How-To Guides | Spa Filter Cleaning & Maintenance

The filtration system is an integral part of the hot tub. Bathers bring plenty of debris into the hot tub water, such as dirt, sweat, hair, etc.

Filter cartridges act as a screen, removing the grime as the water passes through. Routine filter cleaning and replacement allows the filter system to remove dirt and oils better. That means improved water clarity and increased spa equipment life.

When replacing, choose high-quality, long-lasting filter cartridges. Although many cartridges look the same, inferior filters must be replaced frequently to avoid clogging and spa inefficiency. Clarathon Premium Ultra Filters have a service life of 1 year ‐ 4 times longer than the cheap 90 day life of other competitors.

Rinse Biweekly to Remove Debris

Every two weeks, filter cartridges should be rinsed to remove larger particles like leaves and hair. More frequent rinsing may be necessary for heavy use.

Rinsing dirty hot tub filter with Jet Stream filter sprayer

Remove the filter cartridges, following the spa manufacturer’s directions for filter removal. Using a filter sprayer nozzle at a 45 degree angle, clean between pleats to remove debris deep inside the filter. Substitute a standard garden hose sprayer if you do not have a filter cleaning sprayer.

Easier Cleaning with Filter Products & Tools

Hot tub filter cartridge cleaning supplies and Instant Filter Spray

Save time and energy on your filter maintenance schedule with the addition of a few great products & tools, like spray nozzles & cleaners. A small investment will make a world of difference in your hot tub's filtering ability.

ecoTUB Instant Filter Spray combined with a filter sprayer hose attachment cleans quickly to remove oily deposits and debris without needing to soak.

Different hose-end filter cleaning tools are available that are superior to standard hose sprayers. They spray water deep into the pleats, resulting in cleaner filters and less work.

Our favorite sprayer is the Jet Stream Filter Cartridge Cleaner. The Jet Stream includes two tools: an outer fan sprayer with nozzles to get deep into pleats, and a core cleaning tool that cleans the inside of the filter as well.

Another great tool, the Blaster Automatic Filter Cleaner, also connects to a standard garden hose and rotates the filter as it cleans for a hands-free method.

Never clean filters with a power washer, dishwasher or scrub brushes. High pressure, scalding water, and brushing can pull pleats out of the end caps, break bands or weaken the filter.

Soak & Rotate Quarterly with Clean, Dry Spares

While rinsing removes debris, filters can clog with body oils, lotions, soaps & mineral deposits, requiring routine deep cleanings. 

Pouring Power Soak Filter Cleaner into bucket with hot tub filter

With every water change, and at least every 3-4 months, rotate dirty filters with a clean, dry set. Rotating filters means you never have to wait to use the spa until after you finish cleaning your filters.

Rinse dirty filters thoroughly as soon as they are removed from the spa. If allowed to dry, debris is more difficult to remove.

In a bucket, mix filter cleaner like Power Soak or ecoTUB Filter Soak with water and soak the filters overnight. Using hot water when soaking the filters may speed up the filter cleaning process considerably.

Removing clean wet hot tub filter cartridge from bucket of dirty water

Remove the filters from the bucket, rinse them again to remove residue, then dry them in a clean location. Drying the filters helps control any mold or microbial growth that may be persistent on wet filters. Our blue Antimicrobial filter cartridges, discourage growth of odor & stain causing microbes on the filter media.

Note: Antimicrobial filters do not sanitize the spa water itself. Use a sanitizing system like bromine or Nature 2.

Do not use anything other than filter cleaner to clean filters. Dichlor, laundry bleach & other forms of chlorine in high concentrations can damage filters, causing premature failure.

Detergents, soaps and other household cleaners leave residue in the filter that also cause foaming and water problems.

For spa owners with hard water, calcium deposits may restrict filter cartridge flow. After cleaning the filters, soak them in a 20 parts water to 1 part Acid Magic solution until bubbling stops. Acid Magic is safer than muriatic acid, but just as effective at clearing away scale.

Hot tub filter cartridge and bottle of Acid Magic Muriatic Acid Replacement

If using disposable micro filters, there is no need for soaking every 3-4 months. Rinse biweekly to remove larger debris, then dispose of the filters at each water change.

Replace Annually for Optimal Efficiency

Although cleaning improves the cartridge’s filtration abilities, eventually the filter media ages and can no longer function as efficiently. To avoid strain on spa equipment and diminishing water clarity, we recommend yearly replacement. More frequent filter replacement will be necessary for spas with heavy use and in commercial settings.

Man removing antimicrobial hot tub filter from Belize spa

Because filters are always straining debris and being exposed to spa chemicals, they can fail early if conditions are poor. Fortunately, there are signs that a filter is aging and no longer works as well as a new cartridge.

  • Fabric filter media becomes fuzzy, frayed, or torn
  • Broken, loose or missing bands, if filter is banded
  • Bleached, brittle or cracked end caps
  • Pleats that stick together or collapse, even after cleaning
  • Pleats separating from end caps
  • Staining and odors that persist after cleaning

Dirty hot tub filter cartridge needs replacement

If your filters need frequent replacement, check the spa conditions to ensure you're getting the most out of the filter. Showering before entry, regular balance & sanitizer testing, and frequent filter cleanings are the best ways to improve filter life.

In addition, using a hose end water filter removes impurities from the water when filling the spa. This reduces the workload on the filtration system.

Floating scum & oil removers - such as the Zorbo ‐ also reduce the material that flows through the filter.

Need help finding filters? Use our Fast Filter Finder to find the perfect cartridge for your hot tub.

Blaster 1000 Filter Cleaner

"This thing really deep cleans! I wish I had one years ago. Great price by the way!"

Mart Welsch
Tumwater, WA

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