We’ve all seen people in the movies add bubbles to a hot tub and hilarity ensues. But, it’s not that funny when it’s your hot tub. You’re pretty sure no one added bubbles to your hot tub so why is your hot tub foaming?  When the jets are in use, you will notice a bubbly texture to the surface of your water. But the turbidity of the water caused by the jets disappears as soon as they are turned off. Any remaining foam experienced is from something that has been brought into the hot tub most likely from bathers.  

What Causes Foam & How Do You Treat It?

While there are a number of things that can cause your hot tub water to foam, it’s important to note that it is treatable. Read on to learn more about hot tub water foam and what to do when you experience it. 

1. Soaps, lotions, deodorants and everything else bathers have on their bodies when they enter the hot tub. One benefit of hot tubbing is the hot water. It makes you sweat very much like sitting in a sauna. It’s a great way to detox the body. Because everything on your body is sweated off into the water, it is a best practice to rinse off in the shower before using a hot tub.  

However, that doesn’t always happen, so adding Spa Shield (Natural Enzyme) to the water weekly will help remove some of the sources of the foaming. Spa Shield safely breaks down impurities that may lead to foam and waterline deposits, and it also helps keep the filter cartridge cleaner longer.

2. Total Hardness Level. Water balance is very important. While most hot tub owners pay close attention to the pH and Alkalinity of the hot tub water they pay little attention to Total Hardness. In many circumstances, hard water isn’t a good thing, but in hot tubs, the proper level of hard water is beneficial. Harder water foams less, is less aggressive to hot tub equipment and surfaces, sparkles better and has less chemical odor. 

We use calcium as a safe form of hardness in hot tubs. Typically, once the calcium is in range, it will remain in range until the hot tub is drained and refilled. General municipal water comes out of the tap at around 80ppm total hardness in our area. The desired range in hot tubs is 200ppm to 500ppm. One way to prevent foaming is to bring the hot tub water’s calcium level to over 200ppm and closer to 300pp. 

3. Swimsuits. The impurities from swimsuits also cause water to foam. Proper swimsuit care is essential in order to prevent your water from foaming. Be sure to double rinse your suit when washing it, as well as avoid using fabric softeners (liquid or dryer sheets) or extended odor crystals. They are designed to cling to the fabric but easily “soak out” of the fabric during bathing, which causes lots of foam and haze issues in your water.     

4. Clean Filter. Having a clean filter is important for water sanitization, water clarity, and foaming. It’s recommended that filter cartridges be rinsed monthly.  While this will remove most of the impurities that can cause foaming, sometimes rinsing isn’t enough. Filters should be chemically cleaned every other month, if you notice discoloration or if there has been a haze or foam problem affecting your water. 

These cleaners are a mild acid-based solution designed to dissolve and remove oils and greases embedded in the filter cartridge. (Always use an acid-based cleaner over treating a filter cartridge with bleach. Bleach can set oils into the fibers.) Filter cleaners have surfactants that need to be thoroughly rinsed out because they can lead to foaming if not properly rinsed. After rinsing, submerge the filter cartridge in clean water to make sure all the filter cleaner has been removed before putting them back into the hot tub.

Further Treatment

What happens when you have foaming and all of the above scenarios have been addressed? If the above are the sources, then foaming is the symptom. The symptom can be treated with a Foam Disperser. A little Foam Disperser sprayed over the top of the foam will almost instantly dissolve the foam. It’s like magic, but remember it’s only treating the symptom. Addressing the potential causes of the foam is the most important step in reducing foaming, as well as keeping the hot tub water healthy. 

Use Foam Dispersers sparingly. Squirt a small amount of the foam and wait a minute to allow the disperser to reach all the foam before adding more. A build-up of foam disperser looks like an “oil-slick” on the surface of the water and will need to be chemically removed from the filter cartridges.

Your Hot Tub Experts in Greece & East Rochester

When it comes to the health of your hot tub water, the experts at Pettis Pools are here to help. Give us a call to learn more about the different hot tub service options available or speak with one of our hot tub experts. Or stop by one of our pool and spa supply stores in Greece and East Rochester to grab everything you need to properly care for your hot tub. We also offer easy online shopping and convenient curbside pick-up. 


Pettis Pools & Patios is a Greece pool builder proudly serving East Rochester, Wayne County, Ontario County and the surrounding areas. Family-owned and operated since 1962, Pettis Pools & Patios specializes in all pool and hot tub services, including new pool construction, hot tub sales & installation, and swim spa sales & installation. Pettis Pools & Patios also serves as a leading pool & hot tub service provider throughout the area, specializing in regular pool service, inground vinyl liner replacement, hot tub service, LOOP-LOC safety cover installations, and much more. Pettis Pools & Patios is proud to have two conveniently located pool supply stores in Greece and East Rochester, where pool owners can find all of their pool and hot tub care needs. 

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