How to Get Glass Out of a Hot Tub (without draining it)

It’s a regular thing to have a drink in your hot tub, and while using glass cups in a hot tub is never a good idea, sometimes we do, and if one breaks, we have to figure out how to get glass out of a hot tub.

Here’s how to do it without completely draining it:

To get broken glass out of your hot tub, turn on the jets. That will naturally draw the pieces to the intake valves along the bottom of the hot tub. Carefully pick up the broken glass pieces by hand from the intake valves. You won’t have to drain your hot tub unless the glass shattered into tiny pieces.

But that’s just a quick snapshot. And there are other things to consider also to ensure no one gets cut accidentally.

In this article, I will be looking at the potential harm a broken glass can cause and how best to deal with the problem. But I’ll also share some additional tips that will get you back to soaking faster without having to drain it.

Lastly, I will also share some drinking glass alternatives to glass that don’t look like cheap plastic.

Do I have to drain my hot tub to get rid of broken glass?

In most cases, you do not have to drain a hot tub to get rid of broken glass. However, if the pieces of broken glass can’t be picked up by hand or a wet/dry vacuum, or there are hundreds of tiny fragments, then the last resort is to drain the water from your hot tub. 

So ultimately, this depends on how the glass broke, what kind of glass it was, and how much glass went into the water.

A wet/dry vacuum can work great as long as the tube is long enough to reach the bottom of the hot tub. Of course, you never want to set the base of a wet/dry vac on the ledge of the hot tub since it will be plugged into an electrical outlet.

But if you have a wet/dry vac like this one on Amazon, set it on the ground next to your hot tub, and then use the long arm to scrape the entire bottom of the hot tub to get rid of all the fragments.

To be sure, it will be sucking up water too. But it won’t require draining. Just make sure to dump the water from the vacuum somewhere safe since it will have glass shards in it.

Already have a wet/dry vac, but it has a short hose? No problem!

Just get this shop vac extender hose on Amazon. It comes with 2 different connectors to connect to the end of your wet/dry vacuum hose. Just double-check the sizes to make sure it will fit yours.

Worst case scenario, though, drain it, and pick up all the glass by hand, and refill.

Many people ask how often they should change their water, and I addressed this in a recent article, which you can read here on my site if you click on the link.

So, if you can remove ALL of the glass safely either by hand or using a vacuum – or both – then do so, but make sure you leave nothing behind.

Will pieces of broken glass damage my hot tub?

If you have a rigid body acrylic hot tub, a piece of broken glass won’t damage the tub’s shell. However, glass can tear the paper filters, and can cut the feet of anyone sitting in the hot tub.

If you have an inflatable hot tub, broken glass is just about the worst thing you can have in there, for obvious reasons.

It’s not only in the hot tub but around the outside too. Inflatables tend to flex a little when you get in and out, and it would be easy to get a chunk of broken glass wedged under the rim.

To keep your filters intact, remove them immediately if a glass breaks. Then replace them once you’re sure all the glass has been cleaned up. The filters are basically folded pieces of paper in a plastic housing. But it wouldn’t take much for glass shards to rip them to shreds.

Once the problem is solved, consider some alternatives to drinking from actual glasses or beer bottles.

There are many products on the market now that look like glass. Some even have a similar feel yet are unbreakable. These traditional style unbreakable wine glasses on Amazon by D’Eco are made from Tritan, a durable transparent plastic-like material that does not cloud or crack as other plastic products do after a while.

If you enjoy a martini, check out these unbreakable martini glasses on Amazon, also by D’Eco. They have a whole range, and you can even get them engraved.

For the kids, you could do worse than look at these environmentally friendly wheat straw reusable cups. Not only lightweight and unbreakable but dishwasher safe too.

Click on the links to check out these products on Amazon.

Will pieces of broken glass in my hot tub be easy to remove by hand?

It is easy to remove large pieces of glass by hand, ideally wearing work gloves for safety. However if a glass shattered into dozens of tiny fragments, while possible to remove by hand, it will take significantly longer.

Say, for example, you chipped a wine glass, and you can see the chip in the bottom of the hot tub.

Pick it up and piece it back into the glass. No, I know you don’t want to glue it back in place, but position it as though you were going to. Is it all there?

Even if there is a tiny piece missing, you need to find it!

Smaller pieces of glass are much more difficult to find, but you could try turning off the lights and using a flashlight to see if you get any reflection.

Because of the refraction of the water, you will need to use the torch below the surface so make sure it is waterproof before trying this.

Tiny fragments will most likely float, so you can skim the surface with a net to get rid of these.

But if the jets are on, or if the filter cycle has kicked in, the fragments may have been sucked to the outside of the intake covers located on the bottom of your hot tub.

Just carefully feel on the surface and remove any pieces stuck to them.

Can I use a wet/dry vac underwater?

You can definitely use the end of the hose from a wet/dry vacuum to drag along the floor of your hot tub to suck up pieces of glass. Just ensure the base of the vacuum is not perched on the edge of the hot tub, or in any position where it could accidentally make contact with the water.

I shouldn’t have to say it, but never place the base of a wet/dry vacuum in the hot tub.

After all, water and electricity don’t mix. So place the base of the wet/dry vac on the ground at the base of the hot tub. Then simply immerse the tube from the vacuum to suck up the glass.

If you have a heavy-duty wet/dry vac, the type that comes with a hose with various attachments, such as the DeWALT DXV06P, you could use the crevice tool to suck up any small fragments of glass at the bottom of your tub.

I have provided a link to this model on Amazon for your reference.

Concerned about using an electric appliance near the water?

The Aura 6250 Paradise power spa vacuum comes with a telescopic pole that extends to over 7 feet. It works on the principle of siphonage, so no electricity or batteries are needed.

It is strong enough to pick up small stones and pebbles, so it will easily pick up glass fragments. Just click on the link to see it on Amazon.

Does broken glass in a hot tub end up in the filter?

Large pieces of glass will likely sink to the bottom of the hot tub and not end up in the filter. However, small shards of glass may float, in which case they likely will end up in the filter.

Hot tub filter compartments are at the top of the water level.

If your hot tub has what is known as a ‘suction-side’ filtration system, the pump will draw in water from the surface, which will be collected in a skimmer before passing through the filter. In this way, larger objects such as dead leaves will not clog up the filter.

The problem with this type is that heavier debris such as sand or large pieces of glass will sink to the bottom.

Many of the high-end manufacturers use a ‘pressure-side’ filtration system, which, as well as skimming off the surface, uses a floor vacuum to collect the debris that sinks to the bottom. The microfilter is placed behind the pump on the pressure side rather than in the skimmer – the suction side.

Cleaning and changing the filter is an integral part of hot tub maintenance.

It is recommended that you change your filter regularly, but the frequency depends on the type of hot tub you have and how good a job you do of keeping them clean.

Luckily I cover all there is to know about hot tub filter maintenance in a recent article.

Just click that link to read it on my site. 

Did I cover all you wanted to know about how to get glass out of a hot tub?

Lots of people like a beer or a cocktail as they soak after a hard day, but you shouldn’t overdo it. Drinking alcohol while you are in the tub can lead to dehydration, causing dizziness and drowsiness, leading to an accident.

In a recent article, I looked at the effects of drinking while soaking and whether this made you feel drunker. Read about it here on my site – just click that link.

Anyway, should an accident occur, and you wind up with broken glass in your tub, hopefully, you will know what to do now.

If you have any questions, leave a message or email me, and don’t forget to check out the associated articles here on my website by clicking on the links.


Photo which requires attribution:

cut foot on broken Tanqueray bottle in hot tub… by Blake Patterson is licensed under CC2.0

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.

Recent Posts