Why is my hot tub water cloudy?

September 21, 2021
5 min read

Got cloudy tub water? Here’s how to fix it

When you have cloudy hot tub water, there are usually a number of factors that could be causing this. Cloudy water can be a very common issue for hot tub owners and it’s far from ideal.

When you’re relaxing in your spa, the water should be clear – otherwise there is an underlying problem.

If you’re having a soak and you notice the water is looking a bit murky, here’s what might be causing it and even more importantly, here’s how to fix it.

What causes cloudy hot tub water?

Your hot tub water could be cloudy as a result of any or multiple of the following:

A high pH

To maintain a healthy hot tub environment, your tub water should have a neutral pH level. You should have a suitable balance of carbonates, bicarbonates and hydroxides in the water to prevent cloudiness and the growth of bacteria.

If the pH level of the water is too high, this can lead to skin and eye irritation, cloudy water and scaling. You can measure your pH level using a hot tub chemical kit which will contain pH increaser and pH decreaser.

The pH level of your tub should be around 7.2-7.6.

Not enough sanitizer

Hot tub chemicals such as bromine and chlorine are needed to keep your hot tub water fresh and bacteria-free. If you don’t have enough sanitizer in your hot tub, this can lead to cloudy water. Hot tub chemicals are important for hot tub maintenance, so you should always make sure you have a supply on hand.


Hot tub water can be affected by human skin and body products. For instance, conditioner, oils and types of lotions can affect the quality of the tub water.

This is why it’s always a good idea to have a quick shower before you take a soak, just to make sure your skin is clean and no products will interact with the water.

Filter issue

A hot tub filter is an essential part of hot tub maintenance. Filters will remove contaminants such as dirt, organic debris and dead skin cells from your tub water, keeping the water clean and hygienic for soaking.

Dirty filters can be the cause of many hot tub problems. If your filter is clogged up by something or isn’t working as it should, then it will not be able to filter the water and this could be causing the cloudiness.

Too much defoamer

When your water starts to go foamy, you can use a defoamer but if you use this too much, it can cause the appearance of cloudy or milky hot tub water.

How do I fix cloudy hot tub water?

Clearing up hot tub water is a straight-foward process and if you’re looking for solutions to fix a cloudy water issue, here are some things you can try.

Make sure the chemicals are balanced

Your hot tub pH level should be neutral and you can test this out using test strips. If your pH is too low, add some pH increaser and if it’s too high, add some pH decreaser.

When adding hot tub chemicals, make sure the hot tub is on, with the hot tub cover off and air valves switched off.

Clean the filters

You should rinse and clean your hot tub filters regularly to make sure that they don’t get clogged up with dirt and continue to function efficiently.

You should, on a monthly basis, soak your hot tub filters in a filter cleaner solution. It is also recommended that you rinse your filters on a weekly basis and this is a quick and easy task that you can use a hose or tap for.

When rinsing your filter, do not use detergents as this can result in foamy hot tub water.

Try using a clarifier

After balancing your hot tub chemicals, you can use a clarifier to clear up your water. A hot tub clarifier is designed to keep the pH level balanced and to boost your filter’s performance. The clarifier contains chemicals that will bring together particles of dirt that can then be removed by the hot tub filter.

Drain the tub

If you’re experiencing cloudy water, it might be worth draining and refilling your hot tub. As time goes on, particles can end up gathering in the water as a result of evaporation and this can make hot tub maintenance more difficult.

It is recommended that you drain your tub water every six months.

Shock the water

Your tub water might just need a good shocking. A hot tub shock is the process of adding an oxidiser chemical to your tub water to prevent bacteria from growing, remove contaminants and to reactivate sanitisers. Sanitisers can stop functioning effectively as a result of contaminants and shock treatments work to break down these bonds.

We recommend using a non-chlorine shock treatment.

The bottom line

Most hot tub owners will experience cloudy tub water from time to time and the cause can be down to a number of different factors. Your spa experience should be relaxing and your water should be clean, soft and clear for soaking.

Keeping on top of hot tub maintenance is key to avoiding cloudy hot tub water. Make sure that you regularly sanitise your tub water and maintain a neutral pH balance. You should also drain your tub water twice a year and regularly clean out your filters to make sure the filtration system is operating at maximum capacity.

Hot tubs are an investment and you want to be able to use your tub for a long time, with it functioning at its best. Follow these tips and you’ll create a better, hygienic spa experience for many years to come.

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