How Do You Clean Whirlpool Jets??

15 years ago

We're building a new house and have ordered a whirlpool tub. A friend said that they have one now and have a hard time keeping the jets clean. That as much as she takes them apart, cleans them and then cleans them again with bleach she always see's "scum" floating around where it came through the jets. She is an extremely clean person and if this is happening to her I wonder what it'll be like for me, someone who is only a mediocre cleaner...

Anyone else hae this problem and have it conquered?

Comments (52)

  • Trinity_
    15 years ago

    Wow - a question I can finally help with! lol

    We just moved into a new home with a jacuzzi bathtub, and though everything looked very clean, I noticed a little of the same scum stuff the first time I used it, and it just got worse the next 2 times (ewww) I got online to research the problem.

    Keep in mind that this house had been empty for 6 months (3 year old home) so the deposits were hardened in the pipes. This procedure had it spic and span...

    Until I track down the web page from which I found it - I think it was at or something... Here's the basic procedure:

    1. Fill tub with hot water to a couple inches above jets.
    2. Pour in about a half cup of bleach and a tablespoon of powdered cascade dishwashing detergent
    3. Run the jets for 15 minutes with the air knob thing open all the way so it gives the highest turbulence
    4. observe gunk and try not to choke 8]
    5. empty tub
    6. Refill with cold water to above jets
    7. Run jets to rinse - 10 minutes

    Do this twice a month.

    The page had some very informative info about what kind of stuff builds up in those pipes - I'll hunt it down and post it tonight.

    Best Answer
  • jiggreen
    15 years ago

    wow, this is the EXACT question i was coming here to post!!! i'm gonna try the cascade thing. i've tried everything else, such as bleach, ammonia, vinegar (not all together of course! lol) clr, and numerous other cleaning agents. the gunk that comes from the jets sometimes is really disgusting! there's nothing quite like taking a nice relaxing whirlpool bath only to notice black flakes of crud floating in the bubbles!

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  • delmobile
    15 years ago

    I've posted this somewhere else, maybe on the bath forum: the bath shop gal who sold us our tub said never to run the pump if there is anything but water (bubble bath, bath oil, etc.) in the tub b/c the residue left in the jets would harbor mold or whatever that black stuff is. She described the scene of settling into a relaxing tub and turning on jets, only to see black gunk swirling out into your water SO effectively that I have never violated this rule, hard as it is to follow. And we've never had a problem.

    I did do the Cascade/bleach thing maybe twice, when the tub was still new enough for cleaning it to be exciting (!) but haven't done it for several years probably now. I can't remember the interval our manual suggested but don't think it was twice a month, that seems like an awful lot. Anyway basically I just clean the tub it with Soft Scrub when it needs it, and we're still not seeing gunk.

  • jiggreen
    15 years ago

    well, just wanted to give an update on how the whirlpool jets are doing now that i've been cleaning with the dish detergent and bleach. so far so good, i've cleaned twice using this method, and i haven't seen any disgusting crud coming out of my jets anymore when i take a bath!
    i for one could not imagine using my whirlpool bath with just plain old h2o in the tub. i don't use bubble bath (lol, i learned that lesson when my bathroom filled halfway up with bubbles after i turned the jets on!)...but i do like nice smelling bath oils and salts. i know that using these things in my tub with the jets on is just asking for crud buildup in the lines, but to me it is worth the extra cleaning time.

  • bekler
    12 years ago

    I have been cleaning my whirlpool brass jets since 1993 with 1 cup of cascade dishwashing detergent. But now I have another problem, the brass finish has worn off and the brass is now turning green and black. I have purchased brass cleaner and used 0000 steelwool but now have to find some type of brass sealer so it will not tarnish again....any suggestions? The only other option is to replace the jets with PVC...any suggestions where to purchase?

  • eteinne
    12 years ago


    Don't use the granular "Cascade" but "Cascade Complete." The granular is an acid and will eat away the sealant on the brass. The "Complete" is an enzyme and won't do that. Before, "Complete," I washed, all of my good china by hand as the rims were, "Silver," and would turn them, black. The acid does that. Is this a seperate tub or is it 1 with a shower? The people 4 whom I clean, use 1 or the other. The shower daily. I just want to know where all of the dead flies come from when U put water in the tub and they come floating out of the drain?! I have no idea?!
    good luck!


  • heidi44
    12 years ago

    I also have the problem with black flakes coming out of my whirlpool jets. I have a Jacuzzi brand tub so I called them and asked about using the bleach/cascade combo. They said not to use bleach because it could dry out the fittings. Do any of you who use the bleach/cascade mixture have a Jacuzzi brand tub? If so have you had any problems from the bleach and how long have you been using it? Jacuzzi recommended that I use their cleaning products which are rather expensive.

  • franacropan
    12 years ago

    jiggreen, you can buy special spa / whirlpool fragrance that perfumes the water but doesn't harm the inner workings or leave a film. I use two brands, one is called "scentsations" and the other "inSPArations"

    I clean the inner workings once a month with a product designed for whirlpool baths. You simply fill the bath to above the jets, sprinkle the powder in and run it following the instructions. Depending on your model it's usually just a few minutes. I refill and run it a few times with plain water to clear any chemical residue.
    I do know people that use a small tablet of chlorine to clean their pipes but I would worry how that might effect the finish on the bath or jets.

  • doc_dot
    11 years ago

    Folks, when you empty the jetted tub, a little water remains in the lines to the jets. If it sits long enough, it will grow black stuff.

    Sometimes it takes several cleanings to rid the water lines of the crud.

    Moral of story: enjoy the tub often.

  • chipshot
    11 years ago

    If cleaning is an issue, you may want to investigate air tubs. We have one, and 15 minutes after use it automatically blows out all the remaining water. Oh, and them bubbles feel great!

  • cleanclean
    11 years ago

    i'm trying trinity's approach (back in '04) - haha)

    and it's amazing

    something easy, efficient, simple, and works on the first try
    (this tub has not been cleaned in a long time)


  • mrm1222
    11 years ago

    I too was about to search past posts to try & figure out how to clean my jacuzzi tub & saw this thread. I tried out Trinity's method and it worked like a charm, thanks!

  • bodiCA
    11 years ago

    Thought I wanted a jeted tub until I uses Dial Clean Rinse in a hotel tub and saw the black foam.

  • plumbly22
    11 years ago

    my whirlpool pump died many years ago.... when the plumber was here replacing it, he did the cascade trick (without bleach) said to do it twice a year or so... depending on how often you used the tub...
    also said never to run the tub with anyting in the water but your bodies... no soap, no shampoo, no lotions.. no nothing... not good for the pump, not good for the jets...

  • genmom
    11 years ago

    One more thing to try: After using several of the methods mentioned above... and going thru GALLONS of water filling and refilling the tub, I was still getting crud. It dawned on me that much of the crud was being recycled thru the intake port. So, I cut some layers of cheesecloth into squares and attached them to the jets with rubber bands effectively CATCHING the crud instead of recycling it. It was a pain to attach and remove the rubber-bands-but it worked! No more crud!

  • lynnschmo
    11 years ago

    I have this old jetted tub and I tried two products that are designed to clean out the lines. Now, I have brown ugly water and a lot of foam. I can't run the a jetts because of the amount of foam.
    Any ideas on how to get rid of the foam. Plus, we also noticed something is in the hot water faucet that is coming out brownish at first, then cleans out. Everything is contained to the tub. The residue is a reddish/brown residue.

  • eteinne
    11 years ago

    Downey Fabric Softener. Then Run the Cascade Complete, and after that throw in a gallon of White Vinegar. That shoud do it 4 U.

  • turkeytrott
    11 years ago

    Someone (jiggreen) posted they had way too many bubbles from using bubble bath in their whirlpool if this ever happens again drop a bar of soap in it. My brother has had a jacuzzi for years and swears by this.

  • jasonbar
    10 years ago

    This is a handy topic. I have a couple of follow-on questions.

    My tub in which I take my daily shower has 8 whirlpool jets. We hardly ever use the whirlpool jets, & the nozzles became quite mildewed & gross over the years of disuse. We finally cleaned the jets very thoroughly & they look great now. I ran & cleaned the system several times to clear out the hoses/pipes/pump/etc too.

    Now, we'd like to *keep* the jets from getting gross again. We noticed that the jets behind the shower curtain got far less gross than those that are fully exposed.

    Therefore, I've struck upon the idea of covering the jet nozzles or even the entire nozzle/bezel assembly with a cap or cover to (hopefully) keep them from getting gross...or to at least slow down their grossification.

    I inquired at a few spa stores & looked all over on-line & found no product to cover/plug/cap nozzles. I can't find suction cups big enough to stick over the assemblies, either.

    Does this mean that covering them is a bad idea & might actually help promote more growth? If so, perhaps I could spray a little bleach or borax/water in the nozzles before sealing them off.

    Any opinions or experience?

    Thank you,

  • rozilla
    10 years ago

    This is going to sound like a commercial, lol. I've used dishwasher detergent and Clorox for years on my tub followed by a vinegar rinse every couple of weeks. Didn't see much crud come out, but then I use the tub daily with the jets going, so didn't think there would be much buildup. Finally broke down and ordered this Aww-Some stuff on ebay. Oh ick, yuck, gag--the stuff that came out! Used it again yesterday, which has been 2 weeks, and there it is again, black foam. Only recommendation I have is to use COLD water, and less than the recommended amount unless you want to mop the bathroom floor after, as it does foam a lot. I took a microfiber cloth and wiped the foam around after it drained and my tub looks like new. Be sure to fill and rinse afterward.

  • monicakm_gw
    10 years ago

    SO glad I bought an air tub instead of a water jetted tub! I know I wouldn't/couldn't keep the jets clean and free of gunk like I should...therefore not using it every night like I do my air tub.

  • angelac_hawaii_rr_com
    9 years ago

    Okay, so my husband owns a spa and pool business and even HE didn't have a good answer; other than the bleach and cascade thing. (I love the person who suggested Cascade Complete. I'll get some!) As most of you probably realize when water sits in the jets, it turns into mildew; hence I do a couple things beside the twice a month thing. I have a spray bottle with a mix of water and bleach and after a bath and cleaning tub normally, I spray a bit into each nozzle. Another helpful tip: Buy a fish tank net. You know, the kind for catching fish to clean a tank? Before I get into the tub I run it and if any "gunk" (one time a ton of ants came out! Yuk! btw--I was already in it that time!!!) Since the "ant" experience I always run it first to see if anything comes out and then simply snag it all up with the net and rinse that out in the sink! :-)

  • Hazel Mahon
    9 years ago

    Is there anything you can't find an answer for on GardenWeb? :)

    Anyway, How do I know if I have an air or water jetted tub? There are only 4 nozzles and I can't find a brand name on it. We moved into this house 3 years ago and used the tub once or twice - there was not enough hot water in the tank to fill it, so we have not used it in over 2 years. Well, we just had a tankless system put in, so I decided to investigate cleaning the tub before we jumped in joyfully... I filled it and ran the jets and only a little dust seemed to come out - I was a little surprised. Should I still try some cascade? I only have the liquid type, or should I assume that the pipes were just pretty clean?

  • tmh_913_hotmail_com
    9 years ago

    Hello All.

    I'm so grateful for websites such as this. I'm currently renting a condo with a master bath... Hmm of course I assumed my land lord did a walk thru before my family & I moved in. But it's the totally the opposite. Here goes my story... As I was cleaning the tub and my husband noticed the jets were filthy with dirt. So I attempted to clean them very well. I got in the tub and attempted to use the jets and of course excessive amounts of brown stuff was coming out.. I ran bath water twice and ran the jets, thinking maybe the brown stuff will come out. At this point, I'm going to take the advice of Posted by Trinity_ (My Page) on Sun, Jul 25, 04 at 19:58

  • sacrifice11990_comcast_net
    9 years ago

    Forget about all the other posts and JUST DO THIS...use Calgon Take Me Away in every bath and you will NEVER get any black floaters in your tub! About a quarter cup will do when you're filling your tub for your bath. I have not used any other cleaner in the pipes of my tub for many months and my tub is clean. I just use a wet washrag with a little body soap on it to wash down the sides as I'm letting the water out and preparing to exit the tub. Rinse and you're done! Calgon can be hard to find...check


  • jannie
    9 years ago

    We put in a whirlpool bath in 2005. Used it a couple of times, but it was hard to get enough hot water out of our oil burner. Daraining was an issue, too. If I simply pulled the plug, our downstairs toilet would back up. Apparently our cesspool was not meant for a heavy load. So I had to drain one-third of the water out at a time, and wait about a half an hour in between. Didn't use the tub for several years. Oh, we did take showers! Anyway, in January I fell on the ice outdoors and banged my knee pretty good. Decided a nice hot whirlpool bath would help. So I filled the tub, pushed the button and out came big flakes of greasy black stuff. I scooped out the floating junk with a rag, then proceeded to drain the tub using my one-two-three method. But then the tub was completely coated with small black bits. I then scrubbed the entire tub with Scrubbing Bubbles bath cleaner foam. That was over 2 months ago. nd I never got my whirlpool bath. I'm actually afraid to fill the tub again. Based on the info above, I don't know what to do. I consider the whirlpool tub a waste of money. My plumber said "You won't like it." though the contractor who put in in was only too happy to take our money.

  • donjanssen_aol_com
    9 years ago

    I've had success using baking soda. Similar to other products mentioned, just ran a cycle of hot water and baking soda followed by a cycle of rinse. Sometimes takes two times to eliminate the problem.

  • 344333457765_ffrdhfvk_com
    9 years ago

    I Loate cleaning my whirlpool tub so I barely use it! When I do use it I have to make sure that I clean it weekly. I've used the special whirlpool cleaner but it too expensive so I have my own way of ridding the nasty gunk left over:

    1- first I will scrub the tub with some Tilex or comet then rinse it out
    2- fill it with hot water then turn on the jets to high
    3- use about 1 & 1/2 cup of 20 mule team borax or baking soda and let it run for about 10 min (yes the crud is gross)
    4- drain cruddy water then refill tub with warm water and run jets for another 10
    5- drain water and take a damp rag to wipe away anything remaining

  • abeayant_gmail_com
    9 years ago

    Cascade complete once in a while, otherwise white vinegar once a month or so. I put all kinds of stuff in mine! Chocolate, oils, bath bombs, milk&honey...why own a spa style tub if you aren't going to enjoy it?! All of this nonsense about never ever putting anything in it but your body! I would rather have less baths full of sweet smells and playful things than a lifetime of clear water, clean freak worried ones. Come on and live a little guys.... ;)

  • tct910_yahoo_com
    9 years ago

    No matter how much I clean the jets in my tub there is always more gunk the next time, until now I don't use the jets at all anymore. Is it possible to get an infection from tubs with whirpool jets? From either the gunk or the items used to clean the jets?

  • SharperClean
    9 years ago

    Fill up your tub with hot water a few inches above the jet line and run the jets for 15 minutes. Make sure there are no children or pets to accidentally fall in. or Take a paper towel or cleaning cloth and wipe the ring of dirt and grime off the sides of the tub. Try not to let the ring of grime fall into the water. You will also see some big and small flakes in the tub.

  • lktak_austarnet_com_au
    9 years ago

    I have read ALL the posts but we also would like to know is advisable to remove the outside casing of the intake jet to clean properly ???

  • sowngrow (8a)
    9 years ago

    I don't think that's necessary Kerrie. One thing I didn't notice in any of these posts is that my instruction manual that came with our Jacuzzi tub, says to turn the air induction off when doing the cleaning. Only the water will go through the pipes then. It also says to clean with the water two inches above the jets and add 4 tablespoons of a low sudsing disinfectant to the water. Run for 5-10 minutes, drain, then fill with cold water to the same level and run another 5-10 minutes, then drain.

  • ajajaj_aol_com
    9 years ago

    Why the hell dont they just make covers for the jets? I never use the tub at all. I take showers and thats it. Seems retarded that they dont sell covers for the jets.

  • rjcrbmhi_yahoo_com
    8 years ago

    Use dental floss to clean behind the jet covers...which cannot be removed...spray some cleaner...and then floss away...gunk comes off...with rinses in between flosses...

  • koritz
    7 years ago

    I have a Kohler Bodyspa on the wall with 10 fire engine hose size jets and a Jacuzzi tub. I bought the tub after it had been sitting outside of a contractors house for 3 months. Nothing but black mold came out of the jets. After much research I found on the Kohler Bodyspa site how to clean the Bodyspa jets on the wall. I modifed things just a little. I put 20 ounces of bleach in the bath water which both the Bodyspa and Jacuzzi use when I'm finished in the SPA. I also add Glisten Dishwater Cleaner 1 packet. I only do this when I notice that the water doesn't smell clean and fresh. About every 2 - 3 months. I run the used bath water then for 15 minutes through the waterfall, 15 minutes through the jets on the wall and 15 minutes through the Jacuzzi Jets. Then I drain the tub. Refill this time at Kohler's suggestion, WITH COLD WATER ONLY. Then I repeat the same procedure. Then I done. The water is perfectly clear and clean everytime I use it and it smells great for about two to three months.

    I quickly rinse the ceiling and walls and tub each time with a handheld shower massager after I use it.
    Then I wipe the ceiling and walls and tub and glass down each time with a clean towel after using it.
    Before ever getting into the SPA I always take a shower first. That makes a lot of difference.

    I couldn't be happier. The whole clean-up takes about an hour and a half. I just set my cell phone alarm for each 15 minutes and come back and run the water through the next set of jets etc.

    Couldn't be cleaner!

  • divotdiva2
    7 years ago

    revisiting this post as I am in the market for a new tub - may go with just air but husband would prefer jetted. Are you all having problems with gunk in the newer type models or is this primarily an older tub issue?

  • mainecoonkitty
    7 years ago problem at all with crud. I have both - a jetted Jacuzzi in the master bath and the air bubbler in the guest bath. I greatly prefer the jetted tub over the bubbler, which seems colder to me. I clean the jetted tub about one a month by putting in about a 1/4 cup of Chlorox and filling it to above the jets. I turn it on for about 10 minutes, drain it, refill it and let it run for another 5 mins or so. No crud, no problems.

  • Roger-G
    7 years ago

    Thanks for the tips about cleaning the jets - most useful - we do clean ours once a week during the summer but forget to do it in the winter consequently .... we had the black bits arrive.
    Have used the tips provided but also use a net over the intake to stop the black bits going on round again

  • mainecoonkitty
    7 years ago

    The jets in my tub are self emptying when you shut them off and drain the tub, so no water stays in the pipes to get yucky. From what I understand, the older models don't have this feature. The plumber who installed this tub in our new build recommended this feature, so if you're installing a new tub, you might want to ask about it.

  • ejscharlotte
    6 years ago

    I tried the Cascade Complete and it worked great. Like another poster, I found that some of the crud was just being recirculated so I did what they suggested: put cheesecloth secured with a rubber band over the intake. Crud got caught by the cheesecloth - voila CLEAN jets!!
    I have tried cleaning the jets before without much real success; even stopped using my tub b/c I didn't like the idea of what might be lurking in the jets. The Cascade was the best at loosening the crud of all the things I've tried. It takes a couple of fills and running the jets to get it all out, but well worth the time. Thanks for the great tip!

  • emma
    6 years ago

    My neighbor said she still misses her Jacuzzi. She cleaned it with cascade and something else. She said the key to cleaning it is how often you use it. She said she cleaned it once a month if she used it every day. If she used it less often she cleaned it every week and had no problem at all.

  • graywings123
    5 years ago


  • cvtarr
    5 years ago

    I just want to know if it is safe to fill my tub with water to just above the jet line if I have taken the jets out to clean them...inside the channel is filthy yuck mucky gunk and I am having a hard time getting a brush in there to clean it and I wanted to fill the tub and add the cascade bleach mix but not turn in the jets...just let it soak...but was afraid I may cause a leak somewhere.

  • Darla Sasserman-Haskell
    4 years ago

    Thanks for the cleaning info...definitely trying the Cascade. I get crud in the jet fixtures and was looking for a good brush to clean with...needs bristles on the tip. Anyway, I just wanted to add that if you are going out of town for a while and the tub will not be used...fill it above the jets with 4 c. of bleach and run it for 10 minutes, then just leave the water in it while you are gone...if you have a house sitter, they can just run it for a few minutes to move the water through the pipes, but its not necessary. This stops the slime from growing in the pipes and it is ready to use upon your return with just a drain and a quick cleaning. Unfortunately I learned the hard way about black slime in the took so long to get rid of...argh!

  • beteacher
    4 years ago

    My SIL let her kid take an oatmeal bath in her jetted tub. Don't do this.

  • frenkiel48
    4 years ago

    I found that the bleach and cascade did pretty well (better and cheaper
    than the Jacuzzi cleaner you can buy) but I always had some colored
    residue on the walls of the tub after I used the Jacuzzi (even if I used
    the cleaning method a few times). It occurred to me that there could
    be algae or mold that was surviving the process, so I added a new idea.
    After running the Jacuzzi with bleach and Cascade I left it soaking
    overnight and then ran it again for a few more minutes, then emptied it
    and filled it with cold water for a final rinse. I've had no trace of
    residue for the last few months (using the Jacuzzi many times)

  • sonyawhiting
    4 years ago

    I found this product called Plumb Clean (the one with the yellow label), that when used as directed, has effectively worked in my whirlpool bath. I use it regularly and have had no black yucky flakes or oily residue in my bath! Finally I can take a relaxing bath again and not have to worry about disgusting germs! Awesome! P.S....bleach can eat away at plastic seals and then you have a bigger issue.

    Not sure if I can post a link but here it is:

  • trad_muse21
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Probably a stupid question but can someone help me out. Just moved into a new house. It has a Jacuzzi whirlpool bath. I would like to clean it out before I use it. However I have one problem. I filled the tub and out in bleach etc. When I turn on the jets water sprayed all over the bathroom walls!! I'm unsure as to how I can turn on the jets to clean it out without this happening. Help please

  • Olychick
    3 years ago

    I'd have a plumber look at it; not sure if there are adjustments that can be made.

  • sedona16
    3 years ago

    Jacuzzi jets can be "aimed". Try pointing them downwards. Hope that does the trick.

    We bought a home with an existing Jacuzzi over 20 years ago and I have never seen the black crud. I have never used bath oil or any other product while soaking so maybe that's been my saving grace.

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