Biofilm – What is it? You Don’t Want It In Your Spa!

by Tony Turbo.

If you are new to hot tubs & swim spas, you may have never heard of “biofilm”. Even if you have owned your spa for several years, you may have never heard the term. Why not?

You surely have heard of plaque – the stuff your dentist removes from your teeth once or twice a year. Dental plaque is a biofilm.  Probably not something you want to talk about. The same is true with spas. No one wants to talk about it. But biofilms are part of life – extremely common and something you need to deal with to be healthy.

Biofilms exist in your hot tub but, like dental plaque, as long as you take steps to remove it, your hot tub will remain a healthy place to relax, entertain, and enjoy.

What is Biofilm?

Basically, biofilm is a colony of microorganisms or microbes (notably bacteria). And much like any colony, working together, the microbes help protect, nourish, and replicate the colony. Also like any colony, they are started by just a few early residents, in this case, microbes. In the case of your spa, free-swimming bacteria will set up residence on the walls of the plumbing. Pretty quickly, they can have a thriving community.

You will recognize biofilms pretty much anywhere there is water by their characteristic “slimy” feel when you touch them. Take a look around your kitchen or bathroom drain.  You’ll find biofilm.

The slimy feel of biofilm is a mucous layer covering the biofilm colony. This mucous layer both protects and helps feed the underlying microbes.

Biofilm example

Biofilm & Spa Sanitizers

Once established, your ordinary sanitizers will have little affect on the biofilm. In fact, the sanitizer in your spa, be it chlorine, bromine, biguanide, or others, really only kill free-swimming pathogens.

You might think that your spa sanitizer will kill all of these free-swimming bacteria thus preventing biofilms. However, your sanitizer level will vary considerably, for many reasons, over the course of a month. Almost surely, there will be times, though perhaps brief, with your sanitizer level falls too low. Once this happens, bacteria will start developing biofilms which are now protected from your sanitizer by their mucous layer. These biofilms will now continue to grow until you purge your spa to remove them.

You Don’t Want Biofilm In Your Spa

In addition to just being gross, biofilm can cause problems for both you and your spa.

  • Though spa sanitizers will not kill (or remove) biofilm, biofilms will consume some of the sanitizer in your spa. Consequently, significant biofilm in your spa’s plumbing can make it difficult to maintain the proper sanitizer level.

This is one of several reasons you should use our Serum Total Maintenance on a weekly basis. It is the only EPA Registered back-up sanitizer available for your hot tub. When your primary sanitizer is deficient, Total Maintenance continues to keep your water pure & pristine.

  • Biofilms can also contain some dangerous, even deadly pathogens including, E-coli, Pseudomonas, and Legionella (Legionnaires’ disease).

Preventing Biofilm In Your Spa

This is why you must purge your spa at least annually! Only purging with Serum Total Cleanse truly cleans your spa! Unlike every other spa “purge”, Total Cleanse uses a two-step process to both remove the mucous layer protecting the microbes AND kill the, now exposed, microbes. Most competing purges don’t do either of these.

  • Use Total Cleanse to purge your spa’s plumbing of biofilm and other contaminants
  • Use Total Maintenance to continue to prevent biofilm from forming in your spa’s plumbing & filters.

Thanks for reading,

Tony Turbo

Thanks for reading,
Tony Turbo

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