Related Read: How Often Should You Change Your Hot Tub Filter?

What Is the Safest Way to Administer Chemicals While Shocking the Hot Tub?

While there is no exhaustive list, however, speaking from experience, you should take into consideration the following tips while shocking your hot tub:

  • Follow the user manual that comes with the chemical that you are using to shock your hot tub.
  • Keep the chemicals at an isolated place in sealed packaging to prevent it from getting exposed to the air. This prevents it from reacting prior to usage in hot tubs.
  • Wear a pair of gloves and safety goggles while adding the chemical substance to your hot tub.
  • Do not mix the chemicals manually! Turn the jets on and let them do their job.
  • Always add chemicals to the water and not the other way round.
  • Do not mix any other chemicals to the hot tub while shocking the hot tub.
  • After the shocking process has completed, flush the water in a stream which is away from plants and animals.
  • Do not use the hot tub instantly. Wait for a while. This can vary depending on the type of chemical used and whether the hot tub is exposed to sunlight. Normally, hot tubs that are exposed to sunlight help in stabilizing the pH levels at a more frequent rate compared to hot tubs located in closed vicinity.
  • Test your hot tub with a test strip before bathing in it to check whether the pH levels are between 2 to 4 parts per million in the case of Chlorine or 1 to 3 parts per million in the case of Bromine.
  • Do not turn off your hot tub after it has been shocked. Leave it turned on for a while so that it comes back to its normal state.

How Should I Shock My Hot Tub?

Shocking your hot tub is a very easy process. All you have to do is to follow the instructions mentioned below:

  • Remove the lid of your hot tub and turn the taps on to let the water flow in. Make sure the jets are running so that the chemicals you would pour would mix automatically.
  • Add the chemicals in quantities prescribed in the user manual. After adding the quantities, use a test strip to check whether the pH levels are between 7.2 to 7.6 in the case of Chlorine sanitizer and 7 to 7.4 for a Bromine sanitizer.
  • When a considerable amount of time (typically 30 minutes) has lapsed, flush the water and leave the lid of the hot tub off to let the pH levels stabilize.

We hope that after reading this article you will have a sound knowledge of what components to use to maintain your hot tub. Whatever you use, make sure to take care of the environment around you.

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