In writing about our personal experiences, we sometimes mention products or services that we use or recommend. This page may contain affiliate links for which we receive a commission.
We all know what a dirty bathtub ring looks like. Now imagine what that scum buildup is doing inside the plumbing of your Jacuzzi style jetted tub!
Sure, you can clean the bathtub itself — but once you start up the air jets, all kinds of nasty looking bits and specks will come floating to the surface if you don’t properly clean the jets themselves and the interior plumbing system.
That’s right, the jets and pipes behind your jet tub can quickly become contaminated with all sorts of infectious bacteria — some you can see, and some you can’t see! It’s called biofilm. More on that in a minute.
This video shows how the plumbing in air tubs works, and why you need to clean your jetted tub regularly:
Fortunately, cleaning the inside of your air tub’s elaborate collection of pipes, jets, and nozzles is really straightforward and easy!
Here’s how to properly clean a whirlpool tub yourself — and sanitize it by removing the biofilm with a jetted tub cleaner — in just a few quick steps…
How To Clean A Jacuzzi Tub With Air Jets
#1 – Check your bathtub’s manual to see what the manufacturer specifically recommends for your tub.
They typically specify which jetted tub cleaner works best for each make & model, as well as the ones you should avoid. Each air tub is different.
Can’t find your original owner’s manual? Find Jacuzzi tub manuals and Whirlpool tub manuals online.
#2 – Depending on the make & model of your air tub, you’ll either OPEN or CLOSE all of the air controls on the individual jets:
- Closing the air controls on the jets stops all air flow through them.
- Opening the air controls on the jets allows the air to flow freely through them.
Some jetted tub manufacturers call for the air controls to be fully opened, while others recommend closing them — so it’s best to read the manual first to confirm which method is best for your specific bathtub.
#3 – Fill the tub until all tub jets are submerged by 2 to 3 inches of water.
If it has been awhile since you last cleaned the tub, then it’s best to fill the tub completely with hot water.
#4 – Make your own jetted tub cleaner using common household products — or use use a jetted tub cleaner made specifically for cleaning air tub jets.
To make your own, add 3 tablespoons of a low-sudsing dishwasher detergent — such as powdered Cascade or Calgonite — and 3/4 cup of bleach. (Some recommend adding these both to the water in one step. Others make it a 2-step process, where you clean the tub once with the detergent then clean it again afterwards with the bleach. It’s up to you.)
Bleach is an effective disinfectant. However, some manufacturers may advise avoiding bleach — as it could dry out internal gaskets. If bleach is not recommended, use 1 cup of white vinegar instead. Source
#5 – Run the tub jets for 15 minutes.
#6 – Drain the tub.
#7 – Refill the tub with water (2 to 3 inches above the jets) and run the jets again for 10 minutes — to ensure that all of the jets are rinsed thoroughly.
#8 – Drain the tub again.
#9 – Wipe down the tub and nozzles.
- Use a soft cloth (like a cloth baby diaper) for the larger areas.
- Use a Q-tip to get into the cracks and crevices around the tub jets and nozzles.
#10 – Finally, sanitize everything by removing the unseen biofilm — a residue that forms around bacteria in your plumbing lines. (<– Don’t skip that video. It’s a must-see!)
Here’s why (if the above video link alone didn’t convince you):
Jetted tubs have about 15 to 20 feet of plumbing lines that run underneath the tub. These lines are full of warm stagnant water after each bath. This nasty water forms a residue called biofilm. Biofilm houses and protects bacteria from standard cleaning products like bleach, detergents, vinegar etc. Just like the cooling tower industry that has to deal with biofilm, it takes specialized chemicals to safely clean jetted tubs … If the jetted tubs are cleaned properly they are perfectly safe to use. I attached efficacy testing on the product we make. As you can see we effectively kill bacteria commonly found in jetted tubs, including legionella. There are other good products on the market as well. — Bill Soukup, President of Scientific Biofilm Solutions
A Few Things You Should Know About Cleaning Jet Tubs…
Over time, your tub jets and nozzles may start to yellow or become discolored. This is a normal and natural process that occurs as plastic ages. In most cases, there is little that can be done to rectify this condition. Painting them is an option, though not a very good one — because with continual use in water, the paint is not likely to hold up very well and the resulting peeling or bubbling will look worse than the natural discoloration of the plastic.
Without a doubt, proper cleaning of your jetted tub is very important and cannot be overlooked. Since moisture is always present in the jets and pipes of your air tub, bacteria can easily build up — and mold, mildew, and other health risks can quickly become an issue.
How often you need clean the jets in your air tub depends on how often you use it:
- For the everyday user, it may be necessary to clean and sanitize once a month.
- If you only use the jetted tub occasionally, you can probably get by with cleaning and sanitizing it once every 3 to 4 months.
Proper Jacuzzi cleaning isn’t a hard task, it’s just one that can’t be forgotten. If you don’t stay on top of it, then you may have to pay to have your jetted tub professionally cleaned — which comes with a price tag of about $180, as described in this video:
More About Cleaning Jacuzzi Jets & Whirlpool Tubs
In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some other resources to help you clean a jetted tub and remove unseen bacteria from the jets and pipes:
- How To Remove Clogs From Jacuzzi Intake Valves
- Kohler Whirlpool Tub Cleaning Tips
- Lots Of Homeowner Tips For Cleaning Hot Tub Jets
- More Homeowner Tips For Cleaning Tub Jets
- Whirlpool Hot Tub Cleaning Tips
- How To Drain And Clean A Hot Tub
I’ve been involved in RVing for 50 years now — including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller, you’ve got a good idea of who I am.