What Happens if You Put Bubble Bath in a Hot Tub?

The thing that attracts most people to owning a hot tub is the ability to relax and feel those bubbles working on your muscles, easing the aches and pains. And, it’s natural to wonder what happens if you put bubble bath in a hot tub.

Here’s what I found out (the hard way):

Bubble bath will quickly overwhelm a hot tub with excess foam and it can also put extra wear and tear on the pump and heater, causing them to work harder to move the water through. But some detergents can also have a chemical reaction with chlorine, leaving a rough film on the acrylic shell.

So, as tempting as it might be, especially if you have kids and they want a bubble party with their friends, let me tell you this – don’t do it! That doesn’t mean to say they can’t have fun, though. There are plenty of other things you can add to enhance your enjoyment.

To find out what you can and can’t do and what to do if someone puts bubble bath in your hot tub, read on.

Is it safe to put bubble bath in a hot tub?

Putting bubble bath in a hot tub will not harm people, but it may harm the equipment in a hot tub. The excess of bubbles is likely to become so overwhelming that it makes the hot tub difficult to use and enjoy.

So, the first thing that will happen is you’ll get an immense amount of bubbles – so much that you probably won’t find the controls let alone your kids!

This is why. If you put dish soap in a bowl and slowly add water, you hardly get any suds at all but turn on the faucet full blast, and the suds soon build up. This is because you are adding air into the mix. The hot tub jets work the same way. Agitating the water intensifies the process, and soon things get out of control.

This mountain of bubbles will do nothing to increase your enjoyment. In fact, it will make it virtually impossible to sit in your hot tub for any length of time, even if you turn off the jets.

And the bubbles won’t really go away on their own.

Every time you get in and turn the jets on, they will come foaming back! So, unfortunately, the only way to deal with it effectively is to drain, rinse, and refill the hot tub.

It may seem like great fun for the kids, but you could end up having to replace the pump because it has to work harder to move the water around.

If I put bubble bath in my hot tub, do I need to drain it after?

Small amounts of bubbles from bubble bath can be removed with a skimming net. Large amounts of bubble bath will require draining, rinsing, and refilling a hot tub. In either case, also remove and rinse off the filters,

But let’s look at that in greater detail:

First, you need to turn off the jets, and then you should skim off all of the soap suds from the top.

There will be some residue, but to disperse this, try sprinkling salt over the surface. Check your pH and alkalinity levels after adding anything like this, and adjust accordingly.

Take out your filter and hose it down for a good 5 minutes or more, making sure you get into the pleats. A handy tool to have around for this is the Filter Flosser from Amazon, which simply connects to your hose pipe.

You can find it on Amazon by clicking on the link.

Then you should shock your tub. Add a large dose of chlorine and run the jets for around an hour before turning them off and leave for a couple of minutes before turning them on again.

If more bubbles appear, and you still have some of the product in the system, and you have no alternative but to drain the tub, thoroughly clean it before refilling.

For more information on changing the water and cleaning the tub, check out this recent article. I not only get into how often you should be changing your water, but how I can drain mine in under 15 minutes!

You can read it here on my website by clicking on the link.

Will bubble bath hurt the equipment of a Jacuzzi hot tub?

Do not use bubble bath in a Jacuzzi hot tub. Jacuzzi is just a brand name and not different with regards to bubble bath than any other hot tub manufacturer.

Hot tubs aren’t like bathtubs where they get drained after every use – never add bubble bath, detergents, or soapy products to create an effect.

Some aromatherapy products contain other oils that can be damaging to your hot tub as well.

I talked about using bath salts in your hot tub in a recent article. Unfortunately, most bath salts and essential oils will seriously damage hot tubs. But there is 1 product that works really well that accomplishes the same thing.

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

Bubble bath, in particular, can damage your pump if it draws in foam. Because it lacks the friction of water, the pump will start to run too fast and overheat. If it repeatedly draws in foam then liquid, the vibration can cause the bearings and seals to work loose, resulting in failure.

Jets can also become clogged with foam as it mixes with air and expands. This will be very difficult to remedy if all the nozzles become blocked.

Is there a safe alternative to bubble bath for my hot tub?

There is not a safe product on the market to produce bubbles in a hot tub. However, there are some approved aromatherapy products designed to improve the smell and feel of the water.

So, if it’s the foam you’re looking for, the hot tub is not for you. Hot tubs do create bubbles, that’s one reason why we love them, but this is a natural reaction as air mixes with water at the jet nozzle.

One product I like in particular is InSPAration aromatherapy on Amazon. It works well with chlorine, bromine, and all saltwater spas.

For less than 60 bucks, you get an assortment of 24 different scents in 50 individual sample pillow packets, so you can choose which ones you like the best and only order those in the future. You just twist off the tip and squeeze the liquid directly into the water.

One packet will easily serve a 6-seat 300-gallon hot tub, and it will not create foam, cause cloudy water or leave an oily residue.

The skin moisturizing emollients will also help reduce wrinkly skin from staying in too long.

InSPAration has been serving the spa community since 1974, so you know you’re going to get a tried and tested product from them. These small samples are a good introduction to their aromatherapy and wellness ranges.

CLICK HERE to see InSPAration on Amazon.

Just one word of warning.

It seems some users bought these to hide a chemical smell and then complained that the water was cloudy after using them for a while. Although they will mask some hot tub odor, if you are getting a bad smell from the water, you need to deal with that first.

See this recent article here on my website by clicking on the link.

How to get rid of bubbles in a hot tub

Eliminate bubbles in a hot tub by ensuring pH levels are correct, scooping out excess foam on the surface, and hyper-chlorinating the water. For large amounts of bubbles, a full drain and refill of the hot tub may be necessary.

Bubbles or foam in a hot tub can indicate high pH, high levels of Total Dissolved Solids (TDSs), or bubble bath or detergent was added to the water.

Things such as makeup, deodorant, body lotions, oils, and shampoo all add to the TDS content of your hot tub, and over time these build up to a level where, when the jets are turned on, foam is created.

Foam on the water’s surface could also indicate that there is a chemical imbalance and the pH is too high. Check your pH and alkalinity levels regularly and adjust accordingly to prevent the water from foaming.

If you get dish soap in your hot tub, the best way to disperse it is by sprinkling table salt over the surface.

Table salt is a combination of sodium and chlorine, so it won’t react adversely with the chlorine in your water but don’t overdo it because adding ordinary household products such as this could affect the chemical balance of the water.

In a recent article, I looked at how to get detergent out of your hot tub. After all, it’s not uncommon for people to reach for that to clean their hot tubs. But there’s only 1 surefire way to get rid of its aftereffects.

Read it here on my website by clicking on the link.

Did I cover everything you wanted to know about what happens if you put bubble bath in a hot tub?

The main thing you should take away from this article is never to add bubble bath to your hot tub. But if you do, your best option is to drain it and start again.

You should only add salts and essential oils that are created for use in hot tubs and avoid cheap products that claim to be for spas and pools – the two are entirely different and work in different ways.

If there is anything I missed or you have any questions on this subject, just drop me a line, and I will do my best to answer it. And don’t forget to check out the other related articles here on my site. Just click on the links.


Photo which requires attribution:

Bubble bath anyone? Purging the hot tub by Jeff Sandquist is licensed under CC2.0 and was edited, cropped, color-adjusted, 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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