Should I Put Chlorine in My Hot Tub Every Day?

Most people know they need to sanitize their hot tub but aren’t sure of how often to do that. Usually, that leaves them wondering should I put chlorine in my hot tub every day?

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

Chlorine sanitizer should not be put in your hot tub every day. Instead, it should be added 2-3 times per week depending on the frequency the tub gets used. Then about ¼ cup of chlorine shock should be added every 7-10 days.

The amount of sanitizer to add depends on where the chlorine levels read on a test strip. But, I’ve also learned that there is an alternative to chlorine—bromine—that did the same job with less odor. So why doesn’t everyone use bromine?

After owning four hot tubs, I’ve learned a lot about water maintenance, so if you want to know the difference between the two and understand what is best for you, then read on.

How often should I put chlorine or bromine in my hot tub?

Chlorine or bromine should be added to hot tubs 2-3 times per week, or 3-6 tablets in a floater weekly. How much sanitizer to add also depends on how often the hot tub is used and which sanitizer you prefer to use, as chlorine breaks down in heat faster and will need to be added a little more often.

If you use chlorine, you need to maintain a level of 1 to 3 parts per million (ppm).

As a guide, if you have a 260-gallon hot tub that’s around ¼ ounce or 1½ teaspoons of granules every 2 or 3 days. If you use bromine, you should add more but less often to maintain a level of 3 to 5ppm.

It is essential to use sanitizer in your hot tub to break down the bacteria so that the filters can do their work, but which one should you go for?

Both chlorine and bromine work well as a sanitizer, but there are pros and cons for each.

Chlorine oxidizes contaminants and kills off bacteria within them, leaving behind chloramines. This is what causes skin irritation and the bad smell often associated with chlorine. The filtration system will normally capture this, so it is important to clean your filter once a week.

Bromine tears apart contaminants through ionization, leaving bromamines, which aren’t as bad as chloramines, but they still need to be filtered out.

Both bromamines and chloramines reduce the sanitizer’s effectiveness, which is why you also have to shock the water regularly (see below).

Chlorine acts more quickly than bromine, but bromine is more stable, so it works better in the warmer water of a hot tub.

Bromine is more expensive and has to be used in larger doses (3-5 ppm as opposed to 1-3 ppm for chlorine) but not as often, so it tends to balance out a little cost-wise.

If you want to learn more about the pros and cons of chlorine and bromine, you should check out this recent article here on my website—just click on the link to read it.

Should I shock my hot tub after every use?

Shock your hot tub 3-4 times per month, anytime you see large amounts of foam or scum, or the day after a large gathering where several people used the hot tub.

Shocking your hot tub is the process of giving a high dosage of chlorine or non-chlorine chemicals to reactivate the sanitizer by increasing the available free chlorine in the water.

If you shock your hot tub after every use, you run the risk of exceeding the maximum level for safe use.

But of course, this does depend on how often you use it. For regular use, say 2 or 3 times a week, shocking the water every seven days is sufficient.

If you use bromine to sanitize your hot tub, you can still use chlorine to shock it. Just don’t mix chlorine and bromine together, as this can cause a dangerous chemical reaction.

But can you use chlorine shock and bromine sanitizer together? Luckily, I answer that question in a recent article. What really surprised me was how chlorine shock and chlorine sanitizer differ.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Can too much chlorine in a hot tub hurt you?

High levels of chlorine can irritate skin and eyes, and if the chlorine levels reach 5 ppm or above, it can cause nausea, headaches, and breathing difficulties.

The level of chlorine in your hot tub water should not exceed 3 ppm. Always test the level using a test strip 2 or 3 times a week or just before getting in the water, and if it is at or above this level, do not go in.

Using test strips is easy.

But never get in a hot tub you haven’t checked the levels on. After all, those things aren’t the only issues caused by high chlorine levels. I get into all the problems in a recent article.  Not only can too much chlorine hurt you, but it can harm your hot tub too.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

High levels of chlorine can degrade the surfaces of the shell and any accessories you may have, such as headrests. It can also damage the pipes, pump, and heater.

Should I use a floating chlorine or bromine dispenser in my hot tub?

A floater in a hot tub for sanitizer makes it very easy to keep a hot tub consistently sanitized, and new tablets can be added weekly. The biggest issue people have with floaters is the floater bobbing into them when the jets are on. So, simply set the floater on the edge of the hot tub when soaking.

And just toss it back in after you get out before closing the cover.

I use the Hydro Tools floater on Amazon. It has over 7,000 reviews and an excellent star rating. Plus, the best thing about it is it’s cheap! Click on the link to check the latest price on Amazon. It’s easy to use, and the holes in the side can be closed off to reduce the speed at which the sanitizer is released.

If you decide to use bromine, the ideal product for this dispenser is Leisure Time Brom Tabs, and you can get them on Amazon too.

Click on the link to see this product and read the many good reviews. Almost all 5 stars from over 500 ratings are pretty good, although the main complaint seems to be about the packaging rather than the product.

With this type of dispenser and either bromine or chlorine tablets, you know you’re going to get the right dosage delivered slowly and evenly—just leave the jets running on economy to keep the water moving.

It is worth mentioning here that bromine is chlorine-based, so if you have an allergic reaction to chlorine, it is not necessarily a good alternative. You may want to consider salt-water as an option.

I covered this in a recent article on my website. And believe it or not, you don’t have to buy a saltwater hot tub. It’s easy and inexpensive to convert yours to saltwater.

Just click on the link to read it on my site.

How do I know if my hot tub chlorine is too low?

The best way to check the chlorine levels in your hot tub is to use a test strip. Dip the test strip in for 2 seconds, shake off the excess water, and immediately match the test strip’s color to the side of its container. It will show a range of colors which tell you if your reading is too low.

You can get these from your local dealer, but the type I recommend is the Poolmaster 4-Way test strips available on Amazon—click on the link to check the latest prices.

Poolmaster has been making pool and spa products since 1958, so I know it is a company I can trust.

These not only check the chlorine level (or bromine if you’re using that) but also alkalinity and pH levels and total hardness—essential for maintaining clear, healthy water with no scale build-up.

The strips are easy to use. And more accurate than many other brands.

You simply dip them in the water—I usually test the middle of the tub to get a more representative reading—at least 6″ below the surface for 2 seconds and then take out and shake off the excess water.

It is best to do this with the jets turned off.

The colors should be visible almost immediately, certainly after a few seconds, and you can compare the reading with the color scale on the card that comes with the test strips. This will show:

  • Active amount of chlorine or bromine in the water
  • The alkaline and pH level, which is a measure of acidity
  • The total hardness of the water—this is what causes scale to form, which can corrode the surfaces of your hot tub

You should test the water 2 or 3 times a week or before each use to be sure you are getting into a tub that is safe.

After adding chlorine, you should wait around 30 minutes before going into the water and leave the lid off to allow the fumes to dissipate. But certain sanitizers need a whole lot less waiting time than others.

You can read more about this in a recent article here on my website by clicking on the link.

Did I cover everything you wanted to know about putting chlorine in your hot tub every day?

Now you know you don’t need to add chlorine every day.

But you do need to check the chlorine level to ensure there is enough to sanitize the water. But not so much as it can harm your tub.

If there is anything I’ve not covered, just drop me a line, and don’t forget to click on the links to other articles here on my site.


Photo which requires attribution:

Still photo was taken from video – How to Add Hot Tub Chemicals to your Hot Spring spa by The Hot Tub Store. Licensed under CC2.0. The image was cropped, stretched, and had a text overlay placed on it.

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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