Hot Tub Foaming


Hot tub foaming can seem like an innocuous problem, but can be quite obnoxious if not handled quickly. It could rapidly get out of hand and create a bubbly mess that is less fun than it is gross and disconcerting. Let the experts at Hot Tub Warehouse help you to figure out why you have hot tub foaming and learn how to prevent and treat it.

Hot tub foaming occurs when the hot tub water reacts to soaps, detergents, and lotions on a bather’s skin or swimming suit. The foaming becomes readily apparent when the jets and blowers are turned on and the air injected into the hot tub reacts with the buildup in the water.

The Culprits

Swimming suits that have been improperly treated (sent through the washing machine with a traditional detergent) will often create bubbles in your hot tub water. The soaps in the fibers get trapped and then are dispersed through your water, remaining a problem even after you’ve gotten out.

To avoid this situation, just make sure you properly treat your swimming suit based on a good swimming suit care guide. Basically, don’t use traditional detergents that may mess with your hot tub chemistry and use a swim suit specific rinse when you do need to clean it. If all else fails (and you’re extremely comfortable with your bathing company) you can skip the suit altogether!

Residue on the hair and skin from shampoos, body oil, deodorant, etc. will wash away in the water of your hot tub and start to react with the hot tub chemistry.

The solution to this problem is pretty simple: take a pre-soak shower! This is recommended for all bathers before they use a hot tub because it helps to avoid so many water chemistry issues. If you have a hot tub foaming problem, this is one rule you should definitely adhere to. As for women with long hair: put your hair up in a high ponytail or bun to keep the shampoos, conditioners, and other miscellaneous hair products from getting in the water.

Improper water balance (specifically high pH or low calcium hardness) will also lead to a foaming problem. If you’re going to be a hot tub owner, be sure you take care of these issues as they arise by testing frequently and adjusting water as necessary.

To keep everything within target areas, be sure your pH is between 7.2-7.6 and your calcium/total hardness is around 200-350 ppm.

Big Fix

If you already have a hot tub foaming problem that you want to eradicate, there are a few approaches that will get rid of it quickly.

Shock your tub regularly

 Doing this after heavy usage or during times of chemical difficulty will help rid your system of anything that might be causing the foaming. Chlorine shock oxidizes the waste in hot tub water and can prevent surface bubbling.

Clean your filters

This is something you should be doing every few months. Filters can catch and hold all kinds of impurities, some of which will cause your hot tub to foam. If you’re not cleaning these regularly and thoroughly (using filter cleaner), you’re likely to have all sorts of problems.

Use a spa defoamer

Products like Spa Pure Defoamer are highly concentrated and effective at getting rid of foaming problems in hot tub water. With the jets on, add two capfuls of the product to the surface of the water. It doesn’t clog filters or damage equipment and is compatible with all sanitizers.

Note: Make sure ANYTHING you add to your hot tub water is formulated for that express purpose. Anything that’s not meant for hot tubs and spas will mess with your hot tub’s chemistry.

Refill the Tub

This is more of a drastic solution but it’s sometimes necessary to reset the system. Make sure you thoroughly clean your hot tub and flush the system before refilling with new water. NEVER use soft water to refill a hot tub. That can lead to another round of foaming problems.

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