I like fungus in the form of truffles, mushrooms and bleu cheese... NOT IN MY BATHTUB!
December 1, 2010 12:10 PM   Subscribe

Do you have a whirlpool/jacuzzi type bathtub? How do you clean its guts?

I have a new (under 1 yr old) jet-tub that I my husband and I use daily to shower, but I use the whirlpool feature a lot less frequently, about once every 2-3 weeks. (however, we've been traveling a lot lately, so that's not accurate for recent history, and maybe that's the cause of my problem?)

Last night, I decided it would be nice to relax in a cloud of warm, flowing bubbles, so I drew a bath, got in, poured in some bubblebath, and MMMM nice. As I got up to drain the tub -- GAH! -- I was swimming in mold & mildew soup.

After a shower of Silkwood intensity, I did some research online. I've tried the bleach/dishwasher detergent stuff, and it didn't seem to do much. I need to try again, but I'm trying to avoiding wasting tubful-after-tubful of water.

Does anyone has any first-hand experience with any of these products? (and for the record, I'd use vinegar and Denture-Cleaning Tablets if they actually worked... do they?)

a) Sani Bath
b) Whirlout Pipe Cleaner
c) Ahh-Some Jetted Bath Bio & Pipe Gunk Cleaner
(for the record, "www.purgetech.com" does not exist any more.)

Most of the comments I see on review sites are so emphatically supportive they leave me skeptical. I mean, who writes a 500+ word review on how a bathtub cleaner changed their life? Reviews of Ahh-Some are so sycophantic it reeks of MLM, but I'd still use it if it worked as well as promised.

I am a firm believer in "better living through chemistry", but I'd rather not waste time, money or water if I can help it.
posted by ChefJoAnna to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Holy crap! I was just doing some Google searches of my own on this very topic, but I see you've already tried the most obvious solutions (detergent and bleach). I agree that Ahh-Some sounds pretty suspect, and on top of that, it's ridiculously expensive. I'm going to Lowe's and possibly Home Depot tonight for other reasons, so I'm also going to see if I can ask someone there.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:25 PM on December 1, 2010

We use Whirlout. It works great, so +1 to emphatic support. After my Silkwood experience, I had to run it through 2 or 3 times, rinsing in between, to make all the mold go away. But we have had literally no problems with mold since we starting using Whirlout.
posted by heatvision at 12:37 PM on December 1, 2010

When we moved in ours was installed but never turned on. I just filled it up with hot hot water and some dish soap. I had to fill and scrub it with it jetting for a couple cycles but it is clean now.
posted by NotSoSimple at 12:37 PM on December 1, 2010

Response by poster: infinitywaltz I love serendipitous things like that. Let's keep each other in the loop. me-mail or whatever :-)

heatvision I could only have screamed louder if I discovered spiders in the tub with me. I appreciate your comment about Whirlout, especially since you didn't include a MLM link for it. (LOL)

NotSoSimple Maybe hotter water would be of use. We have an endless-hot-water (tankless) heater, but when i fill the tub I just set it to 106 ºF and climb in. I know it can be "overclocked" and set as high as 140 ºF so maybe I'll try a cycle with that.

the tub is so huge that filling it to where the water covers the jets takes a LOT of water, but eliminating future occurences of JoAnna-and-Mushroom soup is very important.
posted by ChefJoAnna at 1:00 PM on December 1, 2010

You think that's bad? I got down to my parent's winter home in Key Largo a few years ago feeling a bit achey from the flight, so went to take a nice bath. Fill it up, turn on the jets, lie back and relax. Hmmmm. Dead cockroach floating in the water. I fish it out, toss it into the toilet, not going to let it ruin my bath, right? Then I see another, and another. Suddenly I'm soaking in hundreds of dead bugs, and flodida cockroaches are BIG. My parents hear me swear loudly, and knock at the door to see if I'm ok. I open the door, wet and bedraggled, wrapped in a towel and show them the nightmare bathroom appliance that they encouraged me to use, full of dead cockroaches. You think I got any sympathy? Ha! The laughed their asses off! Apparently, they had the place fumigated months before, and since the jet tub is in the guest bathroom, they hadn't used it since. The bugs must have crawled into it to die. Now that I think about it, I was probably soaking in insecticide as well. We dumped a lot of soap into the tub and ran the jets for a while to clean it out, and I took a shower in the other bathroom. I know this doesn't help much as to how to clean out mold, but maybe it will make you feel better about your soupy bath. It couuld have been worse!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:49 PM on December 1, 2010

They (to wit, manufacturers, appliance sales and fix-it people) usually recommend not using soaps, bath salts, bath oil or bubble bath stuff in a jacuzzi while running the jets largely because the compounds in them gum up the internal workings of the jet plumbing and create a cleaning headache. I never tested their claims myself, but I always preferred my hot bubbling water straight up. I do have a friend, however, whose daughter decided to take a bubble bath in the jacuzzi with the jets running and wound up with a room filled with bubbles (yes, the room). To get rid of them, she opened the windows and essentially shoved / shoveled them out. To this day, the imagery strikes me as hilarious.

But to the general question of cleaning the things, I always used to run my jacuzzi through a vinegar solution cycle ( = full tub of water + gallon or two of white vinegar). I never had mold problems with the tub jet works which somewhat surprised me given the nature of bathrooms.

@ 5_13_23_42_69_666: I would have had nightmares for ages. Yeow!!!! Snakes: OK; spiders: even OK; insects: not OK, not OK at all, especially cockroaches.
posted by cool breeze at 3:31 PM on December 1, 2010

OK, we got some stuff at Lowe's called "System Clean" that's supposed to be pretty good. It's like six bucks for a month's worth, assuming you follow their recommendations of using it every two weeks, and involves using two different packets (putting one packet in, running the jets for 30 seconds and then adding the second packet). I'll post here to let you know how it works.
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:59 PM on December 1, 2010

I know it's a whole week later, but I've just gotten around to doing the cleaning process with System Clean. It worked OK, I guess; a few bits of grunge squirted out of the jets, although much less than I had expected. It's also really strong; while the chlorine smell was surprisingly mild, it definitely made my eyes burn.

The other thing is that it did absolutely nothing for the most obvious grunge around the edges of the jets and the intake. I really don't think there's a way to get around that other than by removing them and cleaning them manually.
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:01 PM on December 11, 2010

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