How to Drain and Clean a Hot Tub

Drained hot tub - how to drain and clean a hot tub

Wondering when and how to drain and clean a hot tub?

A hot tub that gets regular, typical use should be drained and cleaned every couple of months. If you’re using the spa on a daily basis are often at capacity with bathers, you may need to drain and clean it more often.

Here we’ll go through how to properly drain and clean your hot tub in the safest and most effective ways.

Draining the Hot Tub

If you’re planning to drain your hot tub, learn the local and state requirements for water disposal. Depending on the surrounding environment, flood risk and water sources, there may be very specific disposal guidelines for heavily treated water.

You may have a special sewer drain on your property, and your local guidelines may be to use it for water disposal. This should not be confused with storm drains, which lead to natural bodies of water.

Spa water that is pH and chemically balanced should be safe for lawns and yards as long as it doesn’t run into any storm drains or increase risks of erosion and flooding.

Clean Out the Plumbing System

Consider adding a plumbing cleaner or line flush to your water and letting it circulate for a few hours before draining the hot tub. This can remove any buildup that regular treatment and circulation hasn’t addressed.

You may see icky-looking stuff come out of your jets into the water, which is a sign that the plumbing cleaner is working.

Remove the Water

Steps for draining a hot tub:

  • Turn off the power to the spa. Leaving the power on could make the pump run, which can be damaging when the water level isn’t high enough.
  • Hand-tighten the plumbing unions (loose ones are a main cause of leaking in the spa cabinet). Never use a tool for the job or overtighten the plumbing unions.
  • Locate the drain valve on the spa base, below the panels. It may be near a corner.
  • Twist the drain valve to the left and right while pulling it outward about 1.5 inch.
  • Remove the drain valve. You can now attach a hose if the water shouldn’t drain by the base of the hot tub.
  • Push the valve about halfway back in to release the water.
  • Allow the water to drain completely, then pull the valve back out and replace the cap.
  • Push the drain valve all the way back in and turn it counterclockwise to lock it in place.

Cleaning the Empty Hot Tub

The acrylic surface of your hot tub is designed to be stain and dirt-resistant. However, it is a good idea to wipe it down when the spa is empty to keep your hot tub as clean as possible.

Cleaning the inside of your hot tub is as easy as wiping it with warm water and a soft cloth. This is also a good time to check for any small knicks or cracks that could scrape feet or grow over time.

Never use household cleaners or detergents to clean the acrylic, which could leave a dulling residue or react negatively with the chemicals used to treat the spa water.

Also avoid abrasive and ammonia- or citrus-based cleaners, which can damage the acrylic.

Cleaning Smaller Components

Anytime you empty your hot tub, use the opportunity to clean the small, individual components inside the tub, including:

Note: Be sure to spray the filter well when cleaning it, don’t just run some water over it. Your filter should last a year if properly cared for. Rinse it every 3 weeks.

Tips for Knowing When to Drain and Clean Your Hot Tub

Draining your hot tub more than every couple of months is not ideal. It takes time, it uses valuable water and costs money.

Reduce the need to drain your tub by maintaining proper water chemistry and ensuring bathers follow recommendations for cleanliness.

Note: Cleaning your hot tub cover does help to maintain the cover. However, making sure your hot tub water chemical balance is properly maintained will go a long way to making your cover last longer. After cleaning your cover, you may want to apply a vinyl conditioning agent to the top side. Consult your spa dealer on what agent they recommend.

Keep these things in mind when considering draining, cleaning and refilling your hot tub:

  • Does the water look or smell unappealing? Check your manual for chemical treatment and sanitizing. When chemicals don’t fix cloudy/smelly/foamy water, calcium scale or ring around the spa it’s time to drain the water and start over.
  • Draining the water and cleaning the tub will not necessarily address decontamination, such as algae overgrowth. Check your manual for how to “super sanitize” the tub and systems with heavy chemicals.

If you have questions regarding how to drain and clean your hot tub, contact your local Aqua Living dealer.

If you’re having trouble choosing the perfect spa for you, use our custom hot tub selector and by answering just a few questions we’ll let you know which hot tub is best!

Low Maintenance Hot Tub

Looking for a luxurious hot tub that is low maintenance? Look no further than the Catalina Luxury Hampton.

This tub features top-of-the-line sanitation systems, like the Balboa WaveTEC 254 UV Sanitizer, which cuts down on chemical usage, and the Clear View H-100 Ozone Sanitation System, which helps keep water clean.

Additionally, the circulation pump ensures that your water is always filtered!

Its Tuff Top Cover protects your investment and will be the last cover you ever need.

If you ever have any questions or problems, you can take advantage of our industry’s only 24/7 tech support with our Catalina Series hot tubs.