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How to clean and maintain an inflatable hot tub

How to clean and maintain an inflatable hot tub — woman in an inflatable Hot Tub
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Knowing how to clean and maintain an inflatable hot tub is essential if you want to prolong its life.

An inflatable hot tub provides a cheaper way to enjoy spa moments in the comfort of your home. You can relax with family and friends or use it for hydrotherapy to de-stress and unwind, and you can even pack it up and take it with you when holidaying in a vacation home. But it won't last long if you don't look after it — and keeping it clean is also paramount in maintaining hygiene, which is necessary for you and your family’s health.

Fortunately, it's easy to clean and maintain the best inflatable hot tubs — once you know how. We'll show you how to do that below.

How to clean an inflatable hot tub

You probably know that you need to regularly replace the water in your inflatable hot tub to keep it clean and hygienic. However, this is pointless if you don’t clean the tub beforehand — not least because the residue on the walls can end up dirtying and contaminating any clean water. 

It’s important that you take a few minutes to clean your inflatable hot tub every time you drain the water and when you need to store it for a long time, such as during the winter.

1. The first step in cleaning your hot tub is to remove any leaves and large debris that could block the drainage valve. 

2. Next, you'll need to drain the water. That may vary depending on the model, but either way it should be easily achieved by removing the nozzle or the valve, or in some cases by attaching a hose to it. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for this one. 

3. Once you've drained the tub, use a damp microfiber cloth or sponge and water to clean the outside. If you find any stubborn stains, use a mild detergent and warm water. Rinse thoroughly once you’ve finished. Avoid using an abrasive brush to scrub any stains as it can damage the surface. 

4. For the inside of the tub, you can use the same technique. Refrain from using detergents as these can create suds when you refill your tub. If stubborn stains don’t come out with just the warm water, you can purchase special hot tub surface cleaners such as Oh Yuk Jetted Tub Cleaner. Be sure to rinse it out thoroughly afterward. 

5. If you want to store the inflatable hot tub, let it dry before putting it away. 

6. And of course you'll also need to deflate it; again, this may vary from hot tub to hot tub, with some having a motorized deflation function and some relying on old-fashioned pressure from you pushing the air out.

Inflatable hot tub maintenance tips 

In addition to regular cleaning, taking care of your inflatable hot tub will make it last longer. Here are a few maintenance tips:

1. Maintain the proper water pH

Maintaining a pH of 7.2 to 7.8 is essential for inflatable hot tub maintenance. If the pH gets too low, it can easily damage the vinyl; if the pH is too high, it can create scale along the water line. You should test for water alkalinity once a week and adjust accordingly. Most tubs come with a testing kit and chemicals for stabilizing the pH level. Otherwise, you can easily purchase these from spa supply stores.

Coleman Saluspa Havana Hot Tub

(Image credit: Coleman)

2. Keep the water clean

Keeping the water clean not only makes it safe, but also helps prolong the life of your tub. There are several other ways that you can ensure the water stays clean, apart from cleaning the filters regularly. These include:

  • Using chlorine or bromine sanitizers to kill the bacteria that grows in the water. You can also use mineral sanitizer with oxidizer and a little chlorine or bromine to make it effective.
  • Always shower before entering the tub to get rid of body oils, perfumes, makeup and any other chemicals.
  • Ensure that your kids use the bathroom before getting in the tub and remind them to take bathroom breaks.
  • Replace the water regularly to avoid film build-up and any unwanted smells.
  • Clean out leaves and large debris regularly using a spa net.
  • Keep the lid on, whenever you are not using the tub.

3. Clean the filters regularly

Hot tub filters help keep the water clean and hygienic. These are easy to clean, as you can just run them through a cycle in the dishwasher without detergent. You can also rinse them under cold water and purchase special cleaning brushes and chemicals to help you with the job. Depending on the type of water in your area, and how often you use the tub, it is advisable to replace the filters regularly.

4. Provide a good foundation

The location of your inflatable hot tub can affect its longevity. You need a strong foundation to support the weight of the tub when it is filled with water. You also want it to be solid and level, without any sharp surfaces that can scratch or damage the tub. In addition, it’s advisable to place a ground cloth underneath to make the base puncture-resistant and improve heat insulation. Paving slabs, concrete pads, tub pads, crushed gravel, and tiles also make great bases for inflatable hot tubs.

If you're going to use an inflatable hot tub indoors, make sure there’s enough room around it as this will make it easier to clean the tub. You also will want the space to be well-ventilated so there’s not too much humidity indoors.

Cleaning and maintaining your hot tub regularly will give it the longest possible life. Follow these steps and you'll get the most out of your inflatable hot tub.