Bacteria Alert: How To Easily Clean A Jacuzzi Bathtub Or Whirlpool Tub (Hot Tub Bath With Air Jets)

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We all know what a dirty bathtub ring looks like. Now imagine what that scum buildup is doing inside the jet plumbing of your Jacuzzi style bathtub!

Sure, you can clean the bathtub itself, but once you start up the air jets all kinds of nasty looking bits and specks will come floating to the surface if you don’t properly clean the jets themselves and the interior plumbing system.

That’s right, the jets and pipes behind your jet tub can quickly become contaminated with all sorts of infectious bacteria — some you can see, and some you can’t see!

This video shows how the plumbing in air tubs works and why you need to clean your jet tub system:

 

Fortunately, cleaning the inside of your air tub’s elaborate collection of pipes, jets, and nozzles is really straightforward and easy.

Here’s how to properly clean a whirlpool tub yourself in just a few quick steps…

 

Jacuzzi Tub Cleaning Tips

#1 – First, check your bathtub’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends. They typically specify which cleaners work best, as well as which ones you should avoid. Each air tub is different. Can’t find your owner’s manual? Find it online.


#2
 – Close all of the air controls on the individual jets so there is no air induction. Then fill the tub until all jets are submerged by 2 to 3 inches of water.

NOTE: Some air tub manufacturers call for the air controls to be fully opened, so it’s best to read the manual first to confirm which method is best for your specific bathtub.


#3
 – Add 2 tablespoons of a low-sudsing dishwasher detergent (such as powdered Cascade or Calgonite) and 1/2 cup of bleach. Some recommend adding these both to the water in one step, while others make it a 2-step process: first clean once with the detergent, then clean again afterwards with the bleach. I guess it’s a personal choice.

NOTE: As an alternative to using bleach, you could use 1 cup of white vinegar instead. Or, you may prefer to use a commercial jet tub cleaner made specifically for cleaning jetted air tubs.


#4
 – Run the jets for 15 minutes, then drain the tub. Refill the tub with water 2-3 inches above the jets and run the jets again for 10 minutes to rinse thoroughly.


#5
 – Drain the water and wipe down the tub and all nozzles using a soft cloth (like a cloth baby diaper). Use a Q-tip to get into the cracks and crevices around the nozzles.


#6 –
Finally, in order to prevent health problems associated with biofilm (a residue that forms around bacteria in the plumbing lines), it’s important to end your whirlpool tub cleaning routine with one of the many products that have been designed to remove biofilm. Here’s why:

big-gray-quote57Jetted tubs have about 15-20 feet of plumbing lines that run underneath the tub. These lines are full of warm stagnant water after each bath. This nasty water forms a residue called biofilm. Biofilm houses and protects bacteria from standard cleaning products like bleach, detergents, vinegar etc. Just like the cooling tower industry that has to deal with biofilm, it takes specialized chemicals to safely clean jetted tubs … If the jetted tubs are cleaned properly they are perfectly safe to use. I attached efficacy testing on the product we make. As you can see we effectively kill bacteria commonly found in jetted tubs, including legionella. There are other good products on the market as well.  — Bill Soukup, President of Scientific Biofilm Solutions

 

What You Need To Know About Cleaning Jet Tubs

Over time, your jet fixtures may start to yellow or become discolored. This is a normal and natural process that occurs as plastic ages. In most cases, there is little that can be done to rectify this condition. Painting is an option though not a very good one — because with continual use in water, the paint is not likely to hold up very well and the resulting peeling or bubbling will look worse than the natural discoloration of the plastic.

Without a doubt, proper cleaning of your jet tub is very important and cannot be overlooked. Since moisture is always present in the jets and pipes of your air tub, bacteria can easily build up and mold, mildew, and other health risks can quickly become an issue.

How often you need clean the jets in your air tub depends on how often you use your tub. For the everyday user it may be necessary to clean and sanitize once a month (or more). Those who only use their jet tub occasionally can probably get by with cleaning and sanitizing it once every 3 to 4 months.

Proper Jacuzzi tub cleaning isn’t a hard task, it’s just one that can’t be forgotten. If you don’t stay on top of it, then you may have to pay to have your jet tub professionally cleaned, which comes with a pricetag of about $180, as described in this video:

 

 

More About Cleaning Jet Tubs

Curtis Carper

I’ve been involved in RVing for over 40 yrs -- including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking at home, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller, you've got a good idea of who I am.

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  • Jess

    I have cascade liquid gel detergent, does that make a difference as opposed to the powdered?

    • http://thefuntimesguide.com/ FunTimesGuide

      Yes, it makes a difference. Must be powdered. Liquid soaps do not work at all in jacuzzi tubs – will make a huge mess. You could try baking soda instead, but I’m not sure if it will be as effective. If you try it – let us know!

  • http://www.facebook.com/anna.l.carpenter.7 Anna Lentz Carpenter

    Apparently the author didn’t watch the same vide because it said using cascade and bleach doesn’t get it clean either !!! So any more bright ideas ?? I cleaned mine today with bleach water three times and flushed it with clear water a 4th time … I still had a tub full of black mold gunk !!

    • http://thefuntimesguide.com/ FunTimesGuide

      cascade works great for me. Ours isn’t terribly gunked or grimey though. If yours is… perhaps a Magic Eraser might be helpful

    • On The Line

      When my jets start blowing the gunk, I take off the screen on the suction pump and squirt a whole bottle of “Foaming Pipe Snake” into the pipes. I turn on the jets for just a couple of seconds to get the foam inside all of the pipes. Just a little should come out of the blowers. I let it sit inside the jets for several hours. Then I run the tub full off hot water and turn on the jets. You won’t believe what all blows out! It’s disgusting! Then i drain the tub, and repeat. I continue to fill the tub and run the jets until nothing else blows out. I tried everything, before I tried this. Nothing cleaned it to the point of keeping the crud from blowing out. I think I had to do it twice the first time. Since then, once is enough to clean it well. No one told me to do this. I just thought of it. It’s never hurt my tub, or the plumbing. I’ve done this about once per year, for three or four years now. Seems to me that the slimy junk doesn’t build up as quickly as it used to. Before I started using the Foaming Pipe Snake, I was ready to stop using the tub, because I felt dirtier when I got out, than when I got in. I hope this works as well for you as it did for me. Good luck!

  • Jack S

    Cleaning a jetted tub with detergent and bleach is very ineffective. Montana State University Center for Biofilm Engineering say confirm this (http://www.epa.gov/ogwdw/disinfection/tcr/pdfs/presentations/meeting_presentation_tcr-revisions_biofilmmicrobiology.pdf).

    You need to use a cleaner engineered for removing the gunk in plumbing lines! There are a few cleaners out there engineered to do this. Make sure to buy a liquid cleaner rather than a gel cleaner because the liquid is far more effective and easier to use!

  • William Soukup

    The lodging industry uses a product called Oh Yuk jetted tub cleaner.

  • Jennifer Lynn Oliver Torres

    I have amyco bacteria disease from my tube. Please get proper cleaners to make sure its done prpoerly.

  • Tina C.

    I’m a little confused here, why are you suggesting that a jet/jacuzzi bathtub can be cleaned with bleach and cascade, but yet you’ve included 2 You Tube videos here that says bleach nor any of these professional cleaners actually work?? Does the bleach and Cascade work or not??

    • http://thefuntimesguide.com/ FunTimesGuide

      Hi Tina – There isn’t one single best way to clean every jacuzzi tub. So yes, it works. But it’s not necessarily the best option for everyone for the reasons provided (in the videos).