Why Is My Spa Water Cloudy? 6 Possible Explanations

Published on 15 January 2020

Category : Maintenance

Maintaining clean and clear hot tub water is not as easy as adding a few chemicals.

First, some time must be invested in order to diagnose the underlying problem in order to execute the correct solution. If your spa or hot tub water is cloudy, milky or turbid, your problem is likely one of these situations below. Keep in mind that in some cases, the source or your water troubles could also be a combination of more than one of these possibilities.

1. High Calcium Hardness, pH, or Total Alkalinity

The first thing to check is the chemical balance of the water. In order to investigate this issue, take an accurate reading of your calcium hardness, alkalinity and pH levels. If your calcium hardness levels are greater than 300 ppm, use a chemical balancer to correct the pH, calcium and alkalinity levels. This will help to keep your spa water clear and prevent cloudy hot tub water.

If your test for total alkalinity shows high levels above 150 ppm, excess carbonates can cause water cloudiness. High alkalinity levels make it difficult to control pH. Use a pH decreaser to lower alkalinity to around 100 ppm. If the pH level is outside of the range of 7.2-7.6, adjust accordingly for easier control of cloudy water.

2. Low Disinfectant Levels

In general, hot tubs should always have a level of 3-5 ppm for chlorine or 2-3 ppm for bromine. If the disinfectant level drops below 1.0 ppm, impurities can encourage organic contaminants to grow at a faster rate than they are being destroyed.

Appropriate disinfection should destroy the particles that cause cloudy water. For an extra disinfectant boost, shock the spa water regularly. 

Tip: Shock the water after several people have used the spa after a party of gathering. 

3. Air in the System

Tiny air bubbles can make the spa water appear cloudy. Air leaks or low water level can also bring air into the spa, giving the water the appearance of being cloudy or hazy. Inspection of the pipes and equipment before the spa pump can reveal the source of the leak.

4. Filter Issues

Sometimes a spa filter cartridge may be positioned incorrectly, allowing for water to bypass the filter cartridge. Make sure the cartridge is correctly sealed.

Spa filters should be replaced every 12-24 months or after about 15 cleanings. Keep in mind that each cleaning reduces the efficiency of these filters. Replacing a filter may result in an immediate clarification of the water.

Also, try soaking the cartridge with spa filter cleaner before cleaning will break down greasy or crystallized deposits and restore full flow to your filter.

5. Malfunctioning Spa Pump

It may be beneficial to increase the amount of time that the spa pump operates, which in turn, increase your daily filtering time. Running a pump on low speed can also contribute to poor filtration.

Verify that the spa pump is not clogged with leaves, hair, or other organic matter. If the pump is even slightly blocked, the flow volume is reduced considerably.

Poor pump performance could also be due to an air lock.

6. Soap, Lotion, or Cosmetic Products

Unless bathers shower well before using the spa, cosmetics and beauty products could be the source of cloudy water. Skin or hair products can introduce oils, phosphates, detergents and a hundred other undesirable chemicals into the spa water. Adding spa enzymes can help control oily residue and reduce disinfectant demand.


Once the source of the problem has been discovered, cloudy spa water is not so difficult to fix. Consider the possible cause of cloudy spa water carefully and be sure to contact the spa professionals in to receive some extra advice and a professional opinion.

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