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Alternatives to Chlorine in Hot Tub

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Chlorine is a popular method of sanitizing hot tub water, but for those who are looking to get away from the odor or its harsh effects on the skin, there are a few alternatives available without sacrificing cleanliness. Alternative methods of sanitizing your hot tub water will alleviate some of the negative effects of chlorine while still targeting the unwanted germs and bacteria to later be filtered out.

The top alternatives to using chlorine in your hot tub as a sanitizer are: 

  • Bromine
  • Ozonators like UV light (eco-friendly, non-chemical)
  • Enzyme Treatments
  • Biguanide (PHMB) 
  • Ionizers (reduce the amount of chlorine needed)

It’s helpful to know what alternatives are available for keeping your hot tub safe, clean, and pleasant to swim in. Keep reading for more information on these chlorine alternatives to determine which ones you might want to try out.

Chlorine Alternatives

Chlorine was once the only way to keep hot tubs clean. Now that we know more about the effects of chlorine, many are looking for alternatives that have the same sanitizing properties, without the negative effects. Here are some of the possibilities on the market. 

Bromine 

bromine

Bromine is a useful cleaning agent in hot tubs because it’s particularly effective in hot tubs because they usually contain fewer amounts of water than large pools, and the higher temperatures of hot tub water work more compatibly with the chemical. 

It functions similarly to chlorine, but it’s known to be less irritating and harsh on the skin, making it a useful option for those who prefer the cleanliness of chlorine but want to minimize its effects on the body.

Bromine also doesn’t produce the same sharp odor as chlorine, which can help make the hot tub soaking experience more pleasant. 

Bromine can be more expensive than chlorine. However, it creates fewer negative effects on the skin, creates less of an odor, and can actually work more effectively than chlorine. It has the cleanliness effectiveness of chlorine (or more so) while minimizing the negative effects of chlorine. 

Ionizers 

Ionizers work by inserting a low voltage current with copper and silver into the water that brings together the bacteria, germs, and other unwanted things that are then filtered out of the water. 

To use an ionizer, you’ll need to supplement it with another sanitizer agent like chlorine or bromine for it to clean the hot tub effectively. However, using an ionizer can significantly decrease the amount of supplemental cleaner required. If you use bromine, it can still bring the positive benefits of employing alternate sanitizers to chlorine. 

A combination of an ionizer and bromine can effectively sanitize the water, filtering out the unwanted pathogens and germs while reducing the irritating effects on the skin and eyes while also reducing the odor that’s traditionally caused by relying completely on chlorine. 

Ionizers do rely on consistently moving waters to work effectively but with the small amount of water used by a hot tub, and the amount of movement caused by jets, this may not be a significant issue for cleaning hot tubs as opposed to larger pools. 

Ozonators 

ozonator

Ozonators function by injecting rays of light like UV into the water that break down the bacteria, germs, and pathogens that then get completely filtered out. This method of sanitizing hot tub water is known to be extremely effective and created a hygienic and supremely clean water environment. 

Using ozonators, it’s also possible to completely eliminate the need for other chemical sanitizers like chlorine or bromine. However, it is possible you may need to supplement with traditional cleaners at first. 

This method cleans the water more thoroughly than other traditional cleaning methods, and it may require less frequent water draining’s or replacements. 

Ozonators can often require an initial investment as a cleaning method, but they’ll ultimately provide a greater level of cleanliness, and less and less amount of other traditional cleaners required. 

Enzymes

enzymes

Enzyme treatments are another effective supplement that can dramatically decrease the amount of bromine or chlorine needed to sanitize your hot tub. Enzymes bind and subsequently dissolves to the oils, bacteria, and other unwanted germs in the water that are then filtered out. 

However, for enzymes to clean the water effectively, they should be used in combination with other types of chemical sanitizers like bromine or chlorine. 

Along with requiring fewer amounts of traditional cleaning chemicals, enzymes can enhance the effectiveness of traditional cleaning methods. 

This means that not only will this method of cleaning hot tubs reduce the negative effects of traditional cleaning chemicals, but it will help the small amount needed to work better. Minimizing the harmful effects of these chemicals on the skin and eyes while maintaining a high level of cleanliness and hygiene. 

Although they won’t eliminate the need for traditional chemical sanitizers, enzymes are also known to be eco-friendly options for cleaning your hot tub.

PHMB

Polyhexamethylene Biguanide or PHMB is currently the main way to eliminate the need for chlorine or bromine chemical sanitizers. 

PHMB will target unwanted germs and bacteria and force them to dissolve or burst while encapsulating them in a heavy coating that caused them to sink to the bottom of the hot tub and are then able to be vacuumed away. 

This cleaning method can be more expensive but eliminating the need for other traditional chemical sanitizers can make the soaking experience better, the pool cleaner than traditional methods, and make the water gentler on skin, hair, and eyes. 

Don’t Forget to Also Shock Your Hot Tub

No matter which method of sanitizing the hot tub you choose as an alternative to chlorine, you’ll most likely still need to shock your pool with an oxidizer to keep it well-maintained. 

Make sure to choose a shock method that is compatible with your usual cleaning method, and make sure to shock your hot tub weekly as a supplement to keep it completely clean and safe to use. 

Why Use Chlorine Alternatives

Chlorine is one of the most common hot tub sanitizers because it’s relatively cheap and is an effective method of cleaning the water and ensuring there are no harmful bacteria. However, for some swimmers, the chlorine that circulates through the water can cause skin irritation, it can irritate the eyes, and there’s sometimes an unpleasant smell created from the chlorine. 

Any of those factors can be a roadblock for some swimmers. Especially in hot tubs, where it’s more common to soak and sit still in the water for an extended period of time, chlorine sanitizers can make the water extremely unpleasant. 

If you have a hot tub but find that the chlorine prevents you from wanting to spend time in the hot tub, then this sanitizer is getting in the way of you enjoying your investment. 

Although chlorine is an accessible and traditional method of sanitizing hot tubs, there are alternatives available that work in combination with chlorine or eliminate the need for it. 

If you’re determined to completely stop using chlorine, that’s possible, but even using less chlorine by incorporating a different sanitizer that’s compatible with chlorine can drastically reduce the negative impacts of chlorine and help you want to spend more time soaking in your hot tub, while never sacrificing standards of cleanliness.

Final Thoughts

There are many options available for those looking to reduce or eliminate the amount of chlorine they use to clean their pool. 

Some of these methods are compatible with traditional chlorine sanitizers. Using sanitizers like Ionizers and Enzymes can help reduce the number of harsh chemicals required to effectively clean your pool. You’ll be able to maintain standards of cleanliness while reducing the effects of soaking in water treated with primarily chlorine.

Get the most out of your hot tub, and feel free to soak and relax without worrying about the effects of chlorine on your body or how clean the water is. There’s no need to compromise when there are plenty of alternatives to chlorine on the market. 

Be sure to check out some of our articles about hot tubs were we go over some safety tips like, how you can prevent electrocution.

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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