Spa Maintenance 101 – Part 1: Cleaning Your Hot Tub

Part 1: Cleaning The Exterior Of A Hot Tub – Spa Maintenance 101

Hello again, Omaha residents! As we are busy closing several hundred in-ground pools to wrap up the summer, we also wanted to make sure we got the word out to make sure your hot tub is ready, clean and hot for the winter.

Ready & Hot, Here We Come!

As swimming season comes to a close, we turn our attention to your spa, with a series on basic hot tub maintenance.

You have made a major investment in your hot tub, and investing a little time to its maintenance is essential to ensuring many years of relaxing and restorative soaking.

Our ‘HOT TUB MAINTENANCE’ series will start with maintaining the externally visible parts of your spa, and we will work our way through cleaning procedures for your spa shell and cabinet, then focus on your filters and equipment.

We will close the series in a few weeks with a discussion of hot water chemistry.

Maintaining Your Spa Shell:

The majority of hot tubs we sell, deliver and install are typically placed outdoors and this means your spa will be exposed to the elements 24/7.  The good news is, all of the Hot Tubs we sell are built with quality materials to withstand the elements. However, due to the harsh winter weather conditions in Nebraska, your hot tub can sometimes get dirty and you may have to clean your spa.

Depending on the year/make of your hot tub, your spa shell is more than likely composed of some form of molded acrylic or polymer. Stains and dirt will generally not accumulate on your hot tub’s surface, however, if it does, you can simply wipe it clean with a damp cloth. If that doesn’t work and their is more of a stubborn grime, one easy DIY way to to solve this would be to use a mild baking soda solution. Never use household cleaners or abrasive materials on your hot tubs surface. I repeat….NEVER USE HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS OR ABRASIVE MATERIALS ON YOUR SPA SURFACE. THEY WILL DAMAGE YOUR SPA AND MAY VOID YOUR WARRANTY!

If you want to “polish” your spa shell, we carry several products that are specifically manufactured for this purpose, such as Off The Wall from Bioguard. Follow the instructions on the bottle and remember to always thoroughly rinse off any cleaner/polisher you do use.

Preventative Tip To Solving Spa Grime:

While it’s not always necessary, you can prevent build-up of oils and soap scum by showering before entering the spa to remove oils, soaps, shampoos, etc. Also, launder your bathing suits on the rinse cycle only. Consequently, this prevents not only laundry soap scum, but can help with spa water foaming, too. If you do get foam in the spa, use an anti-foam chemical such as Anti-Foam from SpaGuard.

Maintaining The Spa Cabinet:

Most HOT SPRING SPAS® include an EVERWOOD® HD spa cabinet. EVERWOOD® HD is made from a rigid polymer for durability and it has a film finish that provides a rich, wood like appearance. To clean the EVERWOOD® HD cabinet consists of simply spraying the hot tub’s cabinet with a mild soap and water solution to remove any stains and residue. This approach is also recommended for spas with a SpaStone exterior and for hot tub’s produced by other manufacturers. REMEMBER: Do NOT rub any spa cabinet with an abrasive material or use abrasive cleaners as this may damage its surface.

Maintaining Your Spa Cover:

Your Hot Spring Spa’s® vinyl hot tub cover is an attractive, durable foam insulation product. Regular cleaning and conditioning are highly recommended to maintain its beauty and longevity.

To clean and condition your spa’s vinyl cover:

  1. First of all, Use a garden hose and spray the cover to loosen and rinse away dirt or debris.
  2. Using a large sponge and/or a soft bristle brush, and using a very mild soap solution (one teaspoon dishwashing liquid with two gallons of water), or baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), scrub the vinyl top in a circular motion. Do not let the vinyl dry with a soap film on it before it can be rinsed clean
  3. Scrub the cover’s perimeter and side flaps. Rinse clean with water.
  4. Rinse off the underside of the cover with water only (use no soap), and wipe it clean with a dry rag.
  5. To condition the cover after cleaning, apply a thin film of HOT SPRING Cover Shield to the vinyl surface and buff to a high luster.

As a result of steps 1-5, your hot tub cover should now look new!

IMPORTANT TIP: To remove tree sap, use cigarette lighter fluid (not charcoal lighter fluid). Use VERY sparingly, and rinse with a saddle soap solution immediately afterwards, then wipe dry. Too, if you have some kind of weird substance on your hot tub cover and not sure when it is, you can send us a picture and have us help look into finding you a solution.

  • DO:
    • Remove snow buildup to avoid breakage of the foam core from the additional weight of the snow.
    • Lock cover lock straps to secure the cover when the spa is not in use.
  • DON’T:
    • Drag or lift the spa cover using either the flaps, or the cover lock straps.
    • Walk, stand, or sit on the cover.
    • Place any metal or heat transferring object on the cover
      • This may result in a melted foam core, which would not be covered under the warranty.
    • Place any type of plastic tarp or drop cloth over the cover
      • This may result in a melted foam core, which would not be covered under the warranty.

Maintaining You Spa Pillows:

The spa pillows will provide years of comfort if treated with care. These have been positioned above the water level to minimize the bleaching effects of chlorinated water and other water chemicals. To extend their life, when cleaning the hot tub shell, remove all spa pillows and clean those as well. Body oils can be removed with a mild soap and water solution. ALWAYS rinse off the spa pillows thoroughly to remove any soap residue before placing them back into your hot tub. In addition to this, condition your spa pillows with HOT SPRING SPA’S® Cover Shield after cleaning. If the spa is not going to be used for a long period of time (i.e. vacation) or when the hot tub water is being super-chlorinated, remove the hot tub pillows while away and place them back in your hot tub when you return.

To remove and replace the spa pillows:

  1. Carefully pull and lift on one end of pillow to stretch pillow (longer). Continue to stretch until the pillow is released from the plastic retainer. Once one end is released, push pillow in opposite direction to remove from other retainer.
  2. Align pillow by locating the arrow on back side of pillow and facing the arrow upwards.
  3. Slide one end of pillow onto the spa retainer.
  4. Pull other end of pillow; using both hands lift pillow above retainer and with a stretching motion slide pillow recess onto retainer.

In Conclusion: Your Hot Tub Exterior Is Clean!

Follow these hot tub maintenance tips to clean the exterior surface of your hot tub. As a result, you will increase the longevity and have a quality hot tub to relax in for several years. Thinking about upgrading or getting a new hot tub? We take trade-ins >> Find out how much your old spa is worth.

That does it for this weeks post on Hot Tub Maintenance. As always, thanks for being loyal customers and supporting your local, family owned pool and spa store!


If you need help with any of this or need to pick up any of the hot tub chemicals that were mentioned in this blog, stop by our store — Continental Pool & Spa just North of 120th and Center — 2527 South 120th St. Omaha, NE 68144 or give us a call at 402-333-9025.


Coming next week: Cleaning your hot tub filters and performing a complete Hot Tub Drain and Clean.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *