How to Prevent And Remove Hot Tub Scale Buildup?

27 minutes read

Hot tub scale buildup is a common issue caused by hard water, high mineral content, and imbalanced water chemistry. This buildup appears as white or grayish streaks or deposits on the surfaces of your hot tub, including the shell, jets, and plumbing. Not only does it look unattractive, but scale buildup can also interfere with the proper functioning of your hot tub equipment over time.


To prevent and remove hot tub scale buildup, follow these steps:

  1. Water chemistry: Maintaining balanced water chemistry is key to preventing scale buildup. Periodically test the water using test strips or a water testing kit. Ensure the pH level, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness are within the recommended ranges. Adjust the levels if necessary.
  2. Filter maintenance: Routinely clean or replace your hot tub's filter cartridge. A dirty filter can contribute to scale buildup. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper maintenance and cleaning techniques.
  3. Regular cleaning: Clean your hot tub regularly to prevent scale. Use a non-abrasive hot tub cleaner or a mild dishwashing detergent to wipe down the shell, jets, and other affected areas. Rinse thoroughly.
  4. Descale with vinegar: If scale buildup is present, you can use white vinegar to descale your hot tub. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and vinegar, then spray the affected areas. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes and then scrub the surfaces with a soft brush or sponge. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
  5. Mineral stain remover: For stubborn scale deposits, you may need a specialized mineral stain remover. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for the best results. Be sure to rinse the surface thoroughly after using the stain remover.
  6. Regular water changes: Periodically draining and refilling your hot tub with fresh water can help prevent scale buildup. This reduces the mineral concentration in the water.
  7. Water softener: If you have hard water, consider using a water softener to minimize scale buildup. Water softeners work by removing minerals from the water supply before it enters your hot tub.
  8. Professional assistance: If the scale buildup is severe or persistent, consider seeking assistance from a professional hot tub technician. They can provide expert advice and perform a thorough cleaning of your hot tub system.


By following these preventative measures and maintaining proper water chemistry, you can effectively prevent and remove hot tub scale buildup, keeping your hot tub clean and in optimal condition.

Best Hot Tubs of 2024

1
MSPA, Oslo, Frame Series, Fixed Body, Movable, Hot Tub & Spa, Wi-Fi, App Controlled, Jets & Bubble System – 6 Person

Rating is 5 out of 5

MSPA, Oslo, Frame Series, Fixed Body, Movable, Hot Tub & Spa, Wi-Fi, App Controlled, Jets & Bubble System – 6 Person

  • EASY ASSEMBLY: Plug & play system & simple 4 easy screws on 4 corners, no tools required and rest is all plug in modules. Hard Body frame with Rhino Tech 6 layer reinforced PVC inner liner
  • WI-FI ENABLED & APP CONTROLLED: Say goodbye to the days of reaching over your spa or worse having to get out of your relaxing soak just to change some settings. Have full control of your MSpa at all times right at your fingertips. Enjoy the easiest operation and usability through our intuitive UI. Easily receive tips, notices, and alarm messages on the go so you’re always in the loop.
  • OLED TOUCH SCREEN: All your spa controls in one convenient unit! Easily control your spa from your easy to use control center. Our newest all-in-one control box now features a protective cover to shield from harsh outdoor elements such as direct sunlight and extreme weather conditions.
  • HYDROMASSAGE JETS PLUS: Going beyond just comfort, hydromassage provides amazing health benefits for your mental and physical health. Enjoy an immersive at home experience that has been shown to relieve muscle soreness and tension, soothe minor aches and pains, and reduce stress and anxiety.
  • LED LIGHT - LIGHT UP THE NIGHT: Take your spa experience to the next level with beautiful lighting. Our light up spas feature an LED light strip at the bottom to make your spa GLOW. Translucent fabric elements allow beautiful patterns to shine through for a truly romantic environment for your evening soaks. Switch colors based on your mood and enjoy late into the night.
  • REVOLUTIONARY FIXED BODY: HOT TUB & SPA option for houses, apartments, buildings, or tight spaces that does not have access to move a normal Fixed Frame Hot Tub over the roof.
  • SMART FILTRATION: To ensure the best quality of water in the spa, the filter cartridge is suggested to be cleaned after each use and replaced every 3-5 days. Feel hard to follow the tips each time? Don’t worry there will be a reminder popping up at least once a week when spa keeps working.
  • ALL-AROUND BUBBLING DESIGN: 360° air jet system fills the spa with thousands of bubbles, staggered jets push bubbles into the center of the spa creating a balanced, all-encompassing body massage.
  • ANTI-ICING SYSTEM: When the water temperature is lower than 1°C (33.8°F), the heater runs automatically until the water is heated up to 3°C (37.4°F). This will help prevent water from freezing. The circulation system, pump, and pipe will be saved.
2
Life Smart LS100 Taupe 4 Person Plug and Play Thermal Friction Heating Square Hot Tub Spa with 13 Jets, Black Cover, & Multi Color LED Lighting System

Rating is 4.9 out of 5

Life Smart LS100 Taupe 4 Person Plug and Play Thermal Friction Heating Square Hot Tub Spa with 13 Jets, Black Cover, & Multi Color LED Lighting System

  • Provides relaxation at the touch of a button for up to 4 people with the convenient digital command center with a quick assembly; Includes lightweight polyester cover that resists abrasions and is less prone to fading from the sun
  • Pampering yourself is easy with the 13 hydrotherapy high-powered jets with an underwater, multi-color LED light system, giving you the ultimate spa experience
  • Energy efficient and exceeds California Energy Commission mandates for hot tub energy consumption, so there is no need to turn the temperature down while not in use
  • Innovative thermal friction heating system eliminates the need for a separate heater with full-foam insulation, and the included thermal locking cover will keep the heat in
  • Water capacity of 205 gallons with an exterior of 70 inches long, 61 inches wide, and 32 inches tall, while the interior measures 57 inches wide and 28 inches tall
3
ALEKO 4-Person Inflatable Hot Tub |Square 160 Gallon | Tub with Fitted Cover | 100-130 Bubble-Jets | Hot Tub Spa with 3 Filters| 5ft by 5ft | Outdoor Hot Tub | (Brown HTISQ4BR)

Rating is 4.8 out of 5

ALEKO 4-Person Inflatable Hot Tub |Square 160 Gallon | Tub with Fitted Cover | 100-130 Bubble-Jets | Hot Tub Spa with 3 Filters| 5ft by 5ft | Outdoor Hot Tub | (Brown HTISQ4BR)

  • 4 PERSON HOT TUB 1200W HEATER - ALEKO Inflatable Hot Tub with hot tub accessories heats up to 104°F at 5°/hr. Easy 5 minute set up with automatic inflation hose. Portable hot tub is cleaner and hotter with included tub cover (polyurethane).
  • AUTOMATIC INFLATION, EASY SETUP - ALEKO 4 Person Inflatable Hot Tub features push-button automatic inflation, easily portable. Inflatable tub heats quickly with powerful hot tub heater and tub cover. ALEKO Outdoor Hot Tubs remain clean with inflatable pool filter (x3).
  • ALL MATERIALS INCLUDED: ALEKO 160 Gallon Tub (5' x 5' x 2' feet), fitted polyurethane cover to maintain heat, inflation hose, 3 filters, 1 filter cover, ground cloth, rubber plug, repair kit, 1200W Heater, 1800W (110-120V) power pack, 600W bubbler, 120 Volt AC filter pump. Connect directly to outlet for best results.
  • DIGITAL PANEL, BUBBLER JETS - ALEKO Portable Hot Tub features massaging jet bubbles, temperature control, and inflation on easy to use digital panel. Upgrade to ALEKO home spa and tub for convenient use all year long, for travel and vacations, customer support and premium quality.
  • ELEGANCE AND QUALITY - ALEKO 4 Person Inflatable Hot Tub provides long lasting service for your family. We stand behind the Amazon 30-day money-back guarantee. Customer service available to assist with shipment, delivery, measurement, install, and tech support needs.
  • ALEKO does not ship Inflatable Hot Tubs to residents of California, due to state requirements for energy efficiency.
4
Intex 28481E Simple Spa 77 Inch x 26 Inch 4 Person Outdoor Portable Inflatable Round Heated Hot Tub with 100 Bubble Jets, Carry Bag, and Cover, Gray

Rating is 4.7 out of 5

Intex 28481E Simple Spa 77 Inch x 26 Inch 4 Person Outdoor Portable Inflatable Round Heated Hot Tub with 100 Bubble Jets, Carry Bag, and Cover, Gray

  • Pamper and treat yourself with the 100 soothing high-powered jets that give you the ultimate spa experience in relaxing water up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Round 77 by 26-inch above-ground blow-up tub provides relaxation at the touch of a button for up to 4 people with the easy-to-use tilt-adjustable control panel
  • Spa for adults has a built-in hard water treatment system ensures a gentle feeling on skin, clothes, and the entire spa system; Water capacity: 210 gallons
  • Includes insulated cover, heater/blower system, 2 filter cartridges, thermal ground cloth, inflation hose, carry bag, floating chlorine dispenser, and test strip
  • Disclaimer: This item requires 28523E energy efficient cover for purchases shipped to California, if not, the order is subject to be canceled due to shipping restrictions
5
Bestway Miami SaluSpa 2 to 4 Person Inflatable Round Outdoor Hot Tub Spa with 140 Soothing AirJets, Filter Cartridges, Pump, & Insulated Cover, Black

Rating is 4.6 out of 5

Bestway Miami SaluSpa 2 to 4 Person Inflatable Round Outdoor Hot Tub Spa with 140 Soothing AirJets, Filter Cartridges, Pump, & Insulated Cover, Black

  • Round 2 to 4-person spa has you relaxed in no time with a soothing massage system, rapid heating, and integrated water filtration
  • Built-in AirJet system with 140 jets releases warm air into the water, while the digital control panel adjusts the temperature up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Features a FreezeShield automatic heating function to prevent inner components from freezing during colder temperatures to ensure long-lasting use
  • Includes a pump, an insulated cover, cupholders, ChemConnect dispenser to main clean water, filter cartridges, and repair patch
  • Constructed of durable DuraPlus materials with cushioned, comforting floors and a convenient drain valve for ultimate stability; Dimensions (L x W x H): 71 x 71 x 26 inches
6
RELXTIME 73in x 73in 4-6 Person Inflatable Hot Tub Spa, AirJet Outdoor Portable Hottub with 130 Bubble Jets, Filter Cartridges, Insulated Cover, Grey

Rating is 4.5 out of 5

RELXTIME 73in x 73in 4-6 Person Inflatable Hot Tub Spa, AirJet Outdoor Portable Hottub with 130 Bubble Jets, Filter Cartridges, Insulated Cover, Grey

  • RELAXING INFLATABLE SPA: Square 4 to 6-person spa has you relaxed in no time with a soothing massage system, rapid heating, and integrated water filtration. Using a touch digital control panel, easy to inflate & deflate
  • DURABLE & INNOVATIVE CONSTRUCTION: The spa's durable PVC material and beam construction offer superior strength and stability while ensuring your inflatable spa never loses its shape
  • ENERGY EFFICIENT SPA COVER: Inflatable cover provides extra insulation and minimizes heat loss; this cover will help protect your Hot Tub from rainwater pooling
  • FREEZE PROTECTION: Freeze protection automatic heating function prevents inner components from freezing, you can use your inflatable spa in colder temperatures
  • ACCESSORIES: 1 pool cover, 1 inflatable caover, 4 seat cushions, 2 filter cartridges & 2 covers, 20 strips water testing, 2 PVC patches, 1 spanner, 1 inflation hose, 1 air valve cap, 1x way valve, 1 x barometer, 1 drainage bung, 2 child safety key, 1 power cable, 1 storage bag, 1 instruction manual.
7
Intex SimpleSpa Bubble Massage 4 Person Inflatable Round Hot Tub Relaxing Outdoor Water Spa with Soothing Jets, Insulated Cover, and Storage Bag, Gray

Rating is 4.4 out of 5

Intex SimpleSpa Bubble Massage 4 Person Inflatable Round Hot Tub Relaxing Outdoor Water Spa with Soothing Jets, Insulated Cover, and Storage Bag, Gray

  • Inflatable hot tub offers relaxation in comfort with 100 soothing high-powered jets for a refreshing massage and an ultimate spa experience
  • Features an all-in-1 control unit to adjust the heating system to suit personal preferences of water temperatures
  • Accommodates up to 4 people with a convenient cup holder, a floating chemical dispenser, and 2 easy-to-replace filter cartridges for cleaner water
  • Sturdy horizontal beam construction for stability that withstands outdoor elements for long-lasting use with a water capacity of 210 gallons
  • Includes an insulated cover to minimize heat loss, a thermal ground cloth, and a carry bag for easy storage; Dimensions (L x W x H): 77 x 77 x 26 inches
8
Bestway Helsinki SaluSpa 7 Person Inflatable Outdoor Hot Tub Spa with 180 Soothing AirJets, Filter Cartridges, Pump, and Insulated Cover, Brown Wood

Rating is 4.3 out of 5

Bestway Helsinki SaluSpa 7 Person Inflatable Outdoor Hot Tub Spa with 180 Soothing AirJets, Filter Cartridges, Pump, and Insulated Cover, Brown Wood

  • ATTENTION: Shipping restrictions may apply. This model is not available for sale in the following states: CA, MA, ME, NJ, NV, NY, OR, RI. Residents of these states may select the comparable Bestway model sold with energy-efficient EnergySense thermal cover to avoid cancellation.
  • Round 5 to 7-person spa has you relaxed in no time with a soothing massage system, rapid heating, and integrated water filtration
  • Built-in AirJet system with 180 jets releases warm air into the water, while the digital control panel adjusts the temperature up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Features a FreezeShield automatic heating function to prevent inner components from freezing during colder temperatures to ensure long-lasting use
  • Constructed of durable drop stitch material that provides rigidity while still being lightweight for easy portability when deflated
  • Includes a pump, an insulated cover, cupholders, a ChemConnect dispenser to main clean water, a filter cartridge, and a repair patch
9
Jleisure Avenli Aegean 1,200 Liter 65 inch 6 Person Portable Rigid Foam Wall Hot Tub Spa with Insulated Cover and Floor Protector, Black

Rating is 4.2 out of 5

Jleisure Avenli Aegean 1,200 Liter 65 inch 6 Person Portable Rigid Foam Wall Hot Tub Spa with Insulated Cover and Floor Protector, Black

  • Rigid Foam Spa measures 65 inches long, 65 inches wide, and 27 inches tall, the ideal size for up to 6 adults
  • Insulated foam walls act as an insulator and retain the heat whilst the Tri-Tech PVC material provides a durable shell for durability and longevity
  • Features 90 bubble jet holes and a 104-degree Fahrenheit rapid heating system for longer and more comfortable spa relaxation anytime
  • Digitally controlled pump for a user-friendly operation; Note, filter and filter cartridge are located in the back pocket of the pump
  • Includes insulated top cover with double-locking safety clips, floor protector, pump unit, 2 filter cartridges, flexible inflation hose, and repair patch
10
INTEX 28441EP PureSpa Greywood Deluxe Spa Set: Includes Energy Efficient Spa Cover – Spa Control App – Wireless Control Panel – 6 Person Capacity – 85" x 28"

Rating is 4.1 out of 5

INTEX 28441EP PureSpa Greywood Deluxe Spa Set: Includes Energy Efficient Spa Cover – Spa Control App – Wireless Control Panel – 6 Person Capacity – 85" x 28"

  • ✔ FIBER-TECH BEAM CONSTRUCTION – Innovative Fiber-Tech Technology offers superior structural stability while maintaining a comfortable surface for a luxorious and refreshing spa experience
  • ✔ THE ULTIMATE SPA EXPERIENCE – Control all Spa functions from your phone or tablet; program Spa use and maintenance remotely with WIFI connectivity; available on App Store and Google Play App
  • ✔ REMOVABLE WIRELESS CONTROL PANEL – The Greystone Deluxe PureSpa includes a removable wireless control panel that features integrated wireless charging; 48 hours of operation on a single charge and conveniently attaches to top of the tub
  • ✔ ENERGY EFFICIENT SPA COVER – High density thermal-resistant foam provides extra insulation and minimizes heat loss; this cover enhances the Spa performance while improving the energy efficiency by as much as 50%
  • ✔ PREMIUM ACCESSORIES – Everything you need for pure relaxation! Let your worries bubble away with 2 contoured headrests and a mood-setting multi-colored LED light (requires 3 AAA batteries, not included)
  • ✔  CUSTOMER SATISFACTION – Our dedicated customer service team is available via phone, chat, or email to help with any questions you may have on use, installation, or service needs; INTEX's 1-Year Manufacturer Limited Warranty gives you peace of mind
11
INTEX 28429EP PureSpa Plus Bubble Massage Spa Set: Includes Energy Efficient Spa Cover – 2 Contoured Headrest – LED Light – 4 Person Capacity – 77" x 28"

Rating is 4 out of 5

INTEX 28429EP PureSpa Plus Bubble Massage Spa Set: Includes Energy Efficient Spa Cover – 2 Contoured Headrest – LED Light – 4 Person Capacity – 77" x 28"

  • ✔ FIBER-TECH BEAM CONSTRUCTION – Innovative Fiber-Tech Technology offers superior structural stability while maintaining a comfortable surface for a luxorious and refreshing spa experience
  • ✔ HARD WATER TREATMENT SYSTEM – Built-in Hard Water Treatment System makes water gentler on skin, clothes and the entire spa system; hard water buildup limits water flow and reduces the life of your spa
  • ✔ HEATED AIR BUBBLE TECHNOLOGY – The Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heater is designed to maximize heat transfer to the water, while ensuring the highest level of safety, performance, and longevity
  • ✔ ENERGY EFFICIENT SPA COVER – High density thermal-resistant foam provides extra insulation and minimizes heat loss; this cover enhances the Spa performance while improving the energy efficiency by as much as 50%
  • ✔ PREMIUM ACCESSORIES – Everything you need for pure relaxation! Let your worries bubble away with 2 contoured headrests and a mood-setting multi-colored LED light (requires 3 AAA batteries, not included)
  • ✔  CUSTOMER SATISFACTION – Our dedicated customer service team is available via phone, chat, or email to help with any questions you may have on use, installation, or service needs; INTEX's 1-Year Manufacturer Limited Warranty gives you peace of mind


What is the role of hot tub filter cartridges in preventing scale buildup?

Hot tub filter cartridges play a crucial role in preventing scale buildup by removing impurities and maintaining water clarity. Scale buildup refers to the accumulation of minerals like calcium and magnesium in hard water. When the water is heated, these minerals can precipitate and form scale deposits on various surfaces, including the hot tub's plumbing system, heater element, and shell.


The filter cartridges effectively trap particles, debris, and dissolved minerals present in the water as it circulates through the spa's filtration system. By capturing these impurities, they help prevent scale formation in two primary ways:

  1. Filtration: The filter cartridge acts as a physical barrier, preventing larger particles and debris from entering the hot tub's circulation system. This includes minerals that may contribute to scale buildup. The materials used in the filter cartridges, such as pleated fabric or other specialized media, are designed to effectively trap these impurities while allowing water to pass through.
  2. Water Clarity and Balance: By filtering out impurities, the filter cartridges help maintain the overall water clarity and balance in the hot tub. Keeping the water clean and balanced reduces the chances of mineral precipitation and the subsequent formation of scale. Balanced water chemistry is crucial for preventing scale buildup, as water with high levels of calcium and magnesium or an improper pH can promote scale formation even with adequate filtration.


Regular maintenance of the filter cartridges is essential for their optimal performance in preventing scale buildup. They should be cleaned or replaced as recommended by the manufacturer to ensure efficient filtration and prolong their lifespan. Additionally, maintaining proper water chemistry, including appropriate calcium hardness levels and pH balance, is crucial in preventing scale formation, even with the use of filter cartridges.


What is the impact of scale buildup on hot tub water circulation?

Scale buildup can have a significant impact on hot tub water circulation. When scale forms on the walls of the hot tub pipes, it narrows the diameter of the pipes, restricting the flow of water. This reduced water flow can lead to several problems:

  1. Decreased efficiency: With reduced water flow, the hot tub's heating system may struggle to maintain the desired temperature. This can result in longer heating times and increased energy consumption.
  2. Inadequate filtration: Scale buildup can clog or partially block the filters, reducing their efficiency in removing debris, particles, and bacteria from the water. This can result in poorer water quality and potential health risks.
  3. Impaired jet performance: Scale buildup can also affect the performance of water jets, reducing their force and effectiveness in providing massage and relaxation. This can undermine the overall therapeutic value of the hot tub experience.
  4. Increased wear and tear: The restricted water flow places additional strain on the hot tub's circulating pump and other components, potentially leading to premature equipment failure and expensive repairs.


To mitigate the impact of scale buildup on hot tub water circulation, regular maintenance practices should be followed. This includes regular cleaning, descaling, and the use of water softeners or scale inhibitors to minimize scale formation. It is also important to monitor the overall water chemistry and ensure that the desired water balance is maintained to discourage the formation of scale.


How long does it take for scale buildup to occur in a hot tub?

The timeframe for scale buildup in a hot tub can vary depending on various factors such as water quality, frequency of use, and maintenance practices. However, it typically takes several weeks to months for noticeable scale buildup to occur. Regular and proper maintenance, including balancing the water chemistry, frequent cleaning, and using products that prevent scale formation, can help minimize and delay scale buildup in a hot tub.


How to clean hot tub surfaces affected by scale buildup?

To clean hot tub surfaces affected by scale buildup, you will need the following materials:

  • White vinegar
  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • Hot tub cleaner (optional)
  • Hot tub brush or dental pick (optional)


Here's a step-by-step guide to clean hot tub surfaces affected by scale buildup:

  1. Drain the hot tub: Start by draining the hot tub completely, ensuring there's no water remaining in it.
  2. Create a vinegar solution: In a bucket or spray bottle, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water. If the scale buildup is severe, you can use undiluted vinegar.
  3. Apply the vinegar solution: Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the vinegar solution and start wiping the affected surfaces. Make sure to thoroughly cover the scale buildup areas with the solution. If the buildup is on a vertical surface, you can spray the solution directly on the surface.
  4. Let it soak: Allow the vinegar solution to sit on the affected areas for about 15-20 minutes. This will help loosen the scale and make it easier to remove.
  5. Scrub the surfaces: Use a hot tub brush or a soft cloth to scrub the affected areas. Work in circular motions to remove the scale buildup. You can also use a dental pick for hard-to-reach areas or stubborn scale spots.
  6. Rinse with water: After scrubbing, rinse the surfaces thoroughly with clean water. Ensure all the vinegar solution and loosened scale are completely removed.
  7. Repeat if needed: If the scale buildup is still present after the initial cleaning, you may need to repeat the process or try a hot tub cleaner specifically designed to remove scale.
  8. Dry the surfaces: Once the surfaces are clean and free from scale buildup, dry them with a clean towel or allow the tub to air dry before refilling it.


Remember to regularly maintain your hot tub to prevent scale buildup in the future. This includes testing and balancing the water chemistry, cleaning the filters, and regularly treating the water with appropriate chemicals.

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