The task that comes around a lot sooner than you think and one that you absolutely need to make the time for. Here’s our guide to draining, flushing, and refilling your hot tub.  

Why do you need to drain your hot tub?

Draining your hot tub is necessary to maintain the health of the tub, and to keep your water feeling fresh. We know of some owners who choose to just top it up everytime the water level dips too low, but a happy and healthy tub is a clean tub, to prevent bacteria forming, hot tub scum, green water, and to keep the filter fighting fit, too. 

Aside from the regular care and maintenance, there are a number of reasons why a drain, clean, and refill might be on your agenda, such as – 

  • Persistent cloudy water
  • A build up of scum or personal care products  
  • An ill-functioning filter 
  • Water contamination 

Plus any other reason why your water may not be fit for purpose. If you are worried that you have over chlorinated your hot tub, which is a common issue, you are unlikely to need to drain and refill your hot tub, so check out our guide here. 

5 steps to drain, flush, and refill your hot tub

1 – Flush the plumbing –

First of all, while you still have water in your tub, you will want to flush the plumbing lines of the tub. For this, you will need a cleaner, or line flush product, that will break down anything in the inner-workings of the tub. Remove your filters, turn on those jets, and allow it to run with the cleaner for 15 minutes or so to give the pipes a good clean. This part is crucial to making sure that your hot tub water is going to be clean again when you come to refill it. It is a step that often gets missed or overlooked but a job done well once is better than a poor one done twice. 

2 – Drain your tub

Draining your tub is next on the agenda, and you will need to turn the power supply off to the tub for this part. Start with your primary valve if you have two, as this will let out a good percentage of the water. You can attach a hose and allow the water to run away, but ensure that you have a proper plan and outlet for water disposal, as it cannot be let into the sewers and drainage in the way that normal water would. The chemicals from the water can be harmful to wildlife and ecosystems, so ensure you have a plan in place before you start to drain. 

If you are using a submersible pump, pop the pump into the centre of the tub, and attach the hose. Turn on the pump and allow it to drain fully before removing the pump from the hot tub.

You might also have a wet vacuum, which can be used to draw out those last bits of water from the bottom of the tub, but don’t worry too much if you don’t have all the gear. Most of these things can be added for ease over time, if it is your first time draining your hot tub then you can absolutely work with what you have got. 

Note – If you’re worried about where to drain your water, you can drain it via the sink in your kitchen for safe disposal.

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3 – Clean your tub

Next up, you will want to give your tub a good clean.

First, give that filter a good clean and check whether it looks ready for action. Your filter should look in good working order and it should be clean. You might need to take additional measures in order to clean your filter, which may take longer than anticipated. Again, don’t skip this step, and here are your options for cleaning your filter. 

Your initial option is a regular rinse to remove any residue from the filter. If yours looks in need of some TLC, you can use your hot tub cleaning solution and a bucket to cleanse it. Fill the bucket with your solution and start by giving the filter a dunk into the water. This will help to break loose any build up so that you are left with a semi-clean looking filter. Repeat this a few times until you feel your filter is clean from debris. Give it a rinse in water and check between the gaps in your filter for any other things that could be caught such as hair, products, or leaves that may have been stuck in there – it is a filter’s job, after all! 

Once you’re happy, you can place your filter in to soak. If you’re using the proper solution, an overnight soak can be just the ticket to cleanse your filter and have it ready for action. If you’re using DIY solutions then do not leave it overnight, a few hours at most will be all that is needed, but use proper solutions where you can. 

After your filter is done soaking, have one final check for any cracks or splits that might affect performance, and you can carry on with your cleaning routine. 

Note – if there are any signs of wear or tear, replace your filter immediately, as broken or damaged filters are not worth the hassle and harm that they can cause.

Now, clean the tub itself. Use a hot tub cleaner and focus on areas where scum might have built up or where gets a lot of exposure or use. You can use a soft cloth on these areas and gently wipe them to make sure you have gotten rid of all the build up. It is surprising how leaving a tiny amount of debris or scum can have it coming back thick and fast before you have even got a chance to get back in your tub. 

When the cleaning is done, make sure you rinse thoroughly to prevent the cleaning chemicals getting into your fresh water in the next step. Unwanted chemicals in the water can be irritating and cause cloudiness or foaming in the water, so be thorough in your rinsing. 

4 – Refill the tub

Close the valves, add the filter, and switch the power back on. You can add some appropriate chemicals while you’re filling it up with water, but make sure to test the levels before you jump back in. Cover the tub when it is full and let the heater work some magic.

5 – Heat it up!

Now you can heat your tub and hop in for some fresh bubbles all around. 

Remember to test the pH of the water and your chlorine levels, as chemicals can cause itching and irritation to the skin and eyes. 

What to look out for

There are a few things to take note of when draining, flushing, and refilling your tub. 

Forgetting regular maintenance

Regular maintenance is vital to keeping your hot tub looking and feeling fresh, and it prolongs the lifespan of your tub, too. However, with tasks that need to be done every three to four months like the drain and refill, it can be easy for them to slip your mind. We would recommend adding a reminder to your calendar if that helps you remember, or coinciding it with other household chores in a method known as habit stacking, this makes it easier to remember to do certain things as you associate them with other tasks. Forgetting regular maintenance can lead to build up and scum, and no one wants to be soaking in old water.

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Proper cleaning products

It’s tempting to go in with your all purpose cleaner that you use on the worktops, but hot tubs need some TLC and one of the ways that shows is in using specialist cleaners. Proper cleaning products are there for a reason and have been chosen and developed to offer a certain ratio of chemicals in order to keep your hot tub safe and clean, without anything that is too harsh should it linger in the water. There are DIY options for each product, but we recommend sticking with off the shelf products designed for this purpose.

Make the maintenance work for you

Plan it when you have some time, not the morning before you have a BBQ. Make the maintenance schedule work for you and allow yourself enough time for the process from start to finish. Carve out the appropriate amount of time so you’re not rushing, and you might want to keep an eye on the weather forecast, too, as this process in the rain is not fun – let us tell you.


How often do I need to clean my hot tub?

You need to clean your hot tub every time you drain and refill it, which should be a regular part of your maintenance schedule, coming around every three to four months. If you use your hot tub more than two to three times a week, you will want to bring that clean forwards to every two months or so, or however you feel fit. 

How essential is it to drain my hot tub?

Extremely! For the health of your tub, and for you using it. Draining your tub means you can carry out maintenance and keep the water fresh. It extends the life of your hot tub and means you’re not gathering debris and dirt through using the tub, better for your tub and for the ones soaking in it, too.

How long does it take to refill a hot tub?

It will depend on the size of your tub, but typically a couple of hours, and then you will heat it from there. As long as you follow the process and carve out the time for your hot tub refill, you won’t be left feeling like you’re waiting for a kettle to boil.