After reading articles online about your hot tub, you may have noticed that it’s often mentioned to bathe or shower before using your hot tub. While a lot of people bathe after hot tubbing, showering or rinsing off beforehand is something that is quite a bit less common but extremely beneficial for your hot tub water.
Why shower before using the hot tub?
Skin will usually have a lot of extra particles on it: lotion, deodorant, bacteria, dead skin cells, oils, etc. Showering before getting in the hot tub prevents all those extra bits from sloughing off your skin and moving in to your hot tub water. Since hot tub water is generally only completely changed every 3-4 months, if you aren’t rinsing off before getting in the water all those extra particles and bacteria will stay hanging out in your water and gradually building up for quite a few months. Using sanitizer regularly will help kill the harmful bacteria, but you may still face water or filter issues as the dead bacteria and particles stay floating in the water until your next complete water change.
Rinsing off before you get in the hot tub will remove the top layer of bacteria, oils and particles from your skin so that not as much residue is coming off into your hot tub water. Just remember to rinse off with only water: don’t use soap, deodorant, lotion, or any other products during your pre-soak rinse as they will just come off immediately once you get in the hot tub water.
What if I don’t shower before using the spa?
While it’s not absolutely required to have a shower before getting in the spa, quite a bit of those waste products on your skin will come off in the hot tub water if you don’t. As we mentioned before, your sanitizer will break down any harmful particles that come off your skin, however you may find yourself needing more chemicals than if you had rinsed off beforehand as your sanitizer will be used more quickly. You’ll also need to ensure you’re using an oxidizing shock to help break down the leftover bacteria particles and get rid of cloudy water that may appear as the dead bacteria floats around in the water.
It will also be necessary to keep a closer eye on your filter, as it will be taking the brunt of the work trying to catch all those extra particles and may become more easily clogged and more frequently in need a clean - a clogged filter can impact water flow to your pump and the whole spa, so make sure to keep filters as clean as possible.
Generally, you’ll need to keep a closer eye on your water chemicals with more frequent water testing, you might want to drain and do a fresh fill of your water more often to keep it clear and clean, and it's a good idea to do more frequent rinsing and chemical cleans of your filter.
Should I shower after using the hot tub?
If you’re sensitive to your sanitizer (some people may have sensitivities to chlorine or bromine) or any other chemicals used in the hot tub, it may be beneficial for you to also have a quick rinse after soaking to wash away any lingering chemicals on your skin. Just make sure you only use warm water, as showering in super hot water can strip your skin of its top protective surface and result in irritation and dryness.
More tips for the best hot tub soak:
- Don’t have your hot tub temperature over 104 degrees. That high level of heat can be harmful to not only your skin, but can also cause dehydration, nausea, dizziness, and more
- Keep a close eye on your water quality with weekly water chemical testing. Try using water test strips for an easy and quick test
- Avoid using household cleaning products to clean your hot tub, these are not meant to be used in an environment with constant water and can cause water issues and skin irritation. Use chemicals meant specifically for cleaning the hot tub shell
- Pat your skin dry with a towel after soaking and showering instead of rubbing. Rubbing can pull and irritate the skin, so try to get in the habit of patting dry instead for softer, happier skin
- Moisturize after showering to help avoid dry skin and irritation; damp skin is more absorbent so the best time to moisturize is after your shower (just make sure you’re only moisturizing after your post-hot tub shower)