Why does my local hot tub store say no bleach in acrylic hot tubs?

McAlsop

Member
Jul 30, 2016
10
Mounds View, MN
I am seeing all ranges of information googling and searching these forums, and couldn't find a clear and concise answer.

My local hot tub store says I should never use bleach because it's bad for my acrylic hot tub. The only reason they can give me is that it's "bad for acrylic" which seems lacking to me.

They do have another activator (shock) that they suggest. Taking cost out of consideration, is there any reason I should not use bleach?

Thank you again for your help here!

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In case it matters, I have a Marquis Spa e-series from 2015.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
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Jul 7, 2014
19,790
Bedford, TX
Mc,

What do they say about "chlorine"?? I suspect they are just fine with chlorine... Bleach is just chlorine by another name.

Maybe they mean don't pour straight chlorine/bleach right onto an empty tub and use it as a cleaner???

Let's see what our other members have to say..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,503
My local hot tub store says I should never use bleach because it's bad for my acrylic hot tub. The only reason they can give me is that it's "bad for acrylic" which seems lacking to me.
The person who needs to explain a claim is the person who makes the claim.

Ask them to explain where they got the information or how they formed their opinion.
 
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McAlsop

Member
Jul 30, 2016
10
Mounds View, MN
What do they say about "chlorine"?? I suspect they are just fine with chlorine... Bleach is just chlorine by another name.
Funny, I did not realize it was actually just chlorine. Now some other things make sense 😂. Thinking about it more, I wonder if they are Referring to the fact that a lot of bleach nowadays has additives. Of course I’m using one that doesn’t have any.

When I go back i’ll have them expand on their reasoning and let you know what they say or if they can’t.

thanks again!!
 

setsailsoon

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low profit margins in bleach.
 

tim5055

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May 11, 2014
11,061
Franklin, NC
During my short time in retail sales, the number one rule was sell what you have on the shelf. I'm sure he doesn't have "bleach" on the shelf.

As @Jimrahbe pointed out, bleach is just another name in the industry for chlorine. In it's natural state, chlorine is a gas. Many large commercial pools actually use gas injection systems to chlorinate their pools. Now, to change chlorine into something we can use at home it needs to be bound to something to turn it into a solid. The "somethings" that are commonly used are stabilizer (also known as CYA), calcium, lithium, or --- get this water. When it's water it geoes by several names - Liquid Chlorine, Liquid Shock or in household use bleach.

Now, as you pointed out, bleach for household use now has many additives to make your laundry whiter, brighter and easy to pour.


So, back to the pool store. Most pool store employees learn on the job or through seminars taught by chemical salesmen. So, bad information is handed down from employee to trainee and the chemical salesmen teach them to push high profit items. This is especially true in large chain stores where employees are paid commission and managers jobs are based on how much product flows out the door.

Are there good pool stores out there, yes! But, most of them are in the "sun" states where a family can own a small store and operate it 12 months a year, give good service and make a profit.

In the rest of the country you mainly have a high school/college kid who has about an hour training testing your water and telling you what to buy to add to your water.

Unfortunately the pool industry has evolved into sales by scare tactics, misdirection, misinformation and marketing hype. Go in to the store and tell them your TA is low and they are going to sell you baking soda in a fancy package at four times the cost of WalMart. Do they have a right to make a profit, yes - but lets be reasonable. Heck, even their definition of "low" can many times put you on a pH roller coaster that's hard to get off of. Is that lack of knowledge or a sales technique to sell you more chemicals to control your pH????

What the pool industry does not understand is that the internet is changing the industry around them. My favorite story is about my pool light. When I bought the house with the pool along with high CYA my pool light was not working. I could get a new bulb from Amazon for $19, but heck I'm part of that immediate gratification society as much as the next guy. I went down to the local pool store and there was the same bulb, $39. I talked with the manager. I didn't want them to match the price, they have to keep the lights on - just be a little more reasonable. The manager gave me two choices, take it or leave it.
 

Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
1,471
Hernando, Ms
The video for my spa from the manufacturer says this too but then in the same breath they instruct me to pour all chemicals into the skimmer! - which is horrible for the filter not to mention the other equipment. I ignore both
 

jseyfert3

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The only reason they can give me is that it's "bad for acrylic" which seems lacking to me.
It sounds lacking cause it is lacking. Once dissolved in water, all the forms of chlorine available for home users (liquid chlorine/dichlor/trichlor/cal hypo/lithium hypo/SWCG) are exactly the same on the chlorine side of things. The only difference is what they add along with the chlorine. Dichlor/triclor add CYA, liquid chlorine (sodium hypochlorate) adds sodium. Cal hypo adds calcium, lithium hypo (hard to get these days) adds lithium. SWCG doesn't add anything, you pre-add salt to the water and it recycles the chloride ions from the salt into FC (after FC does its thing you end up with chloride ions).

Obviously you'd probably want to keep all concentrated chemicals off the shell, but using it is no problem given there's no additives.
 
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Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
1,471
Hernando, Ms
I appreciate everyone's responses. I actually just went out and bought more bleach as a direct result. Checked Aldi and they had a gallon of Tandil Bleach 6% for like $2.29 which will last me a few months- insane, really.

Thanks again!
Be sure it has no “fabric enhancers” or whatever in it. Lots of store brands have added something like that. I haven’t checked aldi bleach recently. Also no flavors lol
 
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RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
989
Cabool, Mo
Modern acrylic/fiberglass shells have little risk, although direct contact with concentrated chemicals can cause clearcoat discoloration, but more likely can cause discoloration of plastic jets and metal escutcheons.
Older spas however, especially those like hot springs and dimension one, used a white plastic for the shell. No acrylic clearcoat, or any coat for that matter, just plastic. I call them "tupperware spas". Repairs on those shells were made by melting down plastic pellets in a solvent and painting the resulting plastic goo onto the shell. These shells would turn from white to yellow then brown with exposure to high chlorine concentrations, and pouring in bleach could ruin your shell finish. Ever get straight bleach on a white shirt and have it turn brown? It's pretty normal for pool guys, and is the same shade as the spa shell will eventually be.
So I suspect, like several other "industry standards", that it comes from a time when it was an issue and has been passed on since in spite of industry changes. At that time, everyone used bromine in their spas anyway, and slow feed tablets were the way to go. :rolleyes:
Adding chems into the skimmer can cause some equipment issues over time, mainly to the heater and o-rings, which is not ideal, but is more easily fixed than shell or jet issues. Equipment warranties are always much shorter than shell or plumbing warranties as well, which could be a factor in that advice.
 
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gregsfc

Bronze Supporter
May 27, 2014
204
Cookeville,TN
I went to my pool store to get them to order new ladder treads for my ladder or at least give me the name of the manufacturer so I could order them. I had bought the ladder from them. I suspected they had algae inside them, because I had seen some live algae come out when cleaning and draining the ladder. I told them that I had filled the treads with 50 ppm FC via using bleach a couple times amd let them soak but was still worried some algae could be in them.

The associate told me that bleach won't do anything to kill algae. That I should use ployquat algaecide. Now just think how ludicrous that statement is. They are saying that the best algae killer on the planet (chlorine) will do nothimg to kill algae, but that I should use an algae preventer instead. That's a typical pool store associate.
 
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gregsfc

Bronze Supporter
May 27, 2014
204
Cookeville,TN
Cheap ladder. Just did this a couple times. 50 ppm was an estimate. 1 hour soak and slosh around; drain and stick back in the pool. Mixed LC with water in a garden sprayer and filled them up using the tip and pumped it in small holes. It was the only way. Was a false alarm anyway. The algae ended up being above the water line on the ladder. Getting a replacement ladder or parts on any ladder is the problem this year; everyone out of stock all season; online too; same with other pool equipment. TFP teaches polyquat as a preventive only. Are you saying that is better than shock-chlorine for killing algae in some situations? If so, I missed something in TFP reading. Polyquat in the winter to help prevent when FC is dropped below recommended levels. Are you saying polyquat better as an algacide, or one of the copper formulations.
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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Chlorine is the answer. Most decent ladders are 316 stainless steel and quite resistant to chlorine. Most "rubber" on a ladder is likely synthetic which, again, I think is quite resistant to chlorine. I would agree to avoid a steady bath but as a reasoned treatment, chlorine works just fine.

Since it's inception, TFP has never thought highly of algaecides as algae "killers". That's one of the first things I learned from Jason Lion and chemgeek......but I never understood why.
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
989
Cabool, Mo
No, I thought you were somehow filling spaces inside of the ladder with 50ppm and leaving it there to prevent algae buildup. In which case, you might do some damage. My mistake.
Interestingly enough, I have seen stainless steel rust and pit in extreme situations. I am not sure exactly what or why as it occurred over many years, but it can happen. I usually see it on SS heater housing flanges by the gasket, but have seen it on spa handrails and pool ladders/handrails inside of the cups as well. I guess not all "stainless steel" is the same.
 

jseyfert3

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Oct 20, 2017
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Southern WI
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Liquid Chlorine
Interestingly enough, I have seen stainless steel rust and pit in extreme situations. I am not sure exactly what or why as it occurred over many years, but it can happen. I usually see it on SS heater housing flanges by the gasket, but have seen it on spa handrails and pool ladders/handrails inside of the cups as well. I guess not all "stainless steel" is the same.
I've also seen stainless rust, including some on my all stainless everyday carry Leatherman Wave multi-tool. The first time I saw stainless rust, I was shocked. But then I stumbled across the fact that it's called stainless, not stainfree, and a light bulb went off. Since then I've learned there's all sorts of stainless, varying in properties and corrosion resistance, selected for application and cost, just like everything else.

A more common example of stainless rusting is car exhausts. Most, if not all, are stainless, yet they all rust. This is a combination of being a very cheap stainless and the high heat/high corrosion environment they are in. As I understand, they basically choose a stainless grade that's good enough to last "long enough" and that's all it gets for cost reasons.