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Wondering what's the best hot tub aromatherapy? You're not alone. Who doesn't like the sound of kicking back in a bubbling spa, eyes closed, surrounded by aromas of lavender fields, pine forests, or lush tropical islands?
The good news is there are several ways you can add fragrance to your hot tub to make it smell better, mask any chemical odor, and enhance your experience. But you probably have three questions:
- Do spa scents work?
- Can they damage your hot tub?
- What do they actually smell like?
One spa-safe fragrance brand that's stood the test of time—they've been around since 1975—is InSPAration.
I've spent the past 3 years testing out their Liquid Aromatherapy range in my own spa, so here's my experience of the ones I've tried: what they smell like (I know, it's hard to research this online but I'll do my best to describe it), some personal favorites, and my tips for getting the most out of them.
The best way to try the whole InSPAration range
There are 34 InSPAration scents currently available:
Apple Delight, April Showers, Coconut Lime Verbena, Coconut Mango, Country Herbal, Cucumber Melon, Designer B, Designer One, Eucalyptus Mint, Fresh, Forest Breeze, Gardenia, Hawaiian Sunset, Heavenly Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Joy, Just Soft, Mangosteen and Goji, Musk Magic, Orangesicle, Passion, Peach, Pink Grapefruit, Polynesian Paradise, Pomegranate, Rain, Romance, Spaberry, Spring Bouquet, Tahitian Tropic, Tranquility, Tropical Island, Vanilla Twist & Watermelon
You can buy the individual scents in 9 fl. oz. bottles, but then you risk being stuck with a whole bottle of a scent you don't like. There's good news though: you can buy multipacks of individual sachets which let you sample many of the scents at once.
The best place to start is with the 50-Pack Assortment:
This way, you can try several different fragrances before buying bottles of only the ones you like.
Experiment with different amounts until you find the right level for you and your spa. Start small (you can always add more but can't take it out once it's in there) and then increase the number of capfuls if the fragrance isn't strong enough.
They also make a 12-Pack but I recommend the larger one—especially for bigger spas—because you might need to use more than one sachet to get the full aromatherapy effects (the larger pack comes with duplicates).
Do InSPAration hot tub fragrances work?
In short, yes! They add a nice scent to your spa (some are better than others, more on that later) and also contain vitamins and moisturizers, so they make your water silky smooth and your skin soft too.
However, be aware that they are water soluble, which means they don't last that long. 1-2 capfuls in my small 200 gallon spa was enough to last a couple hours, or around one session of using the spa.
While it does mean you'll need to add more every time, this actually turned out to be a good thing in my case. Why? Let me explain.
I like to be able to switch up the fragrance depending on my mood, the time of day, the weather...
For example, Hawaiian Sunset goes with a summer evening, but Forest Breeze is a much better match for a foggy Saturday morning here in San Francisco where I live. And sometimes I just prefer no fragrance at all.
It would actually be very inconvenient to add a particular scent, and then be stuck with it until the next water change.
Luckily, the short-term nature of these scents means I never have this problem. It also makes it very easy to try out several different ones until you find your favorites.
My overall favorite: Eucalyptus Mint
Of the InSPAration fragrances I've tried, the best so far is Eucalyptus Mint:
I don't really smell any mint in it, but it definitely has a eucalyptus fragrance, similar to breaking open a real eucalyptus leaf. Of course it's not an exact match for natural eucalyptus (it is a little perfume-y) but it's very close, and I really like the scent it adds to my backyard.
One extra benefit I've noticed is that it seems to help keep the mosquitos away from my tub (apparently they hate the scent of eucalyptus!).
Best for evening soaks & better sleep: Lavender
It's no secret that lavender is an excellent natural remedy to treat insomnia and improve sleep quality.
The InSPAration Lavender scent is very soothing. Not too strong, and again, not a perfect match for real lavender. But for a relaxing evening soak before bed that won't ruin your spa (you wouldn't want to put real lavender in it, obviously), this one is great:
Fragrances I did not enjoy
I was not a fan of all the fragrances, particularly the ones that are not named after actual scents. April Showers, Joy, and Romance all had a sort of generic perfume smell to them.
In future, I'll be sticking to the ones that are at least aiming to create a scent or atmosphere I recognize.
Do InSPAration fragrances ruin your hot tub?
InSPAration scents are formulated specifically for hot tubs, and claim not to foam, cloud, or affect the pH or other water chemistry.
I was concerned when I first read other reviews of them though, some of which claimed that they left a sticky residue in the spa pipework that was very difficult to remove.
Thankfully, this was not my experience. I have not noticed any negative effects on either my spa's water balance, or its interior from using these fragrances.
This is based on occasional usage of the fragrances, and adding just one sachet or 1-2 capfuls of liquid per session.
I can't say if using larger amounts would cause problems, but if spa owners are having issues with residue after using these, I would guess this is due to either much higher quantities of the fragrance, or that something else might be going on in the spa.
Can you put essential oils in a hot tub?
InSPAration scents are all oil free, so you shouldn't have any problems if you stick to these as your source of spa fragrance.