One of the most common questions we get asked is if it is possible to run a hot tub without using chemicals. In a word the answer is no. Chemicals are essential to the operation of any hot tub. There are, however, ways to reduce the amount of chemicals that you use. But before we get into that, let’s first look at why we need chemicals in the first place.


Hot tub chemicals generally serve 3 main purposes:

  • Killing bacteria to keep the water clear and safe to use. Simply put, without sanitizing chemicals like bromine or chlorine, bacteria in the hot tub water will quickly begin to multiply and cause issues with both water clarity and safety.
  • Balancing the water to make a more comfortable bathing experience and increase the lifespan of the hot tub. As we’ve already covered, keeping your water in balance is the best way to ensure your hot tub has a long, trouble free life.
  • Improving the bathing experience in some way. Many hot tub owners add additional chemicals designed to improve their bathing experience. These chemicals include things like clarifiers, anti-foam, water softeners, and aromatherapy oils or crystals.


Generally speaking, there are two reasons why people don’t want to use hot tub chemicals:

1) They Want A More “Natural” Feeling Experience

Some people don’t like the idea of bathing in water treated with chemicals and would prefer to bathe in more “natural” water. Hot tubs often get the reputation of having harsh water that drys out your skin and burns your eyes. The reality is that more often than not, these issues are caused by the balance of the water, rather than the chemicals themselves. If the water is properly balanced, you shouldn’t actually notice much of a difference between “natural” water and water treated with chemicals.

2) Reducing Costs

Some people simply don’t like the expense of having to buy hot tub chemicals. With the right chemical regiment however, your hot tub chemical costs can be quite low with most of our customers only spending around $50 per month on their chemicals.


So if we can’t completely eliminate hot tub chemicals, how can we at least reduce the amount that we use? There are several ways to reduce hot tub chemical usage. These include:

Keeping Your Water Balanced

Well balanced water not only makes for a more comfortable bathing experience, it also helps your sanitizer (bromine or chlorine) work at peak efficiency. The more efficiently your sanitizer is working, the less of it you will need to add in order to keep the water clean and clear.

Only Use The Essentials

Only using the hot tub chemicals that you actually need is one of the best ways to reduce your chemical costs. While balancing and sanitizing chemicals are essential to the operation of your hot tub, other chemicals such as anti-foam and clarifiers are not. In fact, these chemicals essentially just cover up other water quality issues that can be solved with sanitizing and balancing chemicals.

Add An Ozonator Or UV Filter To The Hot Tub

Ozonators and UV filters are additional sanitization systems that can be added to most hot tubs. They help reduce the amount of sanitizer that your hot tub requires by reducing (but not eliminating) the amount bacteria that are in the water. Although these can be added after you buy the hot tub, the cost of buying and installing them is often more than you can realistically save on chemicals over their lifespan. In general, these systems are much more affordable to add to the hot tub as they’re being built, rather than retrofitting them later.

Use The Nature 2 Spa Filter

Nature 2 Spa Filters are mineral filters that are placed inside your hot tub’s micro filter. The filters are filled with naturally anti-microbial minerals such as silver that kill bacteria, reducing the amount of sanitizer that is needed to run the hot tub.

Keep Your Filters Clean

If you don’t regularly clean your hot tub filters your likely using more sanitizer than you need to. Sanitizing chemicals are designed to attack organic materials. This can be bacteria or it can be dirt and debris that is caught in the filter. The more of your sanitizer that gets used up fighting the dirt and debris in your filter, the less is available to kill bacteria and the more you will need to add to keep the water clean and clear.

To maximize the efficiency of your sanitizing chemicals simply follow this standard hot tub filter maintenance schedule:

  • Rinse the filter every 1-2 weeks.
  • Soak the filter in a filter cleaning solution every 3-4 months.
  • Replace the filter every 12-16 months.

Get Rid Of Biofilm

Biofilm is a general term for any group of bacteria and other micro-organisms that stick themselves to a surface which is in regular contact with water. As they build up, these micro-organisms cover themselves in a protective layer of slime that is resistant to sanitizing chemicals. Over time biofilm will build up in the plumbing of any hot tub. This greatly increases the amount of sanitizer your hot tub needs as it constantly fight to remove the biofilm without success.

To remove biofilm buildup in your hot tub, simply add a hot tub plumbing cleaner to the water before your drain and refill the hot tub.


While it is not possible to safely run a hot tub without chemicals there are many ways to reduce the amount of chemicals that you do use. Whether you’re looking for a more “natural” bathing experience, or simply want to reduce your hot tub chemical costs, these tips can help you achieve your goal. For more information about hot tub chemicals, consult our water care experts.

Read More: Hot Tub Chemicals; What Do They Actually Do?

The Spa Shoppe

(905) 666-5333

1545 Dundas St E
Whitby, ON L1N 2K6



Monday – Friday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Apply for Financing Online