Your Spa Water Is Cloudy: Now What?

Cloudy water in your spa or hot tub indicates a problem that must be addressed

Key takeaways:

  • Cloudy water in your spa or hot tub has several potential causes
  • You and your spa are both at risk from cloudy water
  • Clean the filters immediately if you see cloudy water
  • Balance your chemicals
  • Flush your circulation system when you change your water
  • Fill your tub with filtered water
  • You can prevent cloudy water by following a maintenance routine

Imagine this. You invested in a beautiful spa or hot tub. You’ve done your homework. You even know what to do to prepare your spa for winter. Then you see it – cloudy water! If you have cloudy water in your hot tub or spa, don’t worry. It happens to nearly all spas at some point. Cloudy water signals that something is wrong. You can’t ignore it, and nor would you want to! Cloudy water isn’t safe for you to get into. Water must be crystal clear before anyone takes a dip.

The good news? If you do get cloudy water, fixing it is not hard or complicated. This article will outline several potential causes of cloudy water. You’ll discover what you can do to rid your unit of it and how to keep it from coming back.

Causes of cloudy water in hot tubs or spas

Some of the causes of cloudy water might seem obvious. Others may surprise you. Knowing all of the potential causes is key to understanding how to prevent it. They include: 

  • Skin and hair products – We put lotions, oils, and other things in our hair and on our bodies. A combination of the residue from those products along with our natural oils is enough to cause cloudy water over time.
  • Air contaminants – Believe it or not, algae, pollen, and other contaminants are airborne. If you leave your spa/hot tub uncovered, these particles, though naked to the eye, can build up over time.
  • Bacteria growth – A combination of moisture and warmth can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. Over time, bacteria can produce what’s called biofilm. It’s a slimy substance that can break off and cause your water to become cloudy.
  • Unbalanced chemicals – If the pH in your unit is off, your water can become cloudy. You’ll want to check your spa’s acidity and alkalinity daily to maintain a proper pH balance. Our spa care guide will help you understand how to balance your tub’s chemicals.  
  • Filter issues – If your water is cloudy, you’ll want to check your filter. Without proper filtration, cloudy water becomes very likely.
  • Metals in your water – Do you fill your hot tub with tap water? If you’re experiencing cloudiness, it may indicate you have metals in your water.

Nothing on this list indicates a life-threatening issue. You might wonder what the big deal is. Can you still use your spa when the water is cloudy?

Is it safe to use a hot tub with cloudy water?

If you see cloudy water in your hot tub, you will want to fix the issue right away. Cloudy water can cause problems for both you and your hot tub since it indicates a possible pH imbalance. The water can cause minor skin issues to anyone getting into the water. Depending on the imbalance, you might experience skin irritation, nausea, or other issues. It’s not completely dangerous, but it’s not pleasant either!

Cloudy water poses an even bigger risk to your spa. A water imbalance can cause parts of your unit to become discolored. Over time, the walls of the spa itself could break down, ruining it and destroying your investment.

To prevent damage to your hot tub or spa, there are several things you can do to get rid of the cloudy water.

What to do if you see cloudy water

Fixing the problem is relatively painless and easy. There are several things you can do to fix your cloudy water.

  • Clean your filters - When you see cloudy water, it may mean your filters are not working properly. Shut off power to the spa, remove the filters, and rinse them thoroughly with a hose. Clean them using an approved cleaner. Allow them to soak overnight before reinstalling them. If you use your hot tub/spa a lot, you may need to replace your filters more often.
  • Balance your water’s chemicals – Get out your test strip kit. Check to see whether your water’s pH or alkalinity is out of balance. You’ll need to add the proper spa or hot tub chemicals to bring your water back into balance.
  • Drain the water – If you’ve cleaned or changed your filters and tried balancing the chemicals but still have cloudy water, try draining the tub and refilling it with fresh water.  Make sure you shut off the power at the breaker before draining the spa. Are you using tap water from your hose? Use a hose filter to make sure metals don’t get back into the water.

A combination of one or all of these solutions should do the trick. After you’ve fixed the issue, there are things you can do to keep it from happening again.

A regular maintenance schedule is your best solution

The easiest way to clear cloudy water in your spa is by never having it. Establish a simple maintenance schedule and stick to it. Your owner’s manual for your spa should provide you with everything you need to do. Here are additional tips: 

  • Take a shower – It might seem strange to get wet to prepare to get wet! But showering before you get into your hot tub will reduce the chances of allowing oils and residue from lotions and other products into the water.
  • Keep your hot tub covered – By using a properly fitted cover, you’ll prevent airborne contaminants from wreaking havoc on your unit.
  • Check your chemicals daily – Use your test strips and monitor your water’s pH and alkalinity at least once a week. Adjust your water chemical levels as needed.
  • Flush your lines – Use a proper line flush product when you do a complete water change. A line flush product helps keep your spa’s plumbing running properly.

Consider these steps as a baseline guide. Stick to your spa manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.

Keep your spa or hot tub looking great in the future

You’ve invested in your spa or hot tub as a way to relax for you and your family. Cloudy water isn’t something to panic over. But, you can’t ignore it, either. Realize that nearly every spa or hot tub owner experiences cloudy water at some point.

When cloudy water happens to you (and it probably will), don’t panic. If you try the steps in this article but need extra help, contact one of Barefoot Spa’s authorized service providers for help. We’ve got you covered.

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