Cloudy and foamy hot tub water - problems and solutions

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Last updated: 
January 16, 2021

Turbid water is often a problem number one. It's one of the biggest problems being faced by a hot tub or pool owners.  By turbid, I mean your hot tub water is cloudy, milky or foamy. In simple terms, your water is not clean. And who would like that?

So, what are the causes of a milky water?


  1. Old water
  2. Chemical imbalance
  3. Too low or too high pH levels
  4. Presence of air bubbles
  5. Improper positioning of your filter cartridge
turbid water
  1. Old Water

The absolute worst way to maintain your hot tub is not to change the water in your tub on a regular basis. If you don’t change your hot tub water, there is going to be an accumulation of total dissolved solids in your hot tub causing cloudiness in the process. It is important that you understand that applying chemical (chlorine) to your tub water will not always help you maintain a clean water. But worry not, it doesn't mean you have to change the water every week.


Once you discover that your hot tub water is cloudy and applying chlorine to it is having no effect, then, you should consider changing the water. Water often stays clean for a few months, when the chemical treatment is right.

  1. Chemical Imbalance

Too much or too little amounts of chlorine when trying to clean your tub water will cause a chemical balance in your hot tub. Too low chlorine level implies that rate of producing contaminants becomes high. Chemical imbalance is mainly caused if the manufacturer’s instructions are not adequately followed in applying the right amounts of chlorine.


Obviously, it is necessary that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on applying the right amounts of chlorine.

Also, a clarifier is recommended. The clarifier works by bringing together the particles that have escaped the filter. It is very important to identify the root cause of the problem before using a clarifier.

Lastly, if the above seems too much or you don’t have the time, you can enlist the services of a professional.

  1. Too Low or Too High pH Levels

A pH level above 100ppm is too high. This will increase the amounts of carbonates causing cloudy water in the process. In order to determine pH levels, a home test strip is recommended. The acceptable pH range is between 7.2 and 7.6.

The cause of an imbalanced pH level is similar to that of a chemical imbalance – not following the manufacturers’ instructions.

The solution also is similar – follow the manufacturers’ instructions, use a clarifier and if necessary, call in the service of a professional.

  1. Presence of Air Bubbles

Two main reasons cause air bubbles;

  1. A turn off in the air blower and hot tub Ozonator. This means there is going to be an air leak from the suction part of the pump
  2. A low water level will cause air bubbles

Both of these cause cloudiness.


The source of the leak must be found via pipe and instrument inspection and sealants and lubricants should be applied to seal the leak.

  1. Improper Positioning of Your Filter Cartridge

If your filter cartridge is not properly positioned, there is going to be a flow of water behind the cartridge causing cloudy water.


Obviously, ensure that you properly position your cartridge. Also, if your cartridge has been cleaned for at least 12 times, you are advised that you replace it.

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