Do you get rid of foam or bubbles in a hot tub? In spas there is foam and there are bubbles. We can soak in a hot tub with bubbles as it provides playful and relaxing moments. But foamy hot tub shows that the hot tub water is not properly sanitized. So, there is a big difference between the two.
However, when the bubbles stay longer in the hot tub and come in contact with surfactants, they gradually group together to form foams. Generally, the presence of foams or foamy bubbles in a hot tub is never good for your spa and your health.
While the idea of soaking up in a hot tub water after a long hard day may seem pleasing and refreshing, the sight of foamy bubbles in that same hot tub water may be disturbing and unpleasant.
Have you noticed your hot tub coughing up this sudsy water as of late? Then, you need not be alarmed, worried, or try as much to break a sweat over such a trivial issue. The thing is, the situation can be contained by a degree of cleanliness and careful maintenance practices.
Now, the irony of it all is that no amount of squeamishness will stop your hot tub water from making these soapy bubbles. With this known, you may be wondering what you can do. This article is written meant to help you handle the situation.
Through the course of this article, you will learn the major causes of this phenomenon and how to rid your hot tub water from these little, tiny distasteful rings and make it bubble-free.
The foamy bubbles in a hot tub
The foam or disk-like soapy materials you see in your hot tub are residues of impurities and dirt retained from your body, chemicals, liquids, and other things that get into your hot tub in your frequent or occasional visit to it.
These sudsy particles are formed through the air’s action in the hot tub and tiny molecules called ‘surfactants’, which not only reduces the tension on a water surface but makes the merging of water and oil very easy.
Major causes of foamy bubbles in hot tubs and their solutions
Below are listed the primary causal factors of foamy hot tub water and their respective solutions.
As explained above, surfactants are a mix of sticky, cohesive molecules made up of air and water. Surfactants can generate a thin layer of water within themselves to create a ball through the action of air and water which later turns into a bubbling foamy head. The higher the level of surfactants in the spa, the higher the generation of foam and the risk of higher TDS level.
How to fix this
Surfactant production can be hard to manage because these molecules of impurities can be produced by just any other materials like; oils, grime, soapsuds, and even by the chemical break down of biofilms. However, this doesn’t mean the frothiness of hot tub water cannot be contained. Measures like having a fresh water bath before dipping in a tub bath, regular maintenance and cleaning of a hot tub, occasional test for pH level and TDS level are proven method of reducing surfactants in a hot tub.
Higher level of TDS
Total dissolved solids (TDS) in a hot tub rises when there’s too much residual content of solid particles trapped on the surface of the hot tub. These solid particles accumulate in the hot tub through use and other stuff until reaching a saturated point where it gushes out these frothy water particles.
The TDS level rises through the causes listed below:
The beauty and haircare products effect
Beauty and hair care products come in an array of lotions, deodorant, mousse, shampoo, gels, conditioners, hair sprays and oils, and are often added to or left off as residues in the hot tub after a bath. These substances rich in essential minerals, fats and oils form microscopic films which gradually build up in hot tubs and become sticky, bubbly liquid.
Soaps and detergents effect
Soaps and detergents used on the body and other materials like bathing suits or trunks are primarily retained in the tub after use. They are significant catalysts in the formation of surfactant, which increases the higher tendency of TDS. Hence, causing the foaming up of the hot water tub.
The chemical effect
Liquid chemicals applied into the tub for cleaning and sanitizing purpose due to overuse are stored and trapped on the tub’s surface. They may sometimes aid in the buildup of particles and molecules that make up the dissolved particles that cause these bubbles. The use of cheap, low-cost ineffective chemicals may also increase surfactants’ formation and affect the overall chemistry of the water in your tub.
The human effect
Specific human actions can also be a risk factor in the formation of surfactants. Dead skin cells, proteins, sweat, sebum released through body pores, and likewise, exfoliated skin shed left off in the tub after bath can cause a high-level increase in TDS. Among other human effects are the spilling of beverages, other alcoholic drinks, food crumbs and other food materials. Also, total disregard and lack of precautions may affect the production of a foamy substance in a hot tub.
How to fix this:
Reducing the amount of oil, lotion and soaps introduced into your tub: this can be achieved by taking necessary preventive measures like; getting rid of makeups or other materials applied on any part of the body, taking a shower just before slipping into a tub to reduce the residue of soaps, and other beauty care products. Another measure that can be observed is rinsing bath suits and swimsuits in water to reduce the amount of soap and detergents residues that follows you into a hot tub in every use.
Draining and refilling your tub: this is by far the safest, surest and most-assuring method of ridding hot tub from bubbles. Regular draining and cleaning of your tub do not only leave your tub sparkling white but surfactant-free. This operation can be observed every three to four months and more often if frequently used.
By adding chemicals: use of anti-foaming chemicals to eliminate the foamy particles and scum and dissolve surfactants that later form these frothy heads. Though not a proven lasting cure to hot tub foams, the application of chemical reduces the rate at which the TDS saturated point is reached.
Practicing manual cleaning: This method, unlike the others listed above, is easy and can be done with little stress involved through manual cleaning. Materials like scums, leaves, and other impurities can be removed from the tub with a hand, scum digesters, or an antifoaming sponge. This method helps prevent the adverse effect such particles can have on a hot tub.
Shocking your hot tub with sanitizers: with the use of a sanitizer, most preferably a chlorine or a bromine in the case of the unavailability of a chlorine sanitizer, shock your hot tub, running the jets on high and leaving the cover open just to make sure the gases have escaped before another use.
Biofilm is the makeup of microorganisms and bacteria with a thin protective layer of grime and slime that stick itself on the surface area and are in regular contact with water. When a spa’s surface is left and untended, biofilm may clog both its filter and plumbing, and may cause the production of surfactants that makes hot tub water foamy.
How to fix this
Reduction in the creation of biofilm buildup can be made possible by adding or applying major sanitizers. These sanitizers, mostly chlorine and bromine, slims the chances of biofilm and its protective layer on the tub‘s surface when used in the right amount.
While sanitizers are an excellent combatant of biofilm, their power may be limited in that when there is an excess biofilm and other substance residual presence in a tub, they might be rendered useless. In this case, a total draining and refilling of the tub may be needed or required.
The pH level of the water in your tub can also play a significant role in the foaming up process—a higher concentration of acid or alkaline speeds up the formation of surfactants and other impurities like scum. pH level can also affect the water through physical characteristics like color and smell.
How to fix this
Occasional test of the tub water pH level is an excellent way to go. It helps reduce the water’s frothing in your tub. The application of a pH decreaser can manage acidity in particular water. And a low acidity level can be raised through the use of Easy pH. A pH test should be carried out once or twice a week, depending on the type of water used.
Water with low calcium hardness is imbalanced and unstable and may cause the frothiness of hot tub water. This imbalance may also reduce water’s surface tension, thereby making it easier for water and oil to mix easily in hot tub water. Another risk factor of calcium imbalance in water is how it can quickly corrode a hot tub.
How to fix this
Running a test or diagnosis to check for water imbalance is the first procedure here. This preventive measure is achieved by testing a sample with hardness test strips or taking a model for professional testing. After which, the hardness or softness of the water can be determined. For a low calcium level in the water, use a calcium hardness increaser.
As insignificant as this may seem or sound, the bitter truth is that sanitizer levels, and its application may also have a hand in the production of surfactants and oily molecules that causes foamy tub water. Also, both the lower and higher concentration levels of sanitizers in tub water can increase biofilms’ buildup.
How to fix this
Sanitizers levels like the pH and TDS level should be tested often. And the use of cheap, fake sanitizers should be avoided at all cost. Chlorine and bromine sanitizers are effectively proven to work better than other types. When sanitizers level tests are carried out and found low, more sanitizers should be applied into the water and leave to settle for some hours, a day maybe.
Step by step procedures to carry out the draining process of a hot tub
- Get a line flush product and apply as instructed in the package directions.
- To achieve a deep clean and draining, remove every filter. The filters can be cleaned or replaced, depending on how much dirt was trapped on their surfaces.
- Make sure to disconnect every electrical cables or cord connected to your tub and trip the breaker as well.
- Your tub can be drained by using a drain pump or a sump pump.
Cleaning a hot tub and refilling it
It’s ideal to give a hot tub a deep clean after draining its water content before refilling it. This rids the hot tub of other particles and dirt retained on its surface.
This process can be done by carefully attending to the steps listed below.
Step by step procedures on cleaning and refilling a hot tub
- Clean with a mixture of white vinegar and water or any other hot tub cleaner.
- Rinse and wipe the inside of the tub thoroughly for effective cleaning.
- Absorb every cleaner with a rag or napkin and leave the surface of the tub to dry off a little.
- Replace all filters.
- Refill your hot tub with water free from chemical impurities to avoid a new outbreak of surfactants and sticky bubbles. Using a hose filter is advisable for this process.
Other maintenance procedures are:
- Using or buying effective, well-known and trusted chemicals and sanitizers.
- Occasional test of pH levels, TDS levels, calcium hardness level and Sanitizer levels. This should be done or carried out regularly.
- Curbing kids from playing around the spot where the tub is located can also prove effective in keeping a tub foam-free and dirt-free.
- By covering the top of your hot tub at all times.
- Maintaining a regular maintenance schedule when in use and otherwise.
In conclusion, I trust you’ve been able to learn from this article that though unpleasant and disgusting, the presence of thick foamy heads or bubbles cannot be avoided in any hot tub water. And that the awful condition of bubbly hot water can also be managed through specific preventive measures and cultures, both listed and explained in this article.
More so, we have learnt that by carrying out such practices, we’re saving ourselves some bucks from repair and keeping our tub hygienic and ideal for use. Also, strict observance of these practices makes the mere thought of soaking up refreshing and reinvigorating.