Why Can’t I Use Regular Salt in My Saltwater Spa?

Americans love salt. You’ll find it set up like a trophy in the center of every spice cabinet. You’ll see it at the table of every restaurant in the country. We grab that little salt shaker to enhance the flavor of our favorite meat and potatoes, our gorgeous veggies and even our decadently sweet baked goods. And French fries? Heavens—don’t even get us started on those salty little delights! Not only do we love salt in and on our food, we also grab salt by the bag for our slick steps and walkways when it snows, and for our in-home water softeners.

Salt is so inexpensive, and SO versatile, it’s really no surprise that Americans have also fallen in love with saltwater systems for their home spas. However, if salt truly is so versatile, why can’t you use any version of salt in your saltwater spa?

Salt to Avoid

We’ve got to tell you—all salt is not created equal. This is especially true when it comes to chemical compounds and how they work with your spa’s saltwater system. Let’s take a look at a few salt options you should avoid:

1)      Table Salt (sodium chloride): Table salt is by far one of the most common minerals in the world. Table salt, however, is NOT the salt for your spa. This is due to the fact that table salt is not always pure salt. Although it is 97% to 99% sodium chloride, other chemical compounds can be present in table salt. Whether the impurities come from the source of the salt or from additives included during the packaging process, table salt is not pure salt. Table salt also has micro-granules, which dissolve very quickly in water over 98 degrees. To avoid problems with chemical reactions and damage to your spa, please don’t bring the salt from your salt shaker into your hot tub.

2)      Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate): Epsom salt is a highly corrosive chemical. Although it’s nice to soak your feet in a bowl of steaming water and Epsom salts, you never would want this salt traveling through your hot tub pipes. Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, can build up in your spa’s plumbing and equipment, causing major, expensive damage. It may also cause a chemical reaction with other chemicals in your spa. In the end, it doesn’t even contain chloride, which is what is needed to produce pure chlorine as your spa sanitizer. Epsom salt will just make a huge, disastrous issue for you and your spa. A word to the wise: Steer clear from adding this to a saltwater spa, or any other spa for that matter!

3)      Rock Salt (raw, crystalline sodium chloride): Rock salt is the type of large-chunk salt that you use to spread on icy roads, slippery sidewalks, and slick steps. You can also use this large crystalline salt to pack in with ice around your homemade ice cream hand-cranked machine. Although this salt can make for steady feet and tasty treats, it is NOT the salt you want sitting in your hot tub.

Salt to Use

Using the correct salt for your saltwater spa will save you more headaches and repairs than you could imagine. Spa salt contains the perfect granule size, the perfect pure, uncontaminated quality, and the perfect chemical reaction to work with your spa’s saltwater system. A saltwater hot tub uses a salt cell. This reacts with the salt that you add to the water and produces pure chlorine. Saltwater systems make their own chlorine, which is natural and pure, with no binders or additives.

Overall, the benefits of a saltwater hot tub are many. From the luxurious feel of the water to the minimal amount of time spent on maintenance, many people feel like a saltwater hot tub is the best option for their spa needs. Now that you are equipped with more information on saltwater systems, the next step is finding the hot tub that is perfect for YOU. One of the best jobs at Backyard Oasis is pairing our favorite owners with their favorite spa.

As the premier authorized dealer of Hot Spring spas, we offer you a private, in-store test soak to try out the different models and options available to you. Call us at 936-327-2531 to schedule your private session. Whether it’s a saltwater spa or a traditional hot tub, we will walk you through each step of the decision process. We know your perfect hot tub match is waiting for you.