How to Sanitize Your Hot Tub Against the COVID-19 Virus—Fast

In a world of frightening headlines—and concern about the safety of, well, everyone really—we know that managing stress is more important than ever. And nothing is better for that than a long soak in your hot tub. Not only is owning a spa is one of the best choices you could make, it’s also the most safe: unlike air, if your hot tub does come into contact with the COVID-19 virus, it can be properly sanitized to wipe it out.

Not sure where to start? I’ve got you covered. Read on to learn how to properly clean your hot tub the easy and cost-efficient way, what sanitizing chemicals you need, how to choose them, how much to use, and finally, how to add them to your spa to keep it safe and clean—from the virus and anything else.

First, Let’s Bust that Hot Tub Myth

Everyone knows that the rumor mill can get out of hand. But at the outset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the rumors also gave a sense of false hope. Who else heard that those who had contracted the virus could kill it with a nice, hot soak in their spa, and felt relieved? It’s a nice idea, but according to the World Health Organization, hot water won’t cure you—and if you’re sick, you should be resting.

If someone with the novel coronavirus recently swam in your hot tub, don’t consider them cured. Unfortunately, the heat just won’t do it.

how to sanitize your hot tub

How To Be Sure the COVID-19 Virus Has No Home in Your Hot Tub

If you’ve still got questions about the novel coronavirus, don’t worry—we’re all just trying to sort out the truth. Thankfully, the findings of the true experts—that would be the Center for Disease Control (CDC)—are encouraging: the COVID-19 virus can’t live in your hot tub, as long as you sanitize it properly. According to the CDC, “proper operation, maintenance, and disinfections (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.”

In order to keep your hot tub removing or inactivating the COVID-19 virus, you want to be sure of three points:

  1. If you have a hot tub pump, you’re running it for the proper amount of time—that’s usually about eight hours per day.
  2. Your hot tub’s cleaning system is in complete working order, meaning you routinely clean the equipment, unclog accumulated debris, and troubleshoot if your pump goes awry.
  3. Most importantly: you’re properly sanitizing and disinfecting your hot tub. This might seem like the most complicated part, but no worries—I’ll explain just how. (Source: CDC.)

And if you have a pool, be sure that it’s also sanitized from the COVID-19 virus by learning how to properly chlorinate your water.


COVID-19 Probably Can’t Spread in Your Hot Tub—But We’ll Be Safe

According to the CDC, “there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs”—but this is only as long as you properly sanitize the water. It’s well-established that some bacteria share your love for hot tubs, and to be careful, we should assume the COVID-19 virus does, too. If you don’t have enough disinfectants circulating throughout your water (or, too-low circulation), the germs that may make you sick could be in the perfect conditions to thrive.

Remember that when sanitizing your hot tub, the CDC recommends that you use chlorine or bromine. Both of these will wipe out unwanted germs and keep you soaking safely—as long as they’re applied correctly.

Make a long term decision to thoroughly circulate your sanitizing chemicals with the 1.5 HP Variable Speed Blue Torrent Thunder Pool Pump. It pays itself off in under a year with energy saved, is eligible for rebates, and comes with a lifetime warranty. As customer Eric D says, “day one, I fired this pump up and it ran clean and fast.”

how to sanitize your hot tub

Now Let’s Sanitize Your Hot Tub—the Right Way

Let’s take a moment here, and make sure we’re doing it right. Since the effectiveness of your sanitization has a direct link to the health of you and yours, you want to be sure that you’re choosing the right chemical for you, using the proper amount of chemicals, and adding them the correct way to your hot tub. Do this correctly, and the COVID-19 virus won’t stand a chance.

First, Choose Between Bromine and Chlorine to Wipe Out the Virus.

As far as effectiveness, both bromine and chlorine work equally well to kill the COVID-19 virus. However, they are very different chemicals, and there are pros and cons to each that you should consider when choosing between the two. And if you change your mind down the road, that’s okay, too.

Bromine is the most popular chemical used for hot water, and for good reason: not only is it effective and inexpensive, but it also has a lower pH than chlorine and can therefore keep your water balance more stable. Plus, it kills for a longer amount of time.

Chlorine granules or tablets might work best if you have an outdoor spa that you frequently leave uncovered: they’re more resilient to UV rays than bromine. In general, chlorine tends to kill bacteria more quickly than bromine—but doesn’t work as long, and has to be replaced more often.

If you do decide to go with chlorine, do not use the same liquid version that you might use to sanitize and wipe out the COVID-19 virus in your pool. The high heat of your spa will dissolve the liquid so quickly that it won’t be spread in a uniform manner—meaning some pockets of water will have extreme concentrations of the chemical, while others will be a swamp-like breeding ground of bacteria, which could possibly include the virus, too.

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how to sanitize your hot tub

Determine How Much Bromine or Chlorine You Need

It’s imperative, again according to the CDC, that your free chlorine level be at least 3 parts per million (ppm) and your free bromine level be between 3 to 5 ppm, but 5 ppm is ideal. First, use the amount directed by the specific manufacturer of your chemical of choice (this tends to differ, so be sure to read the instructions on the packaging). Then, go ahead and use test strips to make sure that you’re in the right range of free chlorine or free bromine. The internal conditions of your hot tub may differ depending on your climate, so test strips are always the best way to check that levels are right—especially in the beginning.

The directions on your chemical’s packaging will always be based on how many gallons of water your hot tub contains. If you’re not sure of this number, just multiply the length, width, and depth of your hot tub in feet, and then multiply that figure by 7.5 to convert the number to gallons. Prefer formulas? Follow the one below:

[Hot Tub Length in Feet] x [Hot Tub Width in Feet] x [Hot Tub Depth in Feet] x 7.5 = [Volume of Your Hot Tub in Gallons]

How to Add Sanitizing Chlorine or Bromine to Your Hot Tub

How you add sanitizing chemicals to your hot tub depends on whether you’re looking to use granules or tablets. Either way, it’s fairly easy—and if you use chlorine tablets to keep your pool free of ths COVID-19 virus, you can use the same ones here.

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How to Add Granules to Your Hot Tub

First, turn your hot tub on and read the instructions on the container for your bromine or chlorine. Then, measure the amount recommended, and pour the granules directly into your hot tub. Allow the water to run for twenty minutes to both dissolve the granules and spread the bromine or chlorine evenly throughout your water. Then, use test strips to make sure your tub close to 5 ppm for bromine, or at 3 ppm for chlorine.

How to Add Tablets to Your Hot Tub

For this one, you’ll need a feeder—also called a floater, chlorine/bromine float, chlorine/bromine dispenser, chlorinator, or brominator. If your feeder is adjustable, adjust it in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations printed on your chemical’s packaging. This will control the rate at which your chlorine or bromine releases. Then, take just a few seconds to hold the feeder under the hot tub to release any remaining air. Over the following few days, use test strips to make sure your tub is at 3 ppm for chlorine, and close to 5 ppm for bromine.

how to sanitize your hot tub

Shocking Inactive Germs Goodbye—and Give Your Chemicals Space to Work

This may sound a little scientific, but it’s simple and most, importantly, essential to know to keep your spa free from viruses, the one that causes COVID-19 included. Pool shock is just as important as sanitizing chemicals—and here’s why.

After a bromine particle attacks and kills bacteria or another organic material in your pool, it creates what is called a bromamine (or, if you use chlorine, what is called a chloramine). This is an inactive particle that floats along in your water until it can be broken apart.

Chances are you remember being in a chemical-smelling pool or hot tub at some point in your life. Contrary to what you might assume, that smell isn’t from chemicals at all—it’s from a lack of chemicals. That smell is chloramines and/or bromamine. And not only do they smell bad, but they greatly reduce how well the sanitizing chemicals you add to your hot tub works. What’s worse, chloramines and bromamines irritate your respiratory system—the exact part of the body that is vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.

There are many types of pool shock on the market, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming to choose. So I’ll just tell you now: to shock your hot tub, you’ll want to use a stabilized shock like dichlor shock, which is also inexpensive and widely available—not calcium hypochlorite, which you might use for your pool but actually loses 95% of its effectiveness in the heat of a spa.

Shock your hot tub once a week to give the bromine or chlorine the space to do their job—you’ve worked hard to figure them out, and I don’t want that to be for less than sanitizing results.

how to sanitize your hot tub

And What About Those Surfaces Everyone’s Talking About?

Okay, so you added the sanitizer of your choice. That’s great, but you’re not finished. Part of keeping your hot tub free from the virus is also scrubbing down your spa’s shell, jets, and water line to keep away any scum that might build up. I usually recommend a gentle but effective cleaner like white vinegar. For the rails and above-water surfaces, use EPA-approved household cleaners, as is recommended by the CDC, and add some on the hot tub cover to discourage mildew, too. You’ll want to repeat this process every week or so.

Every few months, it’s essential that you drain your hot tub water and rub it down—just make sure that when you’re filling it up again you’re keeping an eye on your water level.

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We’re Living in Stressful Times. Take a Moment

Now that your hot tub is properly sanitized from pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and the irritating chloramines or bromamines that could compromise your respiratory system, it’s time to take your mind off of the pandemic—if just for a moment. There’s nothing for muscle tension like a good, hot soak. You can’t change the circumstances of the world, but you can change how you spend your time. Close your eyes, and breathe. It doesn’t matter what is going on in your life—right now, everything is just right.

how to sanitize your hot tub


This article explains how you can backwash your pool filter efficiently. Want to know how to clean the bottom of your pool? Read more here.