Sunrise Specialty » How to Clean a Hot Tub Filter? (Step-by-Step Tutorial)

How to Clean a Hot Tub Filter? (Step-by-Step Tutorial)

Having a hot tub at home is a great luxury, and anyone lucky enough to own one will be familiar with the pleasures of being able to come home from work and wash away the stresses and worries of the day in hot water and bubbles.

However, hot tubs require a certain amount of maintenance, and one of the most important aspects is keeping the filter clean. For anyone wondering how this is done, here’s our guide to how to clean a hot tub filter.

If you want a short but clear preview of some of the things we’re going to be talking about, you can check out this video – although bear in mind that the details may vary between brands.

Why do you need to clean a hot tub filter?

Before we move on to how to clean a hot tub filter, let’s look at some questions like why you need to do it and how often.

Having a clean filter is one of the keys to ensuring your hot tub functions smoothly and correctly. A clean filter helps keep the water free of germs and debris and will make the tub easier to maintain. The same is just as true with inflatable hot tubs.

However, failure to clean the filter will reduce the performance of the pumps and will make it more difficult to keep the water clean, even with chemicals. It may even affect the ability of the heater to maintain the correct temperature too.

How often should you clean a hot tub filter?

How often should you clean a hot tub filter

How often you need to clean the filter depends largely on how often you use the hot tub. For most users, cleaning the filter about once a month is recommended, although with heavier use, you may need to do it more frequently.

As a rule, you should check the filter every two weeks, give it a light clean every month and give it a deep clean every two or three months. This way, you can be sure your filter is always in perfect condition.

Some more advanced tubs also have a warning system built-in that will let you know if there is a problem with the filter – for example, if it needs cleaning or if it is blocked. For further details regarding your model, you should refer to the user manual.

What do you need?

What do you need

You don’t need much special equipment to clean a hot tub filter, but there are a few things you should prepare beforehand. These include:

  • Garden hose
  • Large bucket (big enough to completely submerge the filter)
  • Filter cleaning fluid
  • Towel

Steps on How to Clean a Hot Tub Filter

Cleaning hot tub filters is very easy and doesn’t require much time. Here’s a step-by-step guide to how to do it.

  1. Turn off the power

Turn off the power

The first step is to turn off the power to your hot tub. If you leave your hot tub running when you remove the filter, it can result in dirt and debris being sucked into the filter fitting.

If your hot tub is hard wired, you will need to turn it off at the breaker switch. If it is a 110V version, you just need to unplug it from the outlet.

  1. Remove the filter

Remove the filter

Locate the compartment that houses the filter and open it up. Most tubs have only one filter, but some models incorporate two. If it is still on, you will need to remove the hot tub cover to gain access to the filter compartment.

With many tubs, to remove the filter, you just need to turn it counterclockwise to unscrew it and then lift it out. However, since filters in different tubs can vary, you should refer to your user manual to see how to do it with your model.

  1. Check for damage

Check for damage

When you remove the filter, before you start cleaning it, you should check for damage. This should be part of your bi-weekly check, even when you are not planning to clean the filter. If you find it is damaged, you will need to replace it as soon as possible.

  1. Remove larger debris by hand

Remove larger debris by hand

Once you are satisfied the filter is not damaged, you can start by removing and larger pieces of debris that are caught in it by hand. This might include leaves or twigs that have fallen into the water and been sucked into the filter.

  1. Spray the filter down with the hose

Spray the filter down with the hose

After removing any larger pieces of debris, you need to remove any smaller pieces that have become lodged in the filter. To do this, take the hose and spray it down. Be careful not to use too powerful a spray or you may damage the filter.

  1. Deep-clean the filter

Deep-clean the filter

Next, you need to soak the filter to remove any smaller particles that have become caught in it as well as to kill off any bacteria that may have started to grow. To do this, you need a special filter cleaning product.

Take the bucket and fill it with enough water to completely immerse the filter and add the cleaning product.

Since all cleaning products are slightly different, you should check the bottle and make sure you are using the right dose.

Place the water filter in the water and cleaning fluid solution and leave it to soak, preferably overnight. Note that if you use hot water, this can speed up the process, and you will only need to let it soak for an hour or so.

  1. Rinse the filter

Rinse the filter

When the filter has finished soaking, you need to remove it from the bucket and rinse it thoroughly. If you leave any of the water and cleaner solution on the filter, it may cause foam to form in your tub when you start using it again.

  1. Replace the filter

Replace the filter

When the filter is fully rinsed, you can place it back into position in the tub. Screw it in in the same way you unscrewed it – or if your tub uses a different method, follow the directions in the user manual. When it’s back in place, replace the cover.

  1. Turn the power back on

Turn the power back on

Once the filter is back in and the compartment is closed, you are ready to turn your tub back on. Simply flip the breaker switch or plug it back into the power outlet, and you’re ready to go.

Tips to Clean a Hot Tub Filter

Tips to Clean a Hot Tub Filter

Here are a couple of tips that might help you when cleaning your filter.

  • For the monthly clean, you can use a spray

Filter cleaning products exist that don’t require an overnight soak – instead, you just spray the filter and then rinse it off.

You can use one of these for the monthly clean, but if you do so, you should still soak the filter in a water and cleaner solution every two to three months.

  • Follow steps 1-5 for you bi-weekly cleaning program

For bi-weekly cleaning, you can go through steps 1-5 only.

  • Let the tub run after cleaning the filter

After cleaning the filter, you should leave the tub to run for a while before jumping in yourself. This will allow any debris that has managed to get into the water during cleaning to be filtered out.



Here are some frequently asked questions concerning hot tub filters and the process of cleaning them.

  • Can you use vinegar to clean a filter?

If you don’t want to use a special hot tub filter cleaning product, vinegar makes a reasonable stand-in. When you get to step #6, use a 50:50 solution of water and vinegar in the bucket and soak the filter in that overnight.

Vinegar is among the most efficient alternative cleaning agents – although it is still not as effective as a proper filter cleaner.

  • Can you use bleach to clean a filter?

Technically, yes, you can. However, it is not advisable, since bleach will be very harsh on your filter, and it’s much better to use a dedicated product.

If you need to clean a filter and you don’t have any filter cleaner available, bleach can be used as a substitute – but you shouldn’t use it every time or you will reduce the life of the filter.

  • Can you clean a hot tub filter in a dishwasher?

Although some people might suggest this is possible, it’s best avoided. This is because the pressure of the jets in the dishwasher may damage the filter. Even if it comes out ok once, you might not be lucky the second or third time, and you will end up reducing the filter’s life.

  • Can you put a filter in the washing machine?

No. The washing cycle will be too violent for a delicate hot tub filter.

  • How long should a filter last?

This question depends on a number of factors, including how often you use your hot tub as well as the hardness of your water.

Under normal circumstances, a filter will last between two and three years. With lighter use, it is not impossible for it to last longer than this – but with more intensive use or in hard water areas, you may need to be ready to change it once a year.

Simple but essential maintenance task

Keeping a hot tub filter clean and in good working order is not difficult, it’s simply a matter of remembering to do it regularly. As long as you stick to a fortnightly and monthly schedule and follow our steps, you should be able to keep your tub running perfectly with minimal fuss.