What spa pool chemicals should I use? (Products, pros, cons, and more)

Looking for spa pool sanitisers? Want to know which is the best treatment for your spa? This article includes information on spa chemicals, chlorine-free options, automated sanitising systems and tips for reducing chemical use in your spa or swim spa.

All spa pools, pools and swim spas require chemicals to keep the water clean, clear, safe and healthy.

The two main types of chemicals used in spas, swim spas and plunge pools are:

  • Spa water balance chemicals
  • Spa sanitiser chemicals

As their name suggests, water balancing chemicals ensure the alkalinity, ph and water hardness are at appropriate levels. If your spa water is unbalanced, it could become corrosive – not great for your skin or your spa!

Water sanitising chemicals on the other hand, ensure the spa water stays sparkling clear and free from contaminants and germs that could make you sick.

For this article, we’ve focused on spa sanitisers. After reading, you should know all about spa sanitisers, chlorine and chlorine-free options, and tips for how to use less sanitiser in your spa or swim spa.

In this article, we’ve used brand names not affiliated with Spa World™ or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd, the parent company of Spa World™. You can see the list of the brand owners at the bottom of this article. All information, including pricing and product details, was accurate at the time of writing (3 February 2021) and may change without notice.

Why do I need to use sanitiser in my spa?

Before we get into the details, it helps to know a little about why we need spa sanitiser in the first place.

There are very good reasons for adding sanitiser and chemical treatments to spas, pools and swim spas. The most important reason is to keep you safe.

Unlike pools, spas are small bodies of warm water that are an ideal environment for bacteria and other microorganisms to grow. If you don’t sanitise your spa water regularly with quality spa chemicals, then it could become contaminated with bacteria which could make you sick.

The bottom line is, we are vastly better off having pool chemicals than not. Chemicals like chlorine or hydrogen peroxide are added to swimming pools and spas to keep them hygienic and fresh all year round!

Can you use a spa without chemicals?

We would never recommend using a spa without chemicals. Regularly adding quality spa sanitiser to your spa water keeps it clean and free from bacteria and germs.

Spa sanitiser also helps remove residue and oils after a soak, ensuring your spa pool stays sparkling clear for you 24/7.

If you’re wondering: “How do I keep my spa clean without chemicals?”, the answer is – you can’t. You may disagree and say: “Salt water systems do not use chemicals”, but that would be incorrect.

Salt water systems still use chlorine – it’s just that it’s created from salt water and electricity, not added separately.

Are there any spas that don’t need chemicals?

While some spas may require fewer chemicals than others, there are no spa pools that do not require sanitisers or treatments to keep the water safe and clean.

You may have heard about spas with automated sanitising systems (including, ozone UV, and salt water systems) and are wondering if they need sanitiser. While there are some very effective automatic sanitising systems out there – even the best ones will still require some sanitiser chemicals. Learn more about automated sanitising systems in this article.

What is the best spa pool sanitiser to use?

It depends on your requirements what spa sanitiser will suit you best.

If you are after an effective, safe, low maintenance and affordable treatment option then you can’t go past a good quality chlorine sanitiser.

In our 40 years of selling spas and swim spas, we have not come across a sanitiser as effective as killing bugs as chlorine. Learn more about this below.

This is not to say that you can’t take care of your spa water with chlorine-free alternatives, it's just that you are going to spend more time keeping your spa water clean and clear.

Is chlorine a good spa sanitiser?

When used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions, chlorine is an excellent, safe and highly effective sanitiser for spas, pools and swims spas.

As mentioned above, there’s nothing that kills bugs in water as effectively as chlorine. That’s why it’s been the ‘go-to’ water sanitiser not just for spa and pool owners, but also public swimming pools and household water supplies for decades.

Is chlorine safe to use in a pool or spa pool?

The short answer is: Yes, chlorine is safe to use in a spa or pool – provided you follow manufacturer's instructions.

Chlorine is a naturally occurring element and is a gas at room temperature. It's disinfectant properties are used in many mediums because of its effectiveness.

Pools and spa pools treated with chlorine are generally safe to swim in with no side effects, especially if they are well maintained and ventilated.

While side effects are rare with chlorine, as with any chemical, chlorine can negatively affect some people. For example, pools or spas with too much chlorine can dry out your hair and skin (by stripping them of natural oils) cause eye irritation, and sometimes cause color-treated hair to turn shades of green!

Our advice? Stick to manufacturers’ instructions when it comes to correct dosing of your spa sanitiser (more on this below). Minimise the amount of chlorine you need by sticking to a regular spa or pool maintenance and cleaning schedule, and keep your pool or spa clean by showering beforehand, not wearing lotions or eating in the pool. Learn more about how to reduce your chlorine levels.

Please note, while we are spa and swim spa experts – we are not medical professionals. If you have any health concerns about chlorine and possible side effects, we recommend you speak with your GP or medical specialist.

Can chlorine trigger asthma?

Excess chlorine in the pool or spa pool can cause small amounts of vapor or chloramines to come out of the water, which can trigger asthma in some people.

This is generally only in high concentrations brought about by enclosed spaces and is not usually an issue when a spa is outside.

Chloramines are the by-product of chlorine doing its job. Chloramines are actually responsible for the chlorine smell, not the chlorine itself. The best way to avoid a build up of chloramines (and therefore the chlorine smell), is good ventilation and by weekly dosing with a chlorine-free spa shock.

How much chlorine should I add to my spa or swim spa per litre?

By law, the dosing instructions are required to be on the back of the sanitiser container label. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s dosing instructions when adding any chemicals to your spa or swim spa.

Most spa pool chlorine comes in granule form. You add the granules to your spa pool where they dissolve and sanitise the water.

Sanitiser also comes in tablet form. We do not recommend this option as, unlike granules which dissolve in a few minutes, chlorine tablets break down unpredictably so you can not accurately monitor the amount of sanitiser being released into the spa and in turn – the chlorine levels, at any one time. This can lead to overdosing and early component failure and/or damage to the acrylic spa shell.

Learn more about how to use spa chemicals.

Can I use swimming pool chlorine in my Spa

You should never use pool chlorine in your spa. Pool chlorine is designed for cold water. It burns off in higher temperatures so will not work in a warm spa or swim spa.

You should always use a chlorine sanitiser that is designed specifically for spas pools, swim spas or plunge pools.

How do I use less chlorine in my spa pool?

If you want to reduce the chlorine level in your spa or pool, the first thing to do is keep out debris and impurities.

That’s because the level of chlorine sanitiser you require to keep your spa’s water clear and safe is determined by the amount of contaminants in your spa. In other words, the less contaminants you have, the less sanistier you’ll need.

There are a number of ways you can reduce contaminants in your spa’s water.

The top 5 ways to reduce contaminants in your spa:

  • Always cover your spa when not in use
  • Shower before use
  • Don’t eat in the spa
  • Avoid using sunscreen or moisturiser
  • Perform proper, regular maintenance

Learn more about how to use less chlorine in this detailed article.

Can you have a chlorine-free spa pool?

If you are looking around for a spa pool or swim spa, and you have heard bad things about chlorine, you may be searching for an alternative to chlorine.

The good news is that by using alternative chemicals, it is possible to have a chlorine-free spa pool. This article on what to use instead of chlorine in a spa pool, goes into more detail on the topic.

The two main alternatives to chlorine for spa sanitising are:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Enzyme treatments

If you do decide to have a chlorine-free spa pool or swim spa, there are a range of products you can choose from that use hydrogen peroxide or enzyme treatments. For example, one of the most popular chlorine free products currently for sale in New Zealand is Poppits® Spa Sanitiser.

What should I use to sanitise my spa?

As mentioned above, if you want to ensure your spa water is safe, clear and clean then you will need to use a spa sanitiser.

The most common and, in our opinion, the most effective chemical for spa sanitisation - is chlorine. If you are looking for a chlorine spa sanitiser you have a lot of options.

Top chlorine sanitisers in New Zealand:

If you prefer not to use chlorine, you can use chlorine-free spa chemicals. Be aware though, while there are some very good chlorine-free sanitisers on the market – they are generally more expensive and labour intensive to use than chlorine. Learn more about chlorine-free sanitisers in this article.

Top chlorine-free sanitisers in New Zealand:

View the full range of chlorine and chlorine free spa sanitisers on the Spa Store® website.

Where can I buy spa pool chemicals and sanitisers?

You can find a wide range of chlorine and chlorine-free treatment options for sale at Spa Store® including:

In summary

We hope this article has helped you understand more about spa sanitisers, why we need them, the products available and which is best for you.

As discussed, chlorine is the most popular water sanitiser for pools and spas and is safe, effective and easy to use. There are also some excellent chlorine-free sanitisers.

For more information on spa sanitisers and keeping your pool clean and healthy, please contact us or visit your local Spa World showroom. We’re happy to help!

DISCLAIMER: The following registered trademarks are owned by companies not affiliated in any way with Spa World™ or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd – the parent company of Spa World Ltd:

Poppits® Spa Sanitiser trademark is owned by Waterco. Bioguard® Armour Spa Sanitiser trademark is owned by Biolab – a KIK Custom Products Company. Zodiac® Spa Chlorine trademark is owned by Fluidra Group Australia Pty Ltd.

Affiliations: Vortex® Spas, Fisher™ Spas, Spa Store® and Spa World™ are trademarks owned by Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd.

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