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How to clear up a cloudy hot tub fast

What causes cloudy spa water?

Are you struggling with cloudy or hazy water in your hot tub? Cloudy or murky water is an indicator that there is something wrong with the water balance. First of all, what causes a cloudy spa? There can be a number of reasons. Common causes of cloudy water can be:

  • Imbalanced levels of alkalinity, calcium, or pH
  • Low sanitizer levels
  • Dirty or clogged filter
  • Environmental debris such as pollen, dirt, leaves, rain water, etc
  • Natural elements such as rain, leaves, dirt, pollen, seeds, or other debris
  • Organic contaminants from body oils, sweat, makeup, lotions, detergents, sunless tanner, sunscreen, hair products, urine, etc
  • High level of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the water
  • High levels of biofilm in the hot tub system
  • Problems with your hot tub's pump or other equipment

Is it safe to soak in a cloudy or hazy spa?

No, it is not safe to use a cloudy, murky, or milky hot tub. More than just being the physical appearance of the water, there are underlying issues causing the cloudiness than can be harmful to your health and can be damaging the hot tub equipment. Potential issues from dirty, unbalanced, and cloudy hot tub water can include:

  • Infection, rash, or other health issues
  • It reduces the efficiency of the hot tub as well as the effectiveness of the sanitizers
  • It can cause corrosion that could damage the hot tub components.
  • Irritation to skin and eyes

It's best to avoid using the spa until you have returned the water to a proper balance and cleared up the water.

So, how do you actually clear up that cloudy water?

Cloudy spa water treatment steps:

1. Test & Balance the Water

Test hot tub water with test strips or test kit. Make sure sanitizer, alkalinity, pH, calcium hardness levels are in the recommended levels. Add balancing chemicals, shock, and santizer as needed to bring water balance to correct level. Use the chart below to reference the recommended ranges for pH, Alkalinity, Calcium, and Sanitizer levels.

Hot tub water balance ideal ranges

2. Treat with chemicals

Two options of chemicals to use are a Clarifier and and Enzyme product.

  • Clarifier: Use a Spa Clarifier product to help clear up the hot tub water. Follow the
    instructions on the product bottle for your spa size. We recommend SpaGuard Water Clarifier.

    Hot tub water clarifier chemical

    How does a hot tub clarifier work to actually clear up the water? SpaGuard Water Clarifier works to drastically increase the efficiency of your filtration system. This is accomplished by grabbing tiny particulate that are too small for the filter to catch and clumping them together into larger sized particles making it easy for your filter to draw them out of the water. Clarifiers are effective. However, it’s best to also tackle the underlying causes of cloudiness and pH imbalance otherwise you will just end up with cloudy water again.

  • Spa Enzymes can be used as well to help eliminate the organic contaminants thatcan cause cloudy water. We recommend SpaGuard Natural Spa Enzyme.

    Hot tub natural enzyme chemicals

After adding Clarifiers or Enzymes run the pump/jets at least 2 hours at high speed 

3. Remove and clean the filter.

Use a filter cleaner and soak for at least an hour. If you have a spare clean filter just swap those out while you clean the dirty filter. After it has soaked, use a high pressure hose to rinse the filter clean. Don't use regular house cleaning products on your filter. Only use products specifically designed for spa filters.

Once you have a clean filter in place, run the jets again until the water becomes clear.

Cleaning hot tub filter

Be sure you are chemically cleaning your filter monthly. Replace annually with a new filter. We use SpaGuard Filter Cleaner to help keep our filters clean. 

 Hot tub filter cleaner spay

4. If all else fails, drain and refill

If none of the above options have worked, instead of just adding more chemicals into the mix, sometimes it's best to just drain and start fresh. Use a biofilm cleaner or jet flush product before draining to help clean out the plumbing system.

It is recommended to drain, clean, and refill your hot tub every 3-4 months depending on how frequently it is used. 

Preventing cloudy hot tub water:

  • Make sure the hot tub is properly balanced. Conduce regular testing and balancing of the ph, alkalinity, and calcium levels.
  • Ensure the spa is properly sanitized. Shock water regularly. 
  • Make sure you are cleaning your filter regularly.
  • Shower with just water prior to entering the hot tub to remove oils, lotions, makeup, and detergents from swimwear to help avoid bringing those contaminants into the spa in the first place.
  • Make sure your pump and other equipment are in proper working order.
  • Use a hose filter to help ensure the cleanest water possible when filling your hot tub.
  • Add clarifiers to the water regularly.
  • Avoid eating or drinking in the hot tub. Spills and crumbs in the hot tub can cause cloudiness.

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