how to get rid of soap bubbles in hot tub

If you are suffering from foam in your hot tub water, you may have used too much soap when you cleaned it or didn’t rinse it properly. So here’s how to get detergent out of your hot tub.

To remove detergent from a hot tub, first, scoop out all excess foam with a pool net. Then add a high dose of chlorine shock and run the jets for 1 hour, restarting the jets as needed. Then adjust pH and alkalinity if needed.

As a preventative measure in the future, here are some other steps to take:

  • Have all guests soaking rinse off in the shower first (to remove lotions, makeup, perfumes, etc)
  • Rinse off bathing suits in the shower to remove any residue on them
  • Never use Epsom salts, bath salts, or bubble bath in a hot tub
  • Clean the hot tub after draining the water with a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar and not detergent

Allow chlorine levels to drop to a safe level before entering which can take 1-2 days.

In this article, I’ll share with you some of the various things that can lead to foam build-up in your hot tub, as detergent isn’t the only one.

Then we’ll look at some simple steps to get rid of it without having to drain it. Let’s dive in!

Ready to Spend Less Time On Maintenance and More Time Enjoying Your Hot Tub?

Let’s face it. Balancing the water, cleaning filters, dealing with rashes, and trying to figure out which chemicals to buy and add can make you feel more like a chemist than someone who just wants to relax after a long hard day!

That’s exactly why The Hot Tub Handbook and Video Course is so valuable!

This is from Matt over at Swim University and he developed it for people looking to save money, time, and frustration. His tips on chemicals can save you $100/year just by making sure you buy only what you need.

So if you’re ready to stop being confused or frustrated with your hot tub and start spending more time in it, check out The Hot Tub Handbook and Video Course.

Just click that link to learn more on their website.

I leave my step mom alone with my sisters and she puts the whole bottle of dawn dish soap in the hot tub 😂 pic.twitter.com/7NyKfCvPhC

— Kaitlyn McGarrity (@kaitmcgarrity) July 12, 2017

Does dish soap ruin a hot tub?

Dish soap itself does not ruin a hot tub, but the foam it creates can clog up the filter and is an indicator that the water is getting full of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) which can be problematic.

TDS are the contaminants that you, your family, and friends bring into the hot tub every time they use it.

Things such as:

  • Makeup
  • Deodorant
  • Body lotions
  • Oils
  • Shampoo
  • Sweat
  • Flaking skin
  • Hair
  • Other bodily fluids

all add to the TDS content of your hot tub.

And over time, these build up to a level where, when the jets are turned on, foam is created. Showering before entering your hot tub will go a long way to eliminating these, but there will always be some of these things in the water.

Hot tubs are not like a bathtub, and you must never add bubble bath, detergents, or soapy products to create that effect.

Only add products that are intended to be used in a hot tub, such as essential oils designed specifically for that purpose.

People love to add Epsom salts or aromatherapy products to the bath, but most of these products contain other oils that can be damaging to your hot tub.

However, in a recent article, I do explore a couple of alternatives that work great in the hot tub. Just click that link to read it on my site.

Dad is going to be pissed. Boys, boys, boys…dish soap doesn’t go in the hot tub! #momlife #kids #momof3boys pic.twitter.com/U6S1GPjdMb

— Books By Jess (@BooksByJess) August 20, 2016

How do you get soap out of a hot tub?

To get soap out of a hot tub, add a large dose of chlorine shock and then run the jets for around an hour. Most hot tub jets will time out after 15 minutes, so turn them back on repeatedly over the hour. However, it may be 1-2 days before the chlorine levels drop to a safe level for soaking.

If you get soap in your spa water, it was probably introduced by someone who didn’t shower before getting in. Or maybe, they just innocently forgot to shower and used the hot tub like a bathtub.

Getting it out can be problematic. You could try shocking your tub as I suggested above. If the foam does not reappear, you have fixed the problem.

If the foam comes back, you should check to see if there is something else causing the problem. Chemical imbalance is the most likely cause. So remember to check and adjust pH and alkalinity too.

It would be best to shock your hot tub after heavy usage and at least once a week during regular use.

Also, rinse the filter off to remove any contaminants. This way, the chemicals act more effectively at keeping your water crystal clear.

Get everyone into the habit of showering before getting into the hot tub to remove makeup, deodorant, and body lotions.

Don’t forget your bathing suit as well – this will contain laundry soap as well as other products you might have applied to your skin beforehand.

Why is my hot tub foaming….. #whatdoido pic.twitter.com/EdYZdlM

— Taylor Yoraway (@taylor_yoraway) February 4, 2012

How do I stop my hot tub from foaming?

To stop hot tub foam from reoccurring, rinse the filter, and check pH and alkalinity and sanitizer levels and adjust them as needed. You can also use a pool net to scoop out any excess foam.

If you have a problem with foam on the surface of the water, this usually indicates that there is a chemical imbalance and the pH is too high.

You should use test strips to check these levels – if the pH is greater than 7.8 ppm, then it is too high.

This can cause scale to form on filters, pipes, and jets. Alkalinity should be below 120 ppm; otherwise, the sanitizer won’t work effectively.

To lower alkalinity and pH, I like this product from Leisure Time on Amazon.

Just pour in 1/4 cup to start with. Start small as you can always add more. If you overdo it, then you’ll need to use a Spa Up product to raise the levels back up.

Another cause of foam could be the hardness of the water. Hardness refers to high levels of calcium in your water. High calcium levels can lead to fittings corroding, so it is crucial to check this too.

Not all test strips check for water hardness, but you’ll know if you have hard water if you see white flaky buildup around your shower head in one of your bathrooms.

Soft water isn’t great either; you want the water to be somewhere in between.

Luckily, Leisure Time’s Defender on Amazon works great to not only make your water less hard but also removes any scale buildup already there.

If you have a water softener fitted to your whole home, you should disconnect this before filling your hot tub or use a garden hose that is not connected to your water softener.

Foam in your hot tub can ultimately be caused by several things. I’ve covered the basics here, but in this recent article, I get into a few other possible causes including the 1 thing almost every hot tub owner does!

Just click on the link to read it here on my website.

My friends and I had a genius ideas while drinking…. dish soap + hot tub pic.twitter.com/asL6oowbml

— Bio Babe (@BioBabe_) July 2, 2013

Do I have to drain my hot tub to get rid of dish soap?

You do not have to drain the water in a hot tub to get rid of dish soap. But it also depends on how much soap is present in the water. First, scoop out any soap bubbles. Then over-chlorinate the water and run the jets continuing to scoop out soap bubbles as they form.

Then remove the filter and rinse with a hose or in the kitchen sink. Continue rinsing until no soap bubbles are present.

Always make sure to test chlorine levels before re-entering the hot tub.

If you way over-chlorinated the water to get rid of the soap, that can help to get rid of the soap, but it may take 1-2 days (or more) before the chlorine levels drop to a safe level for soaking.

But, if you already tried to follow these steps and are still unable to get rid of the dish soap, you have no alternative than to drain the tub and thoroughly clean it before refilling.

This is probably how you got dish soap in there in the first place so this time, make sure you rinse the tub thoroughly and wipe it down with a soft cloth before filling it again.

These days, I only wipe my hot tub’s shell with a mix of 50/50 water and white vinegar to avoid getting soap or detergent in the hot tub’s water.

Are you noticing excessive foam in your spa or hot tub? Soft water (low calcium hardness) can cause excessive foaming. pic.twitter.com/f7eLWHjl9l

— Nejame & Sons (@NejameandSons) November 17, 2016

What is the best cleaner for a hot tub? 

The best thing to clean a hot tub shell is a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water. For tough stains, mix 1-2 tsp of baking soda to create a paste, rub it in, and wipe it down with vinegar and water.

But you can use dish soap to clean your hot tub.

In fact, I wrote about that in a recent article. You just have to be sure to remove all of it before refilling. Otherwise, you will get foam on the surface of the water. Just click that link to read exactly how to do it on my website.

Ordinary household products such as Windex can also be used to clean your hot tub.

Once you’ve emptied your tub, spray the surfaces with Windex (other similar cleaning products work just as well). Then, wipe clean with a soft cloth or towel. Hose down the surfaces to remove any bits from the cloth and leave to dry or wipe down with a sponge.

Just mix equal amounts in a bowl and scrub with a non-abrasive cloth or sponge.

You can also pour the vinegar and water solution into a spray bottle and use it as you would with Windex.

What causes a hot tub to foam in the first place?

Foam in a hot tub can be caused by any one, or a combination of the following:

  • An excess of makeup, lotions, shampoo, or conditioner residue that has rinsed off people into the water.
  • Spilling drinks into the water
  • Using Epsom salts, bath salts, or bubble bath in the hot tub
  • An excess of skin cells that have flaked off into the water
  • Perfumes or dyes in laundry detergent that rinsed off the swimsuits into the water
  • Soft water (if your hose goes through a water softener system)
  • Water that has been in the hot tub too long (should be changed every 3-4 months)
  • High pH in the water

So what are the solutions?

You can use a defoamer like this one on Amazon. But ultimately you’ll be better off figuring out what the underlying issue is and fixing that.

So start by dipping a test strip into the water and making sure your pH and alkalinity are within range. If they are, next ask yourself how long it’s been since the last time you’ve changed the water.

If it’s been more than 4 months, it’s time to change your hot tub’s water. You should definitely also change it now if you mistakenly added any type of bath salts or bubble bath.

Lastly, if you know you have a whole house water softener and the hose water goes through that, consider raising the calcium hardness with this product on Amazon.

Final thoughts

So now you know how to get detergent out of your hot tub and how best to clean it.

Regular checking of pH, alkalinity, and hardness and adjusting the levels as necessary will help keep your water in good condition and increase the life of your hot tub.

If you can maintain the quality of your water, you shouldn’t have to change it so often – maybe only 2 or 3 times a year. I addressed this in a recent article, which you can read here on my site if you click on the link.

If there is anything I missed or you have any questions on this subject, just drop me a line, and I will do my best to answer it. And don’t forget to check out the other related articles here on my site.

Ready to Spend Less Time On Maintenance and More Time Enjoying Your Hot Tub?

Let’s face it. Balancing the water, cleaning filters, dealing with rashes, and trying to figure out which chemicals to buy and add can make you feel more like a chemist than someone who just wants to relax after a long hard day!

That’s exactly why The Hot Tub Handbook and Video Course is so valuable!

This is from Matt over at Swim University and he developed it for people looking to save money, time, and frustration. His tips on chemicals can save you $100/year just by making sure you buy only what you need.

So if you’re ready to stop being confused or frustrated with your hot tub and start spending more time in it, check out The Hot Tub Handbook and Video Course.

Just click that link to learn more on their website.

Photo of author

Author S Krone

A lawyer never retires. So I would just say that I am not as active as I used to be. Now I simply dedicate myself to fishing, my hobby, and my grandchildren. For Business Finance News I write about legal aspects of mortgage policies, mostly regarding the rights of policyholders. I also have articles about personal injuries.

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