Can You Drink Hot Tub Water in an Emergency? 

Hot tubs are a ton of fun to splash around and relax in no matter what time of year it is. However, during an extreme emergency when the power is out or the city water pipes are down, it’s extremely tempting to drink hot tub water, especially if you don’t have an alternative nearby. But will it be safe?

While drinking hot tub water might be tempting, you should only do it in tiny doses, if at all. Modern hot tubs purify their water with either salt or chlorine, which are deadly in high amounts. The only way to safely drink your hot tub water is to purify it first and make it potable. 

In this article, we’ll look at the dangers of drinking hot tub water and the effect it has on your body. We’ll also walk you through what steps you should take in order to purify hot tub water and make it drinkable. 

Why It Might be Necessary to Drink Hot Tub Water 

First of all, there should be very few, if any, reasons that it’s ever necessary to drink hot tub water. The only reason that it should ever be necessary is in extreme cases when you don’t have any water in your home and have no way of accessing any. 

During a power outage where your well pump doesn’t work, you won’t be able to pump water from your well into your home. People reliant on their wells for water often don’t stock extra water and keep it in reserve. If this happens in conjunction with conditions where grocery stores are closed or inaccessible, you may have to resort to extreme measures to stay hydrated. 

If you happen to have a hot tub and there’s simply no other way to get water, there are steps you have to take to make the water drinkable. Hot tub water, without being purified, is deadly in large doses. 

The Risks of Drinking Hot Tub Water 

The first thing that you need to worry about with hot tub water is chlorine. Chlorine is a purifying agent added to pools and hot tubs to clean the water. Chlorine is even added to city water that comes in through your tap in order to make it drinkable and clean. However, the amount of chlorine in this water is microscopic compared to the chlorine content of pools and hot tubs. 

Ultimately, large doses of hot tub water containing chlorine will cause your digestive system to block up. Eventually, your digestive tract won’t process nutrients and foods, and your body will start to shut down. The same applies to saltwater hot tubs because salt will do similar things to your body. Saltwater is also deadly in large or prolonged dosages. 

Salt and chlorine aren’t the only things you have to worry about with hot tub water. There are plenty of other chemicals and pollutants present in the water that make it unsafe. 


Ammonia isn’t always present in hot tubs, but there are ways for it to sneak in. If fertilizer or organic materials are spread around or near your hot tub, they contain trace amounts of ammonia, some of which could end up in your hot tub. 


Bromide is a cleaning agent that’s sometimes used in conjunction or in place of chlorine. While it’s highly effective at killing bacteria and purifying your hot tub water, it’s also dangerous when consumed. 

Cyanuric Acid 

Cyanuric acid is added to hot tubs containing chlorine in order to help the chlorine last longer. Adding cyanuric acid means you don’t have to add chlorine as often, but both ingredients are dangerous when ingested. 

Pollutants and debris 

Aside from the things that you purposely add to your hot tub, there are always going to be accidental additions. Dirt, pollen, bacteria, and other forms of debris inevitably end up getting dragged in from the outside and polluting your hot tub. Chlorine and other cleaning agents help reduce this risk, but they don’t completely prevent it. 

How to Make Hot Tub Water Drinkable 

Let’s say that you find yourself in a worst-case scenario where you have no power, drinkable water, or way to access drinkable water. The only moisture at your disposal is your hot tub, but you know it’s dangerous to drink the water without first purifying it. Here’s what you need to do in order to stay safe and hydrated. 

  1. Remove water from your hot tub and place it into a holding container. 
  2. Run the water through a filter to remove any large debris or particles. You can also use a charcoal filter if you have one on hand. You can also use a clean furnace filter or a strainer, but these options aren’t as effective as charcoal filters. 
  3. With the big junk removed, boil the water for at least one full minute. Boiling will remove salt or chlorine and is the best way to purify hot tub water. You can boil water over a gas stove, campfire, or any other heat source when your electricity isn’t working. 

If you happen to have access to distilling equipment, you can also purify hot tub water by distilling it. Distilling is more effective than boiling, but it also requires more equipment and takes longer. 

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