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How to Clean Hot Tub Filter

Cleaning a hot tub filter is required to maintain water quality and ensure the hot tub operates at its best. You should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for filter replacement, but cleaning them will decrease the amount of times you have to replace them.

Hot Tub Filter Main Components

Hot tub filters have several components that work together for filtration and water cleanliness. It’s not a bad idea to understand the elements of a hot tub filter if you’re cleaning it regularly.

Filter Media

The filter media is the material that traps and filters out impurities from the water. It’s typically made of polyester, paper, or pleated fabric. The structure and density of the filter media determine its filtration efficiency.

End Caps

The end caps are usually plastic and are the filter’s top and bottom enclosures. They often have fittings or openings for water flow and attachment points for installation in the hot tub.


The core provides structural support to the filter. It is a central tube that the filter media is wrapped around. The core ensures the filter maintains its shape and integrity during use.


Pleats refer to the folds or ridges in the filter media. Pleated filters offer a larger surface area for trapping debris, improving filtration efficiency.

Gaskets and O-Rings

Gaskets and O-rings are seals placed around the filter to prevent water from bypassing the filter media. They ensure that water passes through the filter to maximize the filtration process.

Threaded Connectors

Many hot tub filters have threaded connectors or fittings on the end caps, allowing them to be easily screwed into place in the filtration system.


Some filters have a built-in handle, making installing, removing, and cleaning the filter easier. The handle provides a convenient grip for handling the filter during maintenance.

Antimicrobial Coating (Optional)

In some filters, an antimicrobial coating may be applied to inhibit the growth of bacteria and mold. This helps maintain the cleanliness of the filter and prevents foul odors.

Microban Technology (Optional)

Filters may incorporate Microban technology, which provides continuous antimicrobial protection. Microban inhibits the growth of bacteria on the filter, contributing to a more hygienic hot tub environment.

Tools For Cleaning Hot Tub Filters

Using the wrong tools or chemicals can damage the filters or affect hot tub water quality. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning and maintenance.

Garden Hose

A garden hose is necessary for rinsing off loose debris and contaminants from the filter. Use a hose with a high-pressure nozzle to ensure thorough cleaning.

Filter Cleaning Solution

A filter-cleaning solution is designed to break down oils, lotions, and other residues that may accumulate on the filter media. Look for a product recommended by your hot tub manufacturer. We recommend using Simple Green: 1 oz. per 1 gallon of water.

Filter Brush

A filter brush with soft bristles helps scrub between the pleats of the filter media. It helps remove stubborn dirt and contaminants trapped in the folds.

Large Bucket or Container

A large bucket or container is handy for soaking the filters in the cleaning solution. Just make sure it’s large enough to submerge the filters fully for an effective cleaning process.

Wear Gloves and Eye Protection

It’s advisable to wear gloves and eye protection when handling hot tub filters and cleaning solutions. This protects your hands and eyes from any chemicals and contaminants.

Cartridge Filter Cleaner Wand (Optional)

A filter cleaner wand is a tool specifically designed for cleaning cartridge filters. It typically attaches to a garden hose and creates a strong stream of water to wash between filter pleats.

Soft Towels or Rags

Soft towels or rags help dry the filters after cleaning. Please make sure they are clean and free from lint to avoid introducing new debris to the filters.

Filter Degreaser (Optional)

A filter degreaser can remove oils and greases from the filter media. It is beneficial if your hot tub experiences a high level of oil-based contaminants.

Here’s the Step-By-Step Guide on How to Clean a Hot Tub Filter

1. Turn Off the Hot Tub

Before cleaning, turn off the hot tub and disconnect the power. This ensures safety during the cleaning procedure.

2. Remove the Filter

Locate the filter compartment in your hot tub, usually situated near the skimmer. Remove the filter by following the manufacturer’s instructions. It might involve turning it counterclockwise or releasing a latch.

3. Rinse the Filter

Use a garden hose to rinse the filter thoroughly. Rinse the inside and outside of the filter to remove loose debris, dirt, and other contaminants. Hold the hose at a 45-degree angle to clean between the pleats effectively.

4. Soak the Filter

Fill a large bucket or a filter-cleaning container with a filter-cleaning solution or a mixture of water and a mild filter cleaner. Place the filter in the solution and let it soak for at least one hour. It will help to break down oils, lotions, and other substances trapped in the filter.

5. Brush the Filter

Use a soft brush or filter comb to scrub between the pleats for stubborn debris or scale gently. Be careful not to damage the filter material. Pay attention to any areas with visible buildup.

6. Rinse Again

After soaking, thoroughly rinse the filter with a hose again to remove the cleaning solution and any loosened debris. Make sure that all cleaner residues are washed away.

7. Inspect the Filter

Look closely at the filter for any signs of damage, wear, or degradation. If you notice tears, fraying, or other issues, it might be time to replace the filter.

8. Allow the Filter to Dry

Let the filter air-dry completely before reinstalling it in the hot tub. Make sure it is dry inside and out to prevent mold or mildew growth.

9. Reinstall the Filter

Place the clean and dry filter back into the filter compartment, following the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation. Secure it in place, ensuring a tight fit.

10. Restart the Hot Tub

Once the filter is securely in place, reconnect the power and restart the hot tub. Monitor the water quality to ensure that it remains clear and well-balanced.

Homemade Cleaner Solutions

If you want to save money, homemade cleaner solutions can effectively clean hot tub filters. Always consult your hot tub manufacturer’s manual first to maintain warranty coverage. Here are a few options using common household ingredients:

Vinegar Solution

Mix white vinegar with water in a ratio of 1:3 (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water). This solution is excellent for breaking down oils and contaminants.

Note: Vinegar will not be enough if your filter has a ton of buildup. It isn’t quite as strong enough.

Baking Soda Paste

Create a paste by mixing baking soda with water. Apply this paste to the filter and let it sit for a while before scrubbing with a soft brush.

Dish Soap Solution

Use a mild dish soap mixed with water to create a soapy solution. It can help cut through grease and grime on the filter. It’s safe for the skin, but you must thoroughly rinse it because of potential foaming.

Citrus Cleaner

Combine lemon or orange juice with baking soda to form a citrus-based cleaner. It not only provides cleaning power but also leaves a pleasant scent.

OxiClean Soak

Dissolve OxiClean powder in water and soak the filter. OxiClean is known for its oxygen-based cleaning power.

Thoroughly rinse the filter after cleaning to remove any residue, and ensure that the chosen cleaning agent is compatible with your hot tub and its components.

Hot Tub Filter Cleaning Consistency

Consistency in keeping hot tub filters clean is necessary for maintaining water quality and the overall performance of your hot tub.

Water Quality

Regular cleaning ensures the hot tub water remains clean and free from contaminants. A clean filter traps debris, oils, and other impurities, preventing them from circulating in the water.

Efficient Filtration

Consistent cleaning prevents the filter from becoming clogged with debris. A clogged filter hinders water circulation and filtration efficiency, making it harder for the hot tub to maintain proper water balance.

Extended Lifespan

Routine maintenance and cleaning contribute to the lifespan of the hot tub filter. Regularly removing debris and preventing the buildup of contaminants can help stop premature wear and tear.

Optimal Hot Tub Performance

Clean filters support optimal hot tub performance. When the filter is free from blockages, the hot tub’s pump and heating system can operate more efficiently, maintaining consistent water temperature and overall performance.

Prevention of Algae and Bacteria Growth

Dirty filters can become breeding grounds for algae and bacteria. Regular cleaning prevents the growth of these microorganisms and promotes a healthier and safer hot tub environment.

Cost Savings

Consistently cleaning and maintaining your hot tub filter can save you money in the long run. A well-maintained filter is less likely to cause strain on other components of the hot tub, reducing the risk of costly repairs or replacements.

Easy Cleaning Process

Regular cleaning makes the maintenance process more manageable. Filters cleaned consistently are generally easier to clean, requiring less time and effort during each maintenance session.

Follow Manufacturer Guidelines

Following a consistent cleaning schedule aligns with the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidelines. This helps ensure that your hot tub warranty remains valid and that you take the necessary steps to care for your investment.

To establish consistency, create a routine maintenance schedule based on your hot tub usage and the manufacturer’s recommendations. This can include weekly visual inspections, monthly cleaning, and periodic deep cleaning sessions. Regularly monitor water quality indicators, like clarity and chemical balance, to assess the effectiveness of your cleaning routine.

Polar Pool & Spa Offers Hot Tub Filter Cleaning

At Polar Pool & Spa, we offer professional hot tub service, expertise, and tools for effective and thorough filter cleaning. We use specialized tools and quality cleaning products, ensuring a thorough process without causing damage.

Our service includes a thorough inspection, preventing potential issues, and maintaining overall hot tub health. We will save time, offer customized solutions, and provide peace of mind, making it a valuable investment for optimal hot tub performance.

Posted on by Polar Pool and Spa
How to Clean Hot Tub Filter

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