Hot Tub Filter Cleaner Homemade (For When You Want to DIY)


Hot tubs are a fantastic way to decompress and unwind, but they need maintenance on a regular basis to stay clean and functional. Cleaning the filter, which can be accomplished with commercially available materials or home remedies, is one of the most crucial components of hot tub maintenance. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of making your own hot tub filter cleaner? Is it really as efficient as things you can buy at the store? And how frequently should your filter be cleaned? When selecting whether or not to use a DIY hot tub filter cleaning, all of these issues should be taken into account. While utilizing a homemade solution could have certain benefits, it's crucial to realize that store-bought products are made expressly for this use and might deliver better results in terms of cleaning power and durability. Continue reading to find out more about how to properly clean your hot tub filter.


Making your own hot tub filter cleaner is an easy and cost-effective way to keep your hot tub clean.

  • Using common household items like baking soda, vinegar, and citric acid can help remove dirt and debris from the filter.
  • Regularly cleaning the filter will help maintain water clarity and reduce the need for chemical treatments.
  • Cleaning the filter every two weeks will ensure that it is working properly and efficiently.

With a few simple ingredients, you can make your own hot tub filter cleaner to keep your hot tub in top condition!

Are you looking for an affordable way to keep your hot tub filter clean?

It can get expensive cleaning your hot tub filter as often as you should. However, when it comes to hot tub filter cleaner homemade solutions are the way to go.

Making your own cleaner is a great way to save money on those monthly cleanings and make it easier to keep your hot tub working well.

However, you might not know everything you need to know about how to clean your hot tub or make the right hot tub filter cleaner recipe for your needs. In this article, you will be given plenty of information on cleaning your hot tub from start to finish, and you will also be provided with ways to tell if it’s time to clean your filter.

Later on in the article, you can find tips for mixing your own solution for cleaning your filter at home, as well as suggestions for how to make your filter cleaning go much more smoothly.

Read on to get started learning about maintaining your hot tub filter the DIY way.

*MIXTURES* for Cleaning Your Hot Tub Filter

Now that you know how to clean your hot tub and filter, how to tell if it’s time to clean your filter, and why you should be concerned with keeping it clean as often as possible, it’s time to learn how to make your filter cleaning solution at home. Making your own hot tub filter cleaning solution is a great way to save money and to be sure you aren’t adding anything you wouldn’t want to your hot tub’s components. You will be able to control just how much or how little you use, and you’ll be able to put aside any extra to use next time, too. This is a great cost-effective way to keep your filter clean for a long time to come. Check out these three versions of homemade hot tub filter cleaning solution to fit your needs.

1. TSP

Perhaps the most common recommendation for making your own filter cleaning solution at home is to use TSP. Follow these directions for a solution that is sure to give you a thorough clean every time.

Materials Needed

  • 1 cup trisodium phosphate
  • 5 gallons of water


1. Fill a plastic bucket such a pickle tub with five gallons of water. If your filter is larger than your five-gallon container, you may need to double the mixture above in order to completely submerge it.

2. Add the 1 cup of trisodium phosphate to the water and stir it well to combine it. Be sure to use real TSP and not a substitute.

3. Place the filter in the water and be sure it is completely covered.

4. Soak the filter for one to two hours.

5. Take the filter out of the water and rinse it completely with your garden hose.

6. Let the filter dry overnight before you put it back in the hot tub.

2. Dishwashing Detergent

Much like TSP, dishwashing detergent is a common method for cleaning a dirty hot tub filter. This is a much more affordable method than many of the others on the market, so it’s quite popular.

Materials Needed

  • 1 cup dishwashing detergent
  • 5 gallons of water


1. Add five gallons of water to a pickle bucket or other plastic container. If your filter media is too large to be submerged in five gallons, double the mixture above.

2. Add the 1 cup of dishwashing detergent to your water and combine it well by stirring.

3. Submerge your filter completely in the dishwashing detergent water.

4. Leave the filter alone and let it soak for one to two hours.

5. After soaking, rinse the filter well with a garden hose and clean water.

6. Do not put the filter back in the hot tub until it has dried completely.

3. Vinegar

Using vinegar to clean your hot tub is a much gentler method of cleaning than the previous two versions. This is a good option if your filter isn’t very dirty, but bear in mind that you’ll need to use something stronger if you have a lot of grime built up on your filter media.

Materials Needed

  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 5 gallons of water


1. Fill a pickle bucket or another plastic container with five gallons of water. If it will take more than five gallons to submerge your filter media completely, double the mixture listed above.

2. Add the three cups of white vinegar to the water and stir it well to combine it.

3. Add the filter to the vinegar water and submerge it completely.

4. Let it stand for one to two hours to soak very well.

5. Remove it and rinse it with your garden hose.

6. Let it dry completely before you replace it in your hot tub.

How to Clean a Hot Tub

Before you get started making your own homemade hot tub filter cleaner, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with how to clean a hot tub from start to finish. This way, you won’t be confused when it comes time to actually use the filter cleaner you create, and you’ll have a better idea of what the process entails overall. You’ll know exactly how to use the solution you make and where it fits into the cleaning process. Read on to learn how to take care of your hot tub’s routine cleaning.

  • Drain your hot tub. This is easy to do, and the process by which you can do it is usually outlined in your instruction manual. However, you might also want to think about flushing the lines to your hot tub before you complete this step. Because the pipelines that are connected to your hot tub are prone to gathering bacteria and mold, it is often a good idea to go ahead and clean them out while you are cleaning the rest of the hot tub.
  • In order to flush the lines, you will need to purchase a separate cleaning solution meant specifically for this process. You cannot use the same type of solution you will be using to clean your hot tub filter. This may be a bit of an added expense, but it can go a long way toward increasing the lifespan of your hot tub.
  • Whether or not you choose to flush the lines, drain the hot tub by first turning off the power. This will keep you safe as well as provide an added level of safety for your hot tub. If you do not turn off the power, you might run the risk of causing damage to your pump by operating it while there is no water in it.
  • Follow the directions in your instruction manual to drain your hot tub. You will probably need a garden hose or some other type of hose, and you may need the use of built-in parts that came with your hot tub. Each hot tub is different, and only your instruction manual can give you a step by step guide to doing this properly for your model.
  • When the water has been drained, use a hot tub cleaner to scrub the outer surfaces of your hot tub. Depending on the type of tub you have, you might need to purchase a different kind of cleaner. You can find specific cleaners made for hot tub surfaces, but you can also use household items instead. Acrylic tubs can be cleaned with a standard bathroom cleaner or with ¼ teaspoon of chlorine diluted in five gallons of warm water.
  • Carefully rinse the inside of your hot tub using your garden hose. Wipe it dry with a towel. Do not leave any residue on the inside of the hot tub, as this can cause damage to its working parts as well as upset the balance of chemical treatments in your water.
  • Remove the filter and clean it. Most of the time, your filter can be removed by hand, but you might need to use a screwdriver. Use your garden hose to rinse the filter completely. Place it in a large plastic bucket and submerge it in water. Add your filter cleaning solution to the water and soak it for about two hours.
  • While your filter is soaking, wipe out the inside of the filter area using bathroom cleaner. This will help keep bacteria from forming in the area and causing your filter to malfunction.
  • Rinse the filter again with your garden hose after soaking. Let it dry completely before adding it back to your hot tub. You can place it back in the hot tub the same way you removed it in most cases.
  • Add water to your hot tub the same way you did when setting it up. Your instruction manual can give you more details about how to do this.
  • Restore power to your hot tub. The cleaning process is complete!

How to Tell if Your Hot Tub Filter Needs Cleaning

If you are not performing a major scrub-down of your hot tub, you might wonder if it’s possible to simply clean the filter and continue using the hot tub without going through so many complicated steps. The short answer is yes. You can and should clean the filter more often than you clean the rest of the hot tub. However, don’t neglect regular cleaning of the whole hot tub in order to be sure it keeps running smoothly and the water remains safe and clean for you to use at all times. If you aren’t sure whether or not your filter needs to be cleaned, take a look at this checklist to determine if it’s time.

  • Is your water dirty? If you notice your water turning a strange color or if you can see a lot of debris floating on the surface of your water, it’s probably time to clean your filter. This can be a sign of a filter that needs to be changed, as well, because visible signs of dirty water are usually some of the last things you notice when your filter isn’t functioning as it should.
  • Does your water feel strange on your skin? If your filter isn’t working well or has become clogged in some way, your water might start to feel too hard or too soft. You’ll be able to notice this, as your skin will feel strange after you get out of the hot tub. Soft water may feel too slippery, while hard water might feel dirty or flaky. If you notice either of these, your filter could be the problem.
  • Do you notice some problems with your hot tub? Are your jets working the way they should, or are they having trouble moving the water around? Do you hear strange noises coming from your pump, or do you see smoke or other visible signs of the pump working too hard to do its job? Are there noises that sound like air in your pipelines? If any of these are true, you might have dirty water coming from a clogged filter.
  • Does the filter look grimy? Take out the filter media and give it a once-over. Does it look grimy? Has it turned yellow, green, or gray? If so, it’s time to clean it. You will need to perform more of a deep cleaning if you notice this much grime on your filter, so a simple rinse will not suffice. If you also notice a calcium buildup, you may need to purchase a special solution to help remove calcium from the filter.
  • Has it been two weeks since your last cleaning? If so, it might be time to clean your filter again. Take a look at it and see if it seems like it’s getting dirty. If it isn’t very grimy, you can get by with just rinsing it with clean water from your garden hose every two weeks. This can help improve its functionality. If you soak it every two weeks in cleaning solution, this can actually cause it to last for less time than it ordinarily would.
  • Has it been a month or more since your last cleaning? If so, it’s time to do a deep, soaking clean. Use the mixtures later on in this article, and follow the directions in the previous section. Every month, you should soak your filter media and let it dry completely before putting it back in your hot tub.
  • Has it been over a year since your last filter change? If so, it’s probably time for a new filter. However, some filters are able to last for two years without much trouble, especially if you don’t use your hot tub very often. You’ll be able to tell by looking if your filter needs to be replaced completely. A worn out filter will start to look shredded, flimsy, or gray all the time.

Why Keep Your Hot Tub Filter Cleaned?

You might feel as though cleaning your hot tub filter is a bit of an arbitrary task. It seems like a lot of work to go through just for something that’s going to keep your water a little bit cleaner, doesn’t it? However, you might not realize just how important it really is to keep your hot tub filter as clean as possible for as much time as you can. There are many important reasons you should keep in mind when learning about cleaning your hot tub filter. A few of the top concerns are listed below.

  • A clean hot tub filter can keep you safe from injury. If your filter is clogged with sticks or other debris, there’s always the potential it could enter the water and end up floating around when you turn on the jets. Some types of debris can cut you, or they can damage the shell of your hot tub, which can also cause cuts and scrapes.
  • Cleaning your filter regularly will ensure that the water in your hot tub is safe for you and your family to use. When your filter stops working, the water in your hot tub will slowly become dirtier and dirtier. In some rare instances, it’s even possible for dangerous bacteria to grow in the water, and this can make your family sick. Even less problematic bacteria can sometimes cause a problem, so it’s in the best interest of everyone’s safety to keep your filter as clean as you can.
  • Regular hot tub filter cleaning can improve the functionality of all of your hot tub’s working parts. When your hot tub’s filter is clogged, the pipes and pump must work harder to keep the water clean. It’s possible to basically overheat the pump in this situation, which can be a very costly problem to fix. Some debris that might get caught on a clogged filter has the potential to get sucked into the lines as well, which can cause the pipelines to be damaged and might also destroy the pump. Finally, a dirty filter can cause the jets to have to work harder to move the water, and can also clog them with debris and bacteria. This can damage the jets. If you’re concerned with extending the life of your hot tub and all its working parts, keeping the filter clean is the first step.

Tips and Tricks for Cleaning Your Hot Tub Filter

Understanding the best way to clean your hot tub filter can be tricky. Keep these tips and tricks in mind to be sure you always know what you’re doing and that your hot tub will be as clean as possible every time you clean. This way, you’ll be able to ensure that your hot tub will last for many years to come.

  • Check your filter every two weeks, but expect to clean it once a month. If your filter doesn’t look too dirty during your two-week check, you might not need to do more than just rinse it off with your garden hose. Sometimes, soaking your filters too often can actually cause them to wear out faster, so it pays to pay attention to how dirty your media gets.
  • Perform water quality tests every now and then. Although this isn’t a necessary task every month, it’s a good idea to do a water quality check about twice a year, just to be sure everything is operating correctly in your hot tub. If the water quality check comes back showing signs of bacteria or other issues with your water, you might have a dirty filter to blame. This means you’ll need to work on cleaning it more often.
  • Purchase a second set of filters so you can alternate between the two during cleanings. This way, you won’t have to have any down time between hot tub uses. While one filter is soaking and drying, you can simply replace it with the other filter. Be sure to keep track of how many times you’ve used each one, so you can throw them out when the time comes.
  • Always remove visible debris from your filter when you notice it. If you see leaves, sticks, or other debris caught in your filter, take them out right away. These can eventually damage your filter and cause a lot of trouble if they get sucked into the pipelines.
  • Do not use filters from a different manufacturer than your hot tub. They may not fit properly, and they may not work as well as official filters for your specific hot tub will. Always use products approved by the company that makes your hot tub in order to keep from damaging your tub.
  • Discard filters after two years. There are a handful of long-term filters on the market today, but for the most part, it’s a good idea to throw away your filters every two years. Be sure to check them well after one year, however, as they might already need to be replaced at this point, depending on how frequently you’ve used your hot tub.


There is a lot to learn about cleaning your hot tub filter. However, if you want to save money, you can easily make a DIY project out of your home hot tub cleaning solution. This can help you a lot in the long run, and keeping plenty of cleaner on hand is a sure way to be certain you clean your filter as often as you need to. Don’t forget to check it every two weeks and soak it at least every month for the best results.

Additional Research:

5 DIY Hot Tub Filter Cleaner Recipes

  1. Mix 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1/4 cup of borax and 1/4 cup of citric acid. Add 2 tablespoons of dish soap and mix until it forms a paste.
  2. Combine 1/2 cup of white vinegar, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a bowl. Stir until the ingredients are fully combined.
  3. Mix together 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 2 tablespoons of baking soda, and 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap. Stir until the ingredients are fully combined.
  4. Combine 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1/4 cup of borax and 1/4 cup of citric acid. Add 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap and mix until it forms a paste.
  5. Mix together 3 parts water to one part white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the filter cleaner onto the filter and let sit for 15 minutes before rinsing off.

ALSO: Consider using an enzyme-based hot tub filter cleaner for an extra deep clean!</p

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About The Author

Joseph Bartley
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Joseph Bartley, also known as the WaterFilterFanatic, is a seasoned content writer who specializes in water filtration and water quality topics. On AllAboutWaterFilters, he has written a range of water filtration system reviews, water health and quality articles, swimming pool, hot tub and aquarium filtration guides, DIY methods to assist people clean their drinking water, and much more. Joseph enjoys spending his time working with the #AllAboutWaterFilters Editorial Team to provide some of the best quality water filtration content available on the web.

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