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The Home Depot

Why is My Hot Tub Water Cloudy?

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Pool and Hot Tub > Why is My Hot Tub Water Cloudy?
Why is My Hot Tub Water Cloudy?

The water in most home hot tubs turns cloudy or colored for a variety of reasons. Often, home owners notice this after they have not used the hot tub for a couple of days – because they were busy or away for a weekend. The cloudy water in the hot tub can be because of the presence of salt, excess alkalinity, excess acidity, poor filtering, and so on. The first step to fixing the issue is to test the water using the test strips before taking remedial action. It is important to remember that the hot tub should not be used unless the water is clear. This will enable you to avoid skin problems that can range from mild allergies to major infections.

  1. 1. Dirty Filter

    One possible reason for cloudy water in the hot tub is a dirty filter. Filters for hot tubs come in reusable and replaceable types. If your hot tub has a reusable filter, you need to remove it, soak it in the cleaning solution for 24 hours, wash it, dry it, and then re-fix it. Meanwhile, you can use the spare filter you have for this purpose. If you have a replaceable filter for your hot tub, simple replace the existing filter and fix a fresh one in its place. This should clear the water in a few hours.

  2. 2.Salt

    Most people add spa salts to their hot tub water. However, excessive use of such salts can alter the pH balance of the water and make it cloudy. This can be fixed by taking a sample of the water to a digital testing laboratory to determine the exact cause of the cloudiness. They will be able to guide you in using the right product to clear up the water in the hot tub.

  3. 3.Bromine

    Many home users of hot tubs prefer to use bromine instead of chlorine to keep the hot tub water clear of algae and other microorganisms. While this is a salient idea because bromine will remain active even when the pH level of the water is above or below the recommended range, it can turn the water cloudy more quickly. Even if the water is safe to use, bromine can make it look a bit cloudy.


    This is just another example of losing out when you cut corners. We were all taught to not cut corners as a child and even though we all do that sometimes, some people make it a habit and this is bound to come back to bite you. Using bromine for your hot tub is just another example of this.

  4. 4.Low Sanitizer

    Sanitizer is added to the hot tub water to reduce the presence of microorganisms. However, low or excess levels of sanitizer can change the pH balance of the water and make it cloudy. When this happens you need to add more alkaline salts to the water to restore the pH balance. However, this cannot easily be determined by home testing using strips. If you have doubts about the water quality, you need to have the sample tested at a lab and take appropriate remedial action.


    In the long run, if you can afford it, you may want to buy an electronic microscope and learn how to use it – just for these parameters at least. Conducting these tests is not too difficult and if you can learn how to determine what type of water you have, you can save time and possibly frustration.

  5. 5.Dissolved Solids

    Hot tub and spa manufacturers recommend that you take a shower before you use their equipment. However, most people find this impractical. This means that the water in the hot tub soon accumulates dissolved solids from body lotions, residual shampoo and hair conditioner products, even the residue of detergents used to wash the bathing suit. As far as possible, you should avoid applying body lotion just before getting into the hot tub. Putting your hair up, not using detergents on your bathing suit, and so on will also reduce the total amount of dissolved solids in the water and keep it clear.

  6. 6.Metal

    Depending on the source of water, the water in your hot tub could also contain dissolved metals. If your water supply contains iron or copper content, then you need to install a pre filter before the water is used in the hot tub to prevent the appearance of cloudy water. Again, the presence of metals in the water can only be determined by a lab testing of the cloudy water. This is the first step to determine the cause of the cloudiness, before you can take steps to eliminate it.

A home owner should be able to come home to a refreshing dip in their hot tub without having to worry about discolored or cloudy water. Since cloudy water is an indication of water that is unhealthy to use, you need to have this fixed as soon as possible before you can use the hot tub again.

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