Short answer – yes whirlpool tubs are clean
Newly designed whirlpools are created to be full draining. No water sits in the pipes.
When whirlpool systems were first created they used flexible piping. Over time these pipes would bow down due to the weight of the hot water running through them. Water would not drain out properly allowing bacteria to grow in the sitting water. The next time the whirlpool would be turned on this black crud would come out. Very yucky.
Today’s whirlpools are designed differently.
Some manufactures use rigid piping, gravity fed for self-draining. Others use flexible piping, but it is tied to the tub and arched between each jet. No water can sit on a curve of these arches.
Ozone is a natural and effective water purification system. Ozone gas is created with the help of electricity from the oxygen in the air. The system is automatic; as long as the whirlpool motor is running ozone is being pumped into the water. When the ozone is done purifying the water it is released into the air as pure oxygen. The ozone system will operate maintenance free for 9,000 one-hour bathing sessions. It is a great system, but there are questions on how effective it is with body oils that can coat pipes.
Cleaning Whirlpool Systems
Over time oils from your body or soaps can coat the whirlpool piping. This coating can lead to bacteria, but can be cleaned with the use of low sudsing soap (Soap that you use in automatic dishwashers or in high efficiency clothes washers). Fill the tub above the jets; add a couple tablespoons of low sudsing soap, run the bath, and then drain.
MTI takes Cleaning the Whirlpool System a Step Further.
MTI’s self-cleaning whirlpool systems allow properties to guarantee their guests a safe, clean bath. Both Fill-Flush® or Simple Touch® systems are designed to maintain clean and hygienic whirlpool baths. Both systems clean the internal whirlpool plumbing system in less than 5 minutes and with less than 10 gallons of water. The two patented cleaning systems offered exclusively by MTI circulate cleaning solution and fresh water through the internal plumbing system, including the water and air lines, point-massage jets and pump.
Air Tubs are Cleaner than Whirlpools, Right?
Not necessarily. There are two styles of air baths – channel or injector. With a channel system air blows into the channel then through the air holes into the bath. Water can get into the channel. With the injector system each air hole has a check valve. Air can go through the air holes into the tub, but water cannot get into the air hoses. Both systems have a purge cycle. About 20 minutes after the air bath is turned off it turns itself back on and blows more air to dry any sitting water. Just like in a whirlpool, oils can get into the system and will not necessarily be blown out. Channel systems need to be cleaned once in a while with low sudsing soap as described with the whirlpool above.
Which is Best Air or Whirlpool?
Manufactures are creating the cleanest tubs possible. With a little help from you and low sudsing soap, both whirlpools and air tubs are clean systems. The best way to choose which is best for you is by the massage generated. Whirlpools give a deep tissue massage, Air Baths create a vigorous skin caress. For more information see: Whirlpool, Air Bath or Soaker?