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28 Aug 2020

Nine things you shouldn't do in a hot tub

From wearing oily lotions to pouring in bubble bath, learn the things that could be putting you in danger and ruining your hot tub
Family taking a picture in a hot tub

Demand for hot tubs has skyrocketed this year, with eBay citing sales increases of more than 1,000% back in April, price cuts made across the market and many retailers completely selling out online.

But if you were one of the lucky ones who managed to get hold of a tub before the shelves were emptied, it's important to use it safely.

From soothing sore muscles and relaxing with friends, there are plenty of things you can do in a hot tub, but do you know what you should avoid?

Keep reading to find out what not to do, or alternatively head over to our hot tub buying guide for everything you need to know about buying, installing and using your tub

1. Don't get in before testing the water

All hard-shell and inflatable hot tubs need to use chemicals to make sure the water stays clean and your tub isn't damaged. But not getting the balance right can lead to itchy skin, scale build up and cloudy water.

Test the water after every one to three uses and make sure it's within the following levels:

  • A chlorine or bromine level of three to five parts per million (ppm) must be maintained
  • The total alkalinity should be 80-120ppm, with a pH between 7.2 and 7.8
  • The calcium level should be around 100-250ppm.

If it's not, our guide on using a hot tub will explain how to balance the chemicals.

2. Don't get in without having drinking water to hand

The high heat of a hot tub can make you sweat. Pair that with a sunny day and alcohol, and it's very easy to become dehydrated.

Signs to look out for include a dry mouth, excessive thirst, dizziness or a headache.

To avoid dehydration and its potential side effects, make sure you're hydrated before getting in, avoid alcohol while bathing and keep a bottle of water to hand so you can top up if needed.

Stay safe and keep glass away from the tub. Here's our round up of the best reusable water bottles.

3. Don't get in before talking to your GP if you have a medical condition

Talking to a GP virtually

The British Heart Foundation states: 'If you have a heart condition or have high blood pressure, it's generally advisable not to use spa facilities - including baths, saunas and Jacuzzis or steam rooms. Sudden changes in temperature can put extra strain on your heart and circulation. Before doing these activities, have a chat to your GP.'

The same advice should be followed if you have any other medical conditions that could be made worse by an increase in temperature.

From blood-pressure monitors and fitness trackers to electric toothbrushes and hearing aids, we review and recommend the best health and grooming gadgets.

4. Don't get in if you're pregnant

When you're pregnant there's a higher chance of overheating, therefore excessive heat should be avoided so as not to risk any harm to the baby.

The NHS advises pregnant women to avoid hot tubs completely, saying: 'If you're using a hydrotherapy pool, the temperature should not be above 35u00baC. Some hot tubs can be as hot as 40u00baC, so it's best to avoid them.'

Are you or a loved one expecting a baby? Here's all our independent baby product reviews and expert parenting advice.

5. Don't get in with your baby

You should never take your infant or toddler into the hot tub with you. They can't sweat as well as adults, which makes them more susceptible to overheating.

Older children can go in, but they should limit their use to between five to 15 minutes depending on the water temperature.

Keep your little ones safe and healthy with our expert help on baby and child-proofing your home.

6. Don't wear oily lotions

Woman showering outside in a swimsuit

Wearing skincare products while in a hot tub will mean your filter needs to work much harder to keep the hot tub clean. It can also affect the pH levels.

Showering before getting in will get rid of oily products, sweat and skin cells and help to avoid any problems.

You should also shower after your soak to wash any chemicals off your skin and prevent any irritation.

Here's all our electric shower reviews.

7. Don't stay in for longer than 30 minutes

Elderly couple in a hot tub

General guidance from manufacturers says that healthy adults who are not pregnant can stay in a hot tub heated to 37.8u00baC for around 15 to 30 minutes at a time. Any longer and you risk overheating, and experiencing symptoms such as light-headedness, dizziness or nausea.

You should also be more mindful of the weather. When it's a hot day, you might need to cut your soaks a little shorter or turn down the temperature. And if it's a cold day, make sure you take it easy when you get out as the sudden drop in temperature can cause dizziness.

Make sure you protect your skin in the sun, too. Here's our sun cream reviews.

8. Don't use bubble bath

Boy in foamy hot tub

It might feel like a big bath, but don't use it like one. Bubble bath will cause excessive foam and serious damage to the tub's structure. If you want to add a little more luxury, then you can buy hot tub-specific spa bombs and crystals.

We list some of the best hot tub accessories.

9. Don't submerge open wounds

Putting a plaster on a girls arm

As long as you regularly maintain your hot tub and make sure the chemicals are topped up, the water will be clean enough for general use. However, not all bacteria can be eliminated completely so you're risking infection if you submerge open wounds or cuts.

If you get a wound wet by accident, make sure you disinfect it swiftly.

Head to our guides for more advice on buying the best hot tub.