What Happens if You Spill a Drink in a Hot Tub?

Soaking in a hot tub is incredibly gratifying and with good reason. Research shows that a dip in the tub can promote feelings of relaxation, combat stress, and even help cure or manage some ailments. Therefore, it is no wonder some of us consider adding to that experience by sipping our favorite drinks in the tub. However, if you spill a drink in a hot tub you could have a real problem.

If you spill a drink in a hot tub, it will cause a chemical imbalance in the water. When this happens, you must treat the water by rebalancing the chemical levels to make the conditions ideal again. In extreme cases, you might have to drain the tub.

Read on to learn more about what happens if you spill a drink in a hot tub. This post will also cover the best practices to lengthen your hot tub’s lifespan. 

Couple with coconut drink relaxing in hot tub.

Why Is Spilling a Drink in a Hot Tub Such a Big Deal?

Hot tub water needs to be sanitized with appropriate chemicals (chlorine and bromine) to ensure the safety of its occupants. This is because the ideal temperature of tub water– 77°F to 104°F (25°C to 40°C) –also happens to be the optimal temperature for the growth of disease-causing bacteria. These chemicals need to be maintained at certain levels to ensure their effectiveness.

As mentioned, spilling a drink inside the tub can mess up the bromine and chlorine levels, resulting in an environment conducive to algae and bacteria growth. If left unchecked, the water will turn cloudy or green in a few days, posing a major health risk for anyone who decides to take a dip inside the tub.

What Should I Do After Spilling a Drink in a Hot Tub?

After a spill, the first thing to consider is the type and amount of drink that has spilled into the water. A small amount of beer, wine, spirit, or liquor should not be cause for alarm, as it can be neutralized by rebalancing the chemical levels by applying a sanitizer. However, large spills and fruity drinks might necessitate a spa shock.

Applying a Sanitizer 

This will involve the application of bromine, chlorine, or a mineral sanitizer. However, you’ll first need to measure their levels using a test strip to help you accurately determine how much of the chemicals you need to pour into the tub to achieve the ideal balance. You’ll also have to measure and correct the tub’s pH before applying the chemicals –more on this later.

The ideal range of bromine levels in a hot tub is between 3 and 5 parts per million (ppm), whereas that of chlorine is 1.5 to 3 ppm. Therefore, as long as your test strip indicates that your chemicals are between those ranges, your tub should be safe for dipping.

As mentioned, you must test the tub’s pH first before attempting to balance the chemical levels. This is because the drink’s contents might also alter the water’s pH. Ensuring the tub’s pH is well-balanced is critical since an improper pH can reduce the effectiveness of the sanitizers.

The ideal hot tub pH is 7.8. Fortunately, the spa test strips used to measure bromine and chlorine levels can also measure pH. Once you have established the water’s pH, use a pH increaser or decreaser accordingly to bring it back to the optimum level before applying a sanitizer.

Performing a Spa Shock

A spa shock allows you to break down any organic matter inside the tub as quickly as possible. This is why I recommend performing a spa shock for accidents involving fruity drinks, as it will allow you to break down the sugars in the drink. Remember, sugars encourage bacteria growth since bacteria feed on them.

A spa shock treatment can be either chlorine-free or chlorine-based. Chlorine-free spa shocks work by oxidizing the water to break down organic material. Some users prefer them because they don’t have any odor. Chlorine-based spa shocks oxidize and sanitize the water to ensure proper conditions in the tub.

As such, the main difference between chlorine-free and chlorine-based spa shocks is that the latter sanitizes the water while the former doesn’t.

Therefore, consider performing a spa shock after a spill to rebalance the tub’s chemical levels. 

Should I Drain My Hot Tub After I Spill A Drink?

Draining your hot tub after spilling one drink inside would be overkill. It is akin to using a flamethrower to kill a cockroach; it is effective but excessive. 

Consider draining your tub only for the following reasons:

  • The glass bottle or wine glass shattered, and the pieces are inside the tub
  • The amount of contaminants (food and drink) is a lot
  • It is time for your quarterly tub drain

Pieces of glass are practically invisible inside a hot tub. Therefore, to prevent injury, evacuate immediately and drain the tub. If the accident involved lots of food and drink, you might have to empty the tub and start afresh. Keep in mind, it is recommended that you drain your hot tub every three months to maintain proper hygiene.

Reasons NOT To Drink and Tub

While drinking in a hot tub might sound and even feel heavenly, it isn’t the healthiest activity. A soak inside the tub is so relaxing because the heat expands the blood vessels, promoting optimal circulation of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

Alcohol also works to relax you. As you can imagine, combining the two can get you relaxed to the point of passing out inside the tub and drowning. 

Other reasons why you shouldn’t drink inside a hot tub include the increased risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion, not to mention incidents resulting from lowered inhibitions.

If you’re hosting a party, there are many great ways to keep your pool guests entertained and avoid bringing drinks into the hot tub. Learn all about them in my comprehensive guide.

Cocktails near the swimming pool


Spilled drinks are a common occurrence in hot tubs everywhere. In most cases, performing a spa shock and balancing the chemical levels should be more than enough to remedy the situation. 

However, you can avoid this hassle altogether by having a “No Drinks” policy in your hot tub. This will help prevent such accidents, in addition to avoiding the dangers of drinking in a tub.