The age old hot tub debate: chlorine vs. bromine

We’ve become a bit spoiled at Oregon Hot Tub. We’re very fortunate that we have Hot Spring Spas, and have the ability to offer our customers more than one option to get them into virtually chlorine free water. The introduction of both SilkBalance and Hot Spring’s revolutionary ACE Salt Water System afford our customers two exciting options to sit in water that’s softer, easier, and more organic.

With that being said, we recognize there are still a lot of hot tub lovers out there who use traditional water care products to take care of their water. One question asked over and over again: Which is better—chlorine, or bromine? Our answer: chlorine.

Why? Well, it’s fairly common for a lot of hot tub companies to recommend and offer bromine to their customers. Typically bromine is offered up in the form of tablets to place in a bromine floater and leave bobbing up and down in your hot tub. This allows the tablets to dissolve and kill bacteria and deal with body oils and lotions bodies bring into the tub.

But—once the bromine has killed the bacteria, then what? It’s still being dissolved into the water. At this point, the bromine then looks for what it wants to eat next—is it your spa shell? Jet fittings? Your hot tub’s jet pumps or heater? The answer is: yes, yes & yes. Not only will bromine start breaking down these parts, it does so while at the same time working away at your pH levels. This in turn makes it harder for you to keep your water balanced.

The other downside to bromine in a floater: every time you get into the tub, you’re getting into a tub full of chemical! Not exactly terrific for your skin. Bromine also has a distinct odor of its own, which becomes more pungent once it’s knocked your pH levels out of whack.

We’re not saying you can’t use bromine. But, if bromine is your chosen sanitizer, at the very least purchase granular bromine. A teaspoon of bromine after each use with the jets running for 10-15 minutes allow it to kill what it should, and then dissipate so you’re not living with a lot of chemical in the body of water. Then you’re basically immersing in a big tub full of bathwater instead—much better for your tub and your body. The tub will also stay more pH neutral.

Also, while we’re on the subject, it should be noted that bromine is normally about 82% chlorine. Some customers tell us they use bromine because they’re allergic to chlorine, unaware that chlorine is the main ingredient in bromine!

We should dispel the myth that anyone is allergic to chlorine. Usually customers that soak in chlorinated water think the reason their skin is dry, itches, or their eyes burn when soaking is due to chlorine. Not so! Normally these conditions result from water that is under-sanitized, or the pH level is low, resulting in acidic water. This is what actually causes the irritation normally blamed on chlorine. Most health professionals will state unequivocally that very few humans are allergic to chlorine—we couldn’t even bathe or drink tap water if that was the case, as municipal systems contain chlorine.

Chlorine may be old school, but it is still absolutely one of the best sanitizers out there for hot water environments. It’s able to kill a wide range of bacteria, and does so in small amounts, keeping water crystal clear with very little effort. We prefer chlorine for “old school” water care—and it is compatible with our SilkBalance, which will help soften your skin while soaking.

Whew! Enough of that! Head out to your hot tub and take a soak!