Hot Tub Cover Maintenance

The Hot Tub Cover – a simple necessity for our beloved Hot Tubs. They bear the brunt of the elements, whilst hopefully keeping the heat in so our tubs dont cost the Earth to run. So how do we keep them clean and properly maintained? In this post, we’ll explain just how to do that.

How to Clean and Maintain Your Hot Tub Cover

Don’t be stingy about the tender, loving care you give your spa cover. The better you treat it, the longer it will last, and the more money you’ll save. You can limit sun damage, prevent mold, and avoid premature chemical damage by sticking to some good cleaning and maintenance habits.

Daily Cleaning: As often as needed, brush debris off your hot tub cover. Outdoor covers are wedge-shaped, so rainwater should run right off. However, you’ll probably still need to clear off leaves, sticks, bugs, and any snow accumulation. Just a quick swipe or two with a push broomworks fine. Avoid using anything with sharp edges that could gouge the vinyl.

Twice Monthly Cleaning: Do a deeper cleaning at least every other week to prevent mold growth and other damage.

  1. Remove the cover completely. Lay it flat on a non-abrasive surface. Spray it with a cleaner made for vinyl. Wipe or rinse it clean per the product instructions. Don’t forget the sides and bottom. If you use any other type of cleaner, avoid ones that contain alcohol, detergent, oil, and silicone.
  2. Wipe down the bottom of the hot tub cover with a solution of 1:10 parts distilled white vinegar or bleach to water. Be forewarned that bleach may be harder on the vinyl than vinegar.
  3. Apply a vinyl protectant or conditioner to give your cover an extra dose of UV protection. These products keep the vinyl soft and help prevent cracking.


Normally, the underside of your spa cover should not need cleaning, but if you notice a moldy, musty smell, or see dirt or discoloration on the surface, here’s a trick for cleaning that up. Fill a small spray bottle with a 10:1 solution of water:bleach, or a 10% solution of bleach. Do this after removing the spa cover from the spa. After spraying the plastic undersides, hose clean with fresh water.

Don’t use household cleaning chemicals on your spa cover – you may add phosphates or detergents to the spa which can contaminate the water and give you problems with algae, foaming – or both. Some cleansers can even be harmful to spa users, if it gets into the spa water.

Odor Problems: If you start to notice a funky smell coming from your cover, you may be growing a mold and mildew problem. Surface mildew can be scrubbed off with cleaner, then treated with a diluted vinegar or bleach solution.

Mildew on the underside of the cover may be subdued with a disinfectant spray. However, if the mold and mildew has made it through the vapor barrier into your foam, you’re probably past the point of no return, and you’ll need to replace your cover.

Basic Maintenance: In addition to cleaning, you can help prevent major issues by checking for and repairing any damage on a regular basis. Damaged vinyl should be patched immediately using a vinyl repair kit. Inoperable zippers may need to be repaired by a professional, but must also be fixed as soon as possible. Both issues can allow water to infiltrate the foam core if left unaddressed.

Your hot tub cover must be allowed to dry out occasionally. If you never take it off your spa, you’ll shorten its lifespan. Pop it off monthly while you clean the shell and balance your water, and let it dry completely before replacing it.

Stay on top of your hot tub chemistry with weekly testing and balancing (more frequently if your hot tub gets a lot of traffic). Balanced water keeps your spa from growing bacteria and algae, so your hot tub cover won’t be absorbing bacteria-filled moisture.

Time to change your hot tub cover?

How to know when it’s time to change your hot tub cover and what to do to make your cover last.

Replacing your hot tub cover is a common maintenance issue that you will eventually need to address during your time of being a hot tub owner. How often, and the life span of the cover all depends on how well you take care of you cover. Keeping proper water chemistry, always keeping extra debris and weight off of the cover, using a protectant-such as 303- on the cover, and investing in a cover lifter are the main points of allowing your cover to last its optimum life span.
Still, even after you take great care of your cover, replacing it is inevitable. Consider the following when making the decision to buy a new one:

1 – The outside or top vinyl layer of your cover acts as the first layer of defense from outside debris and damaging weather conditions. While inspecting the vinyl you should visually and physically look and feel for tears and cracks. You should also inspect for any parts that may be stressed or worn in any way and insure that the cover has a snug and tight fit to the spa.

2 – The cover straps insure the cover stays on and that it remains tight on the spa, even during the most extreme conditions. While inspecting the straps you should make sure the straps can lock to the spa frame effectively, making a good seal as well as clicking into position. You should also insure that the cover straps are not torn, worn or rotten from consistent usage or exposure to the elements.

3 – The insulation inside the spa or hot tub cover is usually a thick layer of foam sealed inside the vinyl layer. If you notice sagging or the foam seems heavy this can lead to many issues with your spas performance. Snow and rain can start to pool on top of the cover causing it to sag. Hot tub covers do absorb water over time which makes the covers heavier and harder to move.

4 – Most spa covers fold, so they have a hinge in the middle to allow for easy storage. The hinge can rip or fray as the cover ages or become weak as it gets heavier from taking on water. This unfortunately is where you will lose a majority of the heat making the cover less efficient.

5 – The bottom of the cover or the top from inside the spa uses a hinge seal to prevent heat loss from any gaps that you may have in the crease of the cover. For example, if your seal is worn, flat or torn, you may notice that you will have air or vapor leaks that escape from the hinge.

6 – One of the most obvious ways to tell if you need to replace your spa cover is by the way it smells. If you open the spa cover and notice that it has a moldy, mildew or even a musty smell to it, that means that the cover itself has started to take on excess water and the water has started to mold or mildew. This can make the spa stink while creating other issues for the other spa cover components.



Can I Help You?

If I can help you in any way I would love to hear from you. You can get in touch using the form below.

Thanks - Andi


Hi, Andi here. I own and also write all of the articles and info pages on the site. Some years back now, I built my own hot tub but struggled to find the information I needed. So, once my tub was complete, I started this website to help others in their own pursuit of hot tub and plunge pools DIY building information.

Today, I've helped over 1000 DIY customers just like you all over the world build hot tubs and pools. Have a good look around the site, there are lots of resources here. Please do get in touch if I can help you. - Cheers, Andi

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