How to Clean a Jetted Tub (2024)

By Amanda Lutz Updated March 13, 2024

Jetted tubs are designed for relaxation. The water jets provide a therapeutic, spa-like experience for relaxing your muscles through water-powered massages. 

Unfortunately, the tub’s built-in water jets can accumulate grime, making cleaning your tub far from relaxing. Without proper cleaning, the jets can become pockets of corrosion and rust. In addition to grime, they can also house mold and soap scum buildup.

In this article, we’ll walk through the best processes for cleaning and maintaining a jetted tub for long-term, clean comfort. Keep reading to learn more about deep cleaning your jetted tub (including stain removal), and follow our favorite maintenance tips to help simplify the process.

Why Clean a Jetted Tub?

Cleaning all of your bathroom fixtures is an important chore. You can prevent permanent stains, clear away buildup, and inspect the watertight caulk to check for leaks or problems. Cleaning your jetted tub is even more important because of all its equipment and crevices.

If you’ve been putting off giving your jetted tub a deep cleaning, here’s why you should add it to your chore list immediately: 

Materials Needed

You don’t need aggressive chemicals or specialty tools to clean your jetted tub. Just look for these simple supplies that you likely already have in your home: 

Cleaning Agents


Step-by-Step Cleaning Guide

Once you’ve gathered your materials, you’re ready to clean your jetted tub. The entire project can take less than an hour. Follow these steps to deep clean your jetted or whirlpool tub.

Step 1: Read Your Manufacturer’s Manual

Before you start running your tub water, review the manufacturer’s manual. You can often find them online if you don’t have a copy. This manual will include the following details:

You will turn off the valves in later cleaning steps unless the manufacturer recommends against it. This step will recirculate the water and the added cleaning solutions throughout the jets without adding new water and diluting the formula. While helpful, this is not essential—following the manufacturer’s recommendations is more important.

Once you understand how to operate and maintain your tub correctly, it’s time to start the cleaning process.

Step 2: Flush the Tub With Plain Water

Fill the tub with cold water until the water level rises a couple of inches above the top jets, and run the jets for at least 10 minutes. This process will start to loosen and agitate any buildup, mold, and surface bacteria.

If it’s been several weeks since you last used the tub, fill it with warm water for even more loosening power. After it runs for 10 minutes, drain the tub.

Step 3: Fill the Tub With Hot Water and Vinegar

Refill the tub with hot water up to the same level as before. Mix approximately a quarter cup of detergent into the water until it dissolves. Then, add 2–3 cups of vinegar, depending on how dirty the tub appears. 

If the manufacturer permits, close the air induction valves according to the manual’s instructions. (If the manufacturer recommends against it, proceed without closing the valves.) Turn on the jets for 10–20 minutes before draining the tub again.

If you can shut the valves, monitor them to see when new debris stops entering the tub. If black fragments or debris continue to enter the tub from the jets, run them for an additional five minutes before draining. You can also continually drain the tub and complete this step again if there’s lots of debris.

Step 4: Scrub the Tub Surface With a Baking Soda Paste

Once the jetted bathtub is empty, sprinkle a handful or two of baking soda across the tub’s bottom, sides, and lip. Let the baking soda sit on the moist surface for five minutes.

The baking soda and lingering water should form a loose paste. Use a microfiber towel or soft cloth to scrub the paste into the tub surface. Scrub lightly to avoid scratching the surface, and move in circular strokes instead of rubbing back and forth.

As you scrub, look for pink film, patches of soap or bath oil buildup, and other stains that may need additional scrubbing.

Step 5: Scrub the Jets in the Tub

Use a toothbrush to gently clean the jet trim and nozzles. Again, rub softly and in a circular motion until you have clean bathtub jets. It’s better to scrub the dirty surfaces repeatedly with light pressure than to push too firmly. 

Carefully scrub around the trim for buildup caught in the crevices and contours. 

Once you’ve finished scrubbing, thoroughly rinse the tub with clean water. You can fill the tub completely with water again or add a few inches of water to the bottom and use the microfiber cloth to wipe down the sides. 

Step 6: Scrub the Caulk (Optional)

Visually inspect the caulk along the tub’s floor or sides. If you see stains or discoloration, apply a thin paste of baking soda and water. Gently scrub the caulk with your toothbrush and wipe away the residue. 

This six-step process should keep your tub clean, especially if you clean it monthly or whenever you notice buildup. Some manufacturers recommend flushing the tub after or before each use, but regular deep cleaning can be more practical.

Cleaning Tough Stains

Sometimes, deep cleaning with baking soda and vinegar isn’t enough. Your jetted tub may have tough stains discoloring the surface or caulk, especially if you haven’t regularly cleaned it. Try these techniques to get rid of deep stains in your tub. These tips also apply to most other types of bathtubs.

Create a More Powerful Cleaning Paste

Instead of using detergent or a mild baking soda and water paste, create a paste of two parts baking soda to one part hydrogen peroxide. This cleaning solution can kill bacteria, remove stains, and whiten surfaces.

Apply this paste to stains and let it sit for 30–60 minutes. Then, scrub the surface lightly with a toothbrush and circular strokes.

Apply Vinegar to Hard Water Stains

If you have hard water in your area, you may have hard water stains: cloudy white or pinkish buildup around your faucets. The calcified buildup isn’t necessarily dangerous, but it doesn’t look good and can make valves stick over time.

Clear away hard water buildup by dampening a towel or paper towel and leaving it on faucets, spouts, and drains for an hour. Then, remove the towel and rinse the surface clean.

Avoid Using Bleach

While bleach is a powerful cleaner that can kill mold and bacteria, it can also etch the surface of your tub and discolor colored grout or paint. It can even chemically damage the O-rings in your tub’s jets.

Bleach is also an irritant that can affect your skin, eyes, and airways. If you must use bleach, ensure it’s properly diluted with no more than a half cup of bleach per half gallon of water. And never combine bleach with other cleaners, as it can form a dangerous and sometimes toxic concoction. 

Maintenance Tips

Cleaning your jetted tub reduces the risk of mold, bacteria, and other gunk, so you can enjoy a relaxing soak whenever you want. If you use your tub frequently, clean it once per month for optimal maintenance. If you use it infrequently, you can clean it every three months.

Consider these additional maintenance tips for your jetted tub:

Our Recommendation

Jetted tubs offer a jacuzzi-like experience that can relieve sore muscles and make your baths more relaxing. Regularly cleaning the tub is essential for safety and can minimize your exposure to potentially dangerous mold and bacteria. We recommend deep cleaning your jetted bathtub at least once per month to keep it in good condition.

How to Clean a Jetted Tub FAQ

What is the easiest way to clean a jetted tub?

The easiest way to clean a jetted tub is by flushing it with water and diluted soap. Check your manufacturer’s instructions or use a very mild detergent, and let the cleaning solution circulate through the jets without hands-on scrubbing.

What is the brown stuff coming out of my bathtub jets?

The brown stuff coming from your bathtub jets may be dissolved iron or rust. It can also be flakes of mold or fragments of biofilm.

How often do you need to clean a jetted tub?

You need to clean a jetted tub once per month if you use it frequently or once every three months if you rarely use it. Regularly deep cleaning your tub will make subsequent cleanings easier and helps prevent excessive buildup over time.

Can you use bleach to clean a jetted tub?

You can use bleach to clean a jetted tub (unless the manufacturer recommends against it), but keep in mind that bleach is a harsh cleaner that can damage some tubs. If you do use bleach, take care to adequately dilute it, protect your skin, and ensure there is plenty of ventilation in the area. And never use bleach in combination with other cleaners.