Can You Clean Hot Tub Filters in a Dishwasher? (No, do this)

Cleaning your hot tub filters regularly helps keep the water clean and the equipment working well. But I used to wonder can you clean hot tub filters in a dishwasher?

No. You should never try to clean your hot tub filters in the dishwasher. The dishwasher is far too harsh for the filter material, and a dishwasher won’t even clean it correctly since it can’t get in between each pleat.

But now that you know what NOT to do, let’s get into the rest of the story!

The rest of this post will discuss some essential questions related to cleaning your hot tub filters properly:

  • Can you put hot tub filters in a washing machine?
  • How do you clean hot tub filters?
  • How often should you clean your hot tub filter?
  • Can you use bleach to filterclean hot tub filters?

Can You Put Hot Tub Filters in the Dishwasher or Washing Machine?

I’ll be honest; it’s tempting to simply throw your filters in the dishwasher or the washing machine.

Unfortunately, these seemingly clever hacks can actually result in the need for a new filter. You should avoid using either of these ‘tricks’ at all costs if you want to save money on filter replacements!

You should never throw a filter from a pool or spa into the dishwasher or washing machine for the following reasons:

  • Dishwashers tend to blast hot water at high speeds. This might seem like a good thing, but it damages pleats (the folds of a filter) beyond repair. Once the pleats are torn, there’s nothing that you can do to repair them. It can also rip apart the bands that hold each pleat together, which is also irreversible.
  • Dishwashers aren’t designed to deep-clean a spa filter, although they can clean plates, bowls, and other dinnerware. You might see that the outside of the filter looks clean (if it survives the journey), but the spaces in between each fold will still be filled with grime and dirt.
  • It can leave behind chemical or food residue – Perhaps the grossest reason that you shouldn’t throw a filter in the dishwasher is that there are all sorts of chemicals, cleaning products, and additives that we use and put on our skin. These products can clump up when they’re being washed in the dishwasher, leaving it all over the other items inside.
  • The tumbling can immediately tend, rip, and ultimately ruin a hot tub filter. Washing machines are known for rolling and tumbling clothes. This is fantastic for fabric because it airs it out and cleans every fiber. But you might even damage your washing machine if it bumps around too hard in there!

How Do You Clean Hot Tub Filters?

The process of cleaning hot tub filters isn’t that bad. Once you learn how to clean them properly, you might understand why there’s no need to use the dishwasher or washing machine.

To clean your filter correctly, you’ll need the following items:

  • A garden hose
  • Filter cleaning solution (click to see my favorite one on Amazon)
  • A hose attachment to spread the water evenly 

And here are the five steps that you need to take to achieve fresh, like-new spa filters:

  1. Remove the spa filter from the filter assembly and place it on a solid surface. Get your garden hose ready with the optional attachment.
  2. Spray the water evenly over the outside, ensuring that you gently open and clean each and every pleat. Don’t turn the water pressure too high, as this can damage the filter. Make sure to slowly spray from top to bottom to get all of the dirt out of the filter.
  3. Apply the cleaning solution to the filter by spraying it evenly throughout the pleats. Some cleaners get mixed in when the tub’s jets run, so always follow the directions on the bottle or container.
  4. Wait the time indicated on the instructions – Most filter solutions take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes to sit. Again, see the instructions for more details.
  5. Spray off the solution with water from the hose, ensuring that you remove all of the cleaning products.
  6. Replace the filter(s) into the assembly, seal it up, and you’re all set! There’s no need to let them dry, as they’re going to be wet in the assembly either way. Drying them out too much can be bad for them since it might lead to cracking and flaking.

Want an EASY way to clean the pleats?

While you can just use your garden hose to rinse the filter, I have found something that saves a LOT of time cleaning the pleats.

But it also makes it super easy to remove hair, leaves, and other junk that gets caught in your hot tub filter.

That product is called Filter Flosser and it’s the best-rated product of that type on Amazon.

It just screws onto the end of your hose, and it’s curved like your filter and has individual jets to get in-between the folds.

Just click the link to see the current price on Amazon.

How Often Should I Clean My Hot Tub Filter?

Hot tub filters need to be cleaned somewhat regularly; especially if you want to get a full 2 years of use out of yours.

So think of it this way. The more you clean and maintain them, the less frequently you’ll have to replace them. Of course, if you’d rather not mess with a lot of cleanings, then just plan to get new ones every year.

Here’s what I recommend to keep those filters in great shape:

Monthly Cleaning – 1 or 2 times per month

The recommended weekly clean is done by simply spraying down the filter(s).

Open the pleats gently and remove all of the gunk that’s built up with water from your garden hose. If you want to prevent a mess, consider setting the filter inside of a 5-gallon bucket.

This will allow you to toss the dirty water when you’re done spraying the filter down.

Quarterly Cleaning – every 3 to 6 months

If you’re set on keeping the same filter for over a year, you should think about doing a deep clean. Here’s the process:

  1. Use a 5-gallon bucket (like the orange ones at Home Depot) or even a new garbage can that’s big enough to cover the whole filter.
  2. Mix your solution – Use a treatment that calls for ½ parts of water, ½ parts of the solution. This usually sits for about 8 hours, but check the label of the specific product that you’re using.
  3. Final Rinse – Follow it up with a quick water rinse
  4. Allow it to dry – I know it sounds weird letting something dry before you place it in water. But that is what’s recommended.
  5. Place it back in the hot tub filter assembly

Of course, eventually, you’ll need to replace your filters (which I just did).

How often do you need to replace them? Well, there’s a range from 1 to 2 years. In a recent article, I break down exactly why there’s such a wide range. But I also cover how to know when yours need to be replaced.

Just click that link to read the article on my site.

Can You Use Bleach to Clean Hot Tub Filters?

Many pool and spa owners try to use bleach as a sanitizer for the water as well as a cleaning solution when the filters get dirty.

Bleach cleans clothes and other surfaces, so why shouldn’t it be used on filters? 

Unfortunately, it’s not recommended. Here are two of the main reasons that you shouldn’t use bleach on a hot tub or pool filter.

1. Bleach contains chlorine

Specifically, bleach contains around 5% to 6% chlorine. Chlorine is incredibly strong, and it can damage the pleats and bands around your hot tub’s filter very quickly.

It can also harm the filter assembly if you don’t wash it off completely. Bleach also dries quickly, which is another enemy of hot tub filters.

2. Bleach dissolves too quickly

Even if you wanted to use bleach to clean a spa filter, it wouldn’t sit around long enough to do anything other than dry and crack your filter.

It’s an all-around bad idea in almost any scenario, so do your best to avoid this method.

If you’re set on using bleach to clean your filters, you need to dilute it quite a bit. Direct contact with bleach to a filter is a huge problem.

And while diluting it might help to reduce the impact, it’s still not a good idea. You should stick with products and solutions intended for use only with hot tub filters for the best results.

While you can’t use bleach on your filters, there are other ways that bleach can help keep your hot tub sanitary!

In a recent article, I break down all the do’s and don’ts of using liquid bleach to help keep your hot tub safe and sanitary. I even cover the amazing way I use Mr. Clean Magic Erasers on my hot tub!

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Final thoughts

Here are the main points covered in this post:

  • You shouldn’t clean hot tub filters in a dishwasher. While it might seem like an easy fix, it can damage your filters and might not even clean them properly.
  • You also shouldn’t put hot tub filters in the washing machine. Not only will the washing machine do a poor job of cleaning the filters, but the filters can damage the machine.
  • The proper way to clean hot tub filters requires three tools: a hose, a filter cleaning solution, and a hose attachment for the even spreading of water. If you want to know the exact process involved, scroll up to the section on cleaning filters properly.
  • You shouldn’t use bleach to clean hot tub filters. The chlorine in bleach can damage your filters, and the bleach will usually evaporate before it can clean them.

Of course, filters aren’t the only thing that needs to be changed in hot tubs.

The water needs to be changed every 3-6 months depending on how often you use it. Not sure how to determine how often to change it? Confused about how to do it?

No problem! In a recent article, I cover everything you need to know about changing the water in your hot tub. I ever cover the 1 tip to draining your hot tub in under 15 minutes!

Just click that link to see it on my site!

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Jeff Campbell