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16 Jun 2017

What are those black flakes in my whirlpool tub?

Have you ever started your whirlpool tub, imagining how you’re about the enjoy the moment, only to see black flakes shooting out of the jets and floating in the water you were about to step into?

Jetted, or whirlpool, tubs are appliances frequently encountered on inspections. We test for proper operation by filling the tub, activating the motor and jets, and confirming the device is electrically wired into a GFCI circuit.  Easy access to the GFI reset and the motor is also required.

It’s very common upon running the system to have the water in the tub immediately fill up with flakes of black and brown ‘crud’. This is actually mold and mildew bacteria from human skin, oils, soaps, and junk that has been allowed to spawn in residual water left behind within the piping from the last time the unit was used.

It’s important to remember whirlpool or jetted tubs do not drain themselves completely after use. Water will remain in the lines, out of sight, allowing bacteria to spawn.

For this reason, we recommend frequent cleaning of your system before or after each use. Even if you only use your jetted tub occassionally, you still need to plan on routine cleaning, at a minimum, once a month.

There are a multitude of cleaners available ranging from commerical products (bio cleaners) specifically for jetted tubs ($$$), dishwashing soap or tablets ($$), common household bleach ($), or just plain white vinegar.

For environmental reasons, we always recommend using products beginning with the least harsh and harmful to the environment.

Try these solutions:

  • Fill tub with only hot water, at least 2 inches above highest jet.
  • Add 1/2 gallon distilled white vinegar.
  • Run the jets for 15 minutes, then let sit for another 10.
  • Drain the tub and refill with cold water, running 10 minutes.
  • Drain the tub and wipe down with clean, soft cloth.
  • Check Lowes or Home Depot for a whirlpool jet cleaner, such as the one from Jacuzzi. You can find it in the bath-tub section. It’s not that expensive and worth a try.
  • Consider a professional cleaning on a periodic basis.

Now, go soak in the tub and relax with confidence!!