How To Clean A Hot Tub Filter

Many hot tub owners have admitted that they avoid filter cleaning because they believe its a cumbersome and complex task. Truth to be told, cleaning the filter is as easy as rinsing it with a garden hose and can save you big in energy bills. If this is the first time you’re going to perform this task, chances are you’re fretting the scene of a filthy filter with grime and debris. But the fact is, filters are not as dirty as you assume them to be. It also depends on how often you spend time to clean the filter of your hot tub. 

Understanding your Filtration System

Based on the type of filter in your hot tub and how often you clean it, the task of cleaning the filter is simple and at the same time pivotal for the maintenance of your hot tub. Before we walk you through how and why should the filter of your hot tub be cleaned regularly, let’s delve into some of the basics about hot tub filters.

Hot tub filters typically are manufactured in two types – the pleated filter media and the disposable filter.


The pleated filters are the most common style of hot tub filter on the market today.


With the advent of technology, hot tub filters have evolved into advanced filtration systems that assure better filtration with lesser consumption of energy. Simply throw them out and replace with a new one. The MicroClean filtration system by Sundance Spa is one such example, which is found in their Select and 780 Series hot tubs. It is made of disposable microfiber built of high-spun propylene, which is capable of filtering even the smallest particles. Another similar filter is the Silver Sentinel threaded filter by Arctic Spas which can filter particles of up to 1-micron and are easy to maintain by just replacing the filter every three months through their Disposable Filter Program.

Irrespective of the filter type in your hot tub, the filtration cycle of every hot tub is different, with the filter cartridge being the essential part of it. The more water is pumped through the filtration system, the cleaner the water in your hot tub will be. Water from the tub is pumped into the filtration system through circulation pumps.

In order to maintain clean water in the hot tub, the jets and pump force water through the filter to remove the water’s impurities. Thus, the more water passes through the filtration system during a filtration cycle, the cleaner it will be. This is briefly how the filtration system of hot tubs work, so let’s move on to a step-wise process on how to clean the filter of your hot tub.

Instructions for Filter Cleaning

The process of filter cleaning can be simply described as remove, rinse and replace. But you need to understand the basics of each of these steps in order to make sure you are doing it the right way.

Step 1: Find out where the filter of your hot tub is located

Depending on the type of hot tub you have, you will first need to find the exact location of the filter. The user manual of your hot tub should come in handy for doing this. The filter is usually placed inside a canister at one side of the hot tub with a lid to cover it.

Step 2: Switch off the hot tub

Hot tubs are not to be used without a filter. Therefore, to remove the filter from the hot tub, it is of utmost importance that you first switch the hot tub off. Failing to do so might result in irreversible damage to your hot tub.

Step 3: Remove the filter cartridge 

Filters can usually be detached from the canister by simply twisting it in the anti-clockwise direction. You will need to loosen up the filter from its sitting and gently pull it upward to remove it completely.

Step 4: Inspect the filter

Before you go on to the task of cleaning the filter, give it a close look and search for any major damages. A loose core or torn pleats means that you need to consider replacing the filter instead of cleaning it. If the filter looks fine, then go on with the cleaning process.

Step 5: Soak the filter

Although an optional step, soaking the filter in water will ensure that the filter is cleaned thoroughly. It is best to soak the filter in a bucket of water, preferably with a cleansing agent in the water, or by spraying a cleansing agent on the filter before soaking. This step helps detach dirt and grime from the cartridge. Stay away from detergents and bleaches for this step as these can alter the properties of the filter material. The filter can be soaked in either hot water for an hour or in cold water overnight.

Step 6: Rinse the filter

Once the soaking is done, remove the filter and start the cleaning process. This step can be done using just a garden hose on the filter placed inside a bucket. Modern gadgets like cleaning wands, combs, and spray nozzles can also assist you with cleaning the filter deeply. This step is the most important part of the process as it ensures the removal of all debris from the filter.

Step 7: Let the filter dry

It takes a few hours for the filter to dry completely. This will ensure that it is free of any residual debris or cleansing agent. Once it is dry, inspect it thoroughly and make sure it doesn’t look brown and is free of debris.

Step 8: Place the filter back

Place the filter back into the canister in your hot tub by rotating it the clockwise direction to secure it inside. Once it is safely placed, close the lid of the canister and switch on the hot tub. The filter should run smoothly with no sound or odd pumping rhythms.

Filter Maintenance Tips

1. Use of enzyme-based water cleaners 

Enzymes have the capability to prevent the build-up of biofilm – the slimy film of bacteria and fungi – in the hot tub by breaking down the contaminants in the water. Treat the hot tub water weekly with a few drops of enzyme-based cleansers to prevent the build-up of oils and other contaminants.

2. Biweekly cleaning of the filter

The above steps are easy to follow for biweekly cleaning of filters and this process will ensure a speedy cleaning time. The more you stick to the biweekly cleaning routine the cleaner the filter, and ultimately the water will be.

3. Soaking the filter before cleaning

The optional step of soaking the filter in water before cleaning is preferably done during the monthly cleaning process. This ensures the filter is deep cleaned, thereby increasing the lifetime of the filter.

4. Using mild cleansers

It is best to avoid harsh chemicals like bleach and detergents to clean the filter as these can harm the filter’s core thereby rendering it non-functional much before its valid time. Use only a mild cleanser, preferably cleansers meant for filter cleaning, and follow the instructions that come with them.

5. Rotate filters on a regular basis

Keeping a spare filter at home will come in handy when you’re in the process of cleaning the filter that is in use. This is particularly helpful during the monthly cleaning of filters which requires additional time for soaking the filter, or at the time of water change.

6. Hard water build up

For those hot tub owners who experience water hardness, there is a chance that the filter of their hot tub will have calcium deposits. This requires an additional step of soaking the filter in an acidic solution after the usual cleaning process. This will make sure that the cartridge flow is smooth and free of any scale build up.

When should the filter be replaced?

Cleaning the filter undoubtedly improves the filtration process but eventually, the filter can age and like every other spare part, it will need to be replaced. A yearly replacement of filters is thus recommended to those who make heavy use of their hot tubs. It is easy to understand when the time to replace the filter has come through the following signs:

  • Damaged pleats separating from the end caps
  • Loose or broken pleatsHeavy staining and persistent odor
  • Slimy build up at the walls of the hot tub
  • Filter fabric becomes torn and fuzzy
  • Failure to accomplish clean filters even after intense cleaning
  • Loose or noisy core of the filter

All this being said, the health of your hot tub depends majorly on the health of its filtration system. If you follow the above-mentioned steps for cleaning the filter and avoid the listed mistakes, your hot tub is bound to remain clean and healthy with clear water. The more often you follow these steps, the longer will be the life of your hot tub’s filter.

Happy Soaking!