How to Fix and Prevent Calcium Buildup on Your Hot Tub

There’s nothing quite like relaxing in a hot tub to melt your stress away. However, without regular care, you can start to see problems develop, like calcium buildup. Fortunately, with a little motivation, knowledge, and elbow grease, you can remove and prevent buildup and get back to enjoying your hot tub.

What Causes Calcium Buildup?

Several factors can contribute to calcium buildup in your hot tub, including body oils. Hard water or highly alkaline water are two of the biggest culprits, but a variety of contaminates can add to the problem.

Initially, calcium deposits, or scale, start out as the flaky chunks you might notice on the water’s surface. Over time, it can build up on metal and acrylic surfaces, and it can start clogging your plumbing.

How Can I Remove Buildup?

If you already have calcium buildup in your hot tub, there are a few methods you can implement to remove it.

Method #1: Vinegar Scrub

This method allows you to tackle the tougher deposits stuck on your hot tub’s shell, but it doesn’t necessarily address any buildup in the jet lines. As a word of caution, do not use abrasive cleaners. Be careful when using any chemicals, as they can mess with the water’s pH balance.

  1. Drain the hot tub.

  2. Use a towel to get rid of remaining moisture or loose residue.

  3. Allow the tub to dry.

  4. Mix vinegar and distilled water in a 1:1 ratio, and pour the solution into a spray bottle.

  5. Thoroughly spray the solution on the hot tub shell. Let it sit for around five minutes.

  6. Use a nylon brush to scrub the surface and around the jets. Use more of the solution to tackle tougher spots as needed.

  7. If you still aren’t able to remove all of the deposits, apply a paste made from baking soda and distilled water. Scrub the paste using the brush, and wipe out the remaining baking soda with a wet cloth.

Method #2: Bleach and Dishwasher Detergent Rinse

This method doesn’t require any scrubbing, but it can take time to drain and refill the tub a few times. The rinse should help break up the deposits both on the shell and in the jet lines. You might need to scrub some of the tougher spots.

  1. Check the water line. For this method, the water in your tub should be above the jetline openings.

  2. Throw ½ cup of dishwasher detergent and 1 cup of bleach into the hot tub. *Be sure to check the manufacturer's guidelines found on the dishwasher detergent’s label, as some brands may be unsafe to mix with bleach*

  3. Put the jets on high and keep them on for 15 minutes.

  4. Drain the water from the tub.

  5. Allow the tub to refill with hot water.

  6. Put the jets on high for 15 more minutes.

  7. Drain the tub once more.

How Do I Prevent Buildup?

Once you’ve removed any existing calcium buildup, you can take steps to prevent future problems.

Your hot tub is just like any other appliance you own. If you go too long without cleaning it, the mess will become more stubborn. Regularly clean your entire hot tub, including the sides, jets, and other fixtures. Don’t forget to replace your filter as recommended.

If your area has hard water, it’s easy for calcium deposits to build up. Consider using a quality filter and water softeners. Both will help reduce the amount of minerals in your tub.

Test your water’s pH balance and alkalinity as well. Your pH should be between 7.4 and 7.6. If it is higher, calcium can start to build up. Your alkalinity level should be between 80 and 120 parts per million. Use high-quality spa chemicals to restore your pH balance and alkalinity to recommended levels.
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