Keeping your hot tub sparkling clean and ready for use requires regularly balancing the water using special hot tub chemicals. It may not be the most glamorous aspect of hot tub ownership, but it’s a crucial one, and it’s not all that difficult, provided you know which chemicals to use and how to use them. 

To get yourself up to speed on the different hot tub chemicals you’ll be using to treat your water, take a look at this easy guide.

Common Hot Tub Chemicals

There are several different chemicals you can potentially use to care for the water in your hot tub and some that you absolutely must. Here are the most common among them.

Sanitizer and Disinfectant

Chlorine Sanitizer for hot tub

Your hot tub’s filtration system can do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to keeping your water clear, but it won’t be able to remove all of the bacteria, viruses, and microorganisms that will eventually build up in there on its own. For that, you’ll need sanitizer and disinfectant.


If you were to leave your hot tub as it is without the use of chemicals, algae would eventually begin to grow on the shell, and body oils would begin to saturate the water. Oxidizers balance your water’s pH levels and aid in the breaking down of all the different contaminants it contains.

pH Balance

Oxidizers will help maintain the desired pH level in your hot tub water, but sometimes you’re going to need pH balance to really get the job done. This keeps the water from becoming too acidic, which can irritate the eyes and skin, weaken the efficacy of your sanitizer, and even damage your hot tub.

Serene ease FMW kit for water care in hot tubs


No one wants to hop into a hot tub with murky-looking water, but unless you use the proper hot tub chemicals that’s what you’ll eventually be facing. Clarifier helps contaminants in the water to clump together so that your filtration system can more easily remove them, leaving you with clean and clear water.


Enzymes stop algae and bacteria from developing in your hot tub by breaking down contaminants in the water that aid in their growth.

Stain and Scale Inhibitor

Protect your hot tub’s appearance by using these chemicals, which prevent staining and scale buildup.

How to Use Your Hot Tub Chemicals

After you’ve got your hot tub chemicals stocked up, you’re going to need to know how to use them. Follow these tips to learn how to do exactly that.

Test Your Water Weekly

There are times when you can spot the need for chemicals with your naked eye, but that won’t always be the case. Instead, you’ll have to rely on a water test kit or test strips to tell you what hot tub chemicals you currently need. You should be doing this once a week. 

using test strip to test water in a hot tub

When you test your water, it will let you know the pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels. Using the chart on your test kit, you’ll be able to tell exactly what chemicals to add.

Add Sanitizer Weekly

Over time, your sanitizer levels will drop in your hot tub water. To avoid this and all of the various issues that can come from it, you’ll want to add some chlorine or bromine once a week. Use your test strips as a guideline for how much you’ll need.

Add Sanitizer After Each Use

Hot tub use means added contaminants like skin oils and bacteria. Adding some sanitizer when you get out can work to break down those contaminants and keep your water nice and clear.

Use Oxidizer Once a Week

hot tub oxidizer

Adding oxidizer to your water (also referred to as “shocking”) regularly can help to remove contaminants and keep the water levels balanced. This can be done weekly, but you may want to do it more than that if the hot tub gets heavy use.

Hot Tub Chemicals From Fox Valley Pool and Spa

If you need help maintaining your hot tub, Fox Valley Pool and Spa can help. We offer popular hot tub care products from Frog Products, Serum Water Care, Silk Balance, and more. Contact us today to learn more.