There’s nothing like the relaxation you feel soaking in your whirlpool tub. Whirlpool tubs relieve aches and pains, and are a great way to relieve stress. But if you’re not keeping your whirlpool jets clean you may be putting your health at risk.
Rita B. Moyes, PhD, with the Department of Biology at Texas A&M University, tested the water quality of forty-three private and public whirlpool baths. The pathogens she found during the random sampling are responsible for: urinary tract infections, intestinal infections, infections of the respiratory tract, bacteremia, endocarditis, gastroenterisits, Legionnaire’s disease, Pontiac fever, impetigo, folliculitis, carbuncles, toxic shock syndrome, pneumonia and septic arthritis.
According to Moyes, the design of most whirlpool tubs does not allow bath water to completely drain from the pipes. Instead, the dirty water remains in the jetting system of the tub, which is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. The trapped water often includes hair, dead skin, soap film, body oil, dirt, and may even contain feces. These dangerous pathogens spew into the next person’s bath water when they starts up the tub’s jets.
Over time, soap scum, body oils and dirt can build up in your tub’s pipes, pumps and fittings. This build-up can cause problems in the circulation system of your tub. The same soap scum that requires so much scrubbing on the outside of your tub is accumulating on the inside of your tub’s circulatory system. It is therefore important to flush out your whirlpool bath on a regular basis for health reasons, and also to keep your tub properly maintained.
Whirlpool tub manufacturers recommend filling your whirlpool tub with fresh water and running the jets for ten minutes after each use.
In the book, “Clean it fast Clean it Right, edited by Jeff Bredenberg, it is recommended that you flush your whirlpool system at least twice a month.
You can flush the circulatory system of your tub by following these steps:
1. Fill the tub with enough hot water to cover the jets by about three inches.
2. Add one-half cup of household bleach and two teaspoons of low-foaming dishwater detergent, such as Cascade or Calgonite. Avoid foaming detergents since the tub’s whirling action will fill your bathroom with bubbles.
3. Run the whirlpool for ten to fifteen minutes. When starting the whirlpool, be careful not to let any bleach splash on your clothes, towels, or in your eyes.
4. Drain the tub and refill the tub again with cold water.
5. Run the tub’s jets for another ten to fifteen minutes and then drain.
For day to day cleaning, an old toothbrush or Q-tip works well for getting the outside surfaces of your jets clean.
Moyes, Rita. Microbial Loads in Whirlpool Bathtubs: An Emerging Health Risk. Abstract. August, 1999
Clean it fast Clean it Right: the ultimate guide to making absolutely everything you own sparkle and shine/ edited by Jeff Bredenberg