Cloudy water

A one minute tutorial to watch and learn quickly

Your cloud hot tub water is likely caused by one of five problems. We'll help you overcome it.
How to Clear Up Cloudy Hot Tub Water

How to Clear Up Cloudy Hot Tub Water

Cloudy water is a common problem for hot tub owners. But because the experience isn't new, you don't want to take off your hot tub cover to find that the water is cloudy. You want to soak in water that feels and looks good. When the water in your hot tub becomes cloudy, it indicates a problem that needs to be resolved.

If your hot tub water is cloudy, you can do a few things to clear it up.

  1. Check the pH levels and adjust as needed.
  2. Shock shot with chlorine or bromine.
  3. Regularly clean your hot tub filter.
  4. Run the jets for a few minutes to circulate the water.
  5. Let the hot tub sit for a few hours to allow the water to settle.
  6. Add a clarifier to the water.

Check Your Chemical Levels

One of the most common causes of cloudy, hot tub water is improper chemical levels. PH is essential in keeping your hot tub water clear and tested daily. The ideal range for pH is 7.4 to 7.6. If your pH is too low, your water will be acidic and corrosive, which can damage your hot tub equipment. If your pH is too high, your water will be alkaline and can cause scale buildup.

Besides to pH, you'll also need to test for total alkalinity and calcium hardness. Total alkalinity should be between 80 and 120 ppm, and calcium hardness should be between 175 and 250 ppm. If either of these levels is too high or too low, it can cause cloudy water.

After you've adjusted the pH levels, it's a good idea to do a partial water change to remove the chemicals from the water. This will help keep your hot tub water clear and prevent cloudy water.

Bad Water Balance

  • Forget adding chemicals to the water, or you've neglected to maintain your tub's pH and alkalinity balance. The disinfectant concentration, such as chlorine, bromine, or biguanide in your tub can also fall below the recommended levels. This makes it more susceptible to microorganisms that cause cloudy water.
  • The water will be corrosive and etch if the alkalinity is too low. You'll also have a hard time maintaining a consistent pH level. If the alkalinity is too high, it can make it challenging to lower the pH level when it needs to be adjusted.
  • When your tub has the proper pH levels, the water is less likely to become cloudy. The ideal pH level for a hot tub is between 7.4 and 7.6.

To raise the pH level, you can add soda ash (sodium carbonate) to the water. You can add muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid) or dry acid (sodium bisulfate) to lower the pH level.

You can use a test kit to check your hot tub water's pH and alkalinity levels. Test the water before you get in, and adjust the levels as needed.

If you need to add a lot of chemicals to the water to adjust the pH and alkalinity levels, it's a good idea to do a partial water change. To do a partial water change, drain some of the water from the tub and add fresh water.

If you've recently added a lot of chemicals to the water, it's also a good idea to run the filter for 12 hours or more to help remove the chemicals from the water.

Low Sanitizing chemicals levels

If you have low sanitizing chemicals levels, it can cause cloudy water.

The ideal chlorine level for a hot tub is between 2 and 4 ppm. The excellent bromine level for a hot tub is between 3 and 5 ppm.

You can add chlorine or bromine tablets to the water to raise the chlorine or bromine levels.

You can use a test kit to check your hot tub water's chlorine or bromine levels. Test the water before you get in, and adjust the levels as needed.

If you need to add a lot of chemicals to the water to adjust the chlorine or bromine levels, it's a good idea to do a partial water change. To do a partial water change, drain some of the water from the tub and add fresh water.

If you've recently added a lot of chemicals to the water, it's also a good idea to run the filter for 12 hours or more to help remove the chemicals from the water.

If you've tried all the above and your hot tub water is still cloudy, you may need to call a professional. A professional can help you to identify the problem and find a solution.

Balance the chemicals

Use test strips or another tool. If pH and alkalinity are low, you must add products that can increase alkalinity by increasing pH or lowering it.

If your tub is new, the buildup of oils and minerals from the manufacturing process may be causing it. The acidity must be checked before putting any chemical shock or disinfectant in the solution. This is to prevent sanding or sanitization. Keep hot tub chemicals inside the hot bath, with the receptacle closed.

Some people are convinced that chlorine is harmful to their health, so they avoid going to spas. Other disinfectant products, such as ozonators and mineral cartridges, can be used as long as the water is pH balanced. A spa with chlorine is usually required with 2 or 3 ppm bromine or 3-5 ppm chlorine levels. When the sanitization levels drop below 1.0 ppm, foreign substances in the air can increase. Organic substances can grow without destruction. A sanitizer must kill particles causing cloudiness. To improve sanitization, use spa water alternatingly.

Scaling or Calcium hardness on your hot tub

Watch our video about Calcium buildup in your hot tub here.

Your pool water chemicals can cause the problem. Get a complete assessment of calcium hardness, acidity, and pH. Calcium can be quickly released from hard water and can cloud the water at spas. If calcium content exceeds 300 ppm, use a chemical balance to reduce the pH, calcium, and alkaline content of any bath or spa. The filtration system can help to keep your bath water fresh. If your testing results for total alkalinity are above 150ppm, excess carbonate is absorbed from the solution. This is making the solution cloudy in the long run. Also, high concentrations can cause you trouble controlling and maintaining the pH level.

Shock Your Hot Tub

If you've tested your pH and your alkalinity levels, and they're both in the excellent range, but you're still dealing with cloudy water, shocking your hot tub is the next step. Shocking your hot tub will kill any bacteria that may be causing your water to be muddy.

You'll need to add a shock treatment to your spa to shock your hot tub. Be sure to follow the directions on the product carefully, as too much shock can damage your hot tub equipment. You'll also want to avoid using your hot tub for at least 24 hours after shocking it.

  • If irritating chloramines are present in the water, shocking with chlorine-free shock also converts them back to active chlorine. Sanitizing your water and removing the strong chemical smell that chloramines create. Use 100g (4 capfuls) of Spa Shock once or twice a week, depending on hot tub use, to eradicate contaminates and keep your water looking great.
  • When you notice cloudiness after increased hot tub use, insufficient sanitizer levels might be the culprit. When you don't have enough chlorine or bromine to sanitize your spa water , bacteria, algae, sunscreen, and even—yes, we're sorry to say—fecal matter can linger in the water, causing a cloudy appearance. Your fellow bathers could be tracking in more contaminants than you realize, so always err on the side of caution and shock your spa water.
  • Using a Non Chlorine shock will oxidize these non-organic products and dump the particles on your filters. Clean your filter thoroughly with a filter cleaning solution. Use anti-foam products. " No Foam" is a product that should be used sparingly, as it is more of a quick-fix for the symptoms of foaming and does not prevent future foaming.

Spa Filter Problems

It is a common cause in cloudy bathwater. A spa-filter cartridge can be placed improperly, preventing water from bypassing a filter cartridge. Keep a cartridge seated to allow the water to pass over-sprayed spa filters. Spa filter cartridges are not durable, and every cleaning decreases their effectiveness. After a 15-minute cleaning, change the filter of your spa. The filter needs to be changed at least once a year or more.

Clean Your Hot Tub

The filter in a hot tub is often overlooked. Your hot tub filter requires regular cleaning. A blocked filter means they aren't doing their job correctly, so make sure filters are rinsed regularly and periodically treated with a filter cleaner to remove oils and greases. New filters need fitting every 6 – 12 months.

Your spa water needs to go through filtration for at least one hour, twice a day. Whether you run it manually or program automatic filter cycles, be sure you're doing so often enough to clear contaminants so your sanitizer can work. Remember, more hot tub use requires more filtering and more sanitizer.

If you've shocked your hot tub and still dealing with cloudy water, it's time to give it a good cleaning. Start by draining your hot tub and giving it a thorough rinse with a garden hose. Then, clean the interior of your hot tub with a hot tub cleaner. Be sure to pay special attention to areas where oils or lotions may have built up, such as the headrests.

Cleaning your hot tub regularly will help prevent cloudy water and keep your hot tub looking and feeling great!

Water Saturation

You'll need to refill the hot tub if you have saturated water.

We recommend changing your hot tub water every three months because of water saturation. It's essential to keep your hot tub water clean.

Test Your Water Regularly

The best way to prevent cloudy water is to regularly test your hot tub water and adjust your chemicals as needed. You should test your pH daily and your alkalinity and calcium hardness levels at least once a week. By testing your water regularly and keeping your chemical levels in check, you can avoid cloudy water and keep your hot tub looking and feeling great!

High Cyanuric Acid Levels

When cyanuric acid levels get too high, it can make the water cloudy and cause scaling or staining on the hot tub's surfaces.

To deal with high cyanuric acid levels, you can try to lower them by adding fresh water to the hot tub and then running the filter for a few hours. You can also use a commercial pool or spa product that is specifically designed to lower cyanuric acid levels. And finally, you can try to remove some of the cyanuric acids from the water by using a shock treatment.

Add a clarifier to the water.

  • Once you've adjusted your pH levels, you'll want to add a clarifier to the water. Clarifiers help remove any particles that may be causing the cloudiness. You can find clarifiers at the most pool and hot tub stores.
  • Make sure you are correctly filtering the water and changing the filter regularly. Filters help remove dirt and debris from the water, which can cause cloudiness. Most hot tubs have a filter cartridge that needs to be changed every few months.

If you've tried all the above and your hot tub water is still cloudy, you may need to use a flocculant or clarifier.

A flocculant is a chemical that helps to remove small particles from the water. A clarifier is a chemical that helps remove larger particles from the water.

To use a flocculant or clarifier, add the chemical to the water and run the filter for 12 hours. The flocculant or clarifier will help remove the particles from the water, and the filter will help remove the chemicals from the water.

After using a flocculant or clarifier, it's a good idea to do a partial water change to remove the chemicals from the water.

A clarifier is a specialty water treatment. It works by coagulating the small particles in the water which are causing the cloudy water into larger particles. These particles are then large enough to be filtered out by the spa's filter.

A clarifier is a temporary solution to cloudy water and should only be used when necessary. If you use a clarifier too often, it can lead to dirty water that is difficult to clear.

FAQs about Cloudy Hot Tub Water

Why do I get cloudy hot tub water?

There are several possible causes of cloudy water in a hot tub, including:

  1. Improper pH level is shady and dull very quickly. 
  2. Too much sanitizer in the water.
  3. Not enough sanitizer in the water.
  4. Dirty filters.
  5. Dead algae.

Once you've established the cause of your cloudy spa water, you'll need to address it immediately to avoid damage to your spa, such as staining and scale buildup. At the same time, you could pour in a bit of clarifier if you're in a time crunch. That only fixes the symptom, not the cause of the cloudiness. The problem will return if you don't take steps to address the source.

It's essential to test your hot tub water regularly with a quality test kit to ensure the pH and chlorine levels are balanced. It would help if you also cleaned or replaced your filters according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Is cloudy hot tub water bad for me?

Cloudy water in your hot tub is not bad for you, but it can signify that the water isn't clean. Cloudiness can be caused by a buildup of dirt, oils, and other debris in the water. If you notice your hot tub water is starting to get cloudy, it's good to give it a good cleaning.

Why doesn't my hot tub filter clear the water?

All hot tubs are filterable, but why not just get rid of the particles? The primary cause of this problem is that the particles are so small that the filter cannot capture them adequately. The water passes through it immediately and then back in. 

Most filters remove particles small in size of 5-10 microns which is still reasonably tiny, but it is worth mentioning. Many hot tub systems also bypass water pipes, which means some water does not pass through the filters 100%.

These particles suspended in the water could be different materials like dirt, sand, and other things in the water. So you might want to check if there is anything in your tub that shouldn't be there. If not, I would recommend getting a new filter or trying a different one.

That’s A Wrap: Avoiding Cloudy Hot Tub Water 

The best way to fix cloudy water is to determine what's causing the issue and address it directly. If you're not sure what's causing the problem, you can always ask a hot tub professional for help. They'll be able to test the water and make recommendations for fixing the issue. In most cases, you'll be able to clear up your cloudy, hot tub water with a few simple steps.

  1. Drain and refill if your water is over eight weeks old.
  2. Make sure your water chemistry is correct, especially sanitizer levels.
  3. Use a non-chlorine shock treatment or water clarifier.
  4. Clean out your filters.

Hopefully, you have found this article informative and valuable, and the suggestions have helped sort out your cloudy water problems. If you have any questions or comments about this article, please share them in the comment section below. Thank you for reading!