No matter which method you use to drain your hot tub, a small amount of water will always be left behind in the seating and footwells, which should always be removed.
The best way to remove water from the bottom of a hot tub is by using a wet and dry shop vacuum. Two other options are using a large-capacity syringe or highly absorbent towels. Using a vacuum is the easiest way dry the spa shell and has other benefits such as its blower function.
Removing all of the water ensures that you don’t contaminate the water when you fill it again. I’ve included some other drainage tips at the end of this article that you should make sure to read.
Wet and dry shop vacuum
By far the most efficient way of removing every last drop of water from the bottom of your hot tub is to use a wet and dry shop vacuum, which is more referred to as a wet/dry vac.
Shop vacuums are commonly found on building sites to remove the debris left over from construction. Builders typically use dry shop vacuums, but for a hot tub, you’ll obviously need a model that is waterproof.
Wet/dry vacs are not only the most efficient way of removing leftover water, but they can suck up any leaves, twigs, and other debris that found its way into the tub.
Wet/dry vacs come in many different sizes, but don’t think bigger is better. It’s far more practical to use a small, portable, handheld vacuum to remove water from the bottom of a spa.
You’ll struggle to get in and out of your spa with large-capacity models. And leaving it outside the tub while you vacuum isn’t an option as the hose won’t be long enough to reach all around.
Larger models aren’t supposed to be handheld, which means you would need to place it into the base of the spa. This can lead to scuffs and scratches in your spa base as you constantly have to move it around while you clean.
My personal recommendation is this wet/dry vac by Armor All. It has a 2.5-gallon (9.5L) polypropylene tank, which is more than enough to get rid of all the standing water. You don’t have to worry about overflow anyway, as it has an automatic shut-off.
Its 6-foot (1.8m) hose is powered by a 2-hp motor that provides plenty of suction power. Among its many attachments is a brush and crevice nozzle, which are ideal for getting into those hard-to-reach areas.
Another reason I chose the All Armour is because of its blower function, which can dislodge and remove any gunk in the pipes by forcing air through. Not all wet/dry vacs feature a blower, especially not its price point, so this is a nice little addition.
My final piece of advice is to stay away from cordless wet/dry vacs. While they might seem the more practical option, they’re less powerful, have very small tanks, and don’t have important features like a crevice nozzle or a blower function.
Winterizing and other uses
If you don’t like to use your hot tub during the winter, then a wet/dry vac is the most effective way to winterize your tub.
Removing all the water from the plumbing is vitally important to avoid any issues with freezing and cracking in the pipes during the winter months.
Purchasing a wet/dry vac is a great little investment. Trust me, you’ll end up using it around your home, garage, and for your car.
Another option for removing leftover water is to use an extra-large capacity syringe. It can hold 17 oz (500ml) of liquid, making it a fairly quick process.
You may have read on other sites to use a turkey baster. Unless you feel like spending the next 6 hours painstakingly trying to remove the water one ounce at a time, I recommend a large syringe instead.
The syringe can also be used to blow a small amount of air through any crevices to get rid of some of the leftover droplets.
But let’s be serious here for a minute. Do you really want to go to the trouble of sucking up water with a syringe in order to save $40? Owning a hot tub is supposed to be relaxing, so do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a wet/dry vac.
Absorb with towels
The last option you have is to absorb the water with some towels. If you want to go this route, then it’s best if you can get yourself some highly absorbent shammy towels.
I recommend keeping the towels for use only with the hot tub. You want to ensure that the towels are kept clean and hygienic so that you don’t introduce anything nasty into your spa. This method really should be a last resort as it’s going to be back-breaking work.
Before you drain your dirty spa water, you should use this Ahh-Some line flush to clear the pipes of any biofilm that’s hiding away in there. The cleaner needs to be added while the tub is still full of water so that it can be circulated throughout the plumbing for 60 minutes.
If you skip this step, you run the risk of contaminating your freshly filled tub with the bacteria that was leftover from the previous fill.
After you’ve successfully got rid of the biofilm, you’ll next need to turn off the power and drain your hot tub. This is easiest using a submersible pump so that you don’t have to wait around for hours. Use this time to give your spa filters a thorough clean.
Once drained, coat the hot tub shell thoroughly with this chemical surface cleaner and allow it to disinfect for 15-20 minutes. It’s a good idea to get in there and give it a good scrub too.
Now that everything has been disinfected, you’ll need to rinse the spa thoroughly with fresh water to remove the chemical cleaner.
All you need to do now is jump in and dry the tub with your new, shiny wet/dry vac. Make sure it’s completely dry as any residue or leftover cleaner can cause your hot tub water to foam after refilling.