I know that there are a lot of “shower only” people out there, but I personally love my air tub. However, one thing that I don’t love is the potential for mold, mildew and dangerous bacteria to build up in the lines. Also, there is a big gross factor for me, if I feel that a tub isn’t sanitized. If you don’t stay on top of things, a jetted or air tub can get out of hand very quickly. (FYI – I am a super germaphobe). Therefore, I am sharing how to clean and disinfect jetted whirlpool tubs.
Before we get into the gist of how to clean and disinfect jetted whirlpool tubs (and air tubs), I wanted to point out one significant problem that is often overlooked. That problem is biofilm. If you don’t know what biofilm is, it is a natural film created by bateria, mold, mildew, etc. (Think of the way that meat gets slimy when it goes bad).
Well, that biofilm protects the bacteria and prevents normal cleaning methods from being able to kill it. So, if you have been just using bleach or vinegar to clean your tub lines, you probably have an unseen problem. (You can read more about the dangers of biofilm here).
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Symptoms to Look For…
One of the first indicators that your lines have some build up is if the air bubbles have a dirty appearance. Usually, the air will stir up filth and begin to transfer it to the rim of the water line. If you start to see this, your lines need a serious cleaning. Air bubbles should be pristine, like the image above.
Another indicator that there is a problem is a funky smell. This is easier to detect with air tubs because the air can be run with no water. Just turn the air on before using the tub to empty the lines. If the water that is ejected has an odor, it is time for a deep clean.
The worst case scenario is if you begin to actually see debris in your tub. This will often appear as small black flecks, but any debris is an indication that you have an issue to address.
What You’ll Need:
- Powdered Dish Detergent
- Oh, Yuk!*
How to Clean and Disinfect Jetted Whirlpool Tubs…
For clarity purposes, I am assuming that you need to clean/disinfect a tub that hasn’t been properly cleaned in a while, or you don’t know if it has been cleaned in a while. How long the process takes will depend on the amount of build up that needs to be removed.
Fill the tub to at least 3 inches above the highest jet or air hole with hot water. (Check the manual on jetted tubs to determine if there are any specific instructions for the jet settings). Once the tub is full, begin by adding the detergent to the water. Turn on the jets or air and allow it to circulate for approximately 30 minutes. This will remove a lot of the oil build up in the lines. Drain and refill.
Add in the Oh, Yuk!* to the water and turn the jets back on for an additional 30 minutes. This product is very important in making sure that you get a thorough clean. It helps to break down any biofilm that may have formed in the lines. (If the biofilm is not treated, you will not be able to get rid of mold and mildew or bacteria, because the biofilm protects them from any other treatments). After you have run this product through your jets for 30 minutes, turn the jets off and let the jets soak for 30 minutes. Then, turn the jets back on for 30 minutes more.
You can repeat this process for as many times as it takes to get the lines clean. You can even allow it to soak overnight if the tub’s cleanliness is in question. I would even recommend running the process a few times for newly purchased or rented homes. However, in my experience this stuff works very quickly.
Next, drain all that gross water out of your tub and rinse away any debris left on the tubs surface. Then, refill the tub with fresh water. Once the tub is full, add a cup of bleach to the water and turn the jets back on for 30 minutes. Some people skip this last step when using the Oh Yuk. However, I prefer to go all the way to ensure that there is no mold spores left to repopulate.
Finally, drain the bleach water and run a fresh rinse cycle. Finish up by cleaning the tub’s surface as normal.
How to Clean and Disinfect Jetted Whirlpool Tubs – Maintenance…
To keep your tubs clean, once a month fill the tub to the appropriate depth and add 2 ounces of Oh Yuk. Run the jets for a 15 minute cycle, rest for 30 minutes and run for an additional 15 minutes. Drain and run a rinse cycle. Follow up with bleach if desired.
A few tips to keep in mind. On air tubs, you can run the air after the tub has drained to remove water that has settled into the lines. Some air tubs are self drying and will turn themselves on to perform this step each time the whirlpool is used. However, you can also force dry the lines any time the tub is used to help prevent build up.
On jetted tubs, it is a good idea to run the jets every week that the tub is used. Even if the jets are not used, bath water will naturally settle into the lines. As a result, it is best to circulate fresh water through the lines each week.
Remember that whirlpool tubs are perfectly safe, as long as you follow proper cleaning protocols. Oh, and before you go, you may want to check out my tips for cleaning your front load washing machines.
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