How Long to Wait After Shocking a Hot Tub Before You Can Use It

Michael Keenan


Hot Tub Water Chemistry

Have you ever thought about how long to wait after shocking a hot tub before using it? It’s important to be aware of the various factors that will affect this wait time. Don’t worry I have you covered.

In this article, I’ll cover the two main kinds of shock treatments – chlorine and non-chlorine – and what kind of wait times you can expect with each. I’ll also talk about how often you should use shock treatments, how dirty your hot tub is, and whether or not entering the water too soon could have dangerous consequences.

Finally, I’ll go on about the importance of testing your spa water before taking a dip. So if you’re looking for advice on when it’s safe to jump in the hot tub, read on!

how long to wait after shocking a hot tub

Quick Answer:

It’s important to wait for the right amount of time after shocking your hot tub before using it. This wait time will vary based on the kind of shock treatment you use (chlorine or non-chlorine), how often you use shock, and how dirty the hot tub is.

Not waiting long enough can have dangerous effects, so be sure to test the water carefully before entering the tub. More details are below!

Factors That Will Affect Wait Time

Various factors affect wait time when it comes to shocking your hot tub. Go through some of these below to figure out the wait time for your hot tub in particular.

The Kind of Spa Shock Treatment Used

You will need to alter your waiting period before using the hot tub based on the kind of spa shock treatment you use. No matter which one you use, however, remember to carefully go through what their instructions or manuals state so that you do not face any issues later.

Go through the two kinds of shock treatments below:

Chlorine Shock

Chlorine shocks are quite popular and effective when it comes to cleaning your hot tub. However, they are also much stronger, compared to non-chlorine shocks, so if you end up using these shocks, you will need to ensure that they have enough time to work their way through the water in the hot tub.

You might have to wait for nearly 24 hours for chlorine shocks to lose their concentration and clean the tub thoroughly. It is only once the shock diminishes that you should enter and use the hot tub. Note that some chlorine shocks might complete their work within a few hours too, so always check the instructions in advance.

Non-Chlorine Shock

Non-chlorine shock tends to be slightly weaker than chlorine shock, taking it a shorter time to work its way through the water in the pool. This is because it only oxidizes the water and cleans it up while also supporting chlorine in sanitizing and decontaminating the water.

Given the speed of this kind of shocking process, you will be able to use the hot tub within 20-30 minutes, although it might take up to an hour or so in some rare cases too.

It is still very important that you test the water in your tub before using it again!

If you use an alternative sanitizer (not chlorine or bromine), you should be using non-chlorine shock. The same goes for maintaining a saltwater hot tub.

feet in a spa

I have a detailed series of articles and guides covering everything you need to know about shocking your hot tub. Check them out:

How Often You Use Hot Tub Shock

How frequently you clean the water in the hot tub makes a difference in terms of the waiting time. If you use shock treatments often, your wait time will also be lower.

This is generally because there might not be too many contaminants and dirt in the water in the first place, making it possible for the shock treatment to work its magic much more quickly.

I generally use shock around once a week or even once in ten days, which is why the treatment I employ in the water is (and should be) a bit diluted.

On the other hand, if you only shock the hot tub once a month or so due to low usage, you will need to use a concentrated treatment which will then require a longer wait time.

How Dirty Is the Hot Tub?

Even though you might cover your hot tub after every use, contaminants continue to gather in the water while you use the tub due to the dirt on your skin and the dust and debris from the environment. Rains, storms, strong winds, and other factors might dirty up the tub too.

In this case, if your hot tub is extremely dirty, or has been sitting, you are likely to need a concentrated shock treatment to manage the dirt to make it safe to use again. This will need a longer waiting period compared to relatively cleaner tubs.

Have you recently changed the water in your hot tub? Find out how often you should do this for top-quality water!

safe hot tub water after shocking

Can Using the Hot Tub Too Soon After Shocking Be Dangerous?

Not allowing enough time for the shock treatment to clean the tub and dissipate can be quite dangerous. Entering the water when the water still has high levels of chlorine might result in various issues, including:

  • Rashes and redness on the skin
  • Itchiness
  • Breathing issues
  • Itchiness and pain in and around the eyes
  • Infections due to the bacteria

If you have used particularly strong shocks, these effects might end up being even more pronounced, requiring immediate medical support.

Travel Story!

Yes, I have to confess here. A villa rental in Koh Samui in Thailand with a beautiful hot tub. The maintenance guy did a great job – but told us not to use the spa until the next day.

After a few relaxing drinks, I thought it would be alright to have a dip after midnight. It seemed fine at the time – but the next morning not so good! Sunburn with itchy skin is not a good way to go. Moral – do as you’re told!

The Importance of Testing

To always ensure that the shock treatment has worn off, you should buy a test strip or scale that checks the levels of chlorine concentration in the water. This will also help you test the pH level. Enter the water only if the test shows that the levels are safe.

The ideal pH level should be between 7 and 7.6. If the hot tub water pH level is higher than 8, anyone using it is at risk of skin rashes, while a pH of lower than 7 can sting users’ eyes.

girl relaxing in a spa

The Bottom Line

To sum up, you will need to wait for around 20-30 minutes for non-chlorine shocks and up to 24 hours for chlorine shock treatments. The wait time will also depend on the gap between your current and previous shock treatment and how dirty your hot tub is.

When shocking your hot tub, it is important to make sure that you wait long enough for the treatment to wear off before using it, as entering water with high levels of chlorine can be hazardous.

Before hopping in the hot tub after shocking, make sure to check the chlorine concentration in the water with a test strip – this will ensure that your spa is safe to enjoy. Safety first – always! Thanks for reading.

michael keenan author

Author - Michael Keenan

I'm Michael Keenan the owner and creator of the Outdoor Care Guide. I'm a trained horticulturist with over 30 years of experience in pool care, plant care, and landscape care! Seemed like a good idea to share - I think I can make your life easier and save you some time and money!