Reasons Why Your Hot Tub Has an Unpleasant Smell?

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A smelling hot tub is one of the challenges most homeowners experience without any knowledge on how to fix the problem. The foul odor can be anything from sour and pungent to moldy that smells like a wet dog. A clean hot tub is a convenient place to relax and loosen tired muscles. However, your bathtub requires special maintenance and chemicals to keep the water safe and clean.

If not well maintained, your hot tub can attract mold, algae, and bacteria, which are the major causes of a smelling bathtub. To ensure that the water is clean at all times, you should consider using a robotic pool cleaner. A  cleaner like the dolphin quantum robotic pool cleaner. It is also worth noting that the use of bromine to disinfect the hot tub can also make your tub have a musty smell that is similar to dirty socks.

3 common culprits of bathtub smell and how to fix them


Since hot tubs are moist, warm and humid, you should closely monitor the quality of water to prevent the tub from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria. To prevent bacteria growth and keep your hot tub clean and safe, you should ensure that the water chemistry is balanced at all times. You can maintain a clean, safe tub by regularly testing the water and adjusting the chemistry as necessary.

The pH levels in your hot tub should be between 7.4 and 7.6. If the pH is low, the water will have a sharp pungent smell. If the pH is high, your tub could have a musty, stale odor. To decontaminate unbalanced and smelly water, you should hyper chlorinate the water using granular chlorine to kill the bacteria.


Beyond the imagination of most homeowners, bacteria can also build in the spa’s plumbing causing the unpleasant smell. Unfortunately, unlike cleaning and balancing the water, fixing the problem in the plumbing is a little more difficult. Your spa’s plumbing is likely to have a bacteria built up if the tub has been neglected for a while. The plumbing may also have bacteria built up if the tub is left almost empty but with the water filling the pipes. In addition to bacteria built up in the plumbing and filter, the bio-film can also enter the plumbing and cause the unpleasant smell.

To fix the problem, you may have to purge the system entirely especially if you have tried hyper-chlorinating the water before. To clean the contaminant that could be built up in jets, plumbing, and filtration system, you should first circulate the hyper-chlorinated water and then add spa purge to the water. Once you complete the purge, you should then empty the spa water and do a refill. After refilling, you should immediately adjust the water chemistry.


The filter plays all an important role in the cleanup of your tub by catching all the nasty contaminants and debris that get into your system. Bacteria and mole build up in the hot tub filter are common, and thus, it should be one of the areas you check first whenever you have a bad smell. You should regularly check the status of the filter to ensure that it is in good condition. If the filter is more than a year old, you should replace it. If it is still new, you should regularly clean it with a filter cleaner.

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