Why Does My Hot Tub Smell?

Hot tubs are usually known as pleasant, relaxing places. But this ambience can be quickly broken if the hot tub smells like mildew or rotten eggs. If you’re asking yourself, “Why does my hot tub smell?” we’ve put together an article to help you get rid of the odor and get your hot tub back to being the place of enjoyable relaxation it should be.

What Causes A Hot Tub to Smell?

There are a couple of reasons why a hot tub can begin to smell bad. Sometimes it has to do with the growth of organisms in the water such as bacteria, mold or algae. The odors caused by these living entities are typically a result of the organic waste products created by their metabolic processes. Or in other words, bacteria poop!

Another reason that a hot tub might begin to smell is because of a chemical imbalance. This can be due to the breakdown of the chemicals that are used to keep the water clean. Common chemical culprits that cause unpleasant odors are chloramines which are produced by chemical reactions involving chlorine based cleaners or bromamines which can occur when bromine reacts with ammonia.

How Do I Stop My Hot Tub from Smelling?

If your hot tub is giving off an unpleasant odor, you should attempt to go through a list of procedures that starts with simple fixes and progresses through to more complicated strategies. To prevent more labor than necessary, we’ve listed these suggestions in order from simplest to most complicated.

Water Chemistry

Keeping your water chemistry balanced is the first port of call when it comes to keeping the hot tub water fresh and clean. You should be testing the water at least once a week anyway. If any of your levels are out of range, the possibility of organic growth or chemical imbalance is elevated. The results of your water tests may call for the addition of chemicals to realign the equilibrium. Very often, simply rebalancing the water chemistry will get rid of any unpleasant odors.

Water Filters

Water filters are used to trap larger particles that get into the water. Things like dirt, pollen, insects or other organic materials can encourage the growth of odor causing organisms. If the filters aren’t working properly, larger debris won’t be filtered out and odor causing agents can flourish. It’s also possible that the filters themselves will begin to harbor bacteria and molds. Water filters should be cleaned once a month and replaced every year or so. Make sure water filter inspection is part of your regular hot tub maintenance schedule.

Hot Tub Covering

Hot tub covers are used to keep heat in and unwanted things out of the hot tub when it isn’t being used. But over time the hot tub cover can become waterlogged and provide an ideal environment for the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria. Before going to more extreme measures to get rid of an unpleasant odor, clean and inspect the hot tub cover to make sure it isn’t the source of the problem. If it’s old or in bad repair, replacement might be necessary.


The plumbing of the hot tub can sometimes provide an environment for the growth of bacteria and other odor causing organisms. This typically occurs if the hot tub hasn’t been used in some time or it’s been sitting empty for awhile. If all the previous fixes haven’t tackled the odor problem, it’s time to drain the hot tub completely and give it a thorough cleaning. There are specialized cleaners that can be used to flush out the plumbing and kill off any odor causing contaminants. Refilling the hot tub with fresh water and getting the water chemistry back into balance will allow you to start anew.

Now that you’ve learned what to do if you find that your hot tub smells, download a free buyer’s guide for more information.

HT Guide

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