Hot tubs and spas are great for washing away the tensions of a busy life or enjoying a romantic evening with your significant other. The health benefits of hot tub use, such as pain and arthritis relief and increased blood flow, have been clearly documented. Adults of all ages enjoy the pleasure of using a spa, but like everything, it requires maintenance like keeping the water balanced and adding chemicals. Since a hot tub is such a small body of water, problems can arise much more frequently than with a pool. And let’s be honest, there’s nothing sexy about soaking in a spa that’s infected with bacteria.

Proper Spa Water Balance

The most important thing that you can do is to care for your spa’s sanitation and water balance. Just like a pool, it’s important to keep all aspects of your spa’s water in their proper ranges. This is crucial because having four people in a spa is the equivalent of having 250 people in an average-sized swimming pool. The high temperatures and small size mean there are more residual soaps, deodorants, perfumes, oils and natural perspiration from bathers. This can create excessive organic contaminants that can only be eliminated using special products designed specifically for spas.

The Best Spa Sanitation Chemicals

There are two sanitizers that people use in hot tubs, chlorine and bromine. Both are effective at daily sanitizing; however, chlorine breaks down faster at higher temperatures. This can release a strong odor. Bromine is less harsh to the skin and works better at higher temperatures. It also continues to be effective after disinfecting. In addition, it is more pH stable and its levels are easier to maintain. For these reasons, bromine is the most common way that owners sanitize their spas. Regardless of which sanitizer you choose, more does not mean better. Excessive use of either of these chemicals can lead to problems with equipment corrosion.


spa care chemical chart


To ensure that your spa is properly sanitized and to extend the life-span of the equipment, make sure that you keep your spa or hot tub within the ideal ranges. These parameters may change depending on your spa’s size and material, so check with your manufacturer for specific recommendations.

What Should I Use to Shock My Spa?

To maintain a perfectly balanced spa, you should shock it after every use, or at least once per week, whichever is more frequent. This is due to the extremely concentrated nature of spas. A small number of contaminants can make a big difference. Unlike your pool, spas are shocked with a non-chlorine shock or oxidizer, like Solus Chlorine-Free Oxidizer, that eliminates odors and reduces irritating contaminants. Non-chlorine shocks are broken down in warm water as easily as liquid chlorine in a swimming pool.

When to Drain Spa Water

When it comes to your pool, draining it is a last resort. For stand-alone spas, however, it’s a periodic necessity. Chemical by-products and other contaminants quickly build up in spa water after continued use. This makes the water harder to balance. How often you drain your hot tub depends on the size and number of bathers. If it gets a lot of use, drain it once per month.

If usage is more infrequent, once every three months is sufficient. If it has been longer than three months since you drained your spa, you should do it as soon as possible. Once you’ve refilled your spa, shock the water and run the pump for four hours. After that, retest and rebalance the water chemistry. You do not have to worry about draining a spill-over spa.

Testing Spa Water

You should check your spa water at least twice a week year-round. Make sure the water is circulated before taking a sample at least 12 inches below the surface. Bring the water to your local Pinch A Penny for analysis. If you choose to test the water yourself, it is a good idea to date your testing agent bottles. Make sure that you clean and dry the vials thoroughly. If you use test strips, do not touch them with your fingers because oil from your skin can skew the results.

Regular Spa and Hot Tub Maintenance

In order to keep your spa as clean as possible and working as intended, there are a few things you can do regularly. This will keep your spa in working order year-round.

• Vacuum out debris

• Wipe water line to remove debris

• Clean the filter as needed

• Inspect for leaks, cracks or faulty equipment

Products for Spa Care

Pinch A Penny carries a full line of chemicals and products specifically formulated for spas. The Solus line is your natural choice for hot tub care. From Natural Spa to Descaler and Foam Down, we carry it all. We also offer beautiful spa fragrances to take your relaxation to the next level.

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