Spa usage typically increases in wintertime, which makes spring and summer an excellent time of year to drain, thoroughly clean, and refill your spa. Get a fresh start, simplify your water chemistry, and protect your investment for years to come.
Total reading time: About 6 minutes
Check Your Supplies
QUICK TIP: Much like the family car, your spa will perform better and maintain its beauty with a consistent maintenance routine. For best results, we recommend having the following supplies on hand:
- Garden hose
- 5-gallon bucket
- A handful of clean microfiber cloths or soft rags
- Marquis® Jetline Cleaner (or) Marquis® Ultimate Purge Gel
- Marquis® Rapid Action Filter Cleaner
- Marquis® Spa Bright All-Purpose Cleaner
- Marquis® Gloss and Guard
- If you have a vinyl spa cover: Marquis® Vinyl Cover Cleaner and 303® Cover Protectant
- If you have a fabric spa cover: Soft-bristle brush and 303® Fabric Guard
- If you have hard water: Marquis® Pura-Fill 5-Stage Pre-Filter
Purge the Plumbing Lines
QUICK TIP: If you normally drain and refill your spa every three to four months, you may choose to skip this step. But if it’s been six months or longer, it’s a good idea to purge the plumbing system. Why so?
- Everybody’s spa usage habits and local water supply are different.
- Purging helps to prevent residue or buildup which may reduce spa performance over time.
- Even as a precautionary measure, the added peace of mind is well worth it.
To get started, choose one of the following:
- Marquis® Jetline Cleaner: Loosens minor buildup in the plumbing system. Use between draining cycles to prevent problems before they happen, or as a system purge just prior to draining.
- Marquis® Ultimate Cleanse Purge Gel: A stronger cleanser for removing thicker buildup in the plumbing system. Allows for deep cleaning of plumbing lines prior to draining.
The purging process: Remove filters and set them aside in a 5-gallon bucket. If your spa is equipped with an in-line sanitation system, remove the sanitizer and conditioning cartridges and safely set them aside. With no bathers in the water, add jetline cleaner or purge gel according to the product instructions. Turn the pumps on high and allow water to circulate through all jets (or zones) for 30 minutes with the cover off. Then, move on to the draining process.
Drain the Spa
QUICK TIP: Before draining the spa, you should consult the owner’s manual. Do not power off or drain your spa if there is any risk of freezing weather. Never leave an empty spa exposed to direct sunlight, as this may damage the spa’s interior shell.
Typically, the draining process involves these steps:
- With pumps turned off, turn off main power to the spa.
- Access the equipment compartment.
- Locate the drain hose, remove the hose bib cap, and connect a garden hose.
- Open the drain hose valve and drain spa water away from sensitive plants or shrubs.
While the spa is draining, you can move on to the cleaning process.
Clean the Spa
QUICK TIP: Before cleaning the spa, you should consult the owner’s manual. Only use cleaning products approved for hot tubs and swim spas. (WARNING: Do not use dish soap, ammonia, glass cleaners, citrus cleaners, organic solvents, fingernail polish remover, ketones or esters.)
Clean the Filters
To remove filters, unscrew them (counter-clockwise) and set them aside in a 5-gallon bucket away from your spa. Fill the bucket with water until filters are submerged, and add Marquis® Rapid Action Filter Cleaner according to the product instructions. Allow filters to soak overnight to loosen any residue or buildup. The next day, remove filters from the bucket, thoroughly rinse them with clean water, and allow to air dry completely. (If you wish to expedite the restart process, keep a backup set of clean filters on hand to use while the primary filters are being cleaned and air dried.)
Clean the Pillows
Prior to cleaning the spa interior, it’s a good idea to remove spa pillows and clean them separately. While you should not use dish soap to clean the spa, it’s okay to use a little soapy water to clean spa pillows themselves. Just make sure to rinse them thoroughly and remove any soapy residue. After cleaning and polishing the spa interior, remember to reattach spa pillows. (If your spa pillows are disintegrating, especially near the water line, read this article to troubleshoot the issue.)
Clean the Spa Interior
Similar to detailing your car’s interior, the goal here is to gently remove residue from the spa shell. Once the spa has drained, use Marquis® Spa Bright All-Purpose Cleaner according to the product instructions, along with a clean microfiber cloth or soft rag. (WARNING: Do not use any abrasive products.)
Polish the Spa Interior (Optional)
Once the spa interior is clean and dry, use Marquis® Gloss and Guard according to the product instructions, along with a clean microfiber cloth or soft rag. This helps to shine and protect the spa’s interior surfaces. If you removed the spa pillows, remember to reattach them after you finish polishing the spa interior.
Clean the Spa Cover
QUICK TIP: Depending on which material your spa cover is made from, the process may be slightly different:
If You Have a Vinyl Spa Cover (e.g. DuraCover®)
Use Marquis® Vinyl Cover Cleaner according to the product instructions. After the cover is clean and dry, use 303® Cover Protectant to protect thread and seams from drying out and cracking. Wipe off any excess with a microfiber cloth or soft rag.
If You Have a Fabric Spa Cover (e.g. Weathershield™)
Use Marquis® Spa Bright All-Purpose Cleaner along with a soft-bristle brush. After gently scrubbing, thoroughly rinse the cover with water and allow it to drain outside the spa. Once the cover is dry, spray on 303® Fabric Guard to renew the water-resistant properties of the fabric, which helps water to bead and run off the cover’s tapered edges.
Refill the Spa
QUICK TIP: Before refilling the spa, you should consult the owner’s manual. If your local water supply has high mineral content (i.e., “hard water”), attach a Marquis® Pura-Fill 5-Stage Pre-Filter to your garden hose before refilling. This removes sediment and reduces calcium and other mineral content.
Typically, the refilling process involves these steps:
- Verify the drain hose valve is closed and the drain hose bib cap is on.
- Open diverter valves and jets to allow as much air as possible to escape from the plumbing and control system during the refilling process.
- Fill the spa to its operating level, which is about two-thirds the way up the skimmer opening.
- Once the spa is filled with water, turn on the main power to the spa.
At this point, Marquis® hot tubs and Aquatic Training Vessels™ swim spas display a startup screen on the topside control panel:
- The spa will automatically enter “pump priming” mode, which lasts approximately four to five minutes. During this time the spa will appear idle.
- Allow the spa to circulate on high speed for an additional four to five minutes to discharge air from the plumbing system.
- Do not expect hot water immediately from the jets. After the spa is covered, it may take between 12-24 hours to heat the water to its operating temperature.
Remember to install spa filters: If you have a backup set of clean filters on hand to use while the primary filters are being cleaned and air dried, install them now. Otherwise, reinstall the primary filters after cleaning and air drying. Ensure filters are properly installed according to the owner’s manual.
Balance the Water
QUICK TIP: For Marquis hot tubs and ATV™ swim spas, the factory default water temperature setting is 100°F (38°C). But you can adjust this up or down based on your preferences. The maximum temperature setting is 104°F (40°C).
Once spa water reaches its operating temperature:
- Reinstall the sanitizer and conditioning cartridges (if applicable), or manually add sanitizer granules according to the product instructions. Allow sufficient time for sanitizer to circulate.
- Test the total alkalinity. The target range is 80 to 140 parts-per-million (ppm). Use the appropriate Marquis balancer as needed.
- Test the pH balance. The target range is 7.4 to 7.6 pH. Use the appropriate Marquis balancer as needed.
- Test the total hardness. The target range is 150 to 250 ppm. Use the appropriate Marquis balancer or five-stage pre-filter as needed.
- Test the sanitizer level. Make any necessary adjustments according to your sanitizer’s product instructions.
Enjoy the Benefits
A thorough cleaning every three to four months takes a bit of elbow grease. But it gives you a tremendous feeling of accomplishment, and knowing your spa is well maintained gives you peace of mind. Your family and friends will benefit from your attentiveness, your water chemistry will be much easier to maintain, and your spa will continue to perform for many years to come.
All that remains is to reward yourself with a nice hot soak. Grab your favorite beverage, turn the jets on high, and immerse yourself in soothing relaxation. After all, you’ve earned it!