Going in a hot tub straight after adding chlorine is not recommended. Chlorine needs time to dissolve and circulate throughout the water to be effective and safe. Getting into the hot tub too soon after adding chlorine can expose you to high concentrations of the chemical and cause health issues.
How Long Should You Wait After Adding Chlorine?
Most experts recommend waiting at least 30 minutes after adding chlorine before getting into your hot tub. This gives the chlorine enough time to dissolve and circulate evenly. Depending on your hot tub size and settings, you may need to wait up to an hour or longer.
Here are some general guidelines on how long to wait based on your hot tub:
|Hot Tub Size||Minimum Wait Time|
|2-4 person||30 minutes|
|5-6 person||45 minutes|
|7-8 person||1 hour|
Larger hot tubs need more time for the chlorine to circulate and dilute throughout all the water. The pump and jets also help mix and spread the chlorine evenly.
Why You Should Wait
Not waiting long enough after adding chlorine can cause the following issues:
- Skin and eye irritation – High chlorine levels from poor circulation can chemically burn and damage sensitive tissues.
- Difficulty breathing – Breathing in concentrated chlorine gases before dilution can irritate airways and lungs.
- Damage to swimwear – The bleach-like properties of concentrated chlorine can discolor or degrade swimsuits.
- Hot tub damage – Direct exposure to high chlorine can degrade jets, seals and acrylic over time.
The proper wait time allows the chlorine level to stabilize and become safe for users. Rushing into the hot tub too soon negates the purpose of sanitizing the water in the first place.
Tips for Adding Chlorine Safely
Here are some tips to allow chlorine to circulate properly before enjoying your hot tub:
- Add chlorine when the hot tub is not in use and no one is in the water.
- Turn on jets and allow water to circulate for better dilution.
- Spread chlorine around all sides of hot tub for even mixing.
- Test chlorine level with test strips once wait time is over.
- Adjust pH after adding chlorine since it affects sanitizer efficiency.
What If You Get In Too Soon?
If you make the mistake of getting into the hot tub before the chlorine has dispersed sufficiently, get out right away. Rinse off any skin or swimsuit exposed to the high chlorine levels.
You may experience the following temporary symptoms if you absorbed or inhaled concentrated chlorine:
- Skin redness or rash
- Burning eyes or blurred vision
- Coughing or sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea or vomiting
The symptoms should go away once you exit the chlorinated water. Rinsing with fresh water can help dilute any residual chlorine on your skin or swimsuit.
If symptoms persist or you experience a severe reaction, call your doctor. Seek emergency care for difficulty breathing, vomiting that won’t stop or eye injury.
Preventing Future Exposure
To avoid exposure going forward:
- Wait at least 30 minutes, longer for larger hot tubs.
- Test the chlorine level before entering the water.
- Run jets to help circulate and dilute chlorine.
- Rinse skin after getting out to remove any residual chlorine.
- Shower and wash swimsuit after soaking.
How Does Chlorine Work in Hot Tubs?
Understanding how chlorine sanitizes and circulates in hot tubs can help you use it safely and effectively.
Killing Bacteria and Germs
Chlorine adds a measured level of hypochlorous acid to the water, which kills bacteria, viruses and microorganisms. It helps prevent unsafe pathogens that can grow in warm, untreated water.
Balancing pH Level
Chlorine lowers pH as it sanitizes. You may need to raise pH after adding chlorine to the optimal range between 7.4-7.6 for proper sanitizing power and to avoid damage from highly acidic water.
Dissolving and Circulating
Chlorine takes time to fully dissolve and disperse throughout the hot tub water. Pump jets help move the water so chlorine can dilute from high concentrations near the dispenser or floating dispenser.
Maintaining Residual Chlorine Level
A chlorine residual between 3-5 ppm should remain in the water to continuously kill bacteria introduced by users. This low residual level is safe for soakers.
How Often Should You Add Chlorine?
Chlorine needs to be added regularly to maintain a proper residual level for sanitizing. Here are some general guidelines on frequency:
- 2-4 person hot tub – 1-2 times per week
- 5-6 person hot tub – 2-3 times per week
- 7-8 person hot tub – 3-4 times per week
Check the chlorine level with test strips to determine when you need to add more:
- 1 ppm or less – Add chlorine to boost residual
- 3-5 ppm – Chlorine level is optimal
- Above 5 ppm – Allow time to dilute or do partial water change
More frequent hot tub use, higher temperatures, rain and sunlight also increase chlorine demand. Adjust your dosing frequency accordingly.
What Are Other Ways to Sanitize a Hot Tub?
While chlorine is the most common hot tub sanitizer, there are other options to consider:
Bromine serves as an alternative to chlorine with comparable sanitizing ability. It lasts longer than chlorine and may irritate eyes and skin less. However, bromine is more expensive and still requires a wait time after adding to the hot tub.
Mineral sticks or cartridges infuse metals like silver into the water to kill bacteria. They provide a lower maintenance option, but you still need to add chlorine occasionally for sufficient sanitizing.
Ozone generators produce ozone gas that can kill bacteria, viruses and mold spores without chemicals. However, ozone does not have any residual sanitizing effect so chlorine is still needed.
UV Light Systems
UV light systems pass water by a UV bulb that damages the DNA of microorganisms to deactivate them. UV alone does not sanitize fully so chlorine or another sanitizer is still required.
Salt Water Systems
Salt water hot tubs convert salt into chlorine through electrolysis. No chlorine products have to be added and stored. But you still need to allow time for the generated chlorine to circulate properly after activating the system.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I just jump in the hot tub after adding chlorine?
No, you should never just jump in the hot tub immediately after adding chlorine. You need to wait at least 30 minutes for the chlorine to circulate and dilute throughout the water to be safe and avoid health issues.
What if my hot tub has an ozonator?
Ozone helps sanitize water but does not replace chlorine completely. You still need to add and wait for proper chlorine circulation even if you use an ozonator in your hot tub.
Can I speed up circulation with jets or blowers?
Yes, running the hot tub pump and jets can help dilute and spread the chlorine faster. But you still need to allow adequate time for chlorine levels to stabilize and become safe before entering the water.
Is it okay if my eyes are a little irritated after getting in?
No, any eye irritation means the chlorine level is too high and you got in too soon. Always test strips first and wait longer if any stinging occurs.
How does chlorine affect swimsuits?
The bleach-like properties of chlorine can discolor or degrade swimsuit fabrics over time. Getting in before dilution can accelerate damage to your swimwear.
The Bottom Line
Adding chlorine is essential to keep hot tub water clean and free of dangerous microorganisms. However, you must allow at least 30 minutes after adding chlorine before entering the hot tub. This gives the chemicals time to disperse throughout the water so they do not irritate skin or eyes. Test strips, your hot tub size and other factors can help determine the proper wait time. Be patient for the chlorine to dissolve and dilute for a comfortable and safe hot tub experience.