At the end of a long, difficult day, relaxing in a jetted or whirlpool tub sounds like a bit of paradise. You know the tub is clean—you cleaned it yourself just a few days ago—but when you fill the tub and turn on the jets, strange black bits are swirling in the water. Did you forget to clean the jets?
Cleaning a jetted tub is not difficult but it does take some time. Luckily, most whirlpool tubs can be cleaned with supplies you have on hand in your pantry and cleaning supplies cabinet.
How Often to Clean Your Jetted Tub
If you use your jetted tub regularly, the jets should be cleaned at least monthly. The actual tub should be thoroughly cleaned at least weekly to remove soap scum, body soil, and bacteria.
Before You Begin
Every brand of jetted tubs is slightly different. It's a good idea to consult the manufacturer's recommendations before cleaning the jets for the first time. Some brands recommend closing the air valve controls, others recommend leaving them open during cleaning. If you cannot find your installation manual, check online, or call the manufacturer's customer service number.
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Equipment / Tools
- Measuring cup
- Toothbrush or bottle brush
- Microfiber cloths
- Small bowl
- Distilled white vinegar
- Baking soda
- Chlorine bleach
- Automatic dishwasher detergent (powder or liquid)
Wipe Away Visible Debris
Using a damp sponge or microfiber cloth, wipe away any hair or visible debris from the rim and inside of the tub.
Fill the Tub With Hot Water
Fill the tub with enough hot water so that it covers all of the jets by about two inches.
Add the Cleaning Agents
To the water add two tablespoons of powdered or liquid dishwasher detergent. If you only have dishwasher tablets, dissolve one tablet in a cup of boiling water before adding it to the tub. Next, add two cups of distilled white vinegar OR one-half cup of liquid chlorine bleach.
Do not use dishwashing liquid for hand-washing dishes as it will produce too many suds.
Do not combine distilled vinegar and chlorine bleach because toxic fumes of chlorine gas can occur. Use only one OR the other.
Turn on the Jets
Unless instructed by the manufacturer to leave them open, turn off the air-induction valves to the jets. This will force the water and cleaning solution to circulate only through the internal plumbing of the tub and give a deeper cleaning. Turn the jets on high for 15 minutes. You will begin to see debris from the internal plumbing washing into the tub.
Drain the Tub
Turn off the jets and drain the tub. Use a sponge or microfiber cloth to wipe away any debris that is clinging to the tub.
Refill the Tub
Fill the tub a second time with warm or cold water to a level of several inches above the jets.
Turn on the Jets
With the air-induction valves open, turn the jets on high and allow them to run for another 15 minutes. Turn off the jets and drain the water from the tub.
Clean the Jets
Place about one cup of baking soda in a small bowl or measuring cup. Dip an old toothbrush or small bottle brush in the dry baking soda. Use the brush to clean the interior surfaces of each jet.
Clean the Air-intake Cover
Unscrew the cover of the air-intake control and scrub the area with dampened baking soda. Wipe away any residue with a damp sponge, rinse the cover, and replace it.
Clean the Interior of the Tub
Sprinkle dry baking soda on the interior of the tub. Baking soda is a gentle abrasive that will cut through soap scum and grime inside the tub without damaging the finish. Use a damp sponge or microfiber cloth to clean all of the interior surfaces.
Rinse and Dry
Once all of the tub's surfaces have been cleaned, use a bucket to rinse away the baking soda. Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down the interior to prevent water-spotting.
Tips to Keep a Jetted Tub Clean Longer
Now that you have a sparkling clean tub, take a long relaxing soak. And to keep your tub clean longer, follow these tips:
- Once you have the jets cleaned, a routine monthly cleaning will keep them in top shape.
- Avoid bath oils and bubble baths that leave residue in the jets that can serve as food for mold and mildew.
- Never use an abrasive cleaner on the tub which can leave minute scratches that capture soil and leave the finish looking dull.
- Dull finishes can be restored by using an automotive wax recommended for plastics on the walls of the tub. NEVER wax the floor of the tub. That is a slip-and-fall hazard.
Bleach Mixing Dangers. Washington State Department of Health.