Cedar Hot Tub Maintenance

Taking care of your cedar hot tub is critical in order to maximise both your investment and optimise your enjoyment.

There are many different techniques to keep your hot tub clean and functional including some chemical-free alternatives (we’re all about being eco-conscious!).

Sanitising without Chemicals

When it comes to cedar hot tubs, cleanliness is the most important thing of all. How well you sanitise your hot tub is crucial to your overall satisfaction of this enjoyable home recreational activity. While you can certainly use chemicals such as chlorine and bromine to clean your hot tub, many people prefer a more natural way of sanitizing. This is because while chlorine and bromine clean your tub, they can lower your overall experience of your hot tub due to their smell and how they make the water look and feel. We recommend an approach without chemicals, which allows you to fully enjoy the ample benefits of your cedar hot tub.

The Problem

It’s unavoidable, humans leave behind bacteria in the hot tub after usage. Thus, after multiple uses, a hot tub can become a breeding ground for bacteria. The warm water can also help them multiply, increasing the health risk. While draining the tub after each use is one option, this is time-consuming and it wastes water. For those who do not want to drain the water each time, proper sanitization is critical. Remember, this is an important purchase and something to cherish, so take good care of it!

The Solution

We recommend using only the kind of sanitizers that destroy bacteria without harming the people in the hot tub. In our experience, there is only one such sanitiser. This is unpaired oxygen (or oxygen ions) which is simple to use and very effective. In fact, unpaired oxygen is thousands of times more effective than chlorine or bromine. Unpaired oxygen is found in ozone and hydrogen peroxide. Both these substances do a great job of killing bacteria, but most importantly they do not leave behind a harmful residue which can negatively impact humans. These sanitizers work by releasing oxygen ions into the water, which work to clean the water. The process is safe, fast, and reliable.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an incredible sanitizer. We’re not talking about the stuff in the brown bottle that your mom used on your cuts – that’s only a 3% solution. For your tub, you’ll need a 27% solution. When poured into your hot tub, the hydrogen peroxide immediately separates into water and oxygen ions. The oxygen ions then latch onto anything they find, including bacteria, killing it in the process! The entire reaction takes just a few hours, and all that is left is clean water!

How do you use it? You need to know how many gallons of water are in your hot tub, then use about 1/3 cup of hydrogen peroxide for every 100 gallons in your tub. A point of caution: hydrogen peroxide is a powerful oxidizer and can cause burns if contacted directly. Our advice is to always use gloves. For a maintenance dose of sanitization, pour 1/8 cup of hydrogen peroxide per 100 gallons of water directly into the hot tub a few minutes before people hop in.

You can buy hydrogen peroxide at any pool or hot tub store. It is usually categorized under “oxidizers” or “shock treatments”. Because stores sell it as a cleaning agent, they often are not aware of its use as a sanitizer. Some brands of hydrogen peroxide don’t even list the ingredients. But we’ve done the research for you. Here are three major brands that contain the right amount (27%) of the substance:

  • Baqua-Shock
  • Soft Swim-C (It must be “C”)
  • Clear Comfort Clarifier

Ozone Sanitisation

Another option for sanitising your hot tub is using a device called an ozone generator. This device injects tiny ozone bubbles into the hot tub water which kill the bacteria. This is a very similar process to the hydrogen peroxide sterilization process: the unpaired oxygen atoms latch onto the bacteria and kill them. However, ozone is not as effective at sterilizing the hot tub walls because ozone bubbles do not latch onto surfaces very well, and thus have difficulty killing bacteria on the hot tub wall. Therefore, hydrogen peroxide should be used on tub surfaces if the hot tub owner wants to keep the water for a lengthy period of time. Alternatively, hot tub owners can use exclusively ozone if they change the hot tub water frequently.

Demand-heated Soaking Tubs

Keeping water clean and sanitised is much easier with demand-heated tubs, since the volume of water is usually lower, and thus it is easier to drain the tub frequently (and bacteria have less time to grow). Also, demand-heated tubs are not kept continually warm, and are therefore less conducive to bacteria growth. This lessens the need for sanitizers (though they are still necessary!).

Finally, here are some general tips in keeping your cedar hot tub clean, sanitized, and ready to enjoy:

  1. Encourage hot tub users to take a shower before using the hot tub. This will rinse off a lot of the dead skin, oil, and other organic matter on the body.
  2. Always use non-toxic sanitizing solutions. We recommend ozone or hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Sterilize the water right after each use. This will prevent bacteria growth before they can proliferate.
  4. Drain the hot tub frequently and clean and inspect it each time.
  5. If you keep water in the tub for an extended period, give the water a weekly maintenance dose of hydrogen peroxide. This will keep the water free of bacteria.

Sanitising with chemicals

Day-to-Day Maintenance

At this level of maintenance, it is all about the water. You need to keep it sanitized, the pH must be balanced, and it must be cleaned. To keep it sanitised, check the sanitiser levels in the water by using hot tub test strips (these are cheap and easy to get at any pool or hot tub store). These strips will let you know if you need to add sanitiser such as chlorine to the water. For those hot tubs that come with an ozonator and ionizer included, only the copper level needs to be tested.

Next, the pH balance must be kept at an optimal level. This has to be checked every day. You should keep the right chemicals around to increase or decrease the water’s acidity as required.

Last, when you and your friends are enjoying yourselves in your cedar hot tub, body oils and perspiration find their way into the water. These things tend to float at the top of the water, and can stain the hot tub wood at the water level. To maintain the appearance of your hot tub, check this line frequently and clean when necessary. There are sprays and pastes available that can help in this process. They are easy to use and cost-effective.

Month-to-Month Maintenance

To make your water look fantastic, make sure to add a water sparkle agent every month or so. This will help your hot tub water look clean and bright and clear. Though it does not affect your hot tub’s performance, many owners find the improvement in appearance is worth it.

Each month, owners should also check the cedar hot tub’s outside and inside for cracks, cuts, dings, and other damage. Noticing such problems early on makes fixing them cheaper and easier than finding them when it is too late.

2-3 times per year, owners should fully drain the hot tub and give it a full inspection. At this time, the hot tub should be scrubbed with a Scotch-Brite pad, and the filtration system should be taken apart, inspected, and cleaned.