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How Can I Get Rid of Hot Tub Foam?

A hot tub.
Always shower before using a hot tub to prevent hot tub foam from occurring after replacing the water.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 July 2014
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As a hot tub gets more use and people are in and out of the water regularly, dissolved solids that do not belong in the water begin to cause hot tub foam. Shampoos, soaps, lotions, and detergents from skin, hair, and bathing suits all end up in the water, and when the level of solids in the water rises past a certain point, foam begins to float along the surface of the water. Chemicals are available to reduce the amount of foam in a tub, but in some cases, the only option for eliminating the foam is to drain the tub, clean it, and replace the water.

Keeping the tub clean on a regular basis with chlorine or bromine is a good start toward suppressing hot tub foam. Shock chemicals can eliminate bacteria and other oils and chemicals in the tub. When these regular cleaning methods do not work, a foam suppressant can be used. This chemical is added directly to the spa water to reduce or eliminate oils and dissolved solids, though again, its effectiveness depends on how dirty the spa water has become. If these chemicals do not work, it may be time to drain the tub and replace the water.

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To prevent hot tub foam from occurring after replacing the water, bathers should shower before entering the tub. Long hair should be put into a ponytail to prevent oils naturally occurring in hair from entering the tub. If possible, bathers should avoid using lotions, soaps, deodorants, and other common body applications before going into the tub. All of these oils and chemicals eventually accrue in the hot tub water, leading to foamy build-up. Detergents lingering in bathing suits can also lead to foam, as can spilled drinks, food, or other foreign objects. Bathers should be careful to avoid dropping objects and liquids into the water while bathing.

A final option to get rid of hot tub foam is to turn the jets on, let the foam develop, and scoop the foam out with your hand or some sort of flat tool. This method, like foam-down products, is only a temporary solution, however, and foam is likely to develop again after time. If the foam is a recurrent problem, drain the tub and clean it thoroughly, making sure to scrub the walls and floor of the tub to remove oils that may have accrued there.

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Discuss this Article

anon239175
Post 9

I take care of my hot tub myself. This post is great because it is true. I heard that a really good place to order spa chemicals from is PoolGear Supply. Has anyone ever ordered from them or heard of them? Thanks.

sunshined
Post 8

I try very hard to keep my hot tub clean and change the water frequently. Whenever I change the water I will scrub and sanitize to try and remove as many traces of oils and chemicals as I can.

There is still some foam that develops on the top with regular use. I have some no foam spray that I will use to get rid of the foam. This is just a temporary fix and just because you don't see the foam, doesn't mean you have gotten rid of the oils that have built up.

There are a lot of different kinds of products that you can buy at a hot tub store to make the care and cleaning of your hot tub easy. As long as I know my tub is clean and sanitized, I can live with a little bit of foam on the top once in awhile.

bagley79
Post 7

Our hot tub gets quite a bit of use, and it seems like no matter what, there is always some foam. I try not to get in if I have a lot of lotion on, but there is really no way to avoid it. Over time, there is always some foam that builds up.

We try to keep a cover on our round hot tub anytime it is not in use. It does take some maintenance to keep the hot tub clean on a regular basis, but is sure worth it after a long day.

dimpley
Post 6

I have been told that taking care of hot tub foam is not quite as bad as it seems. As a matter of fact, it seems that some good ole bleach and baking soda can do the trick if you catch it in time.

It doesn’t take all that much either, but apparently these two things weigh out the balance between the acid and basic levels. Plus, it keeps down on germs and such that can thrive in a tub filled with water.

I think as long as you stay on top of the problem, and don’t let it get too out of hand, you can probably take care of hot tub foam with just a little effort.

poppyseed
Post 5

We have a small pool, and have been thinking about putting in a small hot tub as well. Well, really my husband has been thinking about it more than I have. There is a reason for this, my friends.

I care for the pool; this is not as easy as people might think. There is a lot more maintenance that goes into a pool than filling it with water and enjoying it for the rest of the summer.

If you look at it the wrong way, it turns as green as green can be. Mosquitos flock to it when this happens, as do other bugs. And, heaven forbid that you have it near a tree. Leaves and pine needles are a real nemesis.

So, I am more than a little hesitant at getting a hot tub. Is one of these as hard to clean as a pool? I know they are smaller, but truthfully this article has scared me a little.

I never thought about it getting foamy. I just don’t know if I have the strength to tackle a hot tub and a pool, people!

popcorn
Post 4

You really don't even have to go to a hot tub supply store to get rid of the foam. A lot of the time cleaning your hot tub with things around the house can be just as effective.

For myself I use good old baking soda made into a paste with a bit of water. I empty my hot tub, scrub the whole thing down with the baking soda and rinse it clean. There is no bad smell and it works perfectly.

If you don't have baking soda you can also try vinegar. Vinegar does a great job of removing the build-up in tubs that causes unattractive foam.

wander
Post 3

I have always found that using chlorine and bromine to clean my hot tub is a bit too harsh for my tastes. I prefer to use natural enzymes to clean my hot tub and get rid of the foam that forms.

Natural enzymes can be purchased at any hot tub store and are just small tablets that you add to the water. The enzymes eat away at the build-up in your tub and make sure that the bacteria is eliminated. Once all of the build-up is gone from your hot tub the foam should disappear.

The enzyme tablets are fairly cheap and very safe. They just require you to rinse the tub after use and to fill it with fresh water.

umbra21
Post 2

We've put bubble bath in our inflatable hot tub a couple of times. We usually do it right before we are going to have to clean it out anyway, so we can have a bit of fun with it before the chore.

I try to clean it out regularly and not wait for the foam to build up though. I hate to think of people sitting in dirty water.

Even if the foam itself is mostly made up of soap and things, there could be other stuff in there as well, and I'm always worried it will irritate someone's skin or eyes. Better to be safe than sorry and just clean the whole thing I think.

pleonasm
Post 1

I find bromine to be much better than chlorine. I actually hadn't swum in treated water for a long time when I finally stayed in a hotel with a pool and hot tub a few months ago.

I was surprised at how pleasant it was, because usually I can't stand the levels of chlorine they have to put in the water.

My friend explained that it was now standard practice to treat with bromine rather than chlorine, because it doesn't effect people nearly as much and doesn't have the overpowering smell.

So, now that I'm hoping to do some hot tub maintenance of my own, I'm definitely going to be treating it with bromide and just regularly cleaning it out to get rid of foam.

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