How To Prevent and Remove Hot Tub Scum


Hot tub is your little slice of paradise, a place to unwind and wash away the day’s stress.

But nothing kills the vibe like finding scum floating on the water or clinging to the sides.

Here’s a dive into the world of hot tub scum – from what it is, how it forms, to the best ways to keep your spa sparkling clean. As someone who’s been in the trenches of pool and hot tub maintenance, I’ve got some advice to share.

Understanding Hot Tub Scum

Hot tub scum? Yeah, it’s as gross as it sounds.

It’s that grimy layer that forms on the water’s surface or around the tub. It’s mainly from body oils, lotions, and all the other stuff we unknowingly bring into the tub.

hot tub scum buildup

What Causes Hot Tub Scum?

  • Bodily Residue: Our bodies are constantly shedding dead skin cells and oils, especially in hot water.
  • Personal Care Products: Everything from shampoo to deodorant can end up in the water.
  • Metals: Metals like copper and iron in the water can react with chlorine, contributing to scum.
  • Dirty or Worn Out Filter: A filter that’s not doing its job can let all sorts of nasties recirculate in the water.

Preventing Hot Tub Scum

Prevention is your best friend here. A bit of upkeep and some smart habits can keep scum at bay.

take bath before going in tub
  • Rinse Off First: A quick shower can remove a lot of the oils and products on your body.
  • Balance the Water: Keep an eye on your hot tub’s pH and sanitizer levels. Unbalanced water is a scum magnet.
  • Use a Quality Hot Tub Cover: It keeps out debris and helps maintain water temperature and chemistry.
  • Regular Filter Maintenance: Clean your filters regularly and don’t wait too long to replace them.

Removing Hot Tub Scum

If scum does show up, don’t panic. Here’s how to get rid of it:

Regular Cleaning Is Key

use sponge to clean
  • Wipe down surfaces: Use a non-abrasive cleaner to wipe down the sides of your hot tub regularly.
  • Shock treatment: Every now and then, give your hot tub a shock treatment. This helps break down organic waste that contributes to scum.
  • Drain and deep clean: Depending on how often you use your tub, draining and giving it a thorough clean every 3-4 months is a good idea.

Using Cleaning Products

There are tons of products out there designed to help keep your hot tub clean. Enzyme-based cleaners are great for breaking down oils and lotions without messing with your water’s chemistry.

hot tub scum

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you might run into some trouble. Here are a few common issues and how to fix them:

  • Foamy water: This is often a sign of high contaminant levels. A shock treatment and reducing the use of lotions and oils can help.
  • Cloudy water: This could be due to poor filtration or high calcium levels. Check your filters and water hardness.

Tackling Specific Scum Types

  • Brown Scum: Often caused by high pH. Lowering the pH can help dissolve this type of scum.
  • Green Scum: Indicates copper in the water. Use a hose filter when filling your tub and consider a metal sequestrant.
  • Blue-Green Scum: The worst kind, caused by a mix of metals, bodily secretions, and care products. Good water maintenance and clean filters are crucial here.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially in hot tub maintenance.”

Extra Tips From a Pro

  • Keep an extra set of filters: This way, you can swap them out without waiting for a clean and dry.
  • Invest in a good cover: It’s not just about keeping stuff out; it also helps maintain water temperature.
  • Attention to Detail: Small efforts, like wiping the waterline and keeping your filters clean, make a big difference.

Maintaining a hot tub doesn’t have to be a chore. With some regular care and a bit of know-how, you can keep your hot tub inviting, clean, and scum-free.

Your hot tub is a bit like a pet – it needs regular attention and care to stay healthy. And when you’re in over your head, don’t be too proud to call in a professional. We’ve seen it all, and we’re here to help keep your slice of paradise perfect.

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