Looking after your hot tub cover
Mildew, moss, cracked surfaces or a general look of age and disrepair – an uncared-for hot tub cover can look way past its best very quickly if it is not maintained and cleaned regularly. You will have made a big investment into your hot tub cover, particularly if you have opted for a top quality cover with a high R-value, so it is in your best interests to also invest time and effort into keeping your investment in tip-top condition.
Do's and don'ts
There are some simple 'do's' and 'don'ts' which will help you to keep the your hot tub cover in pristine condition, especially important at this time of year as you are probably unveiling your hot tub after a winter break.
The right tools for the job
The first thing to be aware of is the importance of using the correct cleaning materials. In knowing what will produce the best result without damaging the hot tub cover in any way will help you add years to the life of your hot tub. Alternatively, using the wrong products could cause you all sorts of expensive problems further down the line. Industry experts say that the most common cause of cover fading, cracking or quick deterioration is the use of damaging products – abrasive products will strip the top, protective layer from the vinyl causing it to fade, crack and disintegrate.
To clean your hot tub cover properly you will need a non-abrasive cleaner, a sponge or soft cloth and an oil-free protectant or silicon based, cover cleaner. If you think of caring for your hot tub cover as the same process as treating leather, it needs to be kept clean and supple to avoid cracking but the cleaning and care must be carried out using gentle products. It is best to avoid products that contain alcohol, bleach, detergent, soap and particularly oil. This latter point is important because oil will amplify the sun's rays, which in essence means your hot tub cover will 'cook' in the sunlight.
A cover cleaner will also restore the faded surface of a hot tub cover in much the same way that polish does on a car's painted surface:
Cleaning your cover successfully
The first stage in cleaning your cover is to loosen and remove dirt and leaves by washing it with a garden hose or a few buckets of water. Not all the ingrained dirt will wash off at this point but you will loosen it and make it easier to clean off later.
Use a cloth or a sponge to remove any visible dirt, then apply a non-abrasive cleaner to the cloth and start wiping it. Make sure you wipe all the cover, especially in any folds or creases. Rinse the sponge regularly and re-apply the cleaner on each occasion. You can use the hose for one final rinse when you feel you have all the dirt off. Our surespa surface cleaner is designed just for this job
Make sure you have cleaned all the cover, including the apron and underside.
Stubborn cleaning challenges
You might find that you have some especially tough areas to clean – bird droppings are notoriously difficult to remove. For caked on dirt and other hard-to-remove substances try the following process: Spray or wipe on the cleaner, let it soak for up to five minutes, wipe away and rinse with the hose. If this still fails to remove the dirt repeat this process. The Ultra Mitt will really get to grips with those stubborn stains!
Moss and mildew
Moss and mildew is a common problem, particularly if you have not used the hot tub for a few weeks. Check areas such as the zip and stitching to make sure it is clear of moss and mildew. If you see any problems developing it is important that you tackle it immediately. Use the rough side of the sponge with a little cleaner. With a little extra effort, the moss and mildew will clean off quite quickly. Once it is clear of the problem, use some moss and mildew protectant to prevent the problem recurring.
Mildew inside the jacket is harder to detect, but you will notice an odour which signifies the problem. The following procedure should solve the problem:
1. Unzip the jacket and carefully remove the foam cores
2. Clean the inside of the jacket with non-abrasive cleaner and a soft brush, make sure you clean the plastic vapour barrier
3. Use a hose to wash the surface clear of all mildew
4. Dry all the surfaces with a towel and allow the jacket to continue to dry thoroughly in the sunlight. This will also help eradicate residual mildew from inside the jacket
5. Dry the foam core in the shade
6. Give the jacket plenty of time to dry then reassemble
In some cases you will find tree sap or pitch can prove a stubborn substance to remove. To treat this, rub a little margarine or olive oil onto the affected areas. Once the sticky tree sap has been removed take particular care over removing any oily residue.
A chemical imbalance
While regular cleaning will add years to your hot tub cover's life span, you must also be aware of the effect that chemicals can have on your cover's lifespan. Over-chlorination, excessive ozone contact, or imbalanced water chemistry are all factors that will contribute to the swift disintegration of your hot tub cover. An imbalanced water chemistry can cause bleaching, puffiness within the vinyl and disintegration of the stitching.
The best way to prevent this is by testing and balancing your water on a weekly basis. This should be done as a matter of course to maintain the good health of your hot tub as well. Alkalinity levels should lie between 80-120 and the pH should be maintained at levels between 7.2-7.8. The chlorine level should be 1.5ppm-3ppm and Bromine 3ppm-5ppm.
By caring for and regularly cleaning your hot tub cover and ensuring its environmental conditions are at optimum level you will prolong its life by many years – and get a return on your investment. If all else fails and your cover is beyond hope then you will need to replace it quickly. Check out our custom made range of hot tub covers here.