Spa Chemicals: Chlorine Vs. Bromine


Unless you enjoy sitting in hot tubs full of viruses and bacteria, you’ll want to purchase plenty of sanitizers and other spa chemicals and begin treating your tub. When it comes to sanitizing chemicals, you have two main options: chlorine and bromine. But which should you choose? Though some people strongly prefer one or the other, neither chlorine nor bromine is necessarily “better”; they’ll both keep your spa water clean and safe. You just need to find the chemical that’s easiest for you to manage.

Chlorine is a common water sanitizer used in drinking water, disinfectants, and swimming pools, and can be purchased in tablets or granules. Chlorine will keep your water very clean and clear, and tends to clean water more quickly. If you notice algae, cloudy water, or other filth in your tub, a quick dose of chlorine can often clear up the problem. Finally, you won’t need to adjust the pH of your tub as much when using chlorine.

However, chlorine does not remain effective for long in hot water, meaning you’ll have to add chlorine to your tub several times per week. Sunlight also makes chlorine less effective, so it may not be best for an outdoor spa, especially one without a cover. Chlorine leaves behind compounds called chloramines, which make the chlorine less effective, can irritate sensitive skin, and produce the “chlorine smell” many people notice around swimming pools. You’ll have to use plenty of non-chlorine shock to get rid of the chloramines.

Bromine takes a longer time to work than chlorine, but it has other advantages. It is sold in tablets and dispensed into the water using a floating feeder or box. Bromine does contain chlorine, so don’t use bromine if you want to keep your spa completely chlorine-free. Though you’ll need to establish a reserve of bromine in the water before it becomes effective, bromine is more suited to a hot environment and will remain effective longer than chlorine.

Instead of chloramines, bromine leaves behind compounds called bromamines. Bromamines do not reduce bromine’s effectiveness, do not irritate skin or eyes, and do not smell as strongly as chloramines, though the odor of bromamines is harder to wash off. Unfortunately, bromine has a low pH level, so you’ll need to carefully monitor your tub’s pH while using bromine. Also, since it’s more suited to hot tubs, bromine is usually more expensive than chlorine.

Of course, you don’t have to marry yourself to one chemical right away. You can switch from using chlorine to bromine and vice versa. However, be sure to change your tub’s water and chemical feeders when switching sanitizers.

Sanatizing chemicals are a matter of personal preference and you may still be wondering which you should use. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about chlorine, bromine, or any other chemicals.

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