Could You Drink Hot Tub Water In an Emergency?

Jennifer Rhodes

By Jennifer Rhodes · Updated

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Hopefully, you never have to face this situation. But what happens when the water in your home stops working? What if you are unable to access water for any reason? Is it safe to drink your hot tub water?

Generally speaking, it can be safe to drink hot tub water in an emergency—but only if you take steps to purify it first.

Hot tub water is laden with chemicals to keep it sanitary for bathing. A couple of sips should do you absolutely no harm (it has to be safe to accidentally consume the odd splash of pool of spa water, after all) but if you consume a lot of these chemicals, then you may start to run into issues.

Let's take a closer look.

Why would you need to purify hot tub water before drinking it?

In order to keep your hot tub water clean, you need to add chemicals to the water. This means chlorine, water conditioner, etc. All of these should be fine to ingest in small quantities. The authorities wouldn't allow this type of stuff to be used as a hot tub chemical if it wasn't! However, as you start to ingest large quantities of these chemicals, it can make you sick.

This isn't the only thing that you need to worry about when it comes to hot tub water either. You have to remember that people have been bathing in that water. There will be skin cells, fecal matter (yes, even when somebody is clean!), and a whole host of other things that you probably don't want to be drinking. On top of this, there may be dead insects, leaves, or even bird droppings.

Yes, your sanitizer is going to be doing a pretty decent job of neutralizing most of this before it can breed bacteria. However, it is not necessarily designed to get rid of everything.

The main issue however, is chlorine, which is what most people use as a sanitizer. This is safe to consume in small quantities, but not at the levels required to keep a hot tub clean. This mean you would need to dechlorinate the water before consuming spa water.

If you have serious water supply issues, then let's take a look at how you might clean up that water.

How can you prepare hot tub water in an emergency?

Perhaps the quickest way to prepare hot tub water in an emergency is to boil it. This should boil away most of the chemicals—including chlorine. It should also kill any bacteria floating around in the water too. The water is going to retain a bit of a chemical taste to it, but it should be safer than before.

To be sure your water is dechlorinated, you can check it with some test strips:

FryOilSaver Chlorine Test Strips
FryOilSaver Chlorine Test Strips
View on Amazon

Alternatively, you can filter the water with activated charcoal:

2X Large Binchotan Charcoal from Kishu, Japan
2X Large Binchotan Charcoal from Kishu, Japan
View on Amazon

This should eliminate almost all of the chemicals, but the process can be incredibly slow.

Final word

While you can make hot tub water drinkable in a pinch, it is probably best avoided. There are chemicals and contaminants in hot tubs that you probably don't want to be ingesting in huge quantities, and it can be hard to get rid of them completely.

If you do need to drink hot tub water, be sure to purify it via boiling or using activated charcoal. Otherwise, try to look for a different water source as quickly as possible.

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