How to Fix & Prevent Cloudy Hot Tub Water

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Is cloudy water keeping you out of your tub? Having hazy or murky water is a common hot tub issue. Luckily, preventing it is easy. Here are some great tips to remedy cloudy water in your spa, and keep it from coming back!

Cloudy hot tub water

Treating Cloudy Water

“There are several different reasons spa water gets cloudy, and each requires a slightly different treatment.”

-Mark, Hot Tub Expert

Some basic reasons for cloudy water in your hot tub:

  • Water out of balance
  • Low sanitizer level
  • Excessive contaminants
  • Clogged or worn out filter
  • High TDS levels

Water Out of Balance and Low Sanitizer Level

Test your water with easy to use test strips

Finding out if your hot tub water is out of balance or has a low sanitizer level is as easy as pulling out your test strips.

  1. Allow your spa to circulate for a minute or two.
  2. Follow the directions on your test strip bottle for dipping and comparing your results to the color chart.
  3. Add the chemicals that are necessary to restore your water balance or sanitizer to its proper level.

WAIT 5 – 10 MINUTES WHEN ADDING DIFFERENT CHEMICALS! Adding too many chemicals at once can create cloudy water that takes days to clear and is often difficult to balance.

Excessive Contaminants

Hair & skin care products, and detergents can all contribute to cloudy water.

Preventative Tips:

  • Before entering the tub, rinse off any lotions, hair sprays etc.
  • If you have long hair, you can put your hair up to keep it out of the water.
  • Rinse out your swimwear if you have washed it with detergent.


If your water has already been contaminated with any of the above, you can shock your water and use a natural clarifier to effectively clear-up the cloudiness.

Oxy Spa & Scum Buster bottles

These two product options will act instantly to rid your hot tub water of residual soaps, lotions, oils, hair spray and other organic material build-up.

Clogged or Worn Out Filters

A clogged or worn out filter can fail to trap contaminants and also put strain on your spa pump. To avoid a potentially costly mishap:

  • Filters should be rinsed every 2-4 weeks
  • Every 3-4 months, or with every water change, you should pre-rinse your filter and soak it overnight in a non-foaming filter cleaning compound. Rinse the filter again and allow it to dry before returning it to the hot tub.
  • Hot tub filters should be changed annually or sooner if you notice significant wear or damage.
Dirty and worn spa filter

High TDS Levels

My Water is Still Cloudy… Hot tub water older than 3 – 4 months accumulate high TDS levels that cause persistent cloudiness. If none of the steps above are getting your water back to crystal clear, it’s time to flush, drain and refill your tub.

Keep in mind: If you drain and refill your tub, but do not use a system flush, or use a dirty or old filter cartridge to filter your new water, it will get cloudy again. Don’t waste your time – follow these simple steps:

  • Flush your system and remove oily residues and deposits from the inside of your plumbing system.
  • Check that your filter is not clogged or full of debris that will release contaminants into your fresh water.
  • Using a fill filter helps to eliminate impurities that could be clouding your water, and fills your spa with higher quality water.
PreFresh spa filling pre-filter
Fill your spa with filtered water with PreFresh!

If your hot tub water is green and cloudy, please see our Green Hot Tub Water  blog post for more information.

Still have questions about hot tub maintenance or cloudy water? Post a comment below and we will help!


  1. Hi Mike,

    The water softener could definitely contribute to the cloudiness of your water, depending on what you use for softener. However, cloudiness can occur for a multitude of reasons, so cover your bases by starting with the simplest solutions first.

    Start by checking your pH & alkalinity. High pH can cause cloudiness, so make sure you are in balance.

    The next day after balancing pH, if water is still cloudy, add a dose of chlorine shock to rule out any contamination.

    Check the spa water again after a day, and if the water is still cloudy, use a clarifier (we recommend Sea Klear) to clump up and filter out any dissolved solids.

    The combination of these should clear up the problem. If you are still having issues after following these steps, let us know!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a really comprehensive piece of information. There are so many reasons to cloudy water. I will definitely follow your advice next time I come across the issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi can you help me please,my hot tub water is cloudy,I put a high dose off chroine in and it got rid of it,two days later it has come back.thanjs Mr martin.sorry the water in the hot tub is only 3weeks old , filter is clean.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Jeffrey,

    Have you flushed your plumbing recently? The cloudy water could be caused by gunk hiding in the plumbing. Even though the water is only 3 weeks old, there could be contaminants hiding throughout the plumbing lines. We recommend using Spa System Flush ( to super-clean the inside of your hot tub plumbing. It will flush grime, oily residue and heater scale deposits that may be hiding, even if your jetted tub is well maintained.

    To use: remove filter, add half a bottle (8 oz.), run pumps and jets for a few minutes (or overnight if possible) then drain away the gunk with the old water. And that’s it!


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi can you please help I drained spa but before I did I used a degreaser recommended did everything it said to do then dumped it. Refilled and it was really good now two weeks later going cloudy again put sanitiser in and next morning nothing in it by test strips .can you pleas help

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Rhonda,

    The Spa System Flush is a great product and should help with refilled water. Keep in mind: If you drain and refill your tub and used a dirty or old filter cartridge to filter your new water, it will get cloudy again.

    So we can better help you:
    – What type of sanitizer do you use?
    – Do you shock your spa after use?
    – Have you tried a natural clarifier?

    Thank you,

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have done all of these in the hot tub is still cloudy I have drained it put freshwater back in it waited till it gets hot 92 94 degrees then I add my chemicals and then go back the next day check it chemicals are good hot tub is cloudy why is that

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Cindy,

    There could be several reasons your hot tub is still producing cloudy water:

    1) Did you use Spa System Flush when you drained your hot tub? This removes any grime and contaminates hiding in the plumbing.
    2) When adding chemicals, did you wait at least 5 minutes in between each chemical? Adding too many chemicals at once can create cloudy water that takes days to clear.
    3) Have you used a Natural Clarifier? This may remedy your problem temporarily. But keep in mind if your plumbing hasn’t been flushed, you may experience cloudy water again.

    Thank you,

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I alternate filters. They are less than a year old. Was going to change filters and noticed that the filter I had cleaned before had a cream colored dust that came out of it. I shook it over the sink and a significant amount of chemical? came out in the form of a dust/grit. What the?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Ray,
    This is something we have not heard about before. If the dust is not collecting from the location you store the filter, it would most likely be from dried debris from the tub water and possibly some chemicals. I recommend cleaning the filter out more thoroughly before storing. We have the Filter Blaster available, or a couple different nozzles to help provide better water pressure to clean your filters. I do hope this helps!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We all hate cloudy water, no doubt about it.
    I find cleaning my filters regularly works well. There is a significant improvement in water turbidity.
    I clean my filters every day when the hot tub is in use.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Need help. I have cloudy water and no chemical reading when I test it with he strips. I have had the water test and put in everything they say and still no reading on the strips and the water is still cloudy almost 24 hours later Will draining it and refill help

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Janis,
    Yes, if the water is too far gone it is best to drain and refill the tub. As an alternative, you could refrain from adding anything and let the tub filter for 1-2 days. In most cases, not adding anything and simply letting the tub filter will clear the water in just a couple days. I hope this helps.
    Thanks again,

    Liked by 1 person

  14. New to having a hot tub. We installed new filters.
    1. can’t get bromine level to register on the strip, and other levels were too high! (Followed directions, adding bromine, added shock.. now water is tinted brown) 😕 any advice? & Low bromine level still.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi Heather,

    Tablets are slow release, so it can take time for the bromine to register. We recommend using “Bromine Booster” when starting up so that you can establish an immediate reserve of bromine. In the meantime, try the shock again to activate any bromine that has now been established.

    The brown tinted water is probably not from the bromine. It is most likely the shock interacting with a mineral or other substance in the water. If the tub was not new, make sure to use a “System Flush” type product to clean the pipes of any left over gunk. If you have a source of water that contains a lot of iron or tannin, that is is more likely the problem.


    Liked by 1 person

  16. Have been using Hydrogen Peroxide for approx 3 month. Once a week I add one cup peroxide and change filler.(Have 2 filters I continuously switch) Problem is my water is now cloudy. I can’t drain tub because it is winter with snow on the ground. I keep adding more Hydrogen Peroxide and retest with strips. Each day it keeps saying there in no perioxide in the water. I have even shocked with 2 cups and still cloudy. Not sure how to fix this problem. We use this treatment mainly because my husband no longer gets itchy after using the tub. Have used bromine/chlorine in the past but Hydrogen Peroxide works best for him. Would love some advice

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Brenda,
    While you’re probably at the end of the useful life of your water, which is when the total dissolved solids exceed 1000 – 1500 PPM, there are a couple of things to try. If you absolutely cannot change the water, try adding some natural clarifier to the water and letting the tub circulate for a couple of filtration cycles. Make sure to remove and wash the filter after each filtration cycle. This may clear up the water. If that doesn’t work, you may consider draining only a portion of the tub water (say half) and refilling it with fresh water. This will buy you some time until you can do a complete drain and refill.


    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi we have got cloudy water
    The test strips say all the levels are ok
    We clean the filters every week.
    We have done a system flash As we always do when befor emptying The water.
    The water as been in for 2 weeks now and it’s cloudy again.
    Even though it says all levels are ok.
    Where I live we have soft water is there anything to do with this but it does show the levels are good and okay please can you help

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Jenny,
    We should be able to help you sort out your cloudy water issue. A couple of things come to mind here that I don’t see in your regimen. First, and most importantly, make sure you’re shocking the water with a good non-chlorine shock after each use, or once a week if you’re not using the tub. Secondly, since this has been a somewhat ongoing problem, try using liquid clarifier once a week, allowing it time to work before cleaning the filters. I’ll bet with the addition of these two steps, your issues will be resolved. If you’re still having trouble, give our water chemistry folks a call at 800-823-3638 and we’ll go over some more in depth troubleshooting.


    Liked by 1 person

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