After a stressful day, you come home and decide to make use of that neglected jetted bathtub. You put on some music, fill the jetted bathtub with steaming water, light scented candles, pour a glass of wine, slip into the bath, and fire up those jets to gently massage and relax you—only to be coated in slimy black gunk and greasy gray bubbles! The bad news: those jets are a haven for bacteria and mold. The good news: it's quick and easy to clean, and even easier to maintain. To clean a jetted bathtub, you'll need to use some common household cleaners to take care of normal grime in your water jets and air jets; for more stubborn problems referred to as biofilms, you'll need to use a special cleaner.
Cleaning Water Jets with Household Supplies
1. Fill the jetted bathtub. If you didn't panic and drain that tub the moment you saw the gunk, don't! If you did, no problem—fill the jetted bathtub with hot water to approximately 4 inches (10 cm) above the highest jets.
2. Turn off the air induction valve. This will ensure that only water is going through the pipes instead of being mixed with air. Some feel that opening up the air induction port is more effective, as it increases the turbulence. If your jetted bathtub has cleaning instructions, follow the guidelines listed there.
3. Add cleanser to the water. Use about 1/4 cup (50ml) of a low-foaming surfactant such as powdered dishwasher detergent to the water. Cascade Complete is a good choice—it's based on enzymatic action rather than acidic action. Acidic detergent will eventually strip the sealant on the brass, and it will tarnish. In an emergency, though, any dishwashing detergent will work.
4. Run the jets for 10-15 minutes. Set the jets to the highest pressure, and turn it on. Be of strong stomach—you will probably see some nasty stuff jetting out. This is good: it's better than lingering in your pipes.
5. Drain the tub. Clean out the residue, and refill it with cold water—above the jets again.
6. Run the jets for another 10 minutes. You want to rinse everything out, thoroughly.
7. Drain the tub. Clean it thoroughly—it should be ready to use now.
8. Get ready. Fill the tub back up with steamy water. (You can hit the jets for a test, if you like—no more surprises!) Dim the lights, relight the candles, turn on the music, pour another glass of wine, power up the jets, and slip into bliss. You earned it!
Cleaning Air Jets with Household Supplies
1. Fill the tub. Add hot water to at least 6 inches (15 cm) above air injector holes.
2. Add cleanser to the water. Add 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of dishwashing detergent. Cascade Complete is a good choice for this.
3. Add 1/2 cup (100 ml) of household bleach. Some manufacturers do not recommend bleach as it may eventually dry out the internal gaskets. In an emergency, it'll work well. For ongoing maintenance, check with your tub's manufacturer to see what they recommend.
4. Power it up. Turn the air blower on for about 2 minutes to mix everything together.
5. Let it soak. Shut the blower down, then allow the bath to soak in the mix for approximately 2 hours
6. Give it another run. Turn on air bath and run for approximately 5 minutes.
7. Turn air bath unit off and drain tub. Clean thoroughly to get rid of any residue. If you're still in the mood for a bath, now's the time!
Cleaning With a Biofilm Remover
Over time, your jetted tub is likely to develop accumulations of stubborn combinations of deposits in the tubing called biofilms. These bio-films are not readily penetrated with common household cleaners, and can carry high levels of potentially harmful bacteria. To remove them, use special cleaners designed for this purpose.
1. Read the instructions on the container and be sure to follow them carefully to avoid injury or potential damage to your jetted tub.
2. Fill the bathtub with warm water high enough to cover the jets. Turn the jets on.
3 . Add the recommended amount of biofilm remover to the water, and run the jets in the tub for the specified interval.
.For the initial cleaning, run the tub for an hour.
.For maintenance cleaning, use a lighter concentration of the biofilm remover and run for a shorter duration (10-15 minutes).
4. Drain your tub, and clean any residue around the sides. Refill the tub again until the water covers the jets. Run again for a few minutes, then drain. Your tub should be ready to go.