What is Hot Tub Bromine?

Dan Cavallari

A dip in the hot tub is nothing but a great experience for most people, but any hot tub owner knows that owning a hot tub requires a fair amount of maintenance. Chemicals must be used to clean the tub regularly to ensure the water stays free from bacteria; one such chemical is hot tub bromine, which is an alternative to chlorine as a way to sanitize hot tub water. Some hot tub owners choose to use hot tub bromine instead of chlorine because it does not give off as much of an odor when the water in the tub is heated.

To activate the hot tub bromine, other chemicals must be used to trigger it.
To activate the hot tub bromine, other chemicals must be used to trigger it.

Hot tub bromine works well to sanitize, but it must be activated in order to work correctly. To activate the hot tub bromine, other chemicals must be used to trigger it; chlorine can be used to do this, as can other non-chlorine chemicals. Most packages of hot tub bromine will indicate the proper chemicals to use for activation. Like chlorine, using bromine in a hot tub has both its advantages and disadvantages, and if the chemical is not activated properly, the disadvantages can be devastating on hot tub equipment. One should be sure to read directions carefully before adding bromine to a hot tub.

Bromine levels that aren't closely controlled can cause eye irritation.
Bromine levels that aren't closely controlled can cause eye irritation.

Chlorine as a sanitizer is very effective, but it can also be quite harsh on the skin and eyes. Many hot tub bathers complain of dry, itchy skin and irritated eyes after bathing in a hot tub treated with chlorine, especially if too much chlorine is used. Hot tub bromine is less caustic and very often does not cause the same problems that chlorine causes, but if not carefully controlled, bromine levels could rise and cause skin and eye irritation. When using bromine in a hot tub, it is important to monitor the level of bromine in the water carefully to avoid such problems.

Using bromine in conjunction with a device called an ozonator can help reduce the amount of bromine needed to sanitize the water. An ozonator helps to add ozone to bacteria in the water much more quickly than chemical sanitizers, meaning it is effective in killing bacteria quickly. It should be used in conjunction with sanitizing chemicals, not in place of it, but it can also help the chemical sanitizers do their jobs more quickly and effectively by complementing the process of killing bacteria. Bromine should be used in conjunction with an ozonator whenever possible.

Some people may complain of dry, itchy skin after using a hot tub.
Some people may complain of dry, itchy skin after using a hot tub.

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Discussion Comments


While using bromine to clean your hot tub can be a good alternative to chlorine, it is still a pretty harsh chemical that can irritate your skin and eyes with use. There are other things you can try if you want a clean hot tub without all the nasty chemicals.

Using white vinegar and water can help break up calcium deposits and it is easily rinsed away. For those that worry about bacteria build ups you can buy some natural enzyme tablets to drop in your tub, which will make short work of the germs.

Another classic cleaning method is to use baking soda paste to give your hot tub a good scrub. You'll be shocked at how clean your tub can get without using things like bromine and chlorine.


Taking care of a hot tub can be a huge commitment but it is worth it if you love the feeling of soaking in a great hot bath with jets massaging your back. Choosing a good cleaner can really make the difference in how much use your tub gets, as no one want to use something that makes your eyes sting and skin dry out.

For our hot tub I switched from chlorine to bromine after my wife was complaining about not wanting to use the hot tub because it was bothering her eyes and making her skin flake. Of course, I wanted us to both enjoy the hot tub so I went to the store and found an alternative to chlorine.

When you go to the store make sure you talk to a knowledgeable staff member and they can help you choose the mix you'll need with your bromine to keep your hot tub clean and smelling nice.


The biggest reason I hesitated for so long to get a hot tub was because I thought it would take too much maintenance. My husband finally talked me in to getting one, and it doesn't take as long to keep clean as I thought it would.

No matter which chemicals or products you use to keep your hot tub clean, I have found out that the most important thing to remember is to go through the routine on a regular basis.

If I wait too long to clean it, I can really tell and it takes longer to get the desired results. I set up a regular schedule that I try to stick to so I know it gets cleaned on a regular basis.

Another thing I like to do is make sure that I don't have any lotion or oils on me when I get in. This can really help keep the water clear and free from a lot of residue.


We have our hot tub outside on a deck that is well hidden by a fence and a lot of trees. When we first got it I wondered how much we would really use it, but there is nothing nicer than a long soak in the hot tub after a hard days work.

Because I don't like the smell of chlorine and how drying it can be on my skin, I like to use bromine to keep my hot tub clean.

It does take some time and maintenance to make sure you get the right measurements and mixtures with other ingredients, but I love not having the smell of chlorine when I am enjoying a long soak.

I think the time spent keeping my hot tub clean is well worth all the benefits I enjoy from it.

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