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The Importance of Proper Sanitization And Shocking Your Hot Tub

Are you aware how important it is to properly sanitize and shock your hot tub? Imagine getting out of your hot tub after a nice, relaxing soak, only to discover the start of a rash. Sanitizing and shocking your hot tub can prevent this and other health risks.

Many hot tub owners may not realize how important properly sanitizing and shocking of their hot tub is. These bacteria can cause skin infections, respiratory issues, and other health concerns.

In this article, we will explain why sanitizing and shocking is so important and give you some valuable tips and tricks to keep your hot tub in tip-top shape. Let’s start with the basics.


What are Sanitizers and Shock and Why Are They Important?

Sanitizer and shocking are words that get thrown around a lot in hot tub care guides, but what do they mean? Sanitizers are chemicals that kill bacteria, germs, and other harmful organisms that can grow, or find their way into your hot tub water. There should always be a low level of sanitizer present in your hot tub. Shocking, on the other hand, is done by adding a large dose of sanitizer to the water. It cleans up used sanitizer and bacteria that is in your hot tub.

Think of it like this: Sanitizers sweep up the bacteria, shocking kicks the bacteria to the curb.

When you don’t sanitize and shock your hot tub, the water becomes cloudy, and an unpleasant odor can become noticeable. ’’Everything from sweat to lotion, and even make-up can cause bacteria to grow in water that is not sanitized.


The Risks of Inadequate Hot Tub Sanitization and Shocking

What happens if you don’t sanitize and shock your hot tub? Since sanitizers and shocks kill bacteria, without them any bacteria are free to move-in to your hot tub and start growing. Bacteria can cause many health problems from skin rashes and infections to respiratory issues.

Why would bacteria move-in to your hot tub? Sweat, lotions, body oils, among other organic contaminants, are an all-you-can eat buffet for bacteria. Your hot tub is also nice and warm, and just like us, bacteria like warmth.

More bacteria in your hot tub means health problems are more likely to occur. Proper sanitization and shocking will prevent this.


The Benefits of Proper Hot Tub Sanitization and Shocking

hot tub technician holding a filter

We’ve talked a lot about bacteria and how properly sanitizing and shocking your hot tub prevents bacteria from growing, but are there any other benefits? The answer is yes.

Have you ever looked in a pond, or a river, and noticed how cloudy it is? Maybe you noticed an unpleasant smell? Sanitization and shocking prevents this from happening to your hot tub. It keeps your hot tub water clear and odor free.

Proper sanitization and shocking also extends the lifespan of the hot tub and its components, especially your filter. A good chemical balance will prevent damage caused by bacteria and other microbes.


How Often Should You Shock Your Hot Tub?

How often you shock your hot tub depends on several factors:

  1. Usage: The more often you go into your hot tub, or the more people that go in at a time, the more often you will need to shock. More people in the hot tub means more organic contaminants left behind.
  2. Environment: Where is your hot tub? Trees can drop pollen, leaves, and other debris into your hot tub. Construction may cause dust and dirt to get blown in. Consider what might be getting in your hot tub even if you are not.
  3. Water Quality: When did you last test your hot tub water? Cloudy or smelly water means it is time to shock the hot tub. Testing your hot tub water will help you catch water quality issues before they get to a noticeable point.
  4. Manufacturer’s Recommendations: Your hot tub manufacturer will have guidelines for how often you should shock your tub depending on the model, usage patterns, etc.

hot tub water testing

Generally, shocking your hot tub once per week will maintain water clarity and safety. However, depending on the factors mentioned above, you may have to shock your hot tub more often..


How to Properly Sanitize and Shock Your Hot Tub

So we know the why, and the how often, but how do you properly sanitize and shock your hot tub? Follow these steps:

Step 1: Read Your Hot Tub Manual or Talk to Your Hot Tub Dealer

  • In order to properly sanitize and shock your hot tub, you need to know a few things. What are the best products to use? How many litres does your hot tub hold? Where should you put the sanitizer and shock? Without these answers, you could end up adding too little or too much sanitizer or adding it to areas where they can’t do their job well.

Step 2: Test the Water

  • Using a test kit, or test strips, check what level your sanitizer is. Most hot tubs will recommend sanitizer levels should be between 3ppm (parts per million) and 5ppm.

Step 3: Add Sanitizers

bromine tablets for hot tub sanitization

Step 4: Shock the Water

  • Shocking the water completely removes contaminants from your water. Using the information from your manual, or your hot tub dealer, measure out and apply the appropriate amount of shock. Scatter the shock over the surface of the tub, don’t dump it in one spot.

Step 5: Circulate the Water

  • Turn on the hot tub’s jets to circulate the sanitizer and shock you’ve just added. This will help mix them into the water and disturb any bacteria.

Step 6: Create a Routine

  • The most important part of keeping your hot tub water clean and balanced is to create a maintenance routine. This will ensure that bacteria don’t get a foothold in your hot tub.

How to Help Your Sanitizers do Their Job

While chlorine and bromine sanitizers are effective on their own, there are other products and parts that can help them along.

Ozone Generators/Ozonators:

  • Ozone generators introduce ozone gas into your hot tub water. Ozone is a powerful oxidizer that helps your sanitizer destroy contaminants. Ozone-treated water is usually clearer and requires you to add less bromine, or chlorine.

Ultraviolet-C Systems:

  • Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) systems use ultraviolet (UV) light to disinfect water by disrupting the DNA of microorganisms. UV-C is not enough to keep your hot tub sanitized on its own. It can significantly reduce the work your bromine, or chlorine, needs to do. UV-C systems are environmentally friendly and minimize the use of chemicals.

Ionizers and Mineral Cartridges: 

  • Ionizers and mineral cartridges use metals, like silver, or copper, which have natural antibacterial properties. Mineral cartridges are attached to your hot tub system, usually around the filter. They release minerals as water passes through them. Ionizers are attached to the plumbing of your hot tub. They have a control so you can increase, or decrease, the amount of minerals released. These can make it harder for bacteria and microorganisms to grow.

Oxidizer Shock Treatments: 

  • Oxidizer shock treatments use potassium monopersulphate, or a similar compound, to oxidize contaminants in your hot tub. These shock treatments are great if you have a sensitivity to bromine, or chlorine, and your skin is easily irritated.

Enzyme-Based Products:

  • Enzyme-based products break down sweat, lotions, gody oils and other contaminants in your hot tub water. They don’t sanitize the water, but they make it easier for bromine, and chlorine, to do their jobs.



a man cleaning a hot tubA clean and safe hot tub is essential for both your health, and your enjoyment of your hot tub. Now that you know how to properly sanitize and shock your hot tub, open up your tub, pour yourself a drink and enjoy your relaxation time. You’ve earned it!

For further information on hot tub maintenance and products, you can explore Lake Shore Pools & Tubs, a valuable resource for hot tub owners seeking high-quality products and expert advice to enhance their hot tub experience.



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