How to Clean a Jacuzzi Tub Filter: From Start to Finish

Does the water in your hot tub look dull and dirty every time you turn it on?

Do you find yourself avoiding soaking in the hot tub because you can see grimy rings around your jets or around the tub itself?

Are there pieces of dirt and other debris floating in your hot tub water even when you keep it covered when not in use?

If any of these are true of your Jacuzzi tub, it might be time to clean your filter.

Jacuzzi filter cleaning may seem like a big and difficult job, but it doesn’t have to be. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know to clean your filter and tub thoroughly every time you need to.

The best way for you to understand how to clean Jacuzzi tub filter component,s as well as the rest of your tub, is to first learn about the different parts that make up the tub. From there, you can learn how to recognize when it’s time to clean the filter and the tub so you don’t have to perform this task when it’s unnecessary.

After that, you’ll learn how to clean a Jacuzzi tub filter as well as the rest of the tub. You’ll be provided with a step by step guide for each so you’ll never again have to wonder what the best cleaning method is. In the end of the article, you’ll be provided tips and tricks for how to clean Jacuzzi filter and tub parts the right way.

If you’re ready to start learning, then let’s get going.

Disclaimer

This guide on cleaning your Jacuzzi hot tub and filter is provided as informational only. It should not be used in place of training or vocational courses, apprenticeships, educational classes, or plumbing experience. If any part of this guide seems confusing to you, or if any steps sound too difficult for you to perform, consider calling a licensed and experienced plumber to take care of the job for you.

how to clean a Jacuzzi tub filter

Attribution: flickr photo by Grant Guarino https://flickr.com/photos/grantguarino/8849453278 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

What is a Jacuzzi tub?

Before you can understand how to clean a Jacuzzi tub filter, it’s a good idea to know what a Jacuzzi tub is, to begin with. There are a few distinctions you should pay attention to when it comes to looking up information about a Jacuzzi tub.

  • The word “Jacuzzi” is actually a brand name. It is the most popular and well-known brand of hot tubs in existence, and it’s been around for a long time. Calling a hot tub a Jacuzzi is like calling a tissue a Kleenex—it’s just a brand name that got so widely associated with the product some people don’t make a distinction between the two anymore.
  • A “hot tub” is technically a whirlpool tub with a wooden base. However, like the word “Jacuzzi,” this term has become interchangeable with other words for these products throughout the years.
  • A “spa” is the same thing as a hot tub but originally was used to make the distinction between wooden hot tubs and spas made of plastic or fiberglass. Today, the word spa is just as often used as Jacuzzi or hot tub to describe the many different types of similar products available.
  • All of these words refer to soaking tubs that are fitted with jets to create a whirlpool effect. These products also all come with built-in heaters to keep the water very warm. Again, these three terms are interchangeable, although if you don’t have a Jacuzzi brand hot tub you don’t want to purchase products made specifically for this brand alone.

Structure and Parts of a Jacuzzi Tub

Learning how to clean a Jacuzzi filter is much easier when you know the structure of the whole hot tub as well as the filter, and how to recognize the different parts. Remember that every hot tub is different, and some may have different layouts than others. However, although the parts might not always be in the same locations in every hot tub, each one should have many of the same properties. Hot tubs aren’t universal, but they’re also not too different between each model either. The lists below should help you get started locating the different parts of your hot tub, no matter what type you might have.

 parts of your hot tub

Tub

Your hot tub is made up of several different working parts that combine to create the Jacuzzi spa you know and love. In this section, you’ll be given a list of the most important parts of your hot tub, as well as where you can usually find them on most models. Remember to look elsewhere on your product, however, if you can’t seem to find specific parts in the areas mentioned here.

  • The main part of the hot tub is known as the shell. This is hard plastic (or sometimes other material) section of the hot tub formed with seats and a foot bath. It is usually the most colorful part of the hot tub, and this is the part in which you will sit and relax when the hot tub is put together and working properly.
  • The wooden (or sometimes stone) part of the hot tub that supports the shell is known as the base, the housing, or the casing. The base of the hot tub is important in that it supports the rest of the Jacuzzi system. Although you probably won’t perform regular cleanings and maintenance on the base, be sure to look it over frequently so you can easily notice any damage that might be occurring due to weather or pests.
  • When you look into the shell of the hot tub, you should see jets, a drain, and lights. These parts of the hot tub are the ones you’ll most frequently interact with. Remember to clean your jets regularly and scrub around the inset lights as well to remove built up bacteria. Clean the drain when you completely drain the hot tub too.
  • The base has an access door on one side which is used to make it easy to reach the inner workings of the hot tub. The door may be well-hidden, and it might be a panel instead of a hinged door depending on the type of hot tub you have.
  • Inside the hot tub, you’ll find plumbing. These pipelines connect the pump and water supply to the jets inside the shell of the hot tub. If you have many jets around the hot tub, you might have a lot of pipes. These are an important component of your hot tub that keeps water moving properly through the system.
  • You might not see it without going deeper into your Jacuzzi, but there is also insulation inside the base between it and the shell. This keeps the water nice and warm, and it also protects the base and the shell from inclement weather.
  • Inside the access door, you’ll also find the pump. Some older models of hot tubs have pumps located outside the actual Jacuzzi itself, but this is rare in modern versions. Different types of hot tubs have different kinds of pumps, but they all do the same thing: help move water throughout the Jacuzzi system. The pump should be attached to the pipes going to the jets as well as to the filter system.
  • Near the pump, you should find the spa control unit and heating system. This should be attached to the control buttons on the shell of the hot tub. The control unit and heating system are in charge of regulating the jets and hot water in the Jacuzzi. These may have their own separate access panels, so you might not be able to see much of them. A licensed electrician should handle repairs to this part of the hot tub.
  • Finally, you should be able to spot the filter when you look inside the shell. The filter housing unit is the section of the filter covered by a flapping lid or a grate to allow water to pass through. The filter itself should either be located just inside this part or on the outside of the hot tub nearby, depending on your model. You might also have a separate skimmer attachment on your hot tub.
water quality before using the hot tub

Filter

A hot tub filter has its own set of parts that are important for you to recognize for those times when you’ll need to replace or clean the cartridge. Almost every type of hot tub filter works in pretty much the same way, so if you have the type that uses cartridges, you can expect your filter to have most, if not all, of these same parts. Although you might not ever have to worry about cleaning or replacing every one of these individual parts, learning about them is a good step to take toward understanding your Jacuzzi better.

  • Most filters are made of a top, a body, and a base, with many parts comprising these sections. The entire filter can usually be found inside the filter housing unit, which may or may not be inside your hot tub.
  • The top of the filter includes the air vent valve and the lock ring. The lock ring is designed to keep the filter in place, and the air vent valve helps to allow water to pass through the filter while keeping air out. This, in turn, means your pipes and lines will be safer and free from potential damage.
  • The body of the filter includes the cartridge, the cartridge gasket, and a bypass valve. The bypass valve allows water to flow through the filter cartridge as needed in order to clean it properly. The filter cartridge is the part of the filter you’ll be most concerned with. This is the part you clean and replace on a regular basis, and it’s also the part commonly referred to just as the filter. The cartridge gasket is the part of the filter the cartridge attaches to in order to hold it in place.
  • The base of the filter is made of another lock and valve system much like the top. This holds the filter in place and allows water to move through the filter as it should. There are also several other, smaller parts that make up the filter, including many nuts and bolts as well as o-rings. These are important in keeping the filter together, but they are parts that only a repair technician is likely to be concerned with regularly.

Is it Time to Clean Your Jacuzzi?

When you can recognize when it’s time to clean your Jacuzzi, you’ll be well on your way to healthier water and happier family members. Cleaning your whole hot tub is a different process from cleaning the filter alone, and you should not necessarily expect to clean them both at the same time all the time. However, it’s always a good rule of thumb to check your filter when you’re performing a full hot tub clean, and a good idea to check your hot tub when it’s time to rinse the filter. Otherwise, stick to the timelines listed below for the best possible results.

cleaning your whole hot tub

When Should I Clean My Tub

  • Every few days – Although it might seem like a little extra work, checking your hot tub for signs of problems every few days is a good habit to get into as early as possible. The more frequently you check on your hot tub, the better chance you’ll have of catching problem areas when they arise instead of having an unpleasant surprise some time later. During your check, look for signs of film settling on the water or any strange colors. Test the water quality with test strips to be sure you don’t need to adjust your chemicals.
  • Once a month – Every month you’ll need to perform a filter rinse, which you can find more details about listed below. While you have the water drained from the hot tub to perform this task, it’s a good time to at least wipe down the shell of the hot tub inside and out. This is also a good time to clean your hot tub cover with a special cleaner to help prevent it from weathering.
  • Every four months – Drain the hot tub completely every four months for a deep clean. Look at every jet as well as the filter and drain to check for any problems. Use a general hot tub cleaner to scrub the inside of the shell and around and inside every jet. When you refill the hot tub, it will be time to treat the water with chemicals once again.
  • Yearly – Do a thorough maintenance examination on your hot tub every year. This means draining it completely—including the foot bath—and looking over every part and component for damage. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this on your own, it might be a good idea to call a technician out once a year just to be sure everything is still working properly.
building up on the filter

When Should I Clean My Filter

  • Every two weeks – Every two weeks, take a look at the filter and check it for noticeable signs of debris or damage. You don’t have to rinse out your hot tub completely to do this. Simply open the filter housing unit flap and peek inside. If you notice a lot of grime building up on the filter or you can see large pieces of debris like leaves and sticks, remove the filter and give it a quick rinse. You can also remove large debris by hand at this point.
  • Once a month – Every month, you’ll need to rinse your filter cartridge media. Remove it from the housing unit and set it aside. Get your water hose and spray the filter down very well. Be sure to rinse away any visible debris, dirt, build-up, or grime. Let it dry before you reinstall it in the hot tub.
  • Every three months – This is the time to perform a deep filter clean. During this time, you’ll clean your filter with a soaking solution designed specifically for hot tub filters. This is your chance to remove bacteria from the filter, so be sure to choose a cleaning solution that can get rid of the highest number of bacteria. The stronger your solution, the better off you’ll be.
  • Yearly – Every year, you should consider replacing your filter cartridge media. For most hot tubs, this is a good time to change the filter. However, some are designed for extended filter use. If you have one of these types of hot tubs, or if you don’t use yours very often, you might be able to wait two years before you change the filter cartridge.

How to Clean Your Jacuzzi Tub and Filter

Now that you know how to recognize the parts of your Jacuzzi hot tub and how frequently you should consider cleaning it, it’s time to learn how. The methods for cleaning your hot tub and your filter media are a little bit different, and since they’re really two different tasks, the directions have been separated below to make it easier for you to find the information you’re looking for. If you need to do a deep clean on the whole hot tub as well as the filter, just follow the steps for both of these processes. Remember to clean the filter while you have the hot tub already drained, and you’ll be good to go.

clean the filter

How To Clean My Tub

  • To clean the hot tub itself, you’ll need to have both a cleaner designed for line flushing and one made for general hot tub use.
  • Before you empty the hot tub, add the line flush cleaner to the water by following the directions that came with your specific cleaner. Each one operates a little bit differently, so pay close attention to how much of the product you need to add to your water, depending on the size and depth of your hot tub.
  • The line flush cleaner must stay in the water for a specific amount of time. Each cleaner will tell you how long to leave it in the water. After that, turn off the power to the hot tub and shut off the water supply. Drain the hot tub completely.
  • When the hot tub is completely drained, spray the inside very well with your general hot tub cleaner. Wipe this cleaner off very well with a towel, making sure not to leave any residue that could later cause foaming in your hot tub water.
  • Repeat the process on your hot tub cover, making sure to wipe it down afterward with clean towels.
  • Clean the filters at this time by following the directions listed in the section below.
  • Refill your hot tub with clean water. In most instances, you’ll do this by filling through the filter housing unit with a regular garden hose. However, some hot tubs are filled differently, so be sure to check your instruction manual before you go this route, just to be sure.
  • Retreat your water with any chemicals you usually add, such as chlorine or bromine. If you don’t have a standard set of chemicals you use to treat your hot tub, you can purchase a kit from most pool stores to help you get started. You should also pick up test strips so you can check the quality of your water on a regular basis.
  • When the water has been treated, it’s time to turn on the water supply to the hot tub and start the power once again. Allow the hot tub to run through a few cycles, and do not plan to use it for the next 24 hours until the chemical treatments have settled.
  • Check the water quality before using the hot tub. If it’s good, then you’re ready to use it once again.
 clean your filter

How To Clean My Hot Tub Filter

Remember to clean the filter every time you perform a deep clean on your hot tub. However, you might need to clean your filter more frequently than this depending on how often you use your hot tub. The steps outlined in this section can be completed with or without a full hot tub clean.

  • Turn off the power to the hot tub so that the water pump doesn’t keep running while you have the filter cartridge removed. Drain the hot tub, leaving some water in the foot bath area.
  • Locate the filter in your hot tub. In some Jacuzzis, you might need to remove the flap covering the filter housing unit in order to reach the filter cartridge, but this isn’t true of all of them.
  • Remove the filter cartridge media and place it in a large plastic pickle bucket or another similar container. Be sure the container you choose is large enough to hold your filter cartridge without any of it sticking up over the top of the bucket. Do not use any materials other than plastic, as they may react badly with the chemicals needed to treat the filter.
  • If you are replacing your filter instead of cleaning it, all you need to do at this point is discard the old filter and add the new one in. However, some new filters still require a thorough rinsing to activate the filter media before you place it in the hot tub. Check the manual that comes with your filter replacement cartridges to see if this is true of yours. To clean your existing filter, continue with these steps.
  • Rinse the filter first to remove any build-up that can be cleaned with water alone. You can do this with a standard garden hose. If your filter is very grimy, you might need to rinse it a few times before you can get started on the rest of the cleaning process. If you have hard water, calcium deposits on the filter might make it difficult to rinse before soaking.
  • From there, submerge the filter media completely in special filter cleaning solution. Let it soak for at least one hour and at most three hours to clean the filter well without damaging it from prolonged exposure to harsh chemicals. The longer the filter sits in the cleaning solution, the greater the chances are of the filter becoming damaged quickly. To improve the life of your filter, don’t soak it for too long unless you have a very gentle cleanser available.
  • Remove the filter and rinse the cleaning solution from it completely. Be sure to remove every trace of the cleaning solution during this step, or you’ll have foamy water to deal with in your hot tub.
  • Let the filter cartridge dry completely before reinstalling it in your hot tub. To reinstall it, simply put it back in the same way you removed it. If you had to remove the flap covering the filter housing unit to reach it, put this back in place now too.
  • Refill the water in the hot tub, making sure to pass it through the filter. Treat the water as normal with your regular chemical treatment.
  • Turn the power back on to allow the water pump to begin working properly again. Let the hot tub run through a few cycles and allow it to sit for 24 hours before you use it again. Be sure to test the quality of the water before you use the hot tub after cleaning or replacing the filter cartridge media.

Tips and Tricks for Getting Your Tub and Filter as Clean as Possible

Now you know how to clean your hot tub, and you understand a little bit more about how it works as well. But what if you still need a few extra suggestions to help get the best cleaning experience possible? Check out these tips and tricks to help you get well on your way to a perfectly clean hot tub every time.

  • Purchase two separate filter cartridges and alternate between them when it’s time to do a deep clean. While one cartridge is soaking, you can go ahead and put the new one in and get the hot tub started up again. This means you won’t have to have any downtime between cleaning your filter and refilling your hot tub.
  • Make your own filter cleaning solution if you find that the commercially available ones are too harsh for your needs. Some filters require gentle cleaning solutions, so don’t be afraid to look up DIY cleaners to solve this problem.
  • Always be very careful to rinse and dry every part of your hot tub before turning it back on and refilling it after cleaning. If you don’t, you run the risk of foam building up in the water and causing damage to the jets and filter.
  • Do not run the hot tub without the filter installed. Although one cycle without the filter may be necessary to set up the chemicals in your hot tub for the first time, it can be very bad for your pump to operate the tub without the filter. Check your instruction manual to find out if one cycle without the filter is recommended.

Conclusion

As you can see, cleaning your Jacuzzi tub doesn’t have to be a big challenge. There are a lot of things you can familiarize yourself with ahead of time to be sure you get the best possible clean for your tub every time you need to. Now that you’ve finished reading through this article, you should have a much better idea of what a Jacuzzi tub is and the different ways this term can be used to mean different products, as well as the structure of the tub and the filter both. You should also know about how to identify the different parts of the tub and filter, which is a good start toward being able to clean them properly.

Most important, now you should be able to tell for sure when it’s time to go ahead and clean your filter or your whole hot tub. You can get yourself on a schedule of regular cleaning to make it easier than ever to remember when to clean. By following the directions outlined in the step by step guide above and remembering the tips and tricks provided, you can rinse and clean your hot tub and filter components perfectly every time.

Cleaning your Jacuzzi tub might sound like a big, intimidating job, but it’s an important one that needs to be performed regularly. It can be very easy when you know a little bit more about how to do it. The next time your hot tub needs to be cleaned, there’s no reason to call a specialist. You can take care of it yourself and save a lot of money in the process.

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