Cleaning Whirlpool Baths or Bathroom Spas?

I’ve been searching the MB for threads concerning how to clean whirlpool tubs, no luck. :cry:

I’ve had multiple inspections that when I turned on the spa the scum came out. Although cleaning instructions should be in the manual, I was wondering if anyone had a link or info that I could pass along to my clients.


Once a month – or more often for tubs that get a lot of use – you should also remove any accumulation of bath residue (from body oils, dirt, soaps, shampoos, lotions) from the whirlpool system. First, fill the bath with hot water (up to 140° F) and add 4 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of a low-foaming disinfectant (such as powdered dishwasher detergent). Some manufacturers suggest adding 1/2 cup of household bleach. Turn off the air induction and run the water jets for 10 to 15 minutes. Then drain the bath and refill with cold water only. Run the whirlpool for 10 to 15 minutes, then drain again. There are also commercial cleaning products made specifically to do this job.


Kevin good post, Dale good advice. PS. I use the generic term “hydro-spa,” unless of course the hydro-spa really is a “Whirlpool.” Also, assuming the hydro-spa is working, I always recommend a regular cleaning if it it’s not used frequently, as Dale does, and I also recommend that its GFCI circuit be tested frequently.

I’ve never seen a “Whirlpool” brand spa. I always thought we called them whirlpool tubs because of their swirling action, and because “Jacuzzi” was a brand name…:smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

I do still always get asked if I ran the Jacuzzi tub, regardless of the brand! :wink:

I shall also change my wording to “hydro-spa”. They’ll never have a clue what it is around here!

The manual for mine says pretty much what Dale stated.

Fill the tup with warm water. Add two tablespoons of powdered dishwasher detergent and 1/2 cup bleach. Run for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and fill with cold water. Run for 30 minutes. Drain


I heard of one demand letter (admittedly in Los Angeles, or La-la-land) where an inspector had referred to a hydro-spa tub as a “Jacuzzi,” and of course it was a cheaper brand, and the enterprising client wanted to be compensated. PS I cannot attest to the authenticity of this but, as I report in Inspect and Protect, I really did get a complaint from an attorney about bacterial residue in a hydro-spa that I’d inspected, and quickly changed the verbiage in my report-writer.

I was thinking of changing my report to say hydro-spa instead of whirlpool when I did a search in google and found that Hydro-Spa seems to be a brand name.

Maybe we should call them ‘water jet tubs’ or something :slight_smile:

Of course, we can adjust our report based on the model in the home. If it is a Jacuzzi, say so.

But when I do a search on whirlpool tub, I get all kinds of manufacturers and vendors out there. Based on this, I think whirlpool tub is probably the most generic description around.

How about a disclaimer in the report that the term ‘whirlpool’ by no means is specific to any one brand, and in the context of this report is used as a generic term to reference a tub that has any combination of massaging jets, bubble jets or any other kind of jet that expels water or air.

Well, to be a proper name, whirlpool would need to be capitalized. :-k

The Texas standard report calls them “Hydro-Therapy Equipment,” probably a good generric descriptive name. Most everyone I run in to calls them Jacuzzis.

Nice advice on the cleaning method. I might add that to my report. I already had a comment on the need to clean and the possibility of contamination.

Now I’m totally confused and just as paranoid. From now on my reports will refer to them as “whatchamacallits.”

Crazy there Keith…really crazy!!!

Friggin Attorneys, it was probably a Virus.:wink:
I use the narrative just the way you wrote it Keith, Ta.:smiley:

Brian, next time your at a NACHI conference, look me up, we’ll have a beer, and I’ll tell you some true court cases that you just won’t believe. How about this one: an inspector was sued over a pool that didn’t even exist when he did his inspection; it took him several years and $5,000.00 to get out of that one. The bastards that did that to him should be hung up by their thumbs. (I’d better post this before my wife reads it. She made me promise to be nice and only say nice things). Goodnight, everybody, and sweet dreams.


I like your new name, but I’m sure we’d find a lawyer who couldn’t pronounce it or spell it right.

mike ;):wink:


As one being married to a healthcare professional, I have some insight and reasoning for you:

Spas and whirlpool tubs are areas of the home that are prime areas for bacterial buildup. These little critters will reproduce at an alarming rate - especially in the enclosed areas or one of these apparatus after ithas been run then left alone for only a few hours. Therefore, those who desire to have a ‘healthy’ whirlpool bath need to use a combination of cleaning approaches.

  1. Fill tub with hot water to a level just above the water jets…aim jets DOWN into the tub bed. Pour in 1 cup of plain bleach. Allow to run for 15 minutes. With a HANDLED scrubber wipe bleach water on all exposed surfaces. Drain tub. Fill tub just above jets with fresh hot water. Rinse exposed areas with fresh hot water. Allow tub to run for 5 more minutes. Drain. Rinse again.

Using the bleach and hot water is a natural disinfectant and will kill bacteria and clean the breeding areas. Using a handled scrubber will keep one’s hands out of the bleach. Rinsing the tub and apparatus twice afterward with fresh water will remove bleach buildup and prevent the acidic reaction of the bleach from attacking the apparatus components.

Once per week the apparatus needs to be cleaned the same way. (The last thing one wants to do is fill the tub with water, step in, sit down, turn on the apparatus and find one’s self sitting in bacteria filled scum water.)

There are also commercial cleansers on the market at whirlpool stores.

Hope this helps!


The description I use is “[manufacturer, if known] jetted bathtub.”


:stuck_out_tongue: Thanks everybody, just what i was looking for! \:D/


Keith I like the name.


Mike, if they can’t spell it right, can’t we sue them for being stupid?

:twisted: :twisted:


There are other products available, but cheap old household bleach (without snuggly soft additives :-)) works best. The scum you see is a living organism. Oxidizers such as bleach will take care of this.

Bleach does not clean dirt, a detergent is required.
Detergent cleans the oils left behind where this breeding activity begins.

Way helpful, Dale! I am going to “borrow” that one if you don’t mind! I’d green box ya, but I can’t give you anymore until I pass the love around more first…

Be very carefull when you tell people to mix Chlorine Bleach with any powdered detergent (or anthing for that matter).:frowning:

I just use the dishwasher soap (Cascade).