Home » How to Get Grit, Sand, Dirt, or Mud Out of Hot Tub

How to Get Grit, Sand, Dirt, or Mud Out of Hot Tub

No one likes sand, mud, dirt, and grit in a hot tub. It doesn’t feel good under your feet and ruins the relaxing experience of a soak. How do you get it out?

Spa or hot tub showing brown ring or cloudy biofilm
Dirty hot tub.

Here are 7 solutions for removing dirt and grit from a hot tub:

  • Drain the hot tub, clean it, and refill
  • Use Silly Putty
  • Suck with a turkey baster
  • Clean with a Shop Vac
  • Siphon with a garden hose
  • Use specialty products
  • Try a spa vacuum/spa wand

As you can see, removing sand and dirt from your hot tub needn’t be a challenge. Keep reading for more information on the above methods and tips on how to keep your hot tub cleaner in the future!

Do You Need to Drain Grit Out of a Hot Tub? How Do You Do It?

You have all sorts of solutions for removing grit, sand, dirt, and mud from a hot tub. Some are quicker and others slower, and some are more cost-effective.

Per the intro, let’s delve into the 8 awesome methods at your disposal.

1. Drain the Hot Tub, Clean It, and Refill It

The first method might take the most time, but it will produce the best results. It’s also going to be a little expensive too. You’ll need to replenish all the chemicals when refilling, costing you time and money.

Since the small particles of sand and grit can float around in the hot tub water, you might decide you’re better off draining the entire tub and starting fresh.

Once you empty the water from the hot tub, you can then clean the tub inside and out, reaching each crevice and corner.

When you’re sure that you’ve removed every trace of grit, you can refill the water and use your hot tub without stepping on uncomfortable particles.

2. Use Silly Putty

If the idea of draining and refilling your hot tub doesn’t appeal to you, that’s fine. You can try a much faster solution.

Silly Putty CRY08-0313 3-Pack-Crayola Original, 3 Pack

Well, it’s faster in some ways and slower in others. If you have Silly Putty handy because you have kids in the house, ask to borrow it.

FYI, you will probably have to buy fresh Silly Putty for the kiddos since what you’re using will get waterlogged.

Take the Silly Putty, uncap it, and stick it to the sandy and gritty surfaces of your hot tub. Even when submerged, the Silly Putty will stick to the grit and collect it for you.

When the Silly Putty gets too sandy, pull it out of the water, rub the particles off, and repeat until you’re done and your hot tub is spotless.

3. Suck up Grit with a Turkey Baster

If you don’t have any Silly Putty, don’t panic. You can always repurpose a kitchen tool for a cleaner hot tub. We’re talking about the humble turkey baster, of course.

Norpro Plastic Nylon Baster, 1 EA, Black

Make sure you wash out the turkey baster with soap and water first so it doesn’t contain any leftover fats and oils. Then bring it out to your hot tub, climb inside, and begin sucking up the sandy, dirty particles. Have a bucket handy so you can squeeze the dirty water in.

You will lose some water in the process, so refill when you’re done. Also, you might want to reconsider using that turkey baster again for Thanksgiving dinner. Buy a new one and save the first baster for hot tub maintenance.

4. Clean with a Shop Vac

If you want a quicker and more convenient option still, use a Shop Vac. These wet/dry vacuums will get the job done quicker than Silly Putty or a turkey baster.

Stanley - SL18116P Wet/Dry Vacuum, 6 Gallon, 4 Horsepower Black

Insert the vacuum nozzle into your hot tub where it’s dirty or gritty, turn on the vacuum, and within a few minutes, your hot tub will look spic and span.

Make sure you have a drain for depositing the dirty water the Shop Vac collects.

5. Siphon with a Garden Hose

If you don’t have a Shop Vac, you can always use a good, old-fashioned garden hose to clean your hot tub of mud, dirt, sand, or grit. You can use it as a siphon and use the suction end to suck up the dirt. You’ll lose some water in the process so be prepared to top up your tub or Jacuzzi and rebalance the chemicals.

Here’s how…

Take your garden hose and insert one end into the hot tub. The other end of the hose should aim into a drain or sewage input. You can even use a bucket if that’s handier.

You’ll have to put your mouth on the hose and suck to move the water, but once it’s traveling, you can siphon the dirty water out. Now you just put the suction end right near the dirt.

6. Use a Specialty Product

You can also use a product intended for a gritty hot tub such as the Pool Blaster Grit-Gitter.

POOL BLASTER Water Tech Grit-Gitter Manual Hot Tub and Spa Vacuum Cleaner for Spot Cleaning Sand and Dirt

The Grit-Gitter is a hand-shaped cleaner that reaches all those tight, tiny spots of your hot tub that other cleaners can’t get to. It’s human powered. Squeeze it to activate, and your hot tub messes will disappear before you know it.

It’s good for smaller amounts of grit and dirt.

7. Try a Spa Vacuum or Spa Wand

We’ve discussed a lot of vacuums in this section, but by far, the best is a spa vacuum since it’s designed for cleaning hot tubs and spas.

Intex 28620EP Handheld Rechargeable Spa Pool Vacuum, Grey

The Intex handheld rechargeable spa vacuum has two brush heads you can change, a 94-inch telescoping lightweight aluminum shaft, and a handy shaft adapter.

When you take the Intex spa vacuum out of your hot tub (or pool, since it works there too), it turns itself off so it doesn’t waste energy.

Why Does My Hot Tub Have Sand and Grit in It?

You’ve got the sand and grit out of your hot tub, but what causes these messes in the first place? Let’s go over some reasons your hot tub gets so dirty.


Does your hot tub have hard water? More than likely, yes. When calcium-containing water heats up as hot tubs do, they produce scale. If the water in your hot tub has a high pH, scale can also develop.

The calcium deposits can linger on the walls, floors, and surface of your hot tub.

Hot Tub Users Entering with Dirty Feet

You’ve got to have ground rules when guests use your hot tub. Clean your feet before entering. This will keep dirt, grime, sand, and grit out of the tub so everyone can enjoy it.

Pro Tip: An easy way to achieve this is to have a large bucket of water and some towels next to your hot tub. Dunk your feet in, give them a quick dry and you’re good to go.

Leaving the Hot Tub Uncovered

Wooden outdoor hot tub filled with water
Wooden outdoor hot tub.

Another reason your hot tub might have gotten so gritty is that you don’t put a cover on it.

When you’re not in the hot tub, you should throw a cover over it. It’s a lot easier to cover your hot tub compared to your swimming pool, so get into a regular habit of doing so.

If you forget the cover, dust, dirt, and other particles can blow in.

Tips to Prevent Sand and Dirt in the Hot Tub

Understanding what leads to a dirty, sandy hot tub is half the battle. The following methods will prevent grime in the hot tub going forward.

Use a Water Softener or Another Calcium Treatment

If you’ve deduced that hard water has caused your hot tub to feel like sandpaper, you need to get rid of that calcium ASAP.

Standard vinegar can dissolve calcium since vinegar is very acidic. You can also use a water softener.

Test the Hot Tub Water pH

A man holding a test strip to test hot tub water.
Use a test strip to test hot tub water

Controlling your hot tub’s pH will go a long way toward preventing calcium recurrences. A hot tub monitoring device like this one can also read chlorine and alkalinity, so it’s quite handy.

If that’s too expensive for you, the standard pH testing kits you use for your swimming pool should suffice for your hot tub.

Clean Your Hot Tub Regularly

The cleaner you keep your hot tub, the harder it is for grit and sand to accumulate. If you do have a bit of dirt in the tub, it won’t feel as bad on your feet either.

Cover Your Hot Tub When Not in Use

Yes, we have to talk one more time about the importance of covering your hot tub when you’re not in it. It will go a long way toward preserving the cleanliness of your hot tub!

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