Hot Tub Water Cloudy

Why is my Hot Tub Water Cloudy and How Do I Fix it?

Hot Tubs


September 4, 2023

Have you ever opened your hot tub to find your water cloudy, smelly, and uninviting? This is a common and unpleasant problem! Fortunately, cloudy water is an issue that’s easily remedied and it’s simple to prevent recurrence. The following is information regarding the causes of and how to fix cloudy hot tub water

What causes cloudy hot tub water?

Hot tub water should be clear enough for you to easily see the bottom of the spa. If your water is cloudy, these are some of the common reasons:

  • Problems with alkalinity and/or PH levels: Alkalinity levels should test between 80 to 120 parts per million. This means that the appropriate amounts of hydroxides, carbonates, and bicarbonates are present, helping prevent bacterial growth. The ideal pH level for your spa waters is between 7.2 and 7.6, ensuring your hot tub is safe for you and your family to use. If your alkalinity and/or PH are not in balance, you may experience cloudy water, skin/eye irritation, scale formation, poor chlorine efficiency, staining, and green/foamy waters.  

  • Low sanitizer levels: The presence of sanitizer prevents bacteria growth in your hot tub. It’s important to maintain an ideal level of chlorine in order to keep the water safe, clean, and clear. If your sanitizer level is low, your water may become cloudy. Ensure your sanitizer levels are between 3 to 5 ppm by adding sanitizer 2 to 3 times per week. 

  • Personal hygiene products: Body lotion, soap, conditioner, body oils, sunscreen, make-up, deodorant, and/or laundry detergent found in your swimsuit can neutralize your hot tub sanitizer, creating cloudy/foamy water. To prevent this problem, rinse and/or shower before getting into your hot tub and launder your swimsuits without the addition of detergent.

  • Filter problems: Your hot tub filter eliminates particles (dirt, debris, algae, leaves, dust, insects, etc.) from your hot tub water. If the filter is blocked/dirty and/or not properly installed or positioned it will function poorly and contribute to the formation of cloudy water. 

  • Insufficient circulation: Water needs to move freely through the filtration system of your hot tub in order to be cleaned. Circulation of the water also helps distribute the chemicals you add. If your spa waters sit for long periods of time without circulating, they may become cloudy. Set your circulation levels to the maximum setting to avoid water clarity problems. 

  • Excessive use of anti-foaming agents can lead to cloudy water. 

  • High levels of total dissolved solids (Tds): If your hot tub water has not been drained and replaced for 3 to 4 months, the Tds levels may be elevated causing cloudy water. At this stage, the addition of chemicals will not have the desired effect. The spa requires draining, cleaning, and refilling. 

How to fix cloudy hot tub water:

Clearing your hot tub water is not a difficult task. There are a number of steps you can take to correct cloudy water and prevent its recurrence: 

  • Balance your chemicals: Use a test strip to determine the pH and alkalinity of your spa waters. Adjust the alkalinity to between 80 and 120 parts per million and the pH to between 7.2 and 7.6 by using a pH plus or a pH minus product. You may wish to incorporate an enzyme-based formulation into your maintenance routine as it eliminates the need for many chemicals, balances pH and alkalinity, and conditions the water, making it feel soft and clean. Be sure to balance your pH and alkalinity before adding sanitizer.

  • Shock your spa: Sanitizer destroys elements that accumulate and cause cloudy water. Once your alkalinity and pH are balanced, add a shock treatment to break down organic waste contaminants.

  • Rinse and clean the filter(s): Rinse your filter once every two weeks using a filter cleaning tool, more if the spa has been heavily used. Once a month, soak your filter in a designated filter cleaner. Consider using ultrasonic filter cleaning services every 3 to 4 months, a revolutionary new technique for removing dirt and contaminants from filtering equipment and components. Standard filters typically last a year with proper maintenance.

  • Use a chemical clarifier: Clarifiers break down organic waste into its basic elements, which are easily absorbed by the hot tub environment.

  • Empty and refill the hot tub: Over time, residue and particle accumulation make it difficult to remedy the issue of cloudy water. To avoid this situation, empty and refill your hot tub every six months. Before emptying, use a cleaner/degreaser to clear the internal plumbing system of your spa.

No hot tub owner wants cloudy, smelly water! Fortunately, there are a number of simple ways to avoid cloudy water issues and/or remedy them when they occur. If you find you cannot solve/control the situation, contact a reputable hot tub dealer. They have the knowledge, experience, and products to help you keep your water clean, clear, and fresh.  

Need help learning how to fix cloudy hot tub water? Want advice regarding hot tub maintenance? Contact Calgary-based RnR hot tubs and spas. Our hot tub experts are here to help. Owned by service professionals with over 30 years of experience and with prestige brands including American Whirlpool and Vita Spa, we can make your hot tub purchase exceptional and ease your spa maintenance. Please call 403-203-0860 to set up an appointment. RnR provides comprehensive service, expert knowledge, a wealth of field experience, and the best products in the industry to help you maintain your hot tub/swim spa for years of enjoyment.

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