How to Clean a Salt Water Hot Tub

Cleaning a salt water hot tub is a tad different from cleaning your regular hot tub because, with your salt water hot tub, you need to worry about cleaning other hot tub parts such as the salt cell chlorinator which you wouldn’t find in a regular hot tub.

So how do you clean your salt water hot tub? How do you clean the salt cell chlorinator? And how do you get rid of algae and bacteria from your salt water hot tub? Let’s see.

Here are 8 steps on how to clean a salt water hot tub. The guide contains two methods-- one with an in-line chlorinator and one with a drop-in chlorinator.

Are Salt Water Hot Tubs Easy to Maintain?

Salt water hot tubs are very easy to maintain because you get to worry less about draining the hot tub, testing the chemical properties of the water, and even adding sanitizer to the water which for the record is a big plus. Salt water hot tubs are popular for their low maintenance needs which make them easy to maintain.

You don’t have to worry about adding bromine or chlorine sanitizer to the water of a salt water hot tub. This is because salt water hot tubs come with a salt cell chlorinator which is just a fancy word for chlorine dispenser.

The chlorinator adds chlorine to the water in the spa by converting hot tub salt to chlorine. This automatically removes any need to add chemicals into your hot tub, not unless you want to shock the water.

Salt water hot tubs are also very easy to maintain because you get to worry less about draining your hot tub. With your regular chlorine or bromine hot tub, you will need to drain the hot tub at least 3-4 times a year which can be a lot of work considering how much time and effort goes into draining and refilling a hot tub. Salt water hot tubs on the other hand don’t have to be drained that much.

Salt water hot tubs are also easy to maintain because you don’t have to worry about testing the chemical properties of the water frequently. With a regular hot tub, you will need to test the water chemistry before you add any sanitizer or chemical to the water.

Salt water hot tubs do not require this heavy water-testing routine because they don’t require chemicals. The only thing you will regularly need to check in a salt water hot tub is the salt level.

Since salt water hot tubs are easy to maintain, cleaning them is also easy. So how do you clean a salt water hot tub? Keep reading to find out.

Related Read >>> How To Shock a Salt Water Hot Tub?

How to Clean a Salt Water Hot Tub Easily

When it comes to cleaning a salt water hot tub, two of the most important parts of the hot tub to pay attention to are the salt cell chlorinator and the hot tub filters.

The salt cell chlorinator adds chlorine to your hot tub and the filtration system traps dirt that falls into the hot tub. These parts of your hot tub especially are affected by dirt and debris. So you will need a few tools to properly clean them.

Tools Needed to Clean a Salt Water Hot Tub

  • Hot tub manual
  • Hot tub cleaner
  • Soft sponge
  • Filter cleaner
  • Salt cell chlorinator cleaner
  • A pair of gloves

Now, let’s get to work.

Turn Off the GFCI Breaker to Your Salt Water Spa

The first thing to do is to cut all power supply to the hot tub. Water and electricity aren’t the best of friends, so before you can clean the salt water hot tub, ensure to turn off the GFCI breaker first. This will cut off all power supply to the hot tub and prevent any uh-oh moment.

Locate the Salt Cell Chlorinator

The part of your salt water spa that gives it a distinct name is the salt cell chlorinator. This is the device that supplies chlorine to your hot tub water and makes it healthy for you. Due to the constant use of the chlorinator, it is bound to be affected by a build-up of scum, calcium, and hot tub scale, especially if you don’t clean it when due. The salt cell chlorinator should be cleaned every 60 to 90 days. So how do you clean it?

To clean the salt cell chlorinator, you need to first locate where it is. Most salt water hot tubs have a drop-in salt cell chlorinator. The drop in chlorinator is usually dropped into the water and connected through a cord that runs to a socket outside the hot tub. If you have the drop in chlorinator, trace the cord to know where it is located inside the hot tub water. Then bring it out.

If you don’t have the drop-in salt cell chlorinator, chances are your spa’s chlorinator has been installed in the plumbing lines of the hot tub. This type of chlorinator is called the in-line chlorinator. This means you can’t remove it without unscrewing some nuts and bolts. The good news is you can still clean the in-line salt cell chlorinator without removing it.

If you aren’t sure where the chlorinator is or what type you have in your hot tub, you can consult the hot tub manual to know where it is. The next step is to clean the salt cell chlorinator.

Related Read >>> When Should You Clean the Hot Tub Plumbing?

How to Clean the Drop-in Salt Cell Chlorinator

If you have a drop-in salt cell chlorinator, take out the chlorinator and submerge it in a salt cell cleaning solution. The chlorinator cleaner usually comes in your hot tub’s start-up kit. If you don’t have it anymore or can’t find it, don’t panic. You can still purchase a bottle of salt cell chlorinator cleaner from your local store or pool store.

The cleaner is usually mixed with water before being used. Follow the instruction on the container regarding the proper way to mix the solution. Most salt cell cleaners usually indicate that 3 tablespoons of the product to be mixed with water from the hot tub. After mixing the solution, submerge the chlorinator inside the solution for about 10 minutes.

You should see bubbles starting to form at the top of the solution when you submerge the chlorinator in it. This means the salt cell is being cleaned. If you don’t notice bubbles, it doesn’t mean your salt cell isn’t being cleaned. It just means the salt cell chlorinator isn’t very dirty, so top marks to you for good chlorinator maintenance.

Note that this procedure is for cleaning the drop-in salt cell chlorinator. If you have an in-line chlorinator, that takes a different procedure to clean.

How to Clean the in-line Chlorinator

To clean your chlorinator, you will need to add the chlorinator cleaner inside the plumbing lines of the hot tub. The salt cell cleaner will clean the chlorinator and get rid of any calcium or scum build-up in it. If possible, try to stay away from line flush while cleaning your chlorinator.

Line flush was designed specifically for getting rid of biofilm from hot tub plumbing. Your chlorinator might not be able to cope with the harsh chemicals in a hot tub line flush. Now that you have cleaned the chlorinator. What’s next?

Clean the Filters

The next thing to do is to clean the hot tub filters. As you did with the chlorinator, the first thing to do is to locate where the filters are. The filters can be at the top of the hot tub or the base of the hot tub. You can check your manual to know where it is. After locating the filters, you should take them out. Turn the filtration system in an anti-clockwise direction and pull it out of the water.

To clean the filters, you can either rinse with clean water or with a filter cleaner. If you haven’t cleaned the filters in a few weeks, then you should use a filter cleaner or filter-cleaning chemical. To use the filter cleaner, submerge the filters in the filter cleaner for about 15 minutes. Then hose them down with your garden hose to give the filters a good clean. You can also use a soft brush to stroke the pleats of the filters so you can get to the debris inside the filters.

If you notice any hard debris or scum on the filters after you have cleaned them, you should soak the filters in chemical overnight. Then rinse them the following morning. Let the filters dry fully before you put them back in the spa. If the filters are damaged or worn out, you should replace them with new ones.

Wash the Shell of the Salt Water Hot Tub

The next thing to do is to wash the shell of your hot tub. You can do this in many ways. The best way is to get a hot tub cleaner and a soft sponge. Then spray the hot tub cleaner on the shell and scrub lightly with the soft sponge. Keep doing this till the shell is clean. Then rinse the shell of the hot tub.

If there are tough stains on the shell of the hot tub, you can use rubbing alcohol or white vinegar to get rid of them. But make sure you drain the hot tub before using rubbing alcohol or vinegar to clean it.

You should also drain the hot tub if you aren’t done so in about 6 months. While cleaning, pay attention to the waterline as that is where you will have the toughest stains. If you notice that you have algae bloom or mold attack in your salt water hot tub, you need to shock the water by adding a high dose of chlorine shock.

Clean the Spa Cover and the Plumbing Lines

While you are cleaning your salt water hot tub, you should also clean the cover of the hot tub to get rid of any mold or bacteria. You should also wipe and clean the hot tub pillows and headrests. If you can, you should try to add a line flush to the plumbing lines of the spa to get rid of biofilm or scum.

Rinse and Replace

After cleaning the parts of the hot tub, ensure to rinse them thoroughly with clean water. Then return or replace them and refill your hot tub with clean water if you drained it. Once the needed amount of hot tub salt has been added to the chlorinator system, you are ready to use your salt water hot tub again.

So now you know how to clean a salt water hot tub but how often should you change the water in the hot tub? Let’s take a closer look.

Related Read >>> Can you clean an inflatable hot tub?

How Often Should You Change the Water in Your Salt Water Hot Tub?

The water in your salt water hot tub should be changed every 6 months or twice a year. This is because salt water hot tubs to a large extent don’t get as dirty as regular chlorine or bromine hot tubs. So you can use the salt water hot tub for an extended period before you need to change the water.

Regular chlorine or bromine hot tubs need to have the water in the spa changed every 3 or 4 months. This is because there is usually a lot of chemicals and organic matter inside the water. The used chemicals and the organic matter form to produce chloramines which gives off a nasty smell and odd look in the hot tub. So the spa needs to be drained regularly.

Salt water hot tubs on the other hand don’t use chemicals. The chlorinator adds chlorine to the water by converting hot tub salt to chlorine through electrolysis. This means you wouldn’t need to worry about used chemicals and you can worry less about organic matter in the spa since there is chlorine in the water at every time.

So you can use the salt water hot tub for up to 6 months before you need to drain it. Some salt water hot tubs can even be used for up to a year before you would need to drain them. But I prefer to drain my salt water hot tub every 6 months.

Related Read >>> Cleaning a Regular Hot Tub Without Draining The Water?

Final Words

Overall, cleaning a salt water hot tub is very essential to the performance of the hot tub, and thanks to the easy maintenance routine of the salt water spa, it’s not difficult to clean a salt water hot tub. So grab your tools and get to work. You’ll enjoy the experience in your salt water hot tub after.

So there you have it. If you liked this post, ensure to check out others like it on this website for more hot tub tips. Have a nice day.

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