Hot Tub Shock? What is That All About?

The best way to ensure that the water is clean and free of contaminants is to shock your Hot Tub. It’s a good idea to shock it before you use it after a time of inactivity or heavy use. This article will explain everything you need to know about Hot Tub shock, and what it’s all about.


What Is Hot Tub Shock?

If you are thinking about buying or building a Hot Tub, you have probably heard the word “shock your Hot Tub”. While this may sound strange and even harmful, it is actually a normal part of regular Hot Tub maintenance to keep the water clean and safe. If you have ever wondered what a Hot Tub shock is and what steps you should take to shake a Hot Tub, read on.

Why Shock a Hot Tub?

Whether it’s routine cleaning, after a period of inactivity, or a party in a heavily-used Hot Tub, shocking your Hot Tub will help you get rid of foul smells and pollutants. As a result, the water you will be soaking in will be clean, clear and safe.

But, first, why do you need to shock a Hot Tub? When bathers enter a Hot Tub, the organic compounds and bacteria they carry are left behind. These bacteria are shocked by the water, as the chlorine or bromine shock compounds disinfect the water. Think of it as a really strong detergent going to work on the water to remove all the nastiness from it.

What does shocking your Hot Tub really do?

Broadly speaking, shocking your Hot Tub essentially just cleans up the water but, in more detail, there are four main areas that will discuss the shocking treatment. Here comes the science bit!

  • Removing organic matter from the Hot Tub. Your Hot Tub water could as well be filled with organic matter after periods of heavy use. This is a very disgusting circumstance because the skin, hair, dirt, feces and all other small pieces of earth that stick to the human body and are then absorbed into the Hot Tub water as essentially the organic matter. Using a shock treatment to dissolve this organic matter, you can help this process by showering before you use the tub in the first place.
  • Removing toxic waterborne bacteria and algae. If you use a chlorine or bromine shock treatment, removing harmful bacteria and algae from the water is very effective. If you use a chlorine-free shock treatment, this will not be the case. Of course, it is important for the health and well-being of the bathers that the Hot Tub water is free of harmful bacteria and diseases, and this should be a priority. This is where the bi-weekly or monthly shock treatments come in, and proper use of the Hot Tub will ensure that it is healthy.
  • Removing bromines and chloramines. When bromine or chlorine purifies the Hot Tub water, it removes pollutants and produces bromines or chloramines as a by-product. Using a shock solution, the bromine and chloramines decompose to remove them quickly from the water.
  • Reactivating bromine. If you are using bromine as your primary disinfectant, reactivate the disinfectant once a week with a bromine shock treatment will help keep the water fresh. It is always a good idea to remember the safety precautions before you undertake any of these processes.

So, if you literally shock your Hot Tub, it not only cleans the water and removes toxins, but also reactivates your disinfectant in various ways. If you shock your Hot Tub regularly, it’s a bit like a boost or chemical reset.

Type of Shock

The market offers two different types of shocks. Chlorine shock acts as an oxidizer and disinfectant, although, parts and piping systems can be a little rough for your Hot Tubs. Usually this type of shock is used for very heavy cleaning jobs, but not every time it is a simple maintenance job.

The second form of shock is based on bromine, so it does not completely disinfect the water, but works well to ensure good cleaning and oxidation of any contaminants that may be present. So if you have a Hot Tub, you probably have two forms of shock that you can use. For monthly maintenance, use the non-chlorine based shock and for weekly maintenance, the chlorine based shock.

How Do You Shock Your Hot Tub?

Although it may sound a little scary, it is a fairly simple method. It actually happens very quickly. Just add the shock into the tub and let it settle. It will work and do its magic all by itself. Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

  • Before adding the shock, ensure that the pH is between 7.4 and 7.6.
  • Keep the Hot Tub cover off while the water shocks.
  • Since shock is a chemical product, safety precautions are also required.
  • Make sure that the amount of shock is calculated exactly as indicated.
  • If it is windy outside, do not add shock as it may occur as the water touches your face or eyes.
  • If the shock is accidentally spilled, clean it quickly and always keep it out of reach of children or pets.
  • In fact, we recommend that you always wear protective goggles and rubber gloves to keep skin and eyes healthy when you shock the Hot Tub.

How Long to Wait After Shocking?

There is no clear rule how many hours you should wait before you can use the Hot Tub again after a shock. The way to decide whether the water is ready or not is to use water test strips. If the strips indicate that the chlorine content in the water is less than 5 ppm, the water can be safely used. How long it takes for the water to reach this level after the shock depends on several factors, including the strength of the shock and how dirty the water is. Normally it takes at least 20 minutes to reach this stage.

Final Thoughts

When you become a Hot Tub owner, you never want to use it when the water is foamy or dirty. Make sure your Hot Tub is always clean, hygienic and ready to use by understanding what a shock is and by following your prescribed cleaning schedule.


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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