How Long Does it Take for Cloudy Hot Tub Water to Clear?

 Sunsetting on the hot tub

Wouldn’t it be awesome if your hot tub water was always sparkling clean and safe? The truth is that cloudy water comes with the territory sometimes, and you’ve probably wondered, how long does it take cloudy hot tub water to clear?

Here’s what I know from owning 4 hot tubs:

It takes an average of 24 hours for cloudy hot tub water to be restored to a clear state by either using a hot tub clarifier or by hyper-chlorinating the water. However, in severe cases, a drain, clean, and refill may be necessary. 

When a hot tub clarifier is applied to the water, it binds the small particles that trigger the cloudiness together so that they can be easily caught by the filter, rendering the water clear.

Over time, contaminants and microorganisms fill hot tub water, making it cloudy, smelly, gross, and unsafe. Several factors can trigger cloudiness. Fortunately, there are many effective ways of dealing with it.

In this article, we’ll explore how long it takes to clear cloudy hot tub water, whether chlorine can help, the causes of the cloudiness, and similar issues around cloudy hot tub water and how to address the challenge.

Let’s dive right in…

Will chlorine clear up a cloudy, hot tub?

As a general rule, a double-dose of chlorine-based shock will clear up a cloudy hot tub. This is because low sanitizer levels are one of the reasons the water has turned cloudy in the first place. The shock reactivates the sanitizer and restores clarity.

However, some people are sensitive to chlorine. So they can use non-chlorine-based sanitizers and shock. But that will almost always result in cloudier water.

Chlorine is a sanitizer. 

So, it will help remove or at least destroy contaminants that triggered the cloudiness in the first place.

If the water is balanced and you’ve applied the right level of chlorine shock to it, the cloudiness will clear up in time. It shouldn’t take more than 24 hours for the water to return to a clear state. Shock serves to reactivate the chlorine and make it more effective. 

So, can you apply chlorine to the hot tub water every day?

Not so fast, pal. Check out a recent article of mine where I shared the lowdown on the way to go. And, there are alternatives if you’re sensitive to chlorine or you simply don’t like the smell. 

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Why is my hot tub always cloudy?

A cloudy hot tub can be caused by several factors such as low sanitizer level, too much chlorine, dirty filters, organic debris, algae, high calcium levels, and unbalanced pH, and/or alkalinity levels.

Let’s check out a few of the reasons.

Low Sanitizer Level

If the hot tub is being used a lot, the sanitizer level may become low because there are more contaminants in the water.

The solution is simple: Test the water, apply the right sanitizer dosage, and test again. Give it about a day, and the water should be clear.

Too High Alkalinity

Alkalinity is a measure of water’s capacity to neutralize acids and bases. In other words, water’s ability to resist acidification.

If the alkalinity level is too high, it could make the water cloudy (and may also trigger gastrointestinal challenges and skin irritation). 

When the alkaline level is too high, it can cause carbonates, triggering cloudy water.


When a bather goes into a tub, a lot of products are being transferred off of their body into the water.

These include lotion, moisturizer, hair, make-up, fecal matter, urine, sweat, dirt… You get the picture.  These build up in and clog your jets, and they use up the sanitizer, making the water cloudy.

By the way, what happens if the chlorine level in a hot tub is too low?

I explained the consequences in a recent article of mine. Harmful contaminants can creep in, making the tub unsafe. Check it out to get the details.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Is it safe to use a hot tub with cloudy water?

It is not safe to use a hot tub with cloudy water because it is a signifier of the presence of contaminants, which could be potentially harmful to those soaking. 

Hot tub water should always be crystal clear for it to be safe. So, cloudy water shows the presence of microorganisms and debris.

The cloudiness shows that the hot tub could be host to microorganisms that transmit infections and diseases.

What are some of these infections and diseases? 

They include:

  • Legionnaires disease
  • Skin rashes
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Eye and ear infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Norovirus

(source and source and source)

You’ve heard of shocking a hot tub, right? But do you know how often it should be done? 

Interestingly, that’s the theme of a recent article of mine, where I explained that ideally, it should be done weekly and that you might want to shock it more often if more than 2-3 people are using the tub more than 3-4 days per week. 

Just click the link to read it on my site.

What does a clarifier do for a hot tub? 

Hot tub clarifiers are used to clear up cloudy water. They help collect small particles by combining floating particles together to where they are large enough to get trapped in the filters. They also help maintain hot tub pH balance.

Some particles that cause cloudiness are so small. Clarifiers grab and stick these particles together, making them big enough for the filters to catch them.

So clarifiers help filters to become better at what they do. 

The particles that could easily have slipped past the filter are bound together by the clarifier. It makes them big enough to be trapped by the filter.  

Spa Essentials from Amazon is the clarifier that I use and recommend. It clears cloudy, hot tub water by collecting small particles so that they’re now big enough for the filter to deal with them.

It helps to improve filter efficiency and also helps with the water’s pH balance. It’s got almost 200 ratings, and most are 5 stars.

CLICK HERE to check it out on Amazon.

How long does a hot tub clarifier take to work?

A hot tub clarifier will clear cloudy water fully within 24 hours. But small differences will be noticed almost immediately. As a preventative, add a small amount weekly for continuously clear water.

Say you’re having a party on Saturday, you’d want to apply it on Thursday so that it’d be ready by Friday. 

Or, better still, apply it on a Wednesday. If it’s not yet as clear as you’d like, you can repeat the process. Make sure that you’re cleaning the filter after each use of the clarifier. After all, the clarifier makes the filter work better. So, the filter can catch some debris. 

Make sure you give it a thorough cleaning. Clarifiers should be used once a week, and expect the water to be completely clear 24 hours later. 

Again, Spa Essentials from Amazon is the clarifier that I use and recommend.


Cloudy water is not your friend. That’s the truth. 

It’s indicative of the presence of a problem that could be triggered by several factors. 

In the article, we explored some of those factors. We also checked whether chlorine can help clear up cloudy water and whether it’s safe to go ahead and use a hot tub when it’s cloudy. 

It is not. Lastly, we checked out hot tub clarifiers. What they do and how long they take.

Photo which requires attribution:

Sunsetting on the hot tub by Nick Webb  is licensed under CC2.0 was cropped, edited, and had a text overlay added.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, 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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