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What Causes Foaming in a Hot Tub? (And What to Do About It)

What Causes Foaming in a Hot Tub? (And What to Do About It)

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Having a hot tub can make for an excellent escape after a tough day. Soaking in the water has many health benefits and that’s not even including the sheer satisfaction involved in having a warm soak whenever you feel like it.

You may have noticed your hot tub foaming up from time to time. For those unfamiliar with hot tubs, this might seem like something to be alarmed about. Don’t worry, the foam won’t do anything to hurt you.

Still, it can be helpful to understand just why your hot tub is foaming up all the time.

Why Does the Hot Tub Foam?

One of the most obvious reasons is that there are certain products out there that can begin to foam when mixed in with the water from the hot tub. This can include soap, drinks, deodorant, laundry detergent, cosmetics, makeup, hair products, shampoo, conditioners, body lotions, or oils.

Given that these are all extremely common household items, several of which can be found on our persons at any given time, it only makes sense that you see bubbles in your hot tub.

Again, the bubbles don’t cause any harm to you or the hot tub, so it’s not something to be worried about if you have any of these products on you.

The hardness of your water can also have an impact. When the calcium levels of your water are lower, it can decrease the surface tension in your hot tub. This, in turn, can lead to excessive foaming when you use the hot tub.

Low water levels, or soft water, are actually quite bad for your hot tub. It can damage both the hot tub and any spa equipment that you may be using.

Calcium levels are generally fine and won’t need to be adjusted, just check out your hot tub’s water once a week or so to ensure that low calcium isn’t the culprit.

Lastly, the foaming water in your hot tub could be due to unbalanced water. The unfortunate thing about unbalanced water is that it can have multiple negative impacts on your hot tub’s water.

In addition to the foamy water, it can also give the water a bad smell and even make it turn green in color.

It’s a good idea to test your hot tub water weekly. You do this to ensure that the pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels of the water are where they should be.

This will also help to prevent damage from soft water mentioned above.

Preventing Foamy Water

Because so many different chemicals can result in the water turning foamy, the only way to keep them from mixing with the water is to take a shower prior to getting into the tub. If you’ve seen a sign at the public pool or hot tub that asks you to shower before entering, this is why.

By taking a shower before using the hot tub, you won’t bring things from your body such as deodorants, lotions, colognes, oils, perfumes, sweat, and dirt into the hot tub.

Again, the foam is really nothing to be concerned about and is up to the user if they want to deal with it.

Showering prior to using the hot tub can be an inconvenience, especially given that there’s nothing to be worried about. If you don’t use these products, you’re probably fine, but if you do and you’re not a fan of the foaming in your hot tub, get a quick rinse in before you jump in.

Even if you don’t have any of those products on your body, there’s a chance that your bathing suit may be carrying laundry detergents. Give your bathing suit a quick rinse beforehand to ensure that you’re not carrying those detergents with you.

If you feel comfortable with the privacy of your yard, you can feel free to skip the swimsuit altogether.

One of the more common reasons that foam will show up in your hot tub water is through the use of inferior chemicals. Make sure that you use chemicals from a trusted source. Lower quality chemicals, or a mixture of too many chemicals, can also lead to foaming water.

There’s a reason that those low-priced chemicals are inexpensive. They have fewer active ingredients and fillers in them that create a false value and an inferior product. Sure, you pay less for the product, but you’ll have to use other chemicals to balance it all out.

It is also recommended that you use Chlorine Free Spa Shock on a weekly basis. In addition to keeping the foaming at bay, the Chlorine Free Spa Shock has no smell to it, is chemical free, and will properly oxidize your hot tub water.

The Spa Shock is also meant to break down the aforementioned lotions, oils, deodorants, hair products, perfumes, colognes, creams, makeup, and other products that can lead to foaming in your hot tub and be left over when worn into the hot tub.

Keep in mind that the Spa Shock treatment will vary on a few things such as how often and how long you use the hot tub, although it is recommended that you shock your pool weekly as a good rule of thumb.

It can also depend on how many other people use the hot tub. The more people that use it, the more potential contaminants that can get into the hot tub.

Keeping a cover on your hot tub is a good idea. It prevents any falling leaves or sticks from getting into the water and will help to keep it free and clear of pests and bugs. But it is a good idea to open the cover on a regular basis, too.

By opening the hot tub cover, you give the water a chance to breathe and introduce much-needed oxygen into the mix. The exposure to air and sunlight can help to keep your hot tub cleaner over the long-haul.

There are also hot tubs with the capabilities built in to handle things like this. Purchasing a hot tub that comes equipped with an advanced filtration system can do the job for you. While there are plenty of things about a hot tub to be aware of, pay attention to the filtration system.

The filtration system is perhaps the most important aspect of the hot tub. The filtration system will reduce the number of contaminants that get into the water.

Reducing the chemicals in your hot tub through the filtration system allows for you to keep the hot tub water looking clear and clean for far longer and with far less effort on your part.

Speaking of clean and clear, it is recommended that you completely drain and clean the hot tub on a somewhat regular basis. Total dissolved solids can build up in the water of the hot tub over some time.

Think of it like this: if you put sugar in a glass of water and stir it, the sugar will go away. But if you keep adding to it, it will just continue to sink to the bottom.

The same principle applies for hot tub water. Make sure to change out the hot tub water every quarter or so (three to four months) to help retain the cleanliness and clarity of the hot tub water.

Getting Rid of Foamy Water

Perhaps you’re reading this because you already have an issue with foaming water in your hot tub. Preventative measures are great but not if the problem is already here.

So, now that the problem is here, how can you effectively rid yourself of that pesky foaming?

The first is to test the alkalinity of the water. You want it to be balanced, as well as the pH and sanitizer levels of the water. You may need to add chemicals that will balance out the pH level of the water to get rid of the foaming during the next use.

As mentioned above, it is also important that you use a Chlorine Free Spa Shock once per weak to treat the various organics that can reside in your water.

After you shock the water, sanitize, or add any other chemicals, it is a good idea to keep the cover of your hot tub open.

Try using water clarifiers or zorbies to help get rid of the organics that can live in your hot tub water. This is if you don’t have a technologically superior water filtration system.

Again, if you have a filtration system that does these things for you, it should eliminate clarifiers, defoamers, zorbies, and enzymes from needing to be used.

If you’re looking for a quick fix to the problem, an anti-foam or defoamer is a great way to remove foaming right away. But if you’re looking for a permanent solution, this isn’t it.

The defoamer will suspend the foam for a short period of time and is great if you want to use the hot tub immediately without foaming. Also keep in mind that simply adding more defoamer will not make it any more effective.

Things to Avoid with a Hot Tub

While natural foaming is certainly fine for your hot tub water and won’t cause any lasting damage to you or the equipment, adding foam or bubbles of your own is another thing. Sure, it might sound nice to enjoy a bubble bath in your hot tub, but it could be quite costly.

Adding suds and soap can lead to damage of the hot tub that can be quite expensive to fix. A little bit of product in the hot tub is harmless but a lot of it can get into the various components of your hot tub and cause major damage.

You also don’t want to raise the temperature up over 104 degrees. Even though it may seem great to get the hot tub extra hot, all new hot tubs come equipped with a max temperature of 104 degrees for a reason: it is very dangerous.

Dealers, manufacturers, and safety commissions are all unified about this fact and that is the reason that newer hot tubs can’t go higher. Even if your hot tub has the capabilities of going higher than 104 degrees, you should not do it.

Don’t skip the chemicals. Chemicals sound like a dangerous hazard that you want to avoid but they service particular purposes, especially in keeping your hot tub water clean and balanced.

If you want to turn the hot tub into something out of a science movie, you do it by skipping chemical treatments.

Using approved chemicals can help to maintain the hot tub and keep the water from becoming murky and gross over time. Depending on just how gross the water gets, it can present additional problems.

Thick, murky water can be much more difficult to clean out of the hot tub and the worst of water can clog up some of the components of the hot tub.

It is also important to never turn off the power when you have a hot tub full of water. This is particularly important for those who live in colder winter climates. When the water freezes, it can lead to major damage to the components of your hot tub.

During the summer, it might seem costly to keep your hot tub on all the time, but it is actually way more efficient to keep the hot tub going at a consistent, steady temperature.

Cooling between each use may seem smarter, but it will take longer for the water to heat up between uses.

Proper Care Goes a Long Way

No matter what the case, proper maintenance is always your friend. It might take a little bit of time and effort, but that maintenance can help you keep major issues at bay and extend the life of the product. The same goes for hot tubs.

By cleaning your water and providing the proper chemical mixture, you can keep the hot tub water looking clean and clear for a long time to come.


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