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The Chemistry of Softub, SplashTub &
Hot Tub Water Care

Balanced spa water that is maintained to be clean, healthy, & sparkling clear provides the most enjoyment for your spa experience and greatly increases the life of your Softub. You will find information on Softub chemicals, Softub and Hot Tub maintenance, & water care on this page. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us by email.

Frequent Problems:

Cloudy Water
Filter Problems
Test all chemical levels with an accurate test kit and make the appropriate adjustments. You might want to consider using Enzyme, a weekly routine. This will help maintain your filter along with the Softub water.
Skin Irritation
Improper pH or Total Alkalinity Levels
Test all chemical levels and make the appropriate adjustments.
Eye Irritation
Low Sanitizer Levels or Excess Combined Chlorine
Test all chemical levels and make the appropriate adjustments. Shock your spas water with Shock Oxidizer per instructions
Algae Growth
Low Sanitizer Levels

Shock your spas water with Shock Oxidizer per instructions. Brush the spa walls. Run the filter for a 24-hour period to increase distribution of sanitizer.

Excessive Foam
Buildup of Body Oils or Cosmetics

Generally there will also be a water line around the top of the spa (see next problem). If no water line is present you can try using Foam Eliminator to break up the contaminants. You also might want to consider using Enzyme, this will help you in solving your problem. If a water line is present the spa should be drained and cleaned. Either way, the filter should be thoroughly cleaned by using Filter Revive. An oil absorbing sponge such as Scum Bug can help in preventing this in the future.

Excess Organic Contaminants
Some organic matter is prone to causing foamy water as it breaks down in the filter. Generally using Foam Eliminator to break up the contaminants, then Enzyme to help filter them away followed by thoroughly cleaning your filter with Filter Revive will clear up the problem. It may however be necessary to drain and refill your spa if the foaming is quite excessive.
Low Total Hardness
Test water with AquaChek Select strips and if necessary increase with Calcium Hardness Increaser.
Excess Bromine
Generally the water will also have a green tint to it. The spa will need to be drained and refilled, and the Bromine Dispenser adjusted correctly
Oily Water Line
Body Oils, Dirt, or Soaps
Scum line may be able to be removed with paper towel or with the Tub Scrubber. Using Enzyme weekly along with frequent filter cleanings usually eliminates this problem.
Unstable pH
Low Total Alkalinity
Test total alkalinity levels with an accurate test kit and if necessary increase with pH & Alkalinity Increase.
pH Resistant to Changing
High Total Alkalinity Levels
Test total alkalinity levels with an accurate test kit and if necessary decrease with pH & Alkalinity Decrease.

Below you will find definitions of some common terms defined to help beginners and seasoned Softubber's gain a better understanding of the science of your Softub Water. I have included products in some definitions to help you more.


Chemicals such as sodium bisulfate (pH & Alkalinity Decrease) or muriatic acid used to lower pH or alkalinity.

Microscopic aquatic plant life which can grow on spa surfaces or float in the water. Although harmless to bathers, algae discolors the water and indicates improper sanitization.

See Total Alkalinity.

Microscopic organisms continuously entering the water via bathers, airborne dust, etc. Without proper sanitization Softub and Hot Tubs are the ideal breeding ground for bacteria, many of which can cause disease or infection.

Balanced Water
Water that is neither corrosive nor scale forming. Water with the proper relationships of pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness is said to be balanced.

Floating Bromine Dispenser
A floating device which holds Bromine Tablets and dispenses a metered amount of bromine sanitizer into the Softub water.

A sanitizing agent for Softub spas that kills bacteria and algae. The tablet form (Bromine Tablets)of this product is dispensed using a floating brominator. The granular form is added upon spa startup (initial filling) to establish an immediate bromine reserve (Sodium Bromide).

Calcium Hardness
A measure of the amount of calcium dissolved in water. Water with low hardness can lead to corrosion of metal parts. Total Hardness test kits are available for checking hardness levels (AquaChek Select).

A sanitizing agent that kills bacteria and algae (Chlorine Sanitizer).

Cover Protectant
A special formulation for vinyl spa covers which prevents deterioration caused by sunlight and weather. (303 Protectant or Cover Care Cleaner).

To kill and inhibit growth of harmful microorganisms spa water through the use of a sanitizer such as chlorine (Chlorine Sanitizer) or bromine (Bromine Tablets).

Biodegradable proteins which break-down oils, films and digest scum in spa water (Leisure Time Enzyme).

Filter Media
A pleated, porous synthetic fabric in filter cartridges, used to trap foreign matter. Filter cartridges must be cleaned regularly with filter cleaning compounds to maintain spa water quality (Filter Revive).

Free Chlorine
The amount of chlorine available to kill bacteria or algae.

Organic Wastes
Wastes such as body oils, perspiration, & sun tan lotion residues that bathers introduce into the spa. Most organic wastes will not filter out and must be broken-down by shocking with an oxidizer (Shock Oxidizer).

A scale of the relative acidity/alkalinity of water. The pH scale runs from 0 to 14, with 7 being the neutral midpoint. A pH reading of less than 7 indicates water which is on the acid side of the scale. A pH of more than 7 is on the basic (alkaline) side. In spas, the acceptable range is between 7.2 and 7.8.

pH Decreaser
An acidic chemical used to lower pH or alkalinity (pH & Alkalinity Decrease).

pH Hold
A product which locks the pH of the Softub water into perfect balance for up to 3 months or until the next water change (pH Lock). After setting initial pH, use of this product eliminates the need for continual pH adjustment.

pH Increaser
A base compound used to raise pH (pH & Alkalinity Increase).

Parts per million.

A compound such as bromine (Bromine Tablets) or chlorine (Chlorine Sanitizer) used to kill microorganisms in spa water.

Calcium crust or buildup caused by unbalanced water. These mineral deposits form on spa surfaces and clog filters, heaters, & pumps. The regular use of stain prevention chemicals can prevent scale formation (Metal & Stain Control)

Scale & Stain Preventer
A product which prevents the formation of calcium scale and stains on spa fittings caused from copper and iron plumbing (Metal & Stain Control).

Scum Digester
An enzyme product which breaks down body oils, soap film and lotion residues in spa water
(Leisure Time Enzyme).

Soda Ash
Common term for sodium carbonate which is used to raise pH of spa water (can use pH & Alkalinity Increase).

Soft Water
Water with very low levels of dissolved calcium. Can be corrected with Calcium Hardness Increaser.

Spa Fragrance
Special perfumes designed to enhance the Hot Tub experience and overcome chemical odors. These are designed for spas and will not alter water balance or clog filters (InSPArations & Spazazz Crystals).

Application of large shock dosages of chlorine to destroy buildup of organic contaminates in water. The preferred alternative is to use a non-chlorine shock (Shock Oxidizer).

Test Strips
Easy-to-use dip strips for measuring the pH, total alkalinity, & sanitizer levels of your spa water. We also have strips available for testing water hardness levels (AquaCheck Select).

Total Alkalinity (TA)
The measure in PPM of all the dissolved base/alkaline material in the water. The acid-neutralizing capacity of water which indicates its buffering ability, or resistance to fluctuations in pH.


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Softub® is a registered trademark of Softub, Inc.
SplashTub® is a registered trademark of Splash SuperPools, LLC.