You should change the water in your portable hot tub every 3-4 months regardless of how clean it looks as harmful bacteria can eventually start growing in seams and crevasses. Also, the chlorine that you add to the tub to kill bacteria remains inside the water and breaks down into potentially harmful chemicals. This causes the unnatural acidic odor. Too much broken down chlorine can he unhealthy so it is important to replace your water every few months. This is especially important for people soaking for the health benefits as dirty water can undermine the positive effects.
Flush your tubes
Before you drain your water, you can add sanitizing chemicals. Add a flushing product like Spa Purge to kill bacteria in the pump and jet ducts. Whenever you feel any kind of slime in an aquatic environment, you are touching biofilm, which is a breeding ground for bacteria. Biofilm can be easily removed with soap and a rag. However, biofilm usually remains in tact with living bacteria such as Legionella, Pseudomonas Aeruginosas, Mycobacterium Fortuitum, and E-Coli. Spa Purge, or other similar products, will remove slime and kill the bacteria even if you are not able to apply friction to the area with a rag. The best inflatable hot tubs have jets, which are also components that you won’t be able to clean with a vacuum. After the two hour purging application, your water is ready to be drained. The purging chemical shouldn’t be used in water that will be used by humans. So it is important to drain your tub afterwards.
Blow up hot tubs have a drain cap on the bottom of the tub. So, all you need to do is open this cap to drain the water. The water can be safely drained onto grass or a wooden deck. It won’t kill the grass and it won’t discolor your deck. You should be careful to not drain it near delicate plants, though, because they might not do well with chlorinated water.
Once the water is drained, you can climb into your tub and change the filters. Manufacturers suggest that you inspect the filters every week and change them as necessary. By the 3-4 month mark the built up residue in the filters may cause strain on pumps. Changing your filters will decrease the amount of energy that your pump needs to process water. Furthermore, it will reduce electricity consumption.
Since your tub is already deflated, you can use this time to add air to it. 3-4 months since the last cleaning and inflation, your tub walls might lose some of air pressure. Use this time to add any additional air that the tub might need. Use the air pump from the hub to inflate your tub to the desired pressure.
Clean the tub
Some manufacturers make hot tub cleaning chemicals specifically made for cleaning the walls of your tub. However, if you don’t want to spend the additional money you can use household cleaning products. A natural alternative is the mix of white vinegar and water, which does a good job of disinfecting. The only drawback is that it doesn’t kill some of the less common types of bacteria. For those, use a stronger chemical at least twice a year. You have to be careful though, because using a strong chemical like bleach will kill bacteria, but it can be harmful if you leave it inside.
Be wary of abrasive cleaning products. These cleaning products will damage the acrylic walls of a traditional hot tub. They can also be bad for the internal components if any is left in the water that eventually goes back into the pump.
Once you are satisfied that the tub is clean, you can rinse it. This is an important step because you don’t want any of the cleaning products to remain in the tub when you refill it. They can cause deterioration to the internal mechanical components of the pump.
Inflatable Jacuzzis are light enough to lift and prop against a wall so that all of the water runs down to the drain. Use a hose to spray the inside of the tub walls. Make sure you spray along all seams and in the crevasses because the cleaning chemicals can remain in these areas.
Refill your tub
Once the tub is rinsed close the drain, move the tub back to the location that it will remain, and fill it back up. There aren’t really any special instructions for filling your inflatable spas. Hose water has impurities such as calcium, copper, and iron. Some of the best inflatable spas often come with hard water removal systems that remove these impurities. Even if your tub doesn’t have a hard water system, these impurities are not harmful and the filter will remove most of them anyway.
Fill your tub up to the max-fill line and turn the pump on. Let the pump run for about half an hour to mix up the water properly, and then test the pH level with pH test strips. Manufacturers recommend a pH level between 7.4 and 7.6, total alkalinity to be around 80 ppm. Your calcium hardness should be around 100 ppm. If your pH or alkalinity levels aren’t within these ranges, use a product like pH increaser or pH decreaser to adjust it accordingly.
Shock the water to remove any odor or cloudiness. Shocking the water breaks down organic waste contaminants. You can use a product like Leisure Time to shock your water.
Heat the water
Once you shock the water, you can replace the cover, and turn the heater on. Inflatable tubs typically heat water at a rate of 2-3 degrees F/hr so this might take a day or two.
Preventative maintenance is the best way to prolong the life of your inflatable hot tub. Cleaning your hot tub every 3-4 months is a good way to promote healthy water and reduce the risk of illnesses. Take the time to drain and thoroughly clean your inflatable spa once per season. This way you will be able to soak confidently knowing that the water is bacteria-free!