Most new whirlpool owners forget the fact that along with the added features found in their new tub there is also extended maintenance necessary to keep there tub clean and healthy for using.
There are two different types of Whirlpool tubs. The first is an Air Jet system that does not circulate water through the pump. The second is a water circulation system that provides water jets. Either of these types can be found in both inside and outside versions of whirlpool and hot tubs.
If you happened to purchase a home or are renting and have never delt with a whirlpool tub before it is important that you visit your manufacturers website and get the instructions booklet that should have been provided to you.
Manufacturers of water jet systems almost always suggest that the system pump not be run if you are using a variety of bath oils and soaps. This is because the circulating soaps are made of organics that will stay inside the pipes of the pump. If you allow the pump to sit with soapy water you are likely to build up mold and bacteria in the system.
Black mold that is in your pump system is the same type of mold that you see on the bottom of your shower mat when you clean a standard tub. This mold will grow faster in humid wet and warm conditions however since most homes are constantly over 68F you will see about the same mold production in summer and winter.
Just like on your tub mat the mold will grow whether you use the tub or not. This means it is important to drain outside hotubs when not in use and then prepare them with a pre-cleaning before your first use.
Whirlpool tubs inside your home must be constantly cleaned with a bleach solution or a liquid cleaner specified by your manufacturer. In reality most bottled products will contain a bleach and although they may contain other cleaners they will definitely cost a lot more then a $1 gallon of bleach at the supermarket.
Cleaning The System
For normal cleaning fill your tub to the standard height for operation then for every 75 gallons of water add one gallon of household bleach without additives.
Allow the tub to operate for 15 to 20 minutes with the jets wide open and inspect your jets as the process continues.
If your jets become clogged during cleaning you can stop and clean the jet manually. If all of your jets become clogged then you may have an excess amount of bacteria built up in the pump lines. You may try turning off the pump for about 1 hour and then try to operate it again. The bleach in the system should have broke down the bacteria enough that the water will flow through the jets. If not manual cleaning will be necessary.
Additionally some jets are removable but may need a special tool but unfortunately some manufacturers do not provide easy removal of your jets for cleaning and repair so you will need to call a qualified service repair person.
Keeping Your Whirlpool Clean
Now that you know how to clean the tub you should do so every month or every two weeks if necessary in your are. Places like Hawaii, Florida and Southern California will require a shorter cleaning schedule.
It is also important to use only water in your tub unless you have an air jet tub. If you want to take a bubble or oil bath then just don’t turn on the pump.
A liquid cleaner specifically designed for whirlpool tubs will be a good choice for standard maintenance follow the directions and use regularly.
The black mold and bacteria that builds up in your tub is not likely the highly toxic type however it may make you sick and it is definitely not attractive.
If you have a serious problem or if your jets are clogged call a whirlpool service person and have them instruct you on the methods needed for an extended cleaning of your system.