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Hot Tub Enzymes: Should You Use Them In Your Spa Or Hot Tub?

What if we told you there is a product you can use to help out your spa sanitizer, and keep your tub water in ideal condition?

If you haven’t heard of them, hot tub enzymes are becoming a go-to product for many hot tub and spa owners, as they provide many benefits to the water.

Let’s discuss what they are, how they work, and if you should add them to your hot tub or spa.

What Are Hot Tub Enzymes?

Enzymes are proteins that make chemical changes happen.

In hot tubs, enzymes break down the molecules of organic pollutants to a very small size. This allows the sanitizer (either chlorine or bromine) to more easily destroy these pollutants. 

You can think of them as a natural digestion aid for your tub water. 

Bear in mind, this doesn’t mean they’re a replacement for sanitizer. Enzymes don’t have the ability to disinfect or eradicate harmful things in the water, which is why chlorine or bromine will have to be used in the tub at all times.

Enzymes are meant to be used in conjunction with your sanitizer.

Why Use Enzymes In A Hot Tub Or Spa?

What’s the point of adding yet another chemical to the water if you still need to use a sanitizer in your hot tub?

Here’s a few reasons you should consider adding enzymes to your spa:

  • They remove oils/foam. Hot tubs are prone to grease and oil building up in the water as a result of bather body oils, sunscreen, body lotion, and makeup. Large amount of oil in the tub increases the chance of developing a foam problem. Spa foam is thick, frothy, and visually unappealing. Enzymes can break down these oils and keep foam from becoming an issue.
  • Less cleaning/draining. When you have high levels of oil that leads to hot tub foam, the only way to clean out the tub properly is to drain it and wash it down. With enzymes removing the problem at the source, you’ll only have to drain and wash your tub according to the maintenance schedule (every 3 months).
  • Prolongs filter life. The accumulation of oil and grease in the water means it will eventually be passed through the filter. This can cause the filter to clog and become less effective at keeping the water clean. In many cases, a clogged cartridge filter must be replaced. Enzymes, along with sanitizer, will help destroy the oil before it can cause such filter issues. 
  • All natural. Enzymes are an all-natural product and won’t harm bathers or your hot tub equipment. They also won’t produce any build up in the water or along the waterline, making them an attractive additive for any spa.
  • Work for long periods. Enzymes continue to break down organic contaminants without “burning up”. This gives them a lot of staying power when compared to bromine or chlorine which get used up by pollutants and need to be replaced pretty quickly. Eventually you’ll have to top up the enzymes, but you’ll be surprised at how little you’ll need to add weekly.

Why NOT Use Enzymes In A Hot Tub Or Spa?

So far, the case for enzymes is pretty compelling. Let’s discuss why you may not want to use them.

  • They’re limited in what they can kill. While enzymes can get rid of irritants, chlorine smell, and make the water feel smoother, they can’t destroy the really bad stuff like viruses and bacteria. These dangerous micro-pollutants can only be eradicated using a strong sanitizer such as chlorine/bromine, and your hot tub’s filter. Some enzyme products are more effective than others, so choosing a “broad spectrum” product will provide you with the best overall performance.
  • It’s another chemical to add. Balancing hot tub water chemistry requires the use of multiple chemicals to keep the water in a neutral state. And while it’s not hard to add enzymes, it’s still another chemical and cost to factor in.
  • Too much can be detrimental. Correctly dosing the spa with enzymes is beneficial, but adding too much can cause issues. High enzyme levels mixed with a high flow rate and aeration can actually cause foam, which is the issue you’re using the enzyme to eliminate in the first place! 

How To Add Enzymes To A Hot Tub Or Spa

Adding enzymes to your hot tub is pretty simple to do. Follow these steps if you feel enzymes can help keep your tub its cleanest.

All you’ll need is your enzyme of choice and a measuring cup.

Step 1. Prime The Tub

When adding enzymes, there’s no special steps involved, but you should start by removing the hot tub’s cover, and ensuring the hot tub jets are turned off.

If you are adding enzymes during your regular maintenance schedule, start by testing your water and balancing it to a neutral state. 

The following levels need to be in reached for the tub water to stay clean:

  • pH level between 7.4 and 7.6
  • Total alkalinity between 80 and 120 ppm
  • Calcium hardness between 175 and 250 ppm
  • Chlorine between 1 and 3 ppm (or bromine between 3 and 5 ppm).

Note: Check out our dedicated guides on raising or lowering pH in your hot tub, and raising or lowering total alkalinity in your hot tub.

Step 2. Measure The Dosage

With the water now balanced, you’re ready to add the enzymes. 

Correctly dosing your tub is important, and you’ll need to consult the instructions on the bottle as dosages vary between products.

Some enzymes only require a capful per week, while others require more. The size of your tub will also factor into how much product you’ll use.

As a rough guide, most bottles provide you with 32 ounces of liquid enzyme, and 1 capful (1 ounce) is added per 250 gallons of hot tub water. 

Step 3. Dose The Tub

You can either measure everything out using a measuring cup, or you can just add the appropriate number of capfuls to your tub on the fly.

Once the enzymes are in the water, turn on the jets and let it circulate for at least an hour so they’re well distributed. 

That’s all there is to it.

It’s Sanitizer’s Sidekick!

Using hot tub enzymes has plenty of upside and very little downside, so it’s no wonder why this extra sanitizing technique has become popular.

The price of enzymes is so reasonable you can try it out and see if it makes a difference in your tub, and if not, no harm no foul.

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