Are You Making These Hot Tub Mistakes?

backyard hot tub on patio

A hot tub can take your backyard from a place you spend time and turn it into a place where you live. An at-home retreat, the hot tub will help you and your space come alive. 

However, before you slip in to soak away the stress, it’s important to understand the key to enjoying a hot tub. And we’re not talking about the number of jets and whether it has lounge seats.

A hot tub needs to be cared for and the water properly maintained so that you can enjoy it safely.  These are some of the most hot tub common mistakes that new owners make. Taking the time to learn about hot tub maintenance — and making it a priority — can help you get the most out of your spa. 

indoor hot tub on terra cotta tiles
Following a water care schedule will help keep your water safe and inviting.

10 Common Hot Tub Mistakes

Purchasing a hot tub is an investment not just in your backyard but your health. And you want to get the most out of that investment — using it regularly throughout the week and many years to come. A well-maintained hot tub can last a decade … or longer. 

Avoiding common hot tub mistakes can help you avoid stress and protect your investment.

Wearing Street Clothes

When you get into your hot tub, you should wear something that’s comfortable. But we’re not talking about a pair of sweats or your favorite T-shirt. Wearing street clothes can negatively affect your water quality. The fabric of your clothing will have soap residue, as well as absorb body oils and lotions — all of which can cause your hot tub water to be foamy and cloudy. You can treat your water afterward but hot tub chemicals might not be enough to fix the problem. One soak in street clothes might force you to drain and refill your hot tub.

Winterizing Hot Tub

Many hot tubs are designed to be used year-round, with insulation protecting the components of the spa and keeping the water warm.

But some people choose to winterize their hot tub, basically closing it for the season. The owner will have to remove all water from the hot tub, including in the plumbing and pumps, to prevent unwanted damage. Water left in the hot tub, especially in the plumbing, can freeze and damage the components. 

However, winterizing can void your warranty. And you miss out on taking advantage of your hot tub. There is nothing like soaking in a hot tub as snow lightly falls on the ground. And while you might experience a momentary chill walking out to the spa, you will all but forget about it once you hop in. 

dirty rotten old hot tub
Without proper maintenance, dirt and debris can damage your hot tub. But, with proper care, your spa can last decades.

Running Hot Tub without Filters

Hot tub filters are an essential component of your spa, helping you keep the water clean. The filters prevent things like dirt and debris from building up in your water. More than that, it keeps those things out of the plumbing and hot tub pump. 

It’s important to make sure that your filters are in and installed correctly. It’s always a good idea to keep extra filters at home so that you can change them out according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Forgetting to Clean Filters

Hot tub filters are made with a fabric that catches dirt, debris, and hair while allowing water to pass through. However, hot tub filters can get clogged. It’s important to rinse and clean your filters regularly. Not only will this keep your water clean but helps protect your hot tub plumbing. A dirty hot tub filter makes your hot tub pump work harder, and it can lead to long-term damage.

This hot tub filter cleaner is one of our favorites. The comb-like design allows you to remove debris and dirt from the fabric of your filter.

No Water Maintenance Schedule

If you want to get the most enjoyment from your hot tub, you will need to keep up with water care. The easiest way to do that is to have a schedule. Whether you keep it old school, writing it down on a wall calendar, or add it to your digital calendar, you should have a reminder to add shock every Sunday. Or, find a way to make a note as to when you last switched out your filters.

Always reference your owner’s manual and manufacturer’s guidelines for the best water care schedule. 

outdoor hot tub with cover on patio
One of the best ways to protect your hot tub is to keep the cover on. The hot tub cover prevents dirt and debris from messing up your water chemistry.

Leaving the Cover Off

Sure, it can be cumbersome to take off your hot tub cover only to have to put it back on 20 minutes later. However, the hot tub cover keeps out things you don’t want in your hot tub water. Think leaves, animals, and other debris. The cover also helps keep your operating costs in check, locking in heat and helping prevent evaporation. You will be doing yourself a favor by keeping the hot tub cover on when you aren’t using it.


When it comes to the temperature of your hot tub, there’s two things to keep in mind. You want the water to be comfortably warm, even hot (hello, it’s a hot tub). However, the water should not be so hot that it becomes unsafe. You should keep it below 104 degrees for the best experience.

You do not need to keep your hot tub at 104 degrees, though. It can be expensive to heat your hot tub to that temperature when you are not using it. When you get out of the hot tub, lower the temperature. This small step will help you save money and also extend the life of your spa components. 

Skip the Add-Ins

When you want to take a luxurious bath, you might add in some epsom salts or aromatherapy oils. But a hot tub is not a bath. Adding products like scents or oils might be nice for 20 minutes but it will cause days and days of headaches. These products can damage your hot tub and, more than likely, you will have to drain and refill your spa.

Using Pool Chemicals

It might not seem like such a terrible idea, using pool chemicals in your hot tub. While you balance pH, alkalinity, and chlorine in both hot tubs and pools, there are two different types of water features. Chemicals designed for backyard pools are often more concentrated than those made for hot tubs. In addition, hot tubs use a different type of chlorine (di-chlor) than a pool (tri-chlor). 

Why are pool chemicals different than hot tub chemicals?

  • A pool holds a lot more water than a pool
  • A hot tub is kept at a higher temperature than a pool
  • The jets of a hot tub circulate water at a faster rate than a pool

If you use pool chemicals in your hot tub, your water balance could go on a roller coaster ride. Your pH and total alkalinity could change dramatically as you stand by and wonder what to do. And, in the end, the only option might be to drain and refill.