How to Clean Your Acrylic Spa Shell: Tips and more

Maintaining the cleanliness of your acrylic spa shell is essential to ensure its longevity and to enjoy a relaxing spa experience. In this article, we will discuss the best cleaning techniques and products for your acrylic spa or swim spa shell.

spa shell

A spa pool is a fantastic source of relaxation and recreation for the whole family, but it can also be an opportunity for a great workout when it's time to give it a clean and change the water! Get everyone in the family involved to contribute some elbow grease and help rinse and scrub the spa shell to keep it in great shape!

In this guide, we also recommend some products that you can use to make the process easier for getting rid of scum, scale and general grime. We'll also talk about some common household products and cleaning accessories that you should and shouldn't use in your spa maintenance.

Please note the advice in this article is intended to be used as a guide only. Please read and follow the manufacturer's instructions on the product label to ensure you are using your spa chemicals correctly.

How often do I need to clean my acrylic spa?

As a general rule, you should give your acrylic spa shell a good wipe down every couple of weeks, or even more often if you've had heavy use over the weekend with lots of bathers. If you clean your spa shell every couple of weeks it will stay in great condition, meaning less work at the 3-4 month mark when you change your water.

You'll also stay on top of the build-up of calcium deposits, scum and debris in your water, saving you time in the long run.

Note that it is recommended that you sanitise your water as per the manufacturer instructions on your spa sanitiser label. Use a shock treatment once a week to help maintain your water quality.

Do I need to empty my spa completely before cleaning the shell?

It is not absolutely essential to empty your spa, but it's a perfect opportunity to give the spa a thorough clean every time you empty it. For the purposes of this article, we'll assume that you are emptying your spa and cleaning the shell prior to refilling with clean water.

It is recommended to change your spa water on a portable spa about every 4 months. The water in swim spas should be changed every 12 months. For high usage spas where the spa is part of your everyday life and is being used often with multiple bathers, you may find you need to change your water more often.

Bacteria and organic contaminants will build up in your spa water and pipes and eventually become too much for your sanitiser to maintain water clarity and hygiene.

Read our detailed article on how to empty your spa and change your water which will explain everything you need to know about emptying your spa including how using a submersible pump can make draining your spa much quicker!

How do I clean my spa pool shell?

Once you've emptied your spa water, follow the steps below to clean the acrylic shell in your portable spa or swim spa.

1. Turn off the power source

It's a great idea to disconnect the power or turn off the main breaker, so there is no current present while you are working in your spa.

2. Completely Remove your spa cover

While you're at it on the spa, you may as well give the cover a clean too! Rinse it gently with the garden hose and an approved spa cover cleaning product like 303 Cleaner.

3. Remove your primary filters from the filter box.

This is a perfect opportunity to clean your filters too. Place your filters into a solution of filter cartridge cleaner and leave them to soak for 24 hours, then rinse off before replacing.

4. Remove your spa headrests

Some cleaning products can deteriorate the material that spa headrests are made from, so remove them while cleaning the spa and just rinse them with clean water.

5. Clean the spa shell interior

Now for the fun part!

We recommend BioGuard squeaky clean, which is designed specifically to be safe on acrylic surfaces and won't leave a residue that can upset your water balance later.

Use a soft cloth, gentle scrubbing pad or sponge when cleaning the acrylic surface. Avoid using abrasive materials, as they can damage the acrylic. For tougher stains, you can use a little white vinegar or commercial acrylic cleaner.

Just be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully and ensure the product is safe for spa shells.

Let the cleaning product sit for a few minutes, then scrub with a non-abrasive scrubbing pad or microfibre cloth. Scrub around the filter box to remove grime and dirt that has built up.

6. Rinse thoroughly with clean water

After you've finished cleaning, it's a good idea to put clean water in a bucket and tip it inside the spa to rinse off residue from any chemical cleaning products you have used.

Important: Do not use a high pressure hose or water blaster to clean your spa as this can damage the acrylic and will not be covered under warranty.

7. Soak up all the excess water in the spa

The best way to do that is with a sponge or an old towel. Squeeze that out into an area in your yard that has good drainage.

8. Buff and polish the spa interior

Once you have cleaned the acrylic surface, you can buff it with a soft cloth to give it a shine. Use Spa Care Polish and Protect.

9. Replace your filters and headrests

10. Refill your spa with fresh water

You'll also need to shock and re-balance your spa water.

If your using Jacuzzi® J-400™, J-300™ and J-200™ Collection Spa Pools, our detailed maintenance guide can be a great resource to keep your spa running smoothly.

How to remove scale and calcium deposits from my acrylic spa shell?

Start by wetting down the area that you'll be cleaning. This will help to prevent the cleaner from drying out too quickly and will make it easier to move around.

If you're using a chemical cleaner, apply it according to the instructions on the label. If you're using a physical scrubber, start scrubbing away at the scale. Be sure to use circular motions and apply even pressure so that you don't damage the acrylic surface.

Once you've removed all of the scale, rinse off the area with clean water. You may need to repeat this process a few times to completely remove all traces of scale. Once you're finished, your acrylic spa shell should be sparkling clean

How to remove the scum line from my acrylic spa shell?

Once you have drained your spa water, you may notice a residue of scum or grime that builds up around the full water line in your spa. This scum line is caused by oils, lotions, sunscreen, oils and grime from human bodies that have built up in your water. Scum can cause cloudy water, so this is the perfect chance to deal to it once and for all!

You can use a small amount of white vinegar to help dissolve scum along with a non-abrasive scrubbing pad or microfibre cloth to gently remove this from your spa shell.

If you have any stubborn spots, you may need to repeat the process a few times.

Click the button below to learn more about how to get rid of the scum line in your spa or swim spa.

What are the best spa cleaning products?

Here's a quick list of the products you will need to clean the inside and outside of your spa shell.

  • Rubber Gloves to protect your hands
  • Filter Cleaner to help dissolve stubborn dirt and grime collected on your spa filters so they can be easily rinsed off to use again.
  • 303 Cover cleaner and 303 Cover Protectant spray
  • Non-scratch scrubbing pad or microfibre cloth
  • BioGuard Squeaky Clean - a gentle cleaning product that gets rid of dirt and grime in your spa without harsh scratching.*
  • A mild acid, like CLR, white vinegar or lemon juice to help dissolve scale and calcium deposits
  • Garden hose for rinsing out your spa shell after cleaning and refilling with fresh water
  • An old towel for drying off the shell after rinsing
  • SpaCare Acrylic Polish for buffing and polishing your spa after cleaning and drying
  • Test Strips for testing and rebalancing water after you refill
  • Spa Shock for starting up with fresh water
  • A good supply of Chlorine sanitiser or hydrogen peroxide sanitiser for re-sanitising your fresh water.

You should never use abrasive cleaning products in your spa pool as they can scratch the acrylic surface of your spa shell and remove some of the protective coating. These products can also leave a residue that affects your spa water balance.

Can I use bleach to clean my spa or hot tub?

No. We don't recommend using bleach to clean your spa or any of the components in your spa. Household bleach can have other ingredients like fragrances and stabilisers that can upset the water chemistry and balance in your spa.

Can I use a pumice stone on my acrylic spa shell?

No, using pumice stone can scratch the surface of the acrylic in your spa, removing the protective coating, which could cause your spa to deteriorate more quickly. You'd be better using a gentle scrubbing pad or microfibre cloth.

Can I use vinegar to clean my spa shell?

Yes. A small amount of white vinegar is safe to use as a cleaning product on your acrylic spa shell. You should always test a small inconspicuous area before using vinegar on the entire surface.

Vinegar is a mild acid, so it can be used to dissolve calcium and white scale deposits in your spa as well as oily film. In some cases, you may find that vinegar is not strong enough to have an influence on calcium carbonate scale. You can also use a tooth brush to gently scrub and help loosen scum and calcium deposits.

How do I clean my spa jets with vinegar?

To clean your spa jets you should first remove them from your spa. Follow your spa manufacturer's directions on how to remove your spa jets. You can then soak your jets in a solution of white vinegar to help dissolve any calcium buildup that has accumulated on your jets.

After soaking your jets for a few minutes in vinegar, rinse thoroughly with fresh water and then replace them in your spa. Don't use detergent to clean your jets as the detergent can introduce phosphates and foaming agents which will upset your spa water balance.

Is it OK to use baking soda to clean my spa?

We don't recommend using baking soda to clean your spa because it becomes abrasive, and may harm the acrylic surfaces in your spa.

What does baking soda do to my spa and hot tub water?

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a base and neutralises acid. Adding baking soda to your spa increases the pH - making it less acidic and more alkaline (basic).

Baking soda will also cause TA (total alkalinity) to rise, which can upset your water chemistry and might promote scaling. (High TA and high CH are both signs of scale development, and sodium bicarbonate is a scale-inducing salt.)

If you are considering using baking soda to increase pH and alkalinity, make sure there are no other ingredients in the baking soda which could throw off your water balance and affect water quality.

It does require a large amount to make a significant difference to your pH, you'd be better of using a dedicated pH increaser/alkalinity increaser which will be much more effective.

Can I use a magic eraser to clean my acrylic spa?

DON'T use a Magic Eraser or similar melamine foam sponge. They're abrasives that have extremely small particles (similar to very fine sandpaper) which can eventually wear away at the protective coating on your spa shell.

Why is my acrylic spa shell rusting?

Acrylic spa shells do not rust because acrylic is a non-metal material. Rust is a phenomenon that occurs when iron or steel metals come into contact with moisture and oxygen, causing them to corrode.

If you are observing rust-like discoloration or stains on your acrylic spa shell, it might be due to other factors such as:

  • Mineral Deposits. If you have hard water, minerals like calcium and magnesium can accumulate on the surface of your spa shell, creating a stained or discolored appearance. These deposits can be removed using a mild solution of vinegar and water or specialized spa cleaners.
  • Chemical Imbalance. Harsh or unbalanced chemicals used in your spa water can cause discoloration or staining on the acrylic shell. It is important to maintain the proper water chemistry and use appropriate spa chemicals to prevent these issues.
  • Metal Contamination. It is possible that there are small metal particles present in the spa shell that are rusting, causing the rust-like appearance. Over time, these particles should naturally dissipate. If you want this to remove it quickly, you can use a magnet or scrub the rust marks away with Calcium Limescale and Rust Remover (CLR).

Got more questions?

Talk to us or email us your spa questions and we'll be happy to help!

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