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Thread: Bubble bath in spa?

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    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Carlsbad, CA
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    29

    Question Bubble bath in spa?

    In the past, I sometimes entertained guests, on a special occasion, by adding bubble bath to my spa. It is a 500 gallon spa attached to the pool, so once the spa is off, all its water gets re-mixed with the pool water (16000 gal). I would pour a whole bottle of Mr. Bubble in the spa while it is running (with the usual spa jet turbulence turned on). If you let it sit for a half hour or so, you get a mountain of bubbles about 6 feet high, over the entire spa, People would love to get in the spa, and form caves under the bubbles. Adults seemed to love it as much as the kids.
    I did this rarely, no more than once a year (e.g., New Years eve) because I figured it can't be too good for my pool chemistry. I worried about it adding phosphates or other stuff that would mess things up.
    Just curious - how bad is this for the pool, as a very rare indulgence?
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool (built 2002); Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Jandy Cartridge filter;Rainbow in-line chlorinator (used only when I am away); Hayward 2 wheel suction-side pool cleaner; LARS gas heater, Taylor K-2006 FAS-DPD test kit

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    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Near Toronto, Ontario
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    41

    Re: Bubble bath in spa?

    Out of curiosity, I looked for the MSDS for Mr. Bubble - here it is: https://bigcatrescue.org/wp-content/.../Mr-Bubble.pdf

    I don't really recognize all of the ingredients, so I can't say for sure, but my guess would be that one 10 oz bottle of Mr. Bubble annually would have way less effect on 16,000 gallons of water than an entire summer worth of suntan lotions, perfumes, deodorants, soaps, moisturizers, etc. would have on your water chemistry.

    I would be interested to see what effects the actual ingredients could have in quantity, but I doubt you'd be anywhere near the quantities that matter.

    Does sound like a ton of fun though!

    ed

    ** Ingredients **

    Water
    Citric Acid
    Glycerin
    Sodium Laureth Sulfate, 26%
    Cocamidopropyl Betaine, 30%
    PEG-80 Glyceryl Cocoate (and) PEG-30 Glyceryl Cocoate (Varonic Blend)
    Decyl Glucoside
    DMDM Hydantoin
    Polysorbate 20
    Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract (and) Butylene
    Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
    Sunflower seed Amidopropyl Dimethylamine Lactate
    Fragrance
    Red 33
    Approx. 22,000 gallon 15 x 30 tile lined indoor pool, Taylor K-2006, heat exchanger from main boiler, 3/4 hp Hayward Super Pump, SandMaster sand filter.

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    May 2015
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    11,584

    Re: Bubble bath in spa?

    Well, I can say this - it's going to cause a pretty big chlorine demand to clean up all of those organics.

    The problem is, chlorine oxidation of organics can cause the formation of all sorts of trihalomethane's (THMs) and disinfection by-products (DBPs). For example, the citric acid in the bubble bath will get oxidized by chlorine and one of the end-products of the reaction is chloroform. Chloroform, at high levels, can be absorbed through the skin and cause a chemically-induced stupor similar to being drunk. At very high levels, chloroform is toxic. DMDM Hydantoin is another concern to me. Chlorine can cleave the hydantoin ring and cause the formation of irritating organic compounds.

    I get the "fun factor" but it's definitely not a good thing to do to you water chemistry. I would say that if you do want to continue the bubble mountain tradition, then you probably should SLAM your pool afterwards for a few days to destroy as much of the organics as possible. It would be helpful if the spa had a UV or ozone source plumbed into it as that would speed up the removal of the organics and one could use less chlorine (and thus create less THMs) in clearing the water.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Near Toronto, Ontario
    Posts
    41

    Re: Bubble bath in spa?

    I absolutely defer to Matt (JoyfulNoise) - I am definitely not a chemist.

    Question then, for Matt or any other chemist - would there be any equivalently fun foaming agent that breaks down quickly and wouldn't cause nasty side effects? I don't have a spa, just curious.
    Approx. 22,000 gallon 15 x 30 tile lined indoor pool, Taylor K-2006, heat exchanger from main boiler, 3/4 hp Hayward Super Pump, SandMaster sand filter.

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    May 2015
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    Tucson, AZ
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    Re: Bubble bath in spa?

    Quote Originally Posted by oh_me_oh_my View Post
    I absolutely defer to Matt (JoyfulNoise) - I am definitely not a chemist.

    Question then, for Matt or any other chemist - would there be any equivalently fun foaming agent that breaks down quickly and wouldn't cause nasty side effects? I don't have a spa, just curious.
    Not that I know of.

    Another problem with the "Bubble Mountain" spa is that many of these bubble bath products contain lots of long-chained organic molecules and high molecular weight, oily compounds like the Aloe Juice extract. Stuff like that will more than likely be oxidized by chlorine into cross-linked polymers that will form a sticky mess inside your filter. This would be similar to someone lathering up in tanning oil and sunblock and sitting in your spa all day. The gunk will just land in the filter and make a sticky mess. Typically this requires one to pull the filter media and clean it in something like trisodium phosphate (TSP) so as to remove the organics. If one were to accidentally acid clean a filter with that kind of stuff in it, you'd create a hopeless mess.

    So again, while I get the fun-factor, anyone doing something like this is setting themselves up for a complicated clean up...

    If you want to have fun in the spa, throw in some blocks of dry ice with some colorful LED lights and people can sit in "smoke filled" spa. The worst that will happen is the pH will go down a bit so you might want to get some extra TA in the water before you do it.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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