Proper maintenance will help your hot tub cover last many years. Knowing which products to use, and which to avoid, can be the difference between a good return on your investment or a recurring expense. Here, I will walk you through the steps and teach you what you need to know to get the best longevity possible from your spa cover.
What You’ll Need
To properly clean your cover, you will need:
- A gentle non-abrasive cleaner
- A sponge or damp cloth
- An oil free protectant
The most common cause of cover fading, cracking and deterioration is the use of damaging products. Vinyl is similar to leather, it requires a gentle cleanser. Avoid using products that contain:
- Dish Soap
Abrasive cleaners strip the clear top coating of vinyl causing it to fade, crack and eventually require replacement.
Oil based “protectants” (including a leading automotive line containing silicone oil) are extremely damaging because they amplify sun rays, essentially cooking your hot tub cover.
The first step to cleaning your cover is to wet it down with a garden hose. This will help to loosen the dirt and allow you to wipe down the surface with less friction.
After most of the water has run off, apply a non-abrasive cleaner to your cloth or sponge and start wiping. Be sure to rinse your sponge regularly, re-applying cleaner each time, otherwise you will just smear the dirt around.
Don’t forget the apron or underside!
“Maintaining the integrity of the vinyl’s topcoat, and protecting against UV damage are keys to keeping it looking and performing like new.” Says Garth, Spa Cover Specialist at SpaDepot.com.
For especially tough areas like caked on dirt or bird droppings, try the following:
- Spray on non-abrasive cleaner
- Let soak 1-3 minutes
- Wipe away
- Repeat if necessary
Note: Tree sap and pitch can be easily removed by rubbing in a little margarine or olive oil to the effected area.
Once the sap is removed, clean this area to remove any remaining oily residue.
Moss & Mildew
During the winter, you may notice moss or mildew starting to grow on your cover.
My spa cover (pictured on the left) had moss growing in the zipper and stitching. With a little CleanAll Spray and the rough side of a sponge, I was able to clean all of it off within just a few minutes.
After cleaning off moss or mildew, treat the area with a liberal amount of protectant spray. This will coat the surface and help prevent unsightly fungi from growing back.
Dealing with Mildew Inside the Vinyl Jacket (Indicated if odor is a problem)
- Unzip the jacket and carefully remove the foam cores.
- Clean the inside of the jacket with a non abrasive and a soft brush.
- Clean the core’s plastic vapor barrier.
- Spray surfaces with garden hose.
- Towel-dry all surfaces, and allow for additional air-dry time of the jacket.
- Sunlight exposure for an hour or two helps rid residual mildew from inside the jacket.
- Foam core should be kept in the shade while drying.
- Carefully reassemble when dry. Note: If foam core is rotten and waterlogged, cover requires replacement.
Prolonging Cover Life
Another major contributor to cover failure is damage caused by over-chlorination, excessive ozone contact, or imbalanced water chemistry.
Imbalanced water chemistry can cause vinyl puffiness, stitching disintegration and bleaching of the cover’s underside.
Prevent this by testing & balancing your water weekly.
- Keeping Alkalinity between 80-120
- Keeping pH between 7.2-7.8
- Keep Chlorine between 1.5-3 or Bromine 3-5
- Use a ThermoFloat Blanket
- Remove cover when adding spa shock
Cleaning your cover once every 1-3 months will keep it moisturized and looking fabulous for years. Even an older cover can benefit from a thorough cleaning and protectant treatment.
Do you have any questions about cover cleaning or hot tub maintenance? Post your question below!