Cloudy Spa Water? Here’s How To Fix It

If you’re reading this and you have a spa then you most certainly have had to deal with cloudy water ranging from slightly foggy to snow globe conditions. It’s one of the most common (and frustrating) issues a spa owner can face. The good news is that cloudy water tends to be a pretty easy fix. The bad news is that there is a LOT that can cause cloudy water in the first place. So today, let’s go over the various causes of cloudy water and how we can remedy them. 

Low Chlorine/Sanitizer

Most of the time when spa water becomes cloudy, it is due to a lack of chlorine or other sanitizer (such as bromine). When sanitizer is low, there isn’t enough around to prevent bacteria growth and eliminate other contaminants in the water, resulting in cloudiness. 

To remedy this problem, you will need to add an appropriate amount of chlorine back into the spa. Sometimes, if you are dealing with a combined chlorine issue, it can be hard to tell how much chlorine (or other sanitizer) you will need to add to the water. In this case, we recommend stopping at your local PPS for a chlorine demand test. Once the test is done, you will know exactly how much chlorine to add to clear up the water. 

Poor Filtration

Your spa filter is the main mechanism used to filter out particles such as dust, dirt, and other contaminants and keep your water clean and clear. If the filter is incorrectly positioned, clogged, or otherwise excessively dirty, its filtering performance will suffer and that will lead to cloudy water. Give your filter a deep clean to see if that fixes the problem, and consider replacing your filter if you haven’t done so in a while. 


Keeping your spa chemistry in balance is the best thing you can do to prevent problems and ensure the longevity of your spa, so it would make sense that things go awry when your chemicals are out of balance.

 If your Alkalinity is outside of the recommended 80-150 ppm (parts per million) this could cause the anti-bacterial properties of the alkalinity to become ineffective and result in cloudy water. Use alkalinity increase and pH decrease to bring your alkalinity back into range. 

Your pH is similarly important. If it gets too high (above 7.6) it can cause cloudy water as well as scale formation and skin irritation. Use pH increase and pH decrease to bring your pH back into range

Hygiene Products

Humans have a lot of junk on their skin, and they aren’t all the things we would usually consider to be junk. Your body lotion, conditioner, makeup, eye cream, and cologne may all be enhancements for you, but they are poison for your spa water. The oils in these products will eat up all the sanitizer in your spa before you can blink. Although it may be a hassle, the best way to reduce these spa pollutants from clouding up your water is to rinse off or take a shower before every spa session. It may take a little longer to get in the spa, but you’ll spend much less time on maintenance issues. 

Foam Out 

This isn’t as common, but it is possible that using too much spa defoamer can cause the water to become cloudy or even milky. If the issue doesn’t resolve itself after proper chemical balancing and other measures, you may need to do a partial or full drain of the spa to get clear water again. 

Still Cloudy?

If you aren’t sure what issue might be causing your foam problem, you can follow this checklist:

Balance your pH and alkalinity
Improper chemical balance is the first step we would take to clear the water, as it is the most common way cloudy water forms and your chemicals should be in balance anyways, so you won’t be doing any extra work. 

  1. Use a Spa Shock
    Chloramines, or bromamines can cause combined chlorine/bromine that brings cloudy water. Break them and other contaminants up with a good dose of spa shock and get to a good level of chlorine. 
  2. Clean/Replace Your Filter
    Your spa doesn’t have a great chance of getting clean if your filter isn’t clean. With regular spa use, you should aim to rinse your filters every 1-2 weeks, doing a deep clean with a cleaning product monthly. If your filter won’t get clean no matter how much rinsing/soaking you do, it may be time to replace it completely
  3. Use a Spa Clarifier
    If your chemicals are in balance and you have a good level of chlorine and a sparkly filter to boot but are still getting cloudy water, it may be time to reach for the specific product for the issue. Spa clarifiers bind to all the small dirty particles and clump them together so they can be removed by your filter
  4. Drain and Refill the Spa
    If all else fails, you can always start over from scratch with fresh clean water. If it has been a while since you drained and refilled, your water can be so full of “stuff” (chemicals, contaminants, etc.) that there is no hope of getting back to clear water without draining