There's an ugly side to whirlpool baths. Aside from getting your hair caught in a suction fitting, and possibly drowning; failure to follow proper maintenance procedures for a whirlpool bath's circulation system can result in the growth and transmission of infectious bacteria.
Bath residue contains soapscum, dirt, body secretions, skin cells, and bath oils. With each use of a whirlpool bath, these organic materials combine with mineral deposits from water and form scale deposits. The warm, dark and humid environment of a whirlpool system provides ideal conditions for the growth of microorganisms that can cause many different ailments... vaginal, kidney, bladder, skin, eye and lung infections, just to name a few.
Scientific testing has proven that household products such as bleach, vinegar, baking soda, and automatic dishwasher detergent are ineffective for the purpose of cleaning bath residue and scale deposits from whirlpool bath circulation systems.
Flush your whirlpool monthly with a cleaning solution specifically formulated to remove bath residue, and have the circulation system professionally cleaned at least once a year. A used whirlpool bath should be professionally cleaned before use, because there's no inspection method available to ensure that the system was previously maintained.
Gil Strachan is a professional home inspector, representing Electrospec Home Inspection Services in east-central Ontario since 1994.