Can You Really Use Baking Soda In Your Hot Tub?

You finally find an ingenious way to repurpose your hot tub to stay cool in the summer months and get ready for a refreshing soak. To ensure all goes well and you enjoy some uninterrupted me-time without monitoring the lookie-loos, you also employ genius ideas to keep your backyard hot tub private. However, if the pH levels are too low — aka it falls in the acidic zone — you need to get it back to optimal levels before setting up your charcuterie board, filling your glass of wine, and relaxing in the tub. Fortunately, the unassuming baking soda can help you raise the hot tub's pH level.

You must raise your hot tub's pH level for multiple reasons. For starters, acidic water will adversely impact your tub's heater and spa filter. Moreover, a low pH will damage and erode the surface, invalidating the warranty in certain cases. Plus, it'll irritate your skin, cause a burning sensation in your eyes and nose, and make it challenging for you to control the water's total alkalinity — ability to offset the acids present. Simply put, the chlorine won't be as effective and give the bacteria and viruses in the hot tub free reign. 

So, to maintain the pH level between 7.2 and 7.8 and the total alkalinity between 80 and 120 ppm (parts per million), use baking soda. Sodium bicarbonate is alkaline in nature and will increase the tub's pH level without burning a hole in your pocket or adding unnecessary chemicals to the water.

How to add baking soda to a hot tub to raise its pH level?

When your hot tub features unsightly scaling, leaves your skin irritated (or abnormally dry), or corrodes the metallic components, it's time to test the water's pH level. To test the pH, turn on the water pump for 10 minutes, switch it off, and let the water still. Now, use regular pH testing strips or pH sensors to find if the water is actually acidic. If the answer is yes, aka the pH is lower than 7, go into your kitchen and arm yourself with baking soda and a tablespoon.

While you'll need to eyeball the exact measurement, a rule of thumb is to add 1 tablespoon of baking soda for every 100 gallons of water. This means if the tub can hold 500 gallons of water (it's usually mentioned in the user manual), you'll need to add 5 tablespoons of sodium bicarbonate to keep your hot tub running smoothly. Pour the white powder into the tub and mix it well, or the soda will settle down towards the bottom. Otherwise, grab a bucket, fill it with some water from the tub, and mix in the baking soda in it before dumping the water back in the tub. 

Either way, let the powerheads, jets, and wavemakers churn the water for at least an hour to allow the baking soda to penetrate every drop. Once done, retest the pH level and repeat the above-mentioned steps if necessary.