Cleaning Your Hot Tub Cover
Hot tub cleaning is important for the vitality of your investment and most hot tub and spa owners have no problem adhering to a cleaning schedule. One aspect that may be getting neglected in the scope of hot tub hygiene and cleanliness is regarding one of the most important elements of a hot tub set up: the hot tub cover. Cleaning your hot tub cover regularly is a great way to increase its life span and make your job as a hot tub owner easier.
About Hot Tub Covers
Hot tub covers’ outermost layer is made of a polyvinyl chloride that is coated with agents that make it soft, pliable, and waterproof. The inserts inside of the vinyl covering consists of a foam core made of polystyrene. All the elements of the cover are subject to damage if not well attended or if left in disrepair for an extended period of time. Care for the hot tub cover is going to make sure your water stays balanced, heat stays inside your hot tub, and you’ll avoid water loss through evaporation.
Hot tub covers get the most damage from everyday use. Without regular cleaning and protection, it can become less than useful over the span of just a few years. UV rays and mildew that makes its way into the cover are usually to blame for a damage hot tub cover. However, if you make a point to clean the cover every 1-3 months and keep, it will stay looking nice and performing well for years.
Approved Cleaning Products
Have you ever seen a hot tub cover that is puffy and cracking? It’s just as likely that damaging products were used as it was that the cover was just neglected. Vinyl is similar to leather in that it needs a gentle cleanser. It’s just as important to know what NOT to use as it is to know which products are best for cleaning your hot tub cover. Here are a list of ingredients to avoid when choosing cover cleaner:
- Dish Soap
- Petroleum Distillates
If a bottle says that the contents may be flammable, there’s a good chance it’s going to be damaging to the vinyl on your hot tub cover. It may leave it shiny and looking aesthetically pleasing, but that shiny look amplifies the sun’s rays and leaves it damaged.
Products on the OK list are easily found. Things like EcoOne Spa Cover Cleaner or Spa Cover Cleaner and Protectant are specially formulated to work on spa covers without damaging the vinyl. If you can’t locate one of the two cleaners above, just use something that is gentle and non-abrasive and does not contain the above ingredients.
In addition to a cleaner, you’ll want to use an oil-free protectant like 303 Aerospace Protectant. This formula blocks 100% of harmful UV rays and prevents mildew grown on the underside of the cover.
You’ll also want to get a new sponge or clean cloth to do the actual cleaning.
Hot Tub Cover Cleaning
Repeat these steps every 1-3 months:
- Remove the cover (careful not to drag it on the ground). Wet with a hose or bucket of clean water to loosen dirt.
- Apply non-abrasive cleaner to cloth or sponge and wipe from edge to edge.
- Rinse your cloth or sponge often and reapply product as needed.
- Clean along skirting of the cover (underneath, too). Pay special attention to any place that has folds or creases to discourage mildew growth.
- If you have caked on dirt, spray on cleaner generously. Allow to soak for 60-90 seconds (or according to the product instructions) and wipe away. Repeat as necessary.
- If your hot tub sits under a tree that trips sap or pitch, there’s likely some on your cover. To remove, use margarine or olive oil. This, rubbed into the sticky sap, will break it down and make it easier to get off the vinyl. MAKE SURE to clean these spots thoroughly afterward to remove any greasy residue.
- If you live in a humid climate, there’s a chance you’ll get moss and mildew growing on an unattended cover along the zipper or stitching—anywhere that moisture tends to accumulate and isn’t wiped away. Clean it with your non-abrasive cleaning product and use the rough side of a sponge to get it off. It should lift off within minutes. Pay special attention to these areas while you clean to prevent moss and mildew from making a home along any creases.
- Let your hot tub cover dry before adding protectant. Use a liberal amount of approved product along creases and folds to discourage mold reoccurrence.
It Has a Smell
Many older or neglected hot tub covers develop a smell which is most likely mildew that grows inside the cover jacket. If caught early enough, this can be remedied in a few steps:
- Unzip the cover and remove the foam core.
- Clean the inside of the jacket with a soft brush and gentle cleaner.
- Clean the core’s plastic vapor barrier carefully so you don’t create any holes.
- Spray everything with a hose or bucket of clean water.
- Towel dry the surfaces and allow to air dry. Be careful not to let the exposed cores lie in the sun for more than a few hours.
- Once it has all dried, insert the core back into the jacket. If the core is heavy and doesn’t dry out, it’s probably waterlogged and rotting. This indicates the need for a replacement altogether.
Make Your Cover Last
A few habits will keep your cover looking as good as the day you brought it home.
- DON’T over chlorinate your water—this leads to cracking vinyl that leaves it puffy and vulnerable to the elements.
- Keep the water balanced. Poor water chemistry is notorious for damaging stitching no the covers and bleaching the underside.
- Invest in a solar blanket. This will keep water from evaporating or becoming atomized and adversely affecting the underside of your hot tub cover.
- Leave off your cover when you shock the hot tub.
- Remove the cover with a cover lift to prevent stress on seams. Always use the handles and don’t let the cover slam on and off.
- NEVER lift the cover by its skirting.
- DON’T leave the cover on the ground or drag it when moving it from one place to another.
- Secure the cover via latch when not in use to prevent wind damage.
- DON’T set heavy objects on the cover that will warp and compromise the structure of the hot tub.
- If you get punctures or tears, use vinyl repair kits to fix it before it.