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Originally Posted On: How to Get Rid of Foam in Hot Tub – Pool Care School
Why Is My Hot Tub Foaming?
Your hot tub is foaming because it has too many surfactants in the water. Surfactants are going to be attracted to both air and water. They rise to the surface of the water, and as they get attracted to the air, they will start to form bubbles, more and more air bubbles end up creating the foamy water in the tub.
The surfactants are not dangerous, but as you will come to find out, they can be a little gross. Luckily you can fix this and try to avoid the issue in the future.
The size of your hot tub doesn’t make it more or less likely for foaming either. The same things apply to 6, 4 and 2 person hot tubs.
What Causes Foam in Hot Tub?
As we mentioned, your hot tub is foaming because of the surfactants that are in the water. Even though you would like to think your hot tub is filled with just water, of course, other things make up the composition of your hot tub.
Several different things can cause extra surfactants in the water. Here are a few of the most common reasons you will see foamy hot tub water.
Soap residue, body oils, dead skin cells, body lotion, poor calcium levels, skin care products, personal care products, hair spray etc causes hot tubs to get foamy when too much is present. The same thing that’s happening in your hot tubs water is also possible to happen in a swimming pool, for the same reasons.
It’s important to note that the hot tub temperature has little to no impact on this, assuming you’re within a normal range. Also, if you have a salt water hot tub, you may be experiencing the same issues – treat them the same, as described in this article.
One of the biggest culprits to cause foam in spa water are things like shampoo, deodorant, and hair products. These products tend to build up in the water, and they are difficult to remove. Even bathing suits washed in laundry detergent can cause problems.
If you are buying cheap chemicals for your hot tub, chances are they are leaving some remnants in the water. The more inexpensive chemicals may not be balancing the hot tub correctly, causing this issue with the foam.
People tend to be oily, and they have skin that will exfoliate while in the spa. If you have a bunch of friends and family over to use your hot tub, you may notice the foam soon after. It is hard to keep the chemicals balanced when there are lots of people using the spa.
Food or Drink
Did you see something spill in your hot tub? If you happened to have a soda while sitting in the hot tub, chances are it could have caused the issue with the foam in your water.
Make sure you are using a hot tub cover to keep unwanted items from entering the water when not in use.
Is Foam in a Hot Tub Bad?
Foam in a hot tub is not the worst problem that you could have, but it is not the best. You will need to address this issue for the foam to go away. Unfortunately, even if you use a hot tub foam remover, the relief from the foam will only be temporary. Larger measures will need to be taken.
6 Steps to Get Rid of Hot Tub Foam
Unfortunately, getting the foam out of your hot tub will require you to drain the entire tub most of the time. There are a few products that help prevent foam from occurring that you can try though.
Let’s look at what is involved in the process so you can get your hot tub back to the condition you need today.
Test the Chemicals
Prior to starting this process, it is a good idea to test the chemicals in your spa. Testing the chemicals is going to give you a general idea as to what the issue looks like on paper. Having this information is only going to help the next time that your hot tub chemicals start to get a bit off.
When testing the chemicals, make sure that you look for total dissolved solids. This number will give you an idea as to the surfactants that you are dealing with in your water. Also, get a baseline for where the pH and alkalinity were as well. Save this number for the end of this process.
Drain the Water
Once you have tested the water in your hot tub, it is now time to drain the tub. Trust us, we do not like this process any more than you do, but there is no avoiding it if you want to remove the foam altogether. I have a whole post on how to drain a hot tub too.
Make sure that you drain all of the water from the tub, do not try to get away with draining some and hoping for the best. This will not work.
Clean the Tub
Once your hot tub is empty, it’s time to start cleaning. You will want to clean every square inch of the tub while it is empty. This is a perfect time to make sure that everything is in great shape on the interior of your tub.
We like to use a vinegar and water solution when we clean our hot tub. This is a natural cleanser, and it does a great job of getting a surface truly clean. There are also hot tub cleaners that you can use.
The most important thing about cleaning the tub is to make sure that you rinse it when you are finished. You do not want any chemicals left behind as they could cause the foam issue to start up again.
Flush Lines and Replace Filters
Most likely, the issue with the surfactants in the water was because of the water that was in the hot tub; however, there could still be issues in the filter as well. You should replace the filters before moving to the next step.
It is not worth trying to skip this step, as you will probably end up having to repeat the entire process. As annoying as this can be when you have a foamy hot tub, you have to be diligent about the clean up process.
Now it is time to refill the hot tub. Although you will be excited to jump right back in the newly cleaned tub, give it a full 24 hours before you do this. Once you have waited 24 hours, move to the next step.
Test the Chemicals Again
Now it is time to test the chemicals in your hot tub yet again. The numbers should be much better this time around. You can take the original information you saved from your first test and compare it to the new numbers.
Keep these things in mind the next time you want to skip any of your hot tub maintenance procedures. Whether it be a hot tub or a pool, staying on top of things is going to make your life much easier.
Foam in Hot Tub Prevention Tips
Once you have your hot tub back to perfect, chances are you will not want to deal with this process again. There are a few key ways that you can make sure that you don’t end up with another foamy hot tub. Here are our best tips for hot tub foam prevention.
- Always Check Chemicals: check your hot tub all the time to make sure that the levels are where they should be, it only takes a minute, and it is worth it.
- Rinse Before Using: take a quick shower or rinse before you head into the hot tub; this will help you keep chemicals out of the tub.
- Keep Hair Up: If you can avoid soaking your hair in the tub, you will have a much easier time keeping foam away.
- Buy Good Chemicals: we know how quickly hot tub chemicals can add up; although it can be frustrating to spend the money, better chemicals are worth the price.
- Prepare for Large Groups: if you have a bunch of friends coming over, make sure you are ready to tackle your hot tub chemicals both before and after they leave, install an outdoor shower, and have people rinse before getting in.
- Defoamer: a hot tub defoamer will work in a pinch if you have company over; however, you will need to follow our steps to completely remove all of the foam.
- Keep it Covered: prevent unnecessary dirt and debris from entering your hot tub by using a good hot tub cover.
- Advanced Filtration System: proper hot tub care sometimes is still the best method in preventing foamy hot tubs. Test your hot tub water weekly and check to make sure there isn’t any foam forming.
Hot Tub Foam Recap
You should now have a better understanding as to why you had foam, what you can do to fix it, and how to make sure it never comes back again. As we mentioned having foam in your hot tub is fairly typical. This is something that most hot tub owners are going to have to deal with at some point. It is an unfortunate way to spend a Saturday, but this is the price we sometimes pay as hot tub owners.
Pay close attention to your hot tub chemicals and who is using the tub. Don’t be afraid to ask people to rinse before they head in the spa. Chances are they won’t be the ones there to help you when it comes time to clean up the mess!