Is the smell of your hot tub stopping you from even getting in? Dirty or smelly hot tub water will put a damper on enjoying the benefits your tub has to offer. That is why staying on top of simple maintenance can not only keep your water clean but encourage some quality, scent-free, R&R time in your tub. 

The 5 main causes of smelly hot tub water 


1. Mould, algae or bacteria 

Various types of bacteria can easily multiply in the warm water of a hot tub, leading to unnatural or strong odours. This may materialize as a musty smell, or a scent of rotten eggs or hints of sulfur. Mould is a fungus that will take on a strong musty and dirty smell and should be cleaned with a chlorine solution – be sure to check your hot tub’s owner’s manual or consult with a qualified hot tub maintenance expert. Check the tub’s grout, tiles and walls for buildup. Algae will smell like eggs or sulfur and can be cleaned with chlorine. Visible algae should be scrubbed off with a brush and algicide used to kill it and keep it from returning. 

2. Bromine 

Bromine or chlorine are both used to clean and disinfect your tub however, bromine but can have a musty odour. 

3. Abnormal pH levels

The balance of your pH levels will affect the odour of your tub – and not only when pH levels are too high. When pH levels are too low, your hot tub can have a pungent and sharp smell, whereas when your PH levels are too high, it can have a musty and stale odour. 

4. Low sanitizer levels 

Whichever sanitization process you prefer, good maintenance of these chemicals is central in ensuring that your hot tub water is clean and odour free. After heavy use of your tub or every few weeks, shocking your water will quickly kill any bacteria build-up in your tub. 

5. Dirty filter

Your filter is designed to hold a ton of bacteria and contaminants that build up in your tub. If your filter becomes excessively dirty or was not installed properly, it could be the source of foul-smelling water. 


6 ways to fix smelly hot tub water 


1. Stay on top of your weekly hot tub maintenance

Testing your water, monitoring pH levels, sanitizing and shocking your water, and cleaning your tub are all part of healthy hot tub maintenance. Staying on top of this will decrease the chances of your water smelling and help keep your tub ready for your enjoyment. 

2. Balance your pH

Balancing your water’s pH is the most important thing you can do in keeping your tub healthy and maximizing its life. Becoming a master in checking and monitoring pH levels, managing alkalinity, adding sanitizing solutions and maintaining water hardness are all knacks that will help you keep your hot tub happy and healthy.  

3. Clean your filters

Having two clean filters on hand at all times is a good tip to ensure that your water gets adequately cleaned as it circulates. Keeping your filters clean will reduce the chance of bacteria buildup and smelly water. Washing a spa filter with a hose alone does not keep your filters clean; rather, try using a degreaser approved by a hot tub maintenance expert every 30 days for a more thorough clean. 

4. Check your pipes

Bacteria can fester and build up, creating an unsanitary product called bio-film that stays hidden in your pipes and causes bad odours. Using a cleansing product twice a year to remove biofilm buildup is a good idea in rinsing out any unwanted bacteria. 

5. Shock your hot tub

Applying a dose of chlorine or non-chlorine shock to your water will help break down organic waste and restore water quality. This should happen at least once a week or if your tub has been heavily used. This will ensure your water stays in a healthy condition and prevent any contamination from occurring.  

6. Clean or replace your hot tub cover

Hot tub covers are not designed to last forever and will absorb the spa water over time. Depending on the quality of your water, your hot tub cover may be soaking up and storing contaminated water within the foam of its core. If it has absorbed some water, you can try draining it, or if it is beyond repair, replacing it with a new top. 

Whatever the reason, hot tub smells should be kept at bay as they are a sign of contamination which can be a hazard to your health. Cleaning, maintaining and balancing your tub regularly will keep pesky bacteria at bay and keep your tub clean and odour free. Don’t know how to shock your tub? Follow these tips.