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Too Much Foam In The Hot Tub


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#1 abc

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 11:29 AM

Any words of wisdom on how we can minimize the foam in our hot tub. We use bromine and shock the tub religiously every week.

#2 The Pup

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 11:43 AM

Foaming from my experience comes from bathing suits...so tub naked!

If that's not an option, you must ensure your bathing suits are well rinsed (even three or more rinses in the washing machine will still leave enough detergent residue to cause foaming during spa aeration).

Note: If your spa has good sanitizer levels, you really do not have to wash your swim suits often...properly maintained spa water sanitizes (read cleans) very well. So, after each spa soak, simply dry your swim suit and use it again sans laundering.

If you are already soaking sans swim suits (or using detergent-free suits), you may have a water chemistry issue...do a search and you will find a myriad of causes. If you prefer to treat the symptom rather than the root-cause, you can use any number of anti-foaming spa agents available wherever spa chemicals are sold.

P.S. You really should shock after each spa use (or at least check your water to determine if your Bromide demand requires another "non-scheduled" shock)...if you are only shocking at fixed intervals (say weekly), your sanitizer levels could drop close to zero and cause all kinds of unhealthy water sanitation problems.

#3 Wannago

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 03:44 PM

I'll add to shower before each use, to make sure deodorants, perfumes, make-up, hair products, etc. are prevented from getting into the water.

#4 Vince22

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 03:56 PM

QUOTE (Wannago @ Oct 5 2009, 03:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'll add to shower before each use, to make sure deodorants, perfumes, make-up, hair products, etc. are prevented from getting into the water.


Mine foams up when the PH is too low.

#5 hot_water

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 05:35 PM

QUOTE (Vince22 @ Oct 5 2009, 04:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Wannago @ Oct 5 2009, 03:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'll add to shower before each use, to make sure deodorants, perfumes, make-up, hair products, etc. are prevented from getting into the water.


Mine foams up when the PH is too low.


Happened to me from time to time. Scoop the foam out while runing jets with air injection "on" (takes a while to get the foam out), double-shock, make sure the ph is ok.

I started not washing the suits out, just letting them drip dry. With all due respect, it didn't matter, the foam happened anyway. I also had an outdoor hot water shower, used it religiously before & after.... still got the foam.

Scoop, 2x-shock, ph-balance. Keep anti-foam liquid on hand in case the dreaded foam strikes when you have guests, but that's just a temporary fix, and only works for a very short while.


#6 PaulR

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 05:55 AM

Sometimes foaming indicates a low CH level. Around 150 seems to work well.
--paulr

#7 OttawaGreg

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 09:01 AM

QUOTE (Vince22 @ Oct 5 2009, 07:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Wannago @ Oct 5 2009, 03:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'll add to shower before each use, to make sure deodorants, perfumes, make-up, hair products, etc. are prevented from getting into the water.


Mine foams up when the PH is too low.



I too noticed more foam when jets are on high and the pH was low. When I would raise pH there would be less foam. The foaming never goes away fully as I was told it is a factor of my total dissolved solids (TDS) being high.

I don't wash the swim suit as often.
Wipe down armpits to remove deodorant. You can use a baby wipe ;-)
Sometimes take the water level down a bit and top it up with fresh water.

Greg

#8 aschwartz

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 12:13 PM

QUOTE (OttawaGreg @ Oct 6 2009, 12:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Vince22 @ Oct 5 2009, 07:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Wannago @ Oct 5 2009, 03:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'll add to shower before each use, to make sure deodorants, perfumes, make-up, hair products, etc. are prevented from getting into the water.


Mine foams up when the PH is too low.



I too noticed more foam when jets are on high and the pH was low. When I would raise pH there would be less foam. The foaming never goes away fully as I was told it is a factor of my total dissolved solids (TDS) being high.

I don't wash the swim suit as often.
Wipe down armpits to remove deodorant. You can use a baby wipe ;-)
Sometimes take the water level down a bit and top it up with fresh water.

Greg

Spa foaming from detergent is a incorrect "wives tail" created by the spa industry because they didn't know what else to tell customers. Actually it usually means your spa in contaminated with biofilm and needs to be properly flushed. Detergents are low foaming formulations otherwise your washing machine would overflow. We tried putting several cups of detergent in a spa and did not generate foaming. The whole pool and spa industry has been slow to recognize the impact of bacterial biofilms have on water management. Studies done by major universities over the past 15 years have identified biofilm as the cause of over 80% of the water mangement issues. This research is lead by the National Science Foundation Research Center at Montana State University (http://www.erc.montana.edu).

#9 The Pup

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 01:08 PM

QUOTE (aschwartz @ Oct 8 2009, 01:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Spa foaming from detergent is a incorrect "wives tail" created by the spa industry because they didn't know what else to tell customers....


In my experience (no doubt a statistical outlier), after decades of trying to eliminate foaming with proper water chemistry it was a revelation when I accidentally washed my clothes twice one day (sans detergent) and saw the residual soap in the washer's water. My wife and I decided to experiment by not using our swim suits on subsequent fills and our decades' old foaming problem went away for good....only to return when we had guests over wearing their swim suits. Now, this could have been a case of bio-film (et al) which only manifested itself through pure coincidence when swim suits were introduced to the water...but I have some doubt (given our water chemistry was spot-on). Perhaps detergents today (and washing technology) has much improved and it is not an issue. Perhaps only the swim suits in my life were of the foaming type.

Regardless, I did mention there were a myriad of water chemistry issues which could contribute to foaming, but for me...my water chemistry was sound and my prior experience with foaming could arguably be somewhat empirically observed and correlative with soap residue in my trunks.

ohmy.gif

#10 Dr. Spa

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 01:20 PM

Perhaps, for all those years, you were washing your swim suits incorrectly, and the swim suits harbored their own biofilm.


*things that make you go "hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm"*
What the heck do I know, I only started in this industry in 1981, and retired from it after 33 years.
(from service tech to co-owner of Roberts Hot Tubs, manufacturer of traditional wooden hot tubs & spa covers)

`````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````

If you can't sell it on ebay, it may not even qualify as landfill.

#11 BigDfromTN

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 01:57 PM

QUOTE (aschwartz @ Oct 8 2009, 03:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (OttawaGreg @ Oct 6 2009, 12:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Vince22 @ Oct 5 2009, 07:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Wannago @ Oct 5 2009, 03:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'll add to shower before each use, to make sure deodorants, perfumes, make-up, hair products, etc. are prevented from getting into the water.


Mine foams up when the PH is too low.



I too noticed more foam when jets are on high and the pH was low. When I would raise pH there would be less foam. The foaming never goes away fully as I was told it is a factor of my total dissolved solids (TDS) being high.

I don't wash the swim suit as often.
Wipe down armpits to remove deodorant. You can use a baby wipe ;-)
Sometimes take the water level down a bit and top it up with fresh water.

Greg



Spa foaming from detergent is a incorrect "wives tail" created by the spa industry because they didn't know what else to tell customers. Actually it usually means your spa in contaminated with biofilm and needs to be properly flushed. Detergents are low foaming formulations otherwise your washing machine would overflow. We tried putting several cups of detergent in a spa and did not generate foaming. The whole pool and spa industry has been slow to recognize the impact of bacterial biofilms have on water management. Studies done by major universities over the past 15 years have identified biofilm as the cause of over 80% of the water mangement issues. This research is lead by the National Science Foundation Research Center at Montana State University (http://www.erc.montana.edu).


SO.... In a nutshell.
How do you rid a tub of Biofilm?
2002 Caldera Geneva

bigdfromtn at gmail com.

#12 chem geek

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 04:33 PM

QUOTE (aschwartz @ Oct 8 2009, 01:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Spa foaming from detergent is a incorrect "wives tail" created by the spa industry because they didn't know what else to tell customers. Actually it usually means your spa in contaminated with biofilm and needs to be properly flushed. Detergents are low foaming formulations otherwise your washing machine would overflow. We tried putting several cups of detergent in a spa and did not generate foaming. The whole pool and spa industry has been slow to recognize the impact of bacterial biofilms have on water management. Studies done by major universities over the past 15 years have identified biofilm as the cause of over 80% of the water mangement issues. This research is lead by the National Science Foundation Research Center at Montana State University (http://www.erc.montana.edu).

Raising the Calcium Hardness (CH) level to at least 100-120 ppm usually eliminates or significantly reduces the foaming. So unless this is some sort of miracle cure for getting rid of biofilms, that theory doesn't hold water (pun intended). A washing machine does agitate, but doesn't have powerful aerating jets on continuously. Even a small amount of soap-like substances can cause foaming in such an environment. The extra water hardness tends to minimize the formation of such foaming bubbles or accelerates their breakdown.

Though I'm sure that some people might put their swimsuits in a washing machine, many just put them in a sink of water with hand dishwashing detergent that most certainly foams A LOT (it's a lot more foaming than laundry detergent). Many of the posts regarding foaming talk about this happening after a heavier bather load with extra people in the tub, often friends or others who may not do the careful washing/rinsing of swimsuits or their bodies before using the hot tub.

I'm sure that some tubs that aren't properly sanitized at all times have some biofilm issues, but one would expect to feel the slime layers of such biofilms on surfaces and I have rarely seen such reports on this forum.

Richard

#13 simonc

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 08:23 AM

QUOTE (abc @ Oct 5 2009, 12:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Any words of wisdom on how we can minimize the foam in our hot tub. We use bromine and shock the tub religiously every week.


I don't think my comments can be classified as "words of wisdom". I'll just share my personal experience in regards to foam in my hot tub ...

When I used bromine tablets (in a floater) I had a lot of foam problems as the water got "older". When I switched to chlorine tablets (also in a floater) my foam problems disappeared. The best I can tell is that everything else was the same. When I mentioned this to the salesperson at the pool supply (where I buy the chemicals) he said that my experience didn't make any sense to him. Whether or not it makes sense, it was MY experience.

IMPORTANT: I switched from bromine to chlorine AFTER I changed the water. I'm told you never want to mix the two while using the same water fill.

I am now trying the "diclor-then-bleach" method of sanitation (suggested by chem geek and nitro). It seems to be working well so far. However, my water is still relatively "new", so I can't comment on any foam issues with this new method.

Good luck ...

- Simon

#14 Eric W.

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 12:20 PM

We sanitize our tub with the dichlor then bleach method. I use the tub almost nightly and rotate 3 swim suits that aren't washed, and occasionally rinsed. I assume sitting for an hour in a well chlorinated hot tub should get more out of the suit than a wash machine. I notice an increase in foam when other people use it, and I put that squarely on the detergent/fabric softener in their suits. I also notice that chlorine and MPS will add to the foam a bit when first introduced. A good dose of chlorine shock usually solves any foaming for a few days. I noticed an increase in foam too when a few leaves and seed pods were inside the skimmer.

When there's any foam present, I just squirt a bit of foam away and it's all good. If there's too much foam, there's a problem. When my tub was cloudy a couple of times after I failed to check it for a couple of days, the foam came up to the edge, which I assume was bacterial. Also, we had an incident where my wife had a small vein that burst, unbeknown to her, and the foam was spilling over the sides from all the blood in the water (immediate pump out, fill, decontaminate for 24 hours, pump out, and fill; the tub was less than 2 weeks old). In my limited experience, more than 1/2" thick in some areas, you need to shock it as something bacterial or organic is in there.

#15 aschwartz

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 01:37 PM

QUOTE (BigDfromTN @ Oct 8 2009, 04:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (aschwartz @ Oct 8 2009, 03:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (OttawaGreg @ Oct 6 2009, 12:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Vince22 @ Oct 5 2009, 07:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Wannago @ Oct 5 2009, 03:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'll add to shower before each use, to make sure deodorants, perfumes, make-up, hair products, etc. are prevented from getting into the water.


Mine foams up when the PH is too low.



I too noticed more foam when jets are on high and the pH was low. When I would raise pH there would be less foam. The foaming never goes away fully as I was told it is a factor of my total dissolved solids (TDS) being high.

I don't wash the swim suit as often.
Wipe down armpits to remove deodorant. You can use a baby wipe ;-)
Sometimes take the water level down a bit and top it up with fresh water.

Greg



Spa foaming from detergent is a incorrect "wives tail" created by the spa industry because they didn't know what else to tell customers. Actually it usually means your spa in contaminated with biofilm and needs to be properly flushed. Detergents are low foaming formulations otherwise your washing machine would overflow. We tried putting several cups of detergent in a spa and did not generate foaming. The whole pool and spa industry has been slow to recognize the impact of bacterial biofilms have on water management. Studies done by major universities over the past 15 years have identified biofilm as the cause of over 80% of the water mangement issues. This research is lead by the National Science Foundation Research Center at Montana State University (http://www.erc.montana.edu).


SO.... In a nutshell.
How do you rid a tub of Biofilm?

Getting rid of the biofilm is a good first step. You need to find a good spa flush product and follow the directions. Unfortunately, there are both good and ineffective products in the market and we haven't tested everyone. The Spa System Flush product is the one we include with our SpaStart Kit and it works well although we recommend using the whole bottle rather 1/2 of the bottle they recommend. Also, Natural Chemistry has one that seems to work well. I am sure there are others that I don't know about as well.
Keeping the biofilm from returning is important to address as well. My company offers the only patented all natural product available in the industry called SpaNaturally. Our system allows for the reduction of toxic chemical applications of up to 80% while actually inproving the water quality and safety. If you would like learn more please go to www.cwsnaturally.com. or contact me directly at aschwartz@cwsnatually.com

#16 Nateness01

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 04:23 PM

From what I've seen, it seems to come usually from someone wearing a suit or something that has residual soap or phosphates in it. Ours had the same problem after my daughter had a few friends over, the next morning it was solid foam to the lid. Never wash a swimsuit in laundry soap (there's no reason to.) Just rinse and hang dry, I prefer wearing swim briefs because they dry ten times faster than long shorts. Hope this helps.




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