Hot Tub Shock: Why It’s Important [#1 Guide]

By Dillon •  Updated: 02/10/21 •  10 min read

Why do I need hot tub shock?

Hot tub shock is the process of adding a large dose of oxidizer chemical to the hot tub water. This process is also known as oxidizing. An oxidizer is usually capable of breaking up organic compounds. Adding enough chlorine to this mix will kill any bacteria resulting in clean spa water. It’s important to shock your hot tub on a regular basis for the best results.

Check out my list of high-quality hot tub products to help keep your hot tub clean and running great all year long!

My recommended product to help you test your hot tub or pool water for accurate pH, alkalinity, bromine, and chlorine readings is the AquaCheck Trutest Digital Reader.

When you use the hot tub shock, you will treat your hot tub water by breaking the organic compounds responsible for making the water cloudy and smell bad.

I have prepared this article to help you understand what hot tub shock means. Therefore, don’t stop reading because I have a lot to tell you about this amazing chemical and the benefits it can bring to your hot tub.

Let’s get started!

What is Hot Tub Shock?

Hot tub shock is also called an oxidizer. It describes a chemical compound capable of taking electrons from an element when it comes into contact with another one. An oxidizer is usually capable of breaking up organic compounds, mixing this will chlorine will result in clear water.

Shocking is basically the application of a dose of chlorine or non-chlorine compounds into the spa water. You shock the hot tub water to remove unwanted organic wastes and kill bacteria, making the water safe when you use your hot tub. You can get the hot tub shock in powered or liquid form. Besides, you can get the chlorine shock in the granular form.

The majority of the non-chlorine compounds are available in the form of salt. Before purchasing any form of hot tub shock, you should check your hot tub manufacturer manual to ensure that you can use the oxidizer of your choice.

Importantly, ensure you understand the number of chemical compounds in your water and not affect the oxidization. It’s good to note that shocking will also remove bromides contaminants left after sanitizing your water.

Check out this great article from swimuniversity.com about hot tub chemistry to know more about good quality spa water.

Hot Tub Shock Removes Organic Contaminants

You generate many organic contaminants into your hot tub every time you shock. The organic pollutants arise from lotion, shampoo, sunscreen, makeup, dead skin cells, hair, and any other remnants that your body acquires from the surroundings. The number of organic contaminants is more significant when many people soak in one hot tub.

You can reduce this problem by rinsing or showering before you soak into the hot tub. But not all the organic compounds are eliminated. That is why you must use the hot tub shock to break down the organic contaminants. This will help you avoid scum or cloudiness in the water after some time.

Check out our full article on how to clean inflatable hot tubs for some quick tips!

Hot Tub Shock Removes Chloramines or Bromamines

You’re probably familiar with chlorine smells associated with the hotel hot tubs or the public swimming pools. That smell is not actually from chlorine but chloramines.

Chloramines are the waste products generated by chlorine when used to kill bacteria and remove organic compounds. The compounds make us smell chlorine in the areas it has been used to sanitize water. However, you can restore the sanitizer to the normal level by adding the hot tub shock. The shock eradicates chloramines from the water faster and eliminates the smells it causes, enabling you to breathe much easier.

Check out our article on chlorine tablets to see what chlorine can do for your hot tub.

When your sanitizer was bromines, the generated contaminant is bromamines. Although these waste products are not smelly like chloramines, they are still not good to breathe in. Thus, you can keep their levels steady by regular shocking.

Check out our article on bromine tablets to see what bromine can do for your hot tub.

These are some of the ways in which shocking your hot tub helps you to care for it. But you should always remember that shocks are not created with equal capabilities. While some shocks will remove all the contaminants, some will eradicate only a few. Therefore, make the right choice when purchasing an oxidizer.

Below is our recommendation for chlorine tablets.

Our recommendation for bromine tablets.

Types of Hot Tub Shock

You can find four main types of hot tubs in the market. However, only two of these shocks are viable for use in the hot tubs.

Non-Chlorine Shock

This is an oxygen-based oxidizer, which is a monopersulfate compound. The majority of people prefer this compound because it does not have an odor. Non-chlorine shock does a perfect job in oxidizing the contaminants and improving the water clarity and quality. But it is not classified as a sanitizer because it does not disinfect the water.

The non-chlorine provides a good working environment for chlorine because it creates a “free chlorine” environment needed to kill bacteria. It’s also helpful when you use bromine because it activates and keeps the bromine more effective.

I recommended Leisure Time Non-Chlorine Shock.

Dichlor Chlorine Shock

The scientific name for this compound is dichloroisocyanuric acid or sodium dichloro-s-triazinetrione. But it commonly goes by the name dichlor shock, which is probably the name you know. Dichlor shock is the most active ingredient in most hot tub shock brands. You can use this compound by adding it to the hot tub. It’s always good to check the manufacturer’s instructions before use.

Dichlor is a stabilized compound by cyanuric acid. This feature helps it to stand the spa’s heat. Experts recommend that it’s good to keep a close eye on your level of sanitizer. You should also shock your hot tub in the late evening if it’s located outside. Shocking it when the sun is shining increases the risk of losing away chlorine before sanitizing the hot tub water.

I recommended SpaGuard Enhanced Shock for dichlor chlorine shock.

When Should You Use Hot Tub Shock?

You can use the hot tub shock based on your regular maintenance routine, usually at least once a week. You can also use the hot tub shock when the hot tub is left untreated for a long time or when there was heavy use of the hot tub. It would be best if you also reactivated your sanitizer by adding the hot tub shock after determining that the “Free Chlorine” levels are lower than the total chlorine levels. Shocking will reactivate chlorine so that it can continue killing the bacteria.

You can add the shock to your hot tub any time of the day when your tub is indoors. But when the hot tub is located outside and is not underneath or protected by structures like the patio cover, it’s good to wait for the sunset to apply the shock. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a stabilized shock-like dichlor. What matters is that you add the shock in the absence of the sun’s rays so that it can work before it is burnt off by the sun.

It’s good to note that you can use the hot tub a short time after shocking because hot tub shock does not contain additional stabilizers. So, there’s no need for waiting 12 to 24 hours to use the hot tub as it happens with the pool shocking. You can’t compare the hot tub shock with the pool shock, which is much harsher. Just proceed with your enjoyment soon after shocking the tub.

Consider Using a Water Care Monitor

Monitoring the health of your hot tub can often be challenging if you are not testing the water on a regular basis. This can also be a problem if you go on holiday or you are unable to take care of your hot tub due to mobility issues.

The pHin Smart Water Care Monitor for pools, hot tubs, and inflatable spas continuously tests the water and alerts you when to add chemicals with the integrated mobile app.

The mobile app will inform you when to add chemicals such as chlorine, and how much chemical is recommended. This is done by entering in your hot tub or pool’s unique dimensions.

Simply scan the bar code of any chemical brand and the pHin app will calculate how much chemical is to be added to the water. Most products and brands are recognized by the application.

The pHin device will sample water more than 1000 times per week to give you an accurate reading compared to using test strips.

The pHin device works with different water types including chlorine, bromine, and saltwater hot tubs, swim spas, inflatable hot tubs, and pools.

This unique device comes with a lifetime warranty to ensure your water remains clear and ready for you to use at all times.

What is a Hot Tub Oxidizer?

A hot tub oxidizer describes a product with a concentrated chemical solution for quick and effective sanitation of your entire hot tub. The hot tub oxidizers are important for the longevity and health of your hot tub because they help in the purification and sanitizing of your hot tub water. Oxidation helps maintain the proper pH levels in your water and eliminates organic compounds. 

When you use the hot tub oxidizers, you eliminate both bacteria and germs that can lead to sicknesses and infections. Failing to implement proper maintenance on your hot tub can render its water useless much quicker than you can imagine. Remember that standing water is a breeding site for germs and fungi, which is why you need to remain aggressive in implementing the required maintenance on the hot tub.

I advise monitoring your hot tub regularly so that you can act accordingly to balance its pH levels. Your hot tub’s service life depends on the care and maintenance you will accord it. If you take the necessary steps, it will last for years and serve you any time you need to soak. It would be best if you did not take chances with your hot tub but practice shocking it regularly for your overall wellness.

Hot Tub Shock: Conclusion

what is hot tub shock

I hope that you now understand what hot tub shocking means. I also hope that you understand how important it is and that missing it could do you a lot of harm. I know that it is not easy to maintain your hot tub regularly, but this is the only option you have. Nevertheless, I believe that making this a routine is not regrettable. It will always ensure that you soak in sanitary and clean water without worrying about nasty stuff like bacteria and algae.

You must never forget to read the instructions by the manufacturer before you begin shocking. I also recommend checking how each of the shocks works and whether it serves your needs the best.

I recommend you prevent a chemical mishap. Instead of waiting to drain your hot tub entirely and starting afresh, shock your tub regularly.

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Dillon

I'm Dillon, creator of SpaToolKit.com. During the day I'm a software developer for an engineering company. At night I enjoy sitting in my hot tub and relaxing. My hope is that Spa Tool Kit will be a place where you can find the best information on hot tubs, spa equipment, setups, parts, and accessories. Let's get started!