Clean water bubbling in a hot tub.

If you’ve read our recent blog post on chlorine and bromine in hot tubs, you might be wondering whether all this is necessary. After all, the water that you add to your hot tub is clean and circulates at high temperatures. This might have left you wondering, ‘can I use my hot tub without chemicals?’

In this article, we’ll explore this issue in more depth and look at why using a hot tub without these chemicals is a bad idea.

Can I Use My Hot Tub Without Chemicals?

The short answer is no. Hot tub chemicals work to keep your water clean, and if you don’t keep your hot tub sanitary through the use of chemicals, it will not be safe to use.

Hot Tub Chemicals Explained

Before we can jump into explaining why hot tub chemicals are important, we should first look at the chemicals that the average hot tub chemicals are and why they matter.

Hot Tub Sanitisers

The big ones: chlorine and bromine. Without these sanitising chemicals, bacteria will be allowed to develop in your hot tub’s water. Consider the many different ways that bacteria can enter your hot tub: from the air, on your skin, on your trunks or swimming costume.

Another option, for a hot tub sanitiser, is oxygen, but this is a very mild solution in comparison to chlorine or bromine.

PH Increasers and Decreasers

It is very important that your hot tub is at the right PH level. PH is a measurement that shows how acidic or basic (alkaline) your hot tub’s water is. Balancing your tub’s PH levels keeps the water safe for your skin and can also reduce wear and corrosion.

These chemicals can increase or decrease the PH level of your water, helping you keep it between 7.2 and 7.8, the ideal range.

Hardening or Softening Chemicals

Your water’s hardness is an important factor to consider when you own a hot tub. We’re all used to the difficulties of limescale, and in hot tubs, hard water leads to stains and scaling that can spoil the look of a premium hot tub. However, soft water can be just as bad! Soft water can corrode some parts, leading to other aesthetic problems.

These chemicals keep your water’s hardness balanced, leading to fewer issues.

Anti Foam

Soaps, creams and other cosmetic products can lead to dirty water. No one wants to luxuriate in a foamy tub! Anti foam traps the chemicals from these products, keeping them in the filter and out of your water.

Hot Tub Shock

Even with the use of chlorine and bromine, there are going to be times when you need to use something a little tougher to clean your hot tub. This is where shock comes in.

Shock is made up of very strong oxidising agents, which will remove any bacteria or other organic compounds from your pool. This also neutralises chloramines and bromamines, the same smelly chemicals that lead to the distinctive smell of swimming pools.

Using a Hot Tub Without Chemicals

While you can, technically, use a hot tub without chemicals, it poses some quite significant risks.

Over time, untreated water becomes stagnant. Combine this with warm temperatures, and you create the perfect environment for bacteria to flourish in, including the potentially deadly Legionella, that causes Legionnaires’ Disease.

It’s not only bacteria that you have to worry about. Algae will grow in hot tubs if you don’t treat them properly, with a lack of sanitiser or an unbalanced PH level encouraging growth. This algae will turn your hot tub water green, making it resemble a bubbling witch’s cauldron more than a place to rest and relax.

Mould and other fungi can also make your hot tub their home – not only do these organisms make your hot tub an unpleasant place, but they can also clog the jets and filter.

Treating Your Tub

Now that we have roundly answered the question ‘can I use my hot tub without chemicals’, it’s time to consider what a hot tub treatment plan should look like.

Checking Water PH

You should check your water’s PH and alkalinity every two days, and use a product to raise or lower the PH as necessary.

Checking Sanitiser Levels and Adding Shock

You should also check the sanitiser levels while checking the PH. Once a week, you should use shock on your tub to ensure no nasties develop.

Keen to Learn More?

We understand that it may seem daunting at first, but maintaining a hot tub doesn’t need to be tough. If you’d like to learn more about what a hot tub maintenance schedule looks like, check out our hot tub maintenance guide.

Using a Hot Tub Without Chemicals: FAQs

Can I Use My Hot Tub Without Chemicals Once?

It’s true that water treatment isn’t immediately required – you could go without treating your hot tub for around two weeks before it was no longer safe. However, this isn’t a good habit to get into. Instead, treat your hot tub with chemicals before the first use and continue to do so throughout its lifespan.

Do I Need to Use Shock?

Using shock with your hot tub is essential. Over time, dead skin cells and other particles accumulate, not to mention smelly compounds like chloramines. Using shock once a week is essential to keep your hot tub in top shape.

How Often Should I Drain My Hot Tub?

While a good treatment schedule will keep your hot tub water clean, you should still drain your tub and refill it at least three times a year.

Jamie Smith