Can You Use Essential Oils or Aromatherapy in Your Hot Tub?


Many hot tub owners equate hot tub use with visiting a spa. And a spa experience gets enhanced through our sense of smell. So can you put essential oils in your hot tub?

As a general rule, avoid putting essential oils in a hot tub. Essential oils are not water-soluble and can gum up the filters, lead to excess foam in the water, and potentially create clogs in the plumbing.

Fortunately, there are non-oil-based hot tub aromatherapy products and alternatives to essential oil use that you can use to enhance your hot tub experience.

In the next few minutes, we’ll explore these alternatives you can use and how they differ from pure essential oils, whether Epsom salt is okay in your tub, and some related info.

Read on to discover what I’ve learned from my research and personal experience.

How much essential oil should I put in my hot tub?

Generally avoid using essential oils or any oil-based aromatherapy product in a hot tub, spa, or Jacuzzi as it can gum up the filters and create excess hot tub foam.

Fortunately, there are lots of essential oil alternatives available.

But if you’re bound and determined to use some, do so under the following conditions understanding the potential risks:

  1. Remove the filters before adding the essential oils
  2. Add no more than 24 drops of pure essential oil to the water
  3. Only use pure essential oil and not cheap alternatives that contain carrier oils
  4. After soaking, replace the filters
  5. Plan to rinse the filters 24 hours later in a kitchen sink with a sprayer and hot or warm water to remove any residue

So what are carrier oils and how do I know if my oil contains that?

Carrier oils are used to dilute pure essential oils.

This makes them much cheaper. So if you’re about to grab that $3.00 bottle of lavender oil, it almost assuredly has carrier oils in it instead of being just a pure natural extract.

Any of the following could be used as a carrier oil:

  • Coconut oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Apricot kernel oil
  • Sweet almond oil
  • Olive oil
  • Many other vegetable-based oils

Essential oils are created from the leaves, bark, roots, and other parts of various botanicals such as lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, etc.

Essential oils are highly concentrated which is why they have such a strong scent.

Carrier oils, by comparison, are vegetable oils pressed from things like seeds, nuts, or kernels. Unlike essential oils, they do not evaporate or have much of a scent.

Carrier oils, like any oil in your kitchen pantry, will eventually go rancid after a while. But essential oils do not go rancid.

Essential oils will lose their scent and potency over time, but will never go rancid unless it has been mixed with a carrier oil.

To know if yours contains carrier oils, only purchase essential oils from a reputable source and ones that are labeled 100% pure essential oils.

What can I put in my hot tub to make it smell better?

There are non-oil-based spa scents for hot tubs that give off a pleasant, subtle fragrance. Some come with skin moisturizing emollients. They’re safe to use because they do not affect the water’s chemistry, foam, cloud, or leave an oily residue.

You just twist the tip of a pillow packet and squeeze it into the heated water.

It promotes total relaxation and provides the same health benefits as the use of essential oils with its lovely scent while leaving your skin soft, and it’s free from chemical odors.

An awesome one I’ll suggest is InSPAration on Amazon. It’s got over 400 reviews on Amazon, and almost all are 5-star.

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

In addition to spa scents, you might be wondering if it’s okay to use bath salts or bath bombs in your hot tub.

In a recent article of mine, I explained the dangers of flash burns when certain ones mix with chlorine. But, I also suggested what to do instead.

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

Can you put lavender oil in a hot tub?

Popular essential oils, such as lavender oil, cannot be used in a hot tub. Any oil-based product should never be used in a hot tub due as it can clog the filter and create excess foam.

Used in a bath, it’s a great way to enjoy the amazing benefits of aromatherapy, which uses plant extracts and essential oils for healing and relaxation. But you drain the bath when you’re done.

Generally speaking, we leave our hot tub water in our hot tubs for 3 months or more.

Oil and water don’t mix. Even the oil on our skin doesn’t play well with the water. Now, consider that essential oils are even more powerful than the oil from our skin.

Thick substances like oils can clog the spa’s filters!

As I mentioned earlier, essential oils are not water-soluble. So, anything oil-based, such as lavender oil, shouldn’t be used in a hot tub.

It can gum up the filters, lead to excess foam in the water, and clogs in the equipment. That can turn your relaxing experience into a total nightmare.

Can you put aromatherapy in a hot tub?

Aromatherapy crystals are safe to use in a hot tub as they are typically oil-free. While they are sodium-based and contain magnesium, the levels are well below those of Epsom salts and are safe to use in chlorinated water.

Aromatherapy oils, by comparison, should be avoided since they are oil-based.

They come in a variety of alluring colors and have unique and lovely aromas. They do not affect your tub’s water chemistry and do not leave an oily residue.

Lavender Palmarosa is one I strongly recommend from Amazon. But other common scents are available too.

It’s an all-natural crystal that sets one’s mood, arouses emotion, and relaxes the state of one’s mind. It’s anti-inflammatory and is great for stress relief. So the good news is it’s safe to use and leaves no oily residue.

On Amazon, it has over 100 reviews, and most are 5-star! Just click that link to check the current price on Amazon.

Can Epsom salt be used in a hot tub?

Epsom salt should not be used in a hot tub. It contains magnesium which causes a harmful reaction when mixed with chlorine. Additionally, Epsom salt can lead to corrosion in the heater, pump, and plumbing.

You’re probably surprised. After all, they are supposed to have healing properties.

Yes, they do have beneficial effects. For example, it promotes sleep, reduces stress, pain relief, and swelling, offers relief from muscle soreness, and provides magnesium.

Magnesium, by the way, is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body.

However, it depends on what type of water you’re using in your hot tub and what quantity of Epsom salt you use.

If you’re using plain water and you use the right quantity, it’s okay. But, if you’re using chlorinated water, you’ll ruin your hot tub! To be on the safe side, it’s best to avoid them.

Let’s understand why Epsom salt can ruin your hot tub.

First off, what’s its composition? Epsom salt is a combination of three chemicals: magnesium, oxygen, and sulfur. Now, chlorine and magnesium don’t play well together. In time, because salts are acidic, they’ll lead to corrosion.

Which is the last thing you want.

The only way to use Epsom salts is to treat your hot tub like a bath and change the water after using it. That gets costly and time-consuming.

In a recent article of mine: Will Epsom Salt Ruin a Hot Tub?

I shared detailed findings of my research about this issue. I explained that at levels above 1500pm, they corrode the tub’s plumbing and affect the water’s pH. But I also shared 1 ninja trick that gets you the benefits without the downsides!

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Final thoughts

We looked at whether it’s okay to use essential oils in your hot tub.

It’s not okay! Even a few drops of essential oil can gum up your filters and create excess foam.

We also explored why essential oils work in a bathtub but not in a hot tub.

We looked at what happens when essential oils and water are mixed. We also explored why you should not use Epsom Salts in your hot tub.

And, we wrapped up by considering if aromatherapy crystals are safe to use.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, hot tub lover, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market.

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