Orange Water In Your Hot Tub: Understanding The Most Common Causes

You’re ready to take a nice long soak in the hot tub, after a long day at work, but what horror is this?! Why is the water in my hot tub ORANGE!?

Okay, a few of us are used to seeing our water look a little green - we let our water balance slide a little and the tropical blue hot tub water starts looking a little…swampy. Orange or brown hot tub water can also happen, and it can be a surprise to see it! 

So why does water in a hot tub go orange? First lets eliminate the simplest of causes. 

Consider the Water Source

The most basic reason for brown or orange water in your spa is that it was that colour when it came out of the tap! In some rural locations you may be filling a spa from well water, bore hole water, or through old rusted pipes. Fear not. As you can see below, a good filtration system, alongside some spa shock, UV and ozone will clear this right up! Keep the spa highly sanitised, and clean the filter regularly and you should be good to go 24-48 hours later.



Consider Other Possible Contaminants

Good Old Mud

The filter compartment of a swim spa sitting in muddy water with clean blue swim spa water behind, with a yellow rubby ducky floating in the pool.It’s a hot summer’s day, the kids are running around on the lawn, super soakers firing from every which way, and they’re jumping in and out of the spa like it’s going out of fashion.

Those muddy feet aren’t exactly going to keep the water crystal clear. Your filtration should deal with most debris that gets trampled into the hot tub, however it can get overwhelmed at times and may need a few hours to clear an overabundance of dirt. 

Keep that filter clean, shock that water, and if necessary drain and refill. The picture on the right shows what your filter might look like after a party or a heavy day of muddy feet entering and exiting with no foot bath dip in between. 


A brown orange line of scum on the side of a spa, filled with greenish brown water.You have a holiday, wedding, or special dinner planned and hit the self-tan to add a bit of colour to your Winter skin. Fair enough! To relax before the big event or travel day you decide to have a nice soak in the hot tub. 

This might not turn your whole tub brown or orange, but it may leave a nasty orange or brown scum line on your tub. If it turns your entire hot tub orange, you want to make sure you’re thoroughly scrubbed of the tanning solution before entering the spa next time. It can be annoying to clean, but some useful products to use are listed below.

Orange-Water-Hot-Tub-5Clean your acrylic shell without scratching with a Life Spa Microfibre Glove.

Orange-Water-Hot-Tub-9Use Aquasparkle Spa Surface Cleaner to clean acrylic of scum lines with the spa glove.

Orange-Water-Hot-Tub-7The Life Spa Disc Scum Sponge will soak up oils before they have a chance to create a scum line!

Orange-Water-Hot-Tub-6This Aquasparkle brand Spa Sparkle coagulates fine particles so the spa filter with catch them! Brings back clarity and sheen to water.

Orange-Water-Hot-Tub-8AquaSparkle Foam Away turns any foam gathering in the hot tub into filter collectible particles. 


If you’d like us to take the hassle out of draining your hot tub, take a look at our hot tub service plans.


Metal and Mineral Content

Everybody’s water is different; where you live, the pipes you have, and the source of your water determines what’s in it. In certain cases your water will contain metals and minerals, such as iron.

When an oxidising chemical, such as chlorine or bromine granules or a shock chemical is added to the water, it quickly oxidises the metals, essentially creating rust (iron oxide) in your water, resulting in an orange tint!

This can be a slow change or almost instantaneous when you add chemicals to the water as you can see below with an example of a swim spa with serviced in 2023 with an metal rich water supply. It only took an hour after cleaning and treating for a change in colour to be evident! It was fully back to blue lagoon status when we went back to check on the spa.

A series of four photos showing a greenish swim spa , brown swim spa, green swampy water, to blue water finally.

How to get rid of orange water in a hot tub? 

Time to filter and chemical balancing will usually solve the issue as explained above. If that fails to clear your orange or brown water, it may be that your chlorine/bromine level is simply too high, and you can reduce this by using a chlorine/bromine reducer, or letting the levels drop naturally. This may reduce the amount of oxidisers in the water and reduce the overall orange colour of the water.

Alternatively you can use a hot tub metal sequestrant, such as Stain and Scale Reducer or Metal Clear. This will remove metal staining and the discolouration caused by oxidised metals in your hot tub. 

Trust that we have solved this issue before! Download our servicing prices for hot tubs, get in touch, and leave it to us to eradicate that pesky orange water issue and settle your hot tub maintenance for you.  Your hot tub or swim spa water will be back to sparkling blue in no time with Hydropool North West!

Waterfall Jets spraying out of a swim spa with blue water.