Do Hot Tub Scum Balls Work?

  • By: Paul
  • Date: January 6, 2022

Hot tub water maintenance is no easy task. It requires constant water pH level checks, skimming for unwanted small particles, required chemicals, and regular filter cleaning.

It is still quite common for scum and slime to build up, putting the users in danger because of unsanitary conditions. 

Scum balls are miracle products that help absorb any oil and small debris from the water, preventing scum from forming in the first place. But, the real question remains: do they work?

Scum balls work by absorbing almost 40 times their weight. Once thrown in your hot tub, they constantly float and absorb any oil or lotions, ultimately improving your filter life.

They also reduce the likelihood of slime or scum lines forming on or around the edges of hot tub water.

Seemingly a straightforward solution, scum balls work continuously to keep your water clean, lowering the costs of hot tub water maintenance significantly. 

Read on to know everything there is about this miracle product and cut costs as you keep your hot tub water squeaky clean. 

What Exactly Are Scum Balls

Scum balls (or bugs named after their shape) are made from patented foam with powerful absorption qualities.

These oils absorbing sponges are excellent low-maintenance water cleaning accessories that do not require the usual upkeep like some other water-maintenance products. 

All you have to do is throw a couple of scum balls in your hot tub and let them float as they absorb unsanitary scum, which includes suntan locations, body oils, cosmetics, and other inanimate scum like pollen.

Moreover, they also recuse any unwanted smells from your hot tub and ensure that you do not leave the tub with an oily residue. 

Investing in scumballs will help cut down on the overall cleaning costs of your hot tub as it increases the time between periodic cleaning and the use of expensive chemicals to maintain water pH.

Running the jets while the scum balls work can help them absorb more scum as the oil rushes with the water.

How Do Scum Balls Work?

Scum balls are easy to use, with some reusable options available. However, hot tub owners often prefer to replace them after keeping them in the tub for a couple of months.

Ensure to only use scumballs for the recommended time to prevent them from disintegrating in water.

All you need to do is:

  1. Drop the scum balls or scum bugs in the hot tub. 
  2. Based on the manufacturer’s instructions, replace or reuse the product. 
  3. If reusable, clean the scum ball (we talk about this later) and place it in the water till it’s dirty again. 
  4. Check product details to see how long you can use it.

How Do You Clean A Scum Ball? 

As we discussed, there are reusable scum balls available in the market. However, you need to make sure all the gunk and slime are removed from the product before replacing it in the water.

If there isn’t a lot of gunk, you can clean the scum ball by thoroughly washing it with water. However, if that isn’t the case, follow one of the methods below.

Throw Them In The Washer

Gunky scumballs can usually get the washer treatment on the delicate setting. Please put them in delicate bags and throw them in the washer.

Once out of the washer, they will be clean but probably warped. However, they do get back to their original shape after floating in your hot tub for a few hours. 

Use a Vinegar Solution 

Some users prefer to use vinegar to clean the dirt accumulated by the scum ball.

But beware, while the acidic properties of vinegar make it an excellent cleaning agent, they may cause the scum balls to deteriorate over time.

Soap and Water Does The Trick 

While it may seem like the obvious cleaning choice, soap and water can clean the scum ball, but it can create another problem. 

Use soap and water two to three times to eliminate all the slime and grime. However, ensure that you get rid of all the soap in the scum ball, or you could have soapy hot tub water. 

Clean the scum ball with water thoroughly to ensure complete soap removal before replacing them in the tub.

Know When It’s Time For Replacement 

Even reusable scum balls have a suggested usage limit. Check the label to ensure you discard the scum ball at the right time.

Moreover, you can skip the cleaning process and throw in new scum balls since they are not as expensive as chemical cleaning agents.

Is Regular Sponge A Good Replacement For Scum Balls?

Scum balls are made from patented material with far greater absorption than a regular sponge.

A traditional sponge will not do the same job as the synthetic scum ball sponge attracting oils and other impurities. 

However, some people recommend using tennis balls in the hot tub water to eliminate oily residue left behind by sunscreens, suntan lotions, or other oils produced by the skin.

What Causes Scum Build Up In Hot Tubs?

We know that scum balls are an excellent product, making hot tub water maintenance as easy as can be.

However, knowing what causes scum in the first place can help you (possibly) avoid those practices to maintain sanitary conditions in your spa better. 

Dead Skin Cells And Body Oils

We lose thousands of millions of skin cells in a day.

To top that, we also lose hair and body oils. Moreover, the spa’s high water temperature may also cause us to sweat as we take a dip. All these leave a residue upon use.

Periodic cleaning of the hot tub filter is necessary to maintain cleanliness. 

Self-Care Products 

When people step into spas, they usually have sunscreen, perfumes, and lotions on their bodies, which leave an oily residue behind.

Taking a quick shower before you step into your spa can help your water stay clean for longer.

Metal Presence In Your Hot Tub Water 

Depending on your water source, the presence of various metals like copper and iron can cause scum.

The metals react with chlorine to cause stain or green scum. You can use special stain removers to get rid of the scum. You can also use a hose filter or a metal sequestrant.

Problem With The Filters

If your filters are not working efficiently, you can have a scum issue on your hand. Keep a regular check and replace the filters when needed. 

Chemically Imbalanced Hot Tub Water   

Chemically unbalanced hot tub water is a brewing space for bacteria and scum, especially if you have high pH. Keep testing for pH levels regularly and balance them out as needed.

Bottom Line

All in all, we definitely recommend using scum ball as a budget-friendly measure to keep scum away from your hot tubs, as well as making it easy to maintain your spa water much more efficiently. This menial effort solution works well with all types of hot tubs, floating away as you keep enjoying your soak.

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