How to Clean a Hot Tub Cover with Vinegar in 5 Simple Steps

How to Clean a Hot Tub Cover with Vinegar

If you your hot tub cover is stained by pesky water and mold stains and you’ve tried just about everything to clean it, I can recommend vinegar. It’s cheap, simple, and most of the time does the trick.

Here’s how I clean my hot tub cover with vinegar. You can copy my process and hopefully get the same brilliant results. 

Before you get started though, for the best results I recommend a specialist product instead of vinegar. This spray on Amazon cleans hot tub covers, but also protects and treats them too.

Cleaning a hot tub cover with vinegar

I recommend that you clean your hot tub cover every 2 months. This will help to maintain the cover, so it doesn’t degrade, giving more life to hot tub itself… plus, it just looks so much better with no mold or water stains on.

1: Prepare the vinegar cleaning solution

Before you clean the hot tub cover itself, you might as well clean the actual hot tub too. I use this as an opportunity to rinse the entire hot tub if it has any build-up of soap scum or mildew from when you last used it. 

Once you’ve done that you will need to get an empty bucket containing chemicals (any old 5-gallon bucket will work if it’s clean). Then create the cleaning solution by mixing 1 part white vinegar to 8 parts water. I also recommend adding some dish soap too.  

You might also see people recommending hydrogen peroxide instead of vinegar, but this should only be used on vinyl hot tub covers as I believe it’s been said to possibly eat away at the vinyl hot tub cover over time.

You will also need an old rag or towel (again, providing they are clean). Microfiber cloths are best for cleaning hot tub covers with vinegar, but regular cotton towels or rags will also work – you can buy microfiber cloths on Amazon.

Lastly, if you have sensitive eyes, you might want to consider wearing safety goggles. Vinegar in the eye isn’t the most pleasant of experiences!

2. Clean the hot tub cover with the vinegar solution

It might be tempting to remove the hot tub cover and lay it down in a garage or on a patio to clean it. Personally, I don’t recommend this as it runs the risks of a tear or hole being placed in the cover.

Instead, pull the cover taut over the hot tub, and start the cleaning from there. 

It’s simple enough: get the bucket that contains the mixture of vinegar and warm water. Now dip your rag or towel into the mix until it is fully saturated with vinegar, then ring out any excess liquid until only a little dampness remains. 

This amount varies depending on how big your towel/rag is, so you will have to play around with it because if there are too many drops left in the solution, it can make spots after cleaning! You want enough water to be able to spread it over a section of your cover without the rag becoming so soaked that the solution drips off of it.

Now, spread the rag/towel across your hot tub cover by using smooth back and forth motions while applying too much pressure will result in streaks! Continue this process until you have covered every spot on the cover with the vinegar-water mixture.

3. Wait 10 to 15 minutes then go again

Now wait approximately 10 to 5 minutes for the solution to fully break down any dirt or grime that has stuck onto your hot tub covers surface. 

Now start scrubbing again with the vinegar and water solution. You should see the mold and water marks starting to come off now. 

You can even use a little touch of bleach to remove any leftover surface stains or discoloration.

4. Rinse with warm water

Now that your hot tub cover’s surface has been fully cleaned with the vinegar, you want to rinse it off thoroughly with water.

Rinse it, then towel dry. 

I recommend towel drying rather than letting the hot tub cover dry in the sun. If you let it dry in the sun, you might see streaks leftover from the solution. 

5. Optional step for stubborn stains

If you’ve neglected your hot tub for some time, you might need to do a little more work.

For example, if there are large amounts of dirt or mud or even twigs, and so on stuck to the cover, then you will need to brush it off first using an old brush with stiff bristles. 

If you don’t have one, use a toothbrush or scrubbing brush. To avoid scratching the surface, do not press down hard. Gently rub against the dirt until all of it comes loose and falls off. If there are any spots where sand got stuck on, they may have to be sanded off with sandpaper no more than 200 grit for this step! 

Be careful around the hot tub joints because too much sanding can damage them. If in doubt, go with less sanding rather than more which can cause damage!

Handy Hint: To get your whole yard sparkling in time for summer, here are tips on how you can clean the lava rocks in a fire pit.

Hot tub cover cleaning tips

Above is how I clean my hot tub cover with vinegar. But there’s more you should know too.

Will vinegar hurt my hot tub?

No! Once the solution has been rinsed away, any remaining vinegar will not harm your hot tub in any way. 

Still, you want to make sure and wait at least 24 hours before getting inside it after applying vinegar and water mixture directly onto the cover.

What kind of vinegar do you use to clean a hot tub?

Most vinegars are fine, but I would avoid anything with any coloring such as fruit or balsamic vinegar. They are too acidic and can also cause discoloration on surfaces after coming into contact with them.

Can I put baking soda in my hot tub?

It is best not to because the baking soda is said to cause damage to hot tubs. It can also lower the pH levels, making it unsafe for people sensitive to strong chemicals.

If someone has any cuts or scrapes, the baking soda will burn them once it meets their open wounds.

If you get dirt stuck onto your cover after this process, the baking soda will only make it worse because it creates an abrasive mixture on top of already dirty spots leaving them even more difficult to clean off.


Hot tubs are great for relaxation, fun, and saving money on health treatments. The water can have many benefits, but over time the cover will inevitably be covered in dirt. 

Just like cleaning your hot tub or jacuzzi, cleaning a hot tub cover is simple with vinegar! 

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