Why Does My Hot Tub Cover Stink?

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Strange odors coming from your hot tub cover can take away from what would otherwise be a relaxing experience. Sometimes a smelly hot tub cover can be easily remedied, but if your cover is holding an odor or water, it may be time to replace it. I will show you how to tell where the smell is coming from and how to remedy it!


There are several reasons why your cover may be taking on a peculiar smell. Keep in mind that in many instances, the smell is due to the condition of the water in the spa. Maintaining the proper water balance and sanitizer level will usually help prevent odorous covers.

Outer Jacket


To figure out where the smell is coming from, you’ll have to do a little process of elimination. Begin by removing the cover from your tub and taking it to a location where you can spread out. Unzip the jacket, carefully remove the foam cores and place them in a dry place.

Spa Cover4

Thoroughly check the outer jacket for tears or holes, where water could easily be getting in. Small to medium holes or tears can be patched with a vinyl patch kit such as Spa Bond. Make sure that you carefully clean and dry the spa jacket inside and out before performing any repairs. If there are large holes or deteriorating material on your spa cover jacket, the cover will need to be replaced.

Learn how to care for mold found in or on the spa cover here.

Core Liner


The foam inside your cover is sealed with a protective plastic liner which is intended to keep moisture out. Check the liner for holes or splits in the seam.

If the plastic that seals and protects the foam core has been punctured or opened, yet the foam itself is not saturated with water, you may be able to dry the foam and repair the liner with a patch kit. If the hole or tear is too large to patch or the foam core has become saturated you will need to replace your cover.

Tip: A good indicator that the foam core has become rotten or waterlogged is that your cover will be very heavy.

Broken or Cracked Foam


If the foam cores of your cover are broken or cracked, your cover will begin to lose its form, eventually allowing it to make contact with the spa water. Any contact with the water will lead to further deterioration. In this instance, it is best to replace your cover as soon as possible.

Trapped water inside the foam will become stagnant and start to stink pretty quickly. Once your spa cover foam is water logged, it also no longer provides any heat retention, causing your electricity bill to shoot through the roof.

Spa Cover Cleaners


Always use non-abrasive oil free cleaners specifically designed for your hot tub and cover. While there are other cleaners out there, these could actually harm your spa cover in the long run. Cleaners not intended for hot tub cover use could also get into your water and cause a chemical imbalance.

*Do not use bleach, drain cleaner other household cleaners on your spa cover, as this could accelerate cover deterioration.



Maintaining your spa cover and water are essential in keeping your cover like new.

Create a monthly spa cleaning routine that includes cover maintenance.


  • Try to keep the top of your cover free from debris, dirt and dust. This will prevent your cover from getting damaged and keep debris from getting into your water.
  • Do not use silicone oil based treatments, this will accelerate sun damage and deterioration.
  • Remove your cover every few months to a dry safe place to let it air out.
  • Make sure your spa water is properly balanced. Out of balance water can allow bacteria growth or deterioration of your cover. Under maintained water can lead to bacteria growth on and in your spa cover.

Have questions about cover care? Ask us below!

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