How to Clean Bathtub Jets Thoroughly in Simple Steps

Updated April 21, 2022
jetted tub in bathroom

Did you step out of a relaxing bath and notice a little crud around your jets? It's time for a cleaning. Grab a few household cleaners and a manual; it's time to learn how to clean bathtub jets with ease.

Things Needed to Clean a Jetted Tub

Having a jetted tub is amazing. But cleaning it can be a hassle. Take the work out of cleaning your jetted tub with a simple how-to. But before you get started, you need to grab:

  • Low-foaming dishwashing liquid (i.e., Ajax) or mild low-suds powdered dishwasher detergent (i.e., Cascade)
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Toothbrush
  • Cloth
  • Dental floss

How to Clean a Jetted Tub With Dishwasher Soap

Now that you've got your materials at the ready, it's time to get down to business. You can use these steps for regular or deep cleanings of your tub. If you haven't cleaned the tub in a while, keep the water running to the longest times listed and repeat if you still see grime coming from the jets.

1. Turn Off Induction Valve

Check your owner's manual to determine whether you should turn off the air induction valve. Some tub manufacturers ask that you turn them off, whereas others prefer to leave them on during cleaning.

2. Fill the Tub

jetted tub filled with water

Fill the tub with hot water so that the water is approximately 3 inches above the top of the highest jets.

3. Add Dishwasher Detergent to Jetted Tub

Now that you've got the tub filled with water, you need to start cleaning the tub by adding dishwashing soap to the water.

  • You can use about 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid or 4 tablespoons of powdered dishwasher detergent.
  • If you use dishwashing liquid, make sure it is a low-foaming formulation; otherwise, you will have a soapy mess.
  • Likewise, the detergent should be low suds. Powdered detergent is a better option than the liquid because there will be less foam and suds.

4. Add White Vinegar and Run Jets

Once you've added the right amount of detergent to the tub, it's time to get cleaning.

  1. Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the water.
  2. Run the jets at the highest level for about 10 to 15 minutes. The water should start to get dirty with signs of the grime in the jets. If you have cleaned the tub for some time, you may want to repeat this step once and run both times for 15 to 20 minutes each.

Drain and Rinse the Jetted Tub

It's time to rinse the tub of all that dirt you pulled from the jets.

  1. Drain the tub completely.
  2. Refill the tub this time with cold water and to the same height of about 3 inches above the top of the highest set of jets.
  3. Run the jets for 10 minutes at the highest power level with just the water (no soap) to rinse.
  4. Observe the jets after 10 minutes. If they're just passing clear water, you can go on to the next step. If you still see debris passing out from them, run the jets for another five minutes.
  5. Drain the tub completely and use a towel or rag to wipe any traces of grime and dirt away from the tub's walls and the jets.

Alternative Method Using Bleach

Bleach is better than vinegar if you know mold and bacteria are in the tub jets, but it may be too harsh for your tub's materials. In that case, vinegar is a safer cleaner to use. Review your manufacturer's instructions before using bleach, as some will recommend against using it. Bleach can cause the gaskets to dry out in some tubs.

How to Safely Substitute Bleach

If it is safe to use bleach in your tub, use 1/2 cup of bleach in step 4 as a replacement for vinegar. Do not mix bleach and vinegar because of the toxic fumes it can create. The whitening power of bleach can also work to whiten the discolored plastic tub jets.

Vinegar and Baking Soda for Cleaning Dirty Jetted Tub

If you just have mildly dirty jets, the steps above might be enough to clean your tub jets. However, if they are still a bit crusty, you need to scrub the jets.

  1. Now take some baking soda and mix it with a bit of white vinegar so that you have a mixture with a consistency of watery paste.
  2. Rub the mixture on the jet openings with a soft rag or cloth or an old toothbrush to clean them.
  3. Loosen the jets and remove them if possible so you can be sure to get into all the parts to clean them out.
  4. If you can't remove the jets but still can see grime along the edges, you can use some dental floss to get in those crevices and pull the dirt out.
  5. You can also use the baking soda paste to clean the faucet, drain, and tub walls.
  6. Make sure you rub gently with a soft cloth or rag as you don't want to damage the surface of the tub.
  7. Wipe away any debris you've dislodged during your baking soda cleaning with a towel.
  8. Fill the tub one more time with cold or lukewarm water and let the jets run for three to five minutes.
  9. Drain the tub and use a clean towel to wipe everything down.

Cleaning Bathtub Jets With a Commercial Biofilm Cleaner

If you prefer to use a commercial cleaner to eliminate biofilm in your tub, you can substitute the cleaner for dishwashing soap and vinegar (or bleach). Commercial jetted tub cleaners, such as Oh Yuk or Whirl Out, are specifically designed to remove harmful mold, mildew, and bacteria without harming the jets or tub wall materials. These cleaners are a better option than bleach, which can be harsh on a jetted tub's materials. Review the cleaner's instructions before using it, as it may require you to run the tub for longer, such as 30 minutes, with the cleaner and water mixture.

How to Clean the Filters on a Jetted Tub

Once you've got your jets sparkling, you might notice you still have a lack of water pressure. A dirty or clogged filter can often cause this. To clean your filter, you just:

  1. Remove the filter.
  2. Rinse it off to remove the crud.
  3. Replace it.

If you need a more thorough cleaning, you can soak the filter overnight in a dish soap and water mixture.

How Often Should a Jetted Tub Be Cleaned?

jetted tub with filter

If you use your jetted tub a few times a week or even daily, you should plan on cleaning the jets every three months, although you can clean them more often if you want. If you tend to use items like oils and bath salts in your jetted tub, it's best to clean it closer to once a month because these substances can leave residue in the tub jets. If you use the jetted tub occasionally, such as a few times a month or every few months, you can plan on a cleaning schedule of once every six months.

Tips and Tricks for Cleaning Tub Jets

Cleaning jets isn't hard. But, there are a few different things you can try to get the best results from your cleaning adventure.

  1. Give your tub a cleaning first.
  2. Always check your manufacturer's manual to ensure cleaners and methods are suitable for your tub.
  3. Put a little white vinegar in the water after a bath and let the jets run for 10 minutes. This works to clean your jets and saves you some hassle.

When to Call a Professional

Most of the time, you can clean your jetted tub easily with materials found in your pantry. However, if you bought a home with a jetted tub or let your jetted tub go for a long time, you might need professional help. Experts will do a professional deep cleaning of the jets and tubing that you can keep up with using home remedies. You'll know it's time to call a professional if you can't remove the black crud around or emerging from your jets.

Make Your Bathtub Jets Sparkling Clean

Cleaning your bathtub jets is easy, so there's no need to put it off! The more often you use your tub, the more you will need to clean out bacteria, mold, and mildew that collect in the jets. The easiest way to keep your tub clean is to have all your materials available in your bathroom and clean the tub right after each use. This way, you'll be sure to have a fresh, clean jetted tub whenever you're ready for a relaxing soak.

How to Clean Bathtub Jets Thoroughly in Simple Steps