Ever had too much of a good thing? Then you know the feeling: what was once beneficial can quickly become overwhelming. Take chlorine in your hot tub, for instance. Chlorine kills bacteria and viruses, but too much can be harsh on skin, swimsuits and surfaces. It’s called “over-chlorination.”

In this Water Care Blog post, you’ll find out how to tell if your hot tub is over-chlorinated. Then you’ll learn how to fix it and prevent it, so your hot tub will be ready when you are.

Shot of the side of a hot tub. There is a fence behind it and a plant alongside it.

Chlorine’s role

Chlorine is a powerful oxidizer. It attacks contaminants and destroys them. A hot tub’s warm, damp environment is an inviting place for bacteria and viruses to grow, but chlorine, a primary sanitizer, kills them and breaks down organic matter.

Chlorine is very effective when hot tub water is balanced; industry standards are to maintain chlorine between 1.0 – 3.0 ppm.  When chlorine levels are over 3.0 ppm, your hot tub water can get smelly and uncomfortable – it’s harsh on skin, hair, swimsuits and surfaces.

The effects of too much chlorine in your hot tub

It’s time to talk about the not-so-great side of chlorine – the effects of over-chlorination. Here’s what you may notice with too much chlorine in your hot tub:

– Dry, itchy skin

– Eye irritation

– Strong chemical odor

– Faded swimsuits

– Faster corrosion of hot tub equipment

How to reduce chlorine levels

Let’s avoid over-chlorination problems! How? By preventing high chlorine levels. If over-chlorination happens, here’s 5 ways to fix it.

1. Keep your water balanced – routinely check your water chemistry

Regularly test your water to ensure it’s balanced. Water balancing is the key to maximize the life and appearance of your hot tub.

Two FROG Test Strips sit on a white towel. There is a lake with greenery in the background of the photo.

The three most important levels of balanced water are Total Alkalinity, pH and Total Hardness (also known as Calcium Hardness).

Always test your water and balance in this order:

– Total Alkalinity 80 – 120 ppm

– pH 7.2 – 7.6

– Total Hardness 150 – 250 ppm

Learn more about Water Balancing – download our FREE Water Balance Guide here.

A blonde woman compares her hot tub test strip results to the guidelines on the back of the bottle.

2. Keep Total Alkalinity between 80 – 120 ppm

Always check Total Alkalinity first. Why?

Because keeping Total Alkalinity within the ideal range makes all the other parameters much easier. Total Alkalinity should be between 80 – 120 ppm. If you want to know more, check out this video on “How to Balance Hot Tub Water.”

3. Keep pH balanced

Keeping your water balanced not only protects your hot tub surfaces and equipment from corrosion and scaling, but also allows chlorine to work more effectively. Plus, it helps you avoid additional shocking and chlorine dosing.

The ideal pH range for hot tub water is between 7.2 – 7.6. When pH is outside this range, chlorine becomes less effective, which means you may need to add more and more of it. And that means that eventually, you’ll have too much chlorine in your hot tub water. pH helps keep water balanced, ensuring it’s within the ideal range!

Expert tip: Check Total Hardness (or Calcium Hardness) when filling your hot tub. Bring a water sample to  your local retailer, they’ll test it and recommend products if it needs to be adjusted. When adding water to your existing hot tub water, it’s a good idea to test Total Hardness again and follow your local retailer’s advice if it needs correction.

In-ground hot tub with a hose over it refilling it.

4. Dilute your chlorine

If chlorine levels are over 3.0 ppm, consider diluting your hot tub water. You can do this two ways. One is to add fresh fill water. As you add fresh water, keep checking the chlorine level until it’s between 1.0 – 3.0 ppm.

A second option to correct high chlorine levels: partially drain and refill your hot tub. Remove a portion of the water and replace it with fresh fill water; check the chlorine levels until they’re within the ideal ranges.

Expert advice: As you add water to your hot tub test and adjust the Total Alkalinity, pH and Total Hardness to maintain your water balance.

5. Consider using an alternative sanitizer

Most hot tub owners use dichlor, a type of chlorine that dissolves quickly and easily in the warm waters of hot tubs.

While dichlor goes to work immediately, it’s also used up immediately; the level of chlorine depletes every time you use the hot tub.

An outdoor hot tub is photographed with a lake and greenery in the background. The water is clear and there is a white towel hanging off the front edge of the spa.

Then you have to add more dichlor when you want to use the hot tub again – it creates chlorine levels that peak and dip dramatically and can be inconsistent and hard to manage.

The good news is, you have alternatives! One of the many benefits of alternative sanitizers, like mineral systems, is that you can use much less chlorine.

A woman in a black swimsuit relaxes in her hot tub. A FROG @ease Floating System is floating in the water to the left of her.

One alternative sanitizing system offers a consistent chlorine level at all times, using up to 75% less chlorine*: FROG® @ease® Sanitizing System for hot tubs.

FROG @ease combines FROG Minerals with SmartChlor®, a unique, patented form of chlorine. Together, they  kill bacteria 2 ways, and create Fresh Mineral Water®∞ that feels silky soft with far less odors.

Image of the FROG @ease Floating System ball - both the blue mineral cartridge and the silver SmartChlor cartridge.

Plus, you shock only once a month – not every time you use the hot tub. Your hot tub is ready when you are!

For consistent, significantly low levels of chlorine and a hot tub that’s Cleaner, Clearer, Softer and Easier® to take care of, check out FROG @ease.

Want to learn more about FROG @ease? Watch our video below!

Chlorine: say goodbye to over-chlorination!

While chlorine effectively sanitizes your hot tub, it’s also important to keep it within ideal levels. When you’re mindful of chlorine levels in your hot tub, you can avoid over-chlorination and get back to enjoying your hot tub!

A man with longer hair and a beard relaxes in an indoor hot tub with his arms stretched out.
*Compared to the minimum ANSI recommended chlorine level of 2.0 ppm for a hot tub

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