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How to fix spa cloudy water in hot tubs


Spa and hot tub water is cloudy. It's not that it's discolored, it just isn't clear like it's supposed to be.

Common underlying issues:

Listed in order of likelihood to be the underlying issue.

  • Water is out of balance
  • Sanitizer level is too low
  • Filter is dirty
  • Water not circulating enough
  • Calcium hardness level too high
  • Too many organic contaminants

Steps to diagnose & treat the underlying issue:

  1. Test pH and Alkalinity levels using test strips.
    If water is balanced, skip to step 5. If water is not balanced, you must focus on fixing the Alkalinity levels first before trying to balance the pH levels.
  2. Ensure Alkalinity levels are balanced.
    • If Alkalinity is low - Use Alkalinity Increaser
    • If Alkalinity is high - There is no Alkalinity Decreaser. You must use pH Decreaser to reduce Alkalinity levels
  3. Ensure pH Levels are Balanced.
  4. Analyze and Balance Sanitizer Levels. 
    • Bromine tablets or granules should be at 4 to 6 ppm, use AquaDoc's Bromine Tablets to maintain optimum Bromine level
    • Bromine in-line or floaters should be between 1 to 2 ppm
    • Free Available Chlorine (FAC) should be between 3 to 5 ppm, use Chlorinating Granules to maintain FAC level
    • Saltwater sanitized spas require minimal balancing
  5. Make sure the spa filter is clean.
    In general, Spa Filters should be cleaned monthly and replaced quarterly. If your water is balanced and your water is still cloudy, soak the cartridge in AquaDoc's Spa Filter clean for 30 - 60 minutes. 
  6. Ensure spa water has enough circulation activity.
    Spa water should undergo 4 to 6 hours of circulation daily. If you have not circulated your water enough and the above issues are resolved, circulate your water for 6 hours daily for several days.
  7. Check for High Calcium. Balance Calcium Levels.
    Use an at home calcium hardness test or take your water to a local spa retailer for testing. Use Spa Calcium Increaser to bring water to proper calcium levels.
    • Chlorine & Bromine Calcium levels should be 75 to 150ppm
    • Saltwater Systems should be  25 to 75ppm
  8. Remove organic micro contaminants.
    If the above options have not fixed the cloudy water, it is likely that organic contaminants are the source of the cloudy water (body oils & lotions). Luckily, AquaDoc has the perfect 1-2 punch for these contaminants.
    • Add 2oz of AquaDoc's Water Clarifier per 250 gallons of water. This will bind together microparticles that would be too small for the filter to catch. It makes them into a larger particle that will then get caught in the spa's filter.
    • Add 1oz of AquaDoc's Natural Enzyme per 250 gallons of water. This will help remove organic contaminants such as oils and cosmetics.

Preventing Cloudy Water

Responsible use and regular hot tub maintenance are the keys to preventing cloudy hot tub water. Following the below recommendations are key to preventing cloudy water.

Responsible hot tub usage:

  • Shower before using the hot tub
  • Avoid wearing makeup, lotions, and oils. Ideally use your hot tub at night or position in a shaded area to avoid needing to use sunscreen.
  • Rinse bathing suit before use. Ideally, try to have a dedicated suit just for the hot tub and avoid using detergent when washing.
  • Cover your hot tub when not in use
  • Avoid the strong temptation to use bath bombs

Responsible hot tub maintenance to avoid cloudy water:

  • Regularly check and balance alkalinity and sanitizer levels
  • Circulate the water for 4 - 6 hours daily
  • Regularly check and balance spa calcium levels
  • Soak filter in a spa cleaning solution once a month
  • Add 1oz Natural Enzyme per 250 gallons of water once a week
  • Add 2oz Spa Clarifier for every 250 gallons twice a week

Summary of cloudy water treatment products

You can also check out our new Cloudy Water Kit to help fix the cloudy water in your Spa & Hot tub.