How to Clean a Hot Tub Without Draining It First

Michael Keenan


Hot Tub Maintenance

Did you know you can clean a hot tub without draining it? Maintaining a hot tub can keep you busy, especially in a house with a lot of people or in a generally dusty area. Outdoor hot tubs are even harder to maintain, as dried leaves, twigs, pebbles, and other such debris tend to make their way into the tub.

It can be a long and expensive process if you constantly have to drain all the water. But don’t fret! In this article, we will cover great ways to clean your hot tub without draining it, including using spa vacuums, silly putty, and a water squirter.

I’ll also discuss how to balance and shock the water for proper maintenance of your tub. Read on for an easy guide that will make cleaning your hot tub simple and stress-free! And no need to drain!

how to clean a hot tub without draining it

Quick Answer:

If you need to give your hot tub a quick clean without draining all the water there are several tricks to help. Vacuum the dirt away, use Silly Putty or a water squirter, balance and shock the water and follow preventive measures like covering the tub when not in use.

Regular maintenance tasks should also be done to keep the hot tub running smoothly. Follow these tips and enjoy your soak! Keep reading for more details…

Cleaning Without Draining Tricks

You don’t always need to drain your hot tub to clean it. In fact, it’s wasteful and expensive to change your spa water if it isn’t really necessary. And it can be expensive! If all you need is a quick clean to freshen things up – try these tips and tricks.

Vacuum the Dirt Away

You might have heard of pool and spa vacuums. These brilliant machines can suck away all the dirt, leaves, sand, and other such items that might have sunk to the floor of your tub.

These work equally well in hot tubs too. All you need to do is to lower the vacuum to the floor of the tub and move it around. The suction removes every loose thing it can find on the surface and conveniently stores these into a bag that can then be cleared away.

Use Silly Putty

Yes, you read this right, Silly Putty. My favorite quick fix for stuff at the bottom of your tub! This kids’ toy can be quite handy to clean your tub. Just press the Silly Putty onto the sand, sediment, or dirt you want to pick up from the surface of the tub, lift it off, and voila!

The dirt is now stuck onto the putty! You can just peel the dirt off the putty and reuse it immediately.

Silly Putty also happens to be waterproof and so, does not disintegrate in the tub. This could even be a great way to get your kids into the cleaning action by making a game out of it.

Use a Water Squirter

Another little kids’ toy, a water squirter can also be used to clean the water. Just point the tip of the squirter on the dirt and pull the handle to suck the dirt into it! Give it a try – it works better than you might think.

Need to drain your hot tub and clean it deeply? See my guide on how to fix that up now. And don’t neglect the cover – see my guide on how to clean a hot tub cover.

Balance and Shock the Water

Balancing and shocking your hot tub is a good way to give it a quick and effective clean without having to drain it. It’s a good idea to use a vacuum or silly putty to get rid of any debris first. Then give it a good shock, before making sure the water is balanced before using it again.

Hot tub water has to be maintained at certain pH, calcium, chlorine, and alkalinity levels. This balance ensures that the water remains clean and safe for use.

If the levels are too high, you can drain away a portion of the water, refill it with fresh water and then add the necessary chemicals to balance it.

If they are too low, just add more of the chemicals to bring them to the desired levels.

For a chlorine shock, you have to add high amounts of chlorine to the tub water. This process cleans the water and sanitizes the tub by removing bacteria and organic contaminants.

This treatment increases the chlorine level of your tub water, so allow the water to aerate before using the tub. And always test after shocking to keep it safe for users!

Did you know that it is possible to maintain your tub without chemicals – well limited use of chemicals? See my guide.

man filling hot tub

How to Keep the Tub Clean

Of course, prevention is always better than cure. By following these measures, you can try to keep your tub cleaner than its current state:

  • Cover the hot tub when not in use. Ensure that the hot tub lid is kept in a clean, dry spot while you are using the tub so that it does not introduce any dirt to the tub while covering it later.
  • Avoid food and drinks in the hot tub. Organic matter can disintegrate faster in the water or tub surface and cause problems later.
  • Take a shower before getting into the hot tub. This keeps contaminants from the body like dirt, sweat, residues from soap, etc. away from the hot tub.
  • Clean the tub completely every 3-4 months. This includes draining the tub entirely and then refilling it with clean water.

All pretty common sense stuff, but it’s mad how people don’t think of the obvious!

Hot Tub Maintenance

To extend the longevity of your hot tub, regular maintenance is a must. This can help keep the tub clean, while also ensuring the proper running of the tub. Here are a few tasks that need to be done regularly:

  • Every day, remove any visible dirt and debris.
  • Check the pH levels and chemical balance before each use.
  • Once a week, shock the hot tub with chlorine to kill any bacteria.
  • Remove the hot tub filter, rinse it in clean water, and let it air dry at least once a week.
  • Remove the hot tub filter, clean it, and then soak it in clean water overnight at least once a month.
  • Every time you do a complete cleaning by draining the tub entirely, add fresh, filtered water.
clean hot tub water

In Closing

Deep cleaning a hot tub is tough, time-consuming, and expensive. There are times when a quick clean is all you need. You don’t want to drain your tub completely too often and use more chemicals than necessary.

With these tips, you can clean your hot tub without having to drain all the water out. Vacuums, Silly Putty, and water squirters are great tools for removing dirt and debris from the surface of the tub.

Keeping your hot tub’s pH, calcium, chlorine, and alkalinity levels balanced can help keep it clean over time. Finally, try using a hot tub cover when not in use and shower before entering the hot tub to prevent any contaminants from getting into the water.

Hopefully, one of the methods mentioned here was of use to you. So let go of those cleaning worries and enjoy your soak!

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!