Yuck! How to Get Rid of Black Flakes in a Jacuzzi

get rid of black flakes in whirlpool

Not much beats relaxing in a whirlpool tub with jets spraying water onto different areas of your body while you relax? But if your jacuzzi has black flakes floating around, your relaxation can quickly turn to revulsion. 

Don’t despair!

Proactively and routinely clean your tub to prevent mold and black flakes from turning your jetted haven into a dirty mire! Whether you have a jetted bathtub that you drain after each use, or you have a jacuzzi (also referred to as a whirlpool) that you only drain every three months, you’ll want to read our step-by-step directions for how to deal with this problem. But first, let’s discuss what could be causing black flakes and mold in your tub.

Key Takeaways:

  • Biofilm Buildup: The primary cause of black flakes in a Jacuzzi is biofilm buildup, which includes bacteria, mold, and residues from body oils and soaps​.
  • Regular Cleaning: Effective prevention of black flakes requires regular and thorough cleaning of the Jacuzzi, ideally every three months or more often, depending on usage​​.
  • Avoid Harmful Cleaners: Bleach and dishwashing detergents are not recommended for cleaning Jacuzzi jets as they can damage the components or exacerbate the problem​​.
  • Eco-Friendly Options: White vinegar is a safe, non-toxic, and eco-friendly option for cleaning Jacuzzis and removing scum​​.
  • Mold Prevention: Running the jets regularly and maintaining a regular cleaning schedule are crucial steps in preventing mold growth in a Jacuzzi​​.
  • Professional Consultation: For persistent issues or specialized cleaning needs, consulting a professional is advisable.

What Are Those Black Flakes In My Whirlpool Tub?

black flakes in empty hot tub

When we fill our whirlpool tubs and turn them on, the last thing that we expect to see are black flakes spurting out of the jets! 

You have followed the manufacturer’s instructions and cleaned the tub regularly, so what is going on? Why are black flakes jetting out of the jets with the water, and what are they exactly?

Black flakes in your tub could be a result of a few reasons:

  1. The water authorities are adding iron or manganese to the water system. These minerals are not harmful, but the water pumped into your tub could look dirty and possibly stain your plumbing fittings and fixtures.
  2. More likely, bacteria, mold, mildew, or biofilm from oils, soaps, human skin, or other human excrements were left over in the water from the last time the tub was used. Even if you drained the tub, residual warm water remains in the pipes and jets, allowing bacteria to hatch and grow. The next time you use the tub, the bacteria are expelled through the jets in the tub, resembling black or brown flakes.
  3. The water chemistry in your jacuzzi is not balanced. (Here’s a post to help you correctly balance the chemicals in your jacuzzi.)

How Do You Get Black Flakes Out of a Jetted Tub?

Turn your bathtub into a Jacuzzi

When you switch on your jacuzzi tub, and black flakes spray out of the jets together with the water, what should you do, and is it safe to enter the tub?

The big problem with jets is that they build up a layer of biofilm, which is extremely difficult to get rid of. Biofilm describes a range of microorganisms found in whirlpools and tubs, like leftover soap scum, hair, and other unmentionable things.

Biofilm also includes mold, parasites, dirt, bacteria, and viruses. All of these microorganisms stew in the pipes and plumbing after the water has drained from the tub between uses. 

The longer the leftover micro-organisms sit in the pipes, the more biofilm or slimy scum grows over them and the harder it is to remove. If you don’t use the jets regularly, the scum inside the pipes dries out and hardens so that when you next use the jets, the flakes peel off the pipes and spray into the tub water.

It would help if you gave the jacuzzi tub a regular soaking clean to prevent any buildup of scum and bacterial growth. 

If your jacuzzi tub or swim spa does have black flakes streaming into the tub the next time you switch on the jets, this is the best way to get rid of them.

8 Steps to Clean Jacuzzi Jets

under water photo of hot tub jets

The best and only proven way to prevent biofilm buildup and other bacteria in your jacuzzi or whirlpool tub is with regular, vigorous cleaning. Bacteria buildup cannot be treated lightly. It will only stay away if you tackle the problem aggressively. 

If you do not use your tub very often, you should plan routine maintenance every three months (or more depending on how frequently you use the jacuzzi and how many people use it). Cleaning and maintaining a jacuzzi tub does not take up too much time and, once the tub is running during the cleaning process, it can be left unattended for a short time – unless you have children in the house, in which case, be vigilant!

Follow these easy steps to clean your Jacuzzi jets to remove black flakes effectively:

1. Fill the Jetted Tub with Warm Water

The water level should be about 2 inches (5cms) above the highest jet. The water should cover the jets to begin soaking into the jets. This will help loosen up the scum. If the water level is not high enough to cover the jets, the water won’t wash through them correctly; then the black flakes will reappear, and you will have to give the tub a deep clean all over again!

2. Add the Cleaning Agent

Follow the manufacturer’s directions on the packaging for the correct amounts to add to the tub. Bioproducts will require different quantities than chemical cleaners, so follow the directions carefully.

3. Turn on the Jets

If your jetted tub has an air valve, turn that off first before turning the jets on. Allow the jets to run for about 10 – 15 minutes to ensure that the scum in the pipes and on the jet walls is dissolving.

4. Switch off the Jets

Allow the water to sit and soak for up to one hour (see instructions from the cleaning agent) to continue dissolving the scum in the jets.

5. Drain the Tub

Drain about 2 inches (5cms) of water from the tub. There should be a ring of scum around the tub. Clean the scum off the tub, refill with an additional 2 inches (5cms) of water and repeat the process from step 3.

6. Repeat Steps 1 Through 5

After completing step 5 once more, repeat the process from step 1 through to step 5. If you have not used the tub in a while, you may need to repeat the process a few more times until you are satisfied that all the black flakes have disappeared. 

7. Drain and Wipe Down

Once the black flakes are gone, empty the tub completely. Wipe off any remaining debris on the surface of the tub with a soft cloth. Rinse the surface of the tub once more before using it again.

8. Schedule Your Next Jacuzzi Tub Cleaning Session

Enter your next tub cleaning session in your calendar! Buy your cleaning products in bulk so that you always have a supply and no excuses for not keeping your jetted tub clean! 

Avoid Using These Products to Clean Jacuzzi Jets

With your Jacuzzi Bath Mat try 1 capful ofDeep Steep Bubble Bath


Bleach is not recommended for cleaning jets. The reason is that it can damage gaskets, bushings,  and other jet parts, leading to costly repairs. 

Bleach can be used to clean the tub’s surface effectively, but it will not clean the scum out of the jets or kill off the bacteria. Instead, it loosens the surface materials, which causes it to flake off the next time the tub is used.

Dishwashing Detergent

Dishwashing liquid or tablets are not recommended as a jetted tub cleaner. If you put dishwashing detergent into a jetted tub, you’ll just add to the layer of slime that you are trying to get rid of! Low-foaming cleaning agents will add to the biofilm and debris you are trying hard to remove.

Bubble Bath

Also, contrary to popular belief, bubble bath will not clean the jets. (While you shouldn’t put bubble bath in a jetted tub—not even to have fun in the bubbles— there are still plenty of fun bath products you can use in a Jacuzzi tub. ) 

Recommended Jacuzzi Cleaning Solutions

There are various products designed specifically for cleaning a jacuzzi or whirlpool tub.  

When deciding on the correct cleaning agent for your jetted tub, make sure that they kill off and eliminate the following:

  • Debris found in pipes
  • Human skin cells
  • Mold
  • Algae
  • Bacteria

Try these recommended products:

1. Oh Yuk! Hot Tub and Jetted Tub Cleaner

Oh Yuk! Hot Tub and Jetted Tub Cleaner

This is a well-loved product for cleaning out the scum quickly and effectively.

Choose the green Oh Yuk solution for jetted bathtubs that you drain after each use. 

Select the blue Oh Yuk solution for jetted hot tubs. 

 2. Ahh-Some Hot Tub Cleaner

Ahh-Some Hot Tub Cleaner

Use a jacuzzi tub cleaner like Ahh-Some Hot Tub Cleaner to clean away mold and other biofilm from your jetting tub. This product is eco-friendly and is effective in getting rid of harmful contaminants.

3. White Vinegar

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a great way to deep-clean the jets and remove scum from the tub’s walls. Vinegar is non-toxic, safe to use, inexpensive, and safe for the environment. If you are using a natural cleanser like white vinegar, add ½ gallon (2.2 liters) to the water in your tub before you follow the instructions described earlier in this post.

Note: Do NOT use white WINE vinegar.

How Do You Get Rid of Black Mold in a Jetted Tub?

Bathroom mold on the ledge with rubber ducky

Don’t use your jetted tub too often? Unfortunately, mold is more at risk of growing in your jets. Mold can block your jacuzzi tubs filters, causing hard black spots and flakes to appear on the tub’s surface.

If mold is visible on the surface of the jets, your water is not properly sanitized and has created the ideal conditions for mold to grow. While you can easily remove the mold visible to your eye with a soft cloth, if you have mold in your tub, you have a severe problem. That’s because mold can grow inside the jets, so you may need to remove the jets from the tub for a thorough cleaning. 

Once the mold has been removed from the jacuzzi jets, measures should be implemented to prevent it from returning to the tub.

How to Prevent Mold And Bacteria Build-Up in a Tub 

Weight loss bath - does hot tubbing work?

To ensure that your jetted tub is always mold and bacteria-free and ready to use, follow these simple steps:

  • Run the jets at least twice a day for 15 minutes
  • Follow a regular cleaning schedule
  • Use filters. Clean and replace regularly
  • Shock and sanitize the water often
  • Routinely natural products like vinegar to keep your tub clean
  • Use oil-free products and bath salts instead of oils and emollients that contain moisturizers.

Also, hot tubs require careful calibration of bromine and chlorine. Problems with these chemicals can cause other issues. Be sure to read  This Is Why Jacuzzi Jets Make You Itch to learn how to keep these chemicals in the correct proportions.

Jacuzzi Maintenance and Black Flake Knowledge

Test your knowledge on what causes black flakes in a jacuzzi and the best methods to remove them and prevent them from returning.

Yuck! How to Get Rid of Black Flakes in a Jacuzzi

Nasty Black Flecks in the Jacuzzi? So Long, Suckers!

A young man and woman smile in the hot tub

Sure, relaxing in your jacuzzi can be the ideal de-stressor after a hard day. But dealing with any signs of bacteria in the water isn’t! 

If you clean your jacuzzi tub regularly, you’re more likely to avoid problems with nasty scum or mold.

Cleaning your tub is not difficult, but it does take some preparation. So, use the correct cleaning products and schedule regular maintenance. This will ensure that your tub is hygienic and free from scum and debris.

And make sure to keep your hot tub at the right temperature, both for your safety and enjoyment, as well as to prolong the lifespan of your tub.

Tags: bacteria, biofilm, black flakes, black mold, bleach, how to clean, jacuzzi jets

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