how to keep ice bath clean

How to keep ice bath clean: The ultimate guide

So you’ve got your ice bath and love using it regularly to experience all the benefits cold water therapy can bring. Now comes the problem of figuring out how to keep your ice bath clean to maximize your enjoyment of it.

This article will go over why a clean ice bath is important, and all the various considerations to promote cleanliness in your ice bath. From simple pre-plunge tips to ozone generators. We give you all the information so you can make the best-informed decision on what would work best for you.

Importance of a clean ice bath

Neglecting a proper cleaning and maintenance routine for your ice bath can lead to several issues. These include:

  • More frequent water changes, taking up extra time.
  • The need for deeper cleaning each time the water is changed.
  • A rise in contaminants and bacteria.
  • A higher chance of infections and skin irritations.
  • Unwanted odors

Therefore, maintaining the cleanliness of our equipment and implementing strategies to ensure a clean environment is crucial. Doing so not only reduces concerns about contaminants and cleaning time but also helps in slowing down the corrosion of the ice bath.

How to keep your ice bath clean

We’ve presented below a wide range of information to help keep your ice bath clean. Some approaches may be more suitable than others depending on your set-up. Let’s dive right into some of the practices and products that help prevent a nasty build-up of bacteria in your beloved ice bath.

Water pump with filtration

Water pumps with filters are a great way to keep your ice bath water clean. The water circulation that pumps provide, prevent bacteria growing that would otherwise happen in stagnant water.

A lovely side effect of having a water pump is that it makes the water feel colder. This is due to the water flow breaking up the thermal layer your body creates, leading to potentially a greater metabolic effect.

If you’re lucky enough to have a built-in pump and filter in your ice bath then you don’t need to worry. Typically ice baths with these built-in cost in the thousands, but you can actually retro-fit your own. I’ve written a guide that goes further into water pumps and particular products.

Pre-plunge shower

The fewer bacteria in your ice bath the better. So keep yourself clean before you get in, typically this will mean having a quick rinse beforehand in the shower. Doing so will wash away bacteria and dirt from your body and preventing it being spread in the ice bath.

Also be mindful of debris getting in from places such as the bottom of your feet. Some people recommend having mats around your ice bath is wearing shoes before you get in.

Bromine treatment

Bromine is an oxidizing and sanitizing agent that helps kill off algae. Some people use chlorine, but I believe bromine is better. I’ve said why in detail here. Essentially though, bromine is;s

  • Less irritant on skin and eyes
  • Lasts longer between changing
  • Less chemical smelling

One tablet should last around a month in a floating dispenser, simply leave the tablet in there and let it do it’s thing. This is an incredibly low-effort and low-cost way to prolong the cleanliness of your ice bath water.

Keep your lid on

Keeping a lid on your ice bath is an effective way to keep unwanted debris out. From fallen branches, leaves or random bugs, we do not want these things in the ice bath. This organic matter will break down and shorten the time our water will stay clean for.

If you still struggle with keeping things out of your ice bath even with a lid, then you might want a skimmer. This simple net will effectively remove unwanted debris or bugs from your ice bath for very little cost.

Out with the old, in with the new

Of course, we’d like to prolong the water for as long as we can between changes. But if your water is already looking visibly dirty, please change it. Otherwise, it will just get rapidly worse.

One key thing I like to do during water changes is a deep clean. This only takes 15 minutes but helps prolong the life of your water as most of the existing bacteria are scrubbed and washed away.

All you need is a cleaning solution like bleach spray or washing up liquid, and something to scrub with. A stiff brush is effective in removing stubborn marks, just make sure to rinse all the dirty water out. A proper deep clean will let you start re-filling your ice bath with minimal bacteria, prolonging the life of that water.

UV Filters

UV filters are simply filters with ultraviolet light. The UV light helps sterilize the water as it passes through, removing algae and bacteria.

Some fancy ice baths come pre-built with UV filters, but no worries if yours doesn’t. These filters are fairly inexpensive but worth while as they are effective at keeping an ice bath clean.

The post below contains varying ranges of UV filter products depending on your setup.

What on earth is Ozone?

Ozone might sound a bit strange if you don’t know what it is, so let me break it down. Ozone is a gas that is naturally occurring in our atmosphere and is made up of three oxygen molecules (O3).

The reason ozone is even in this post is because it’s a powerful natural oxidizer, so applying this to water reduces the level of contaminants.

Ozone can be applied to our ice baths through an ozone generator. These generators only need to run for about half an hour each day. If you start to smell ozone in the air (chlorine bleach type smell) then switch it off, as this signifies the ozone has done everything it can.

To use an ozone generator to clean your ice bath, simply switch your generator on and run it for about 30 minutes each day. The beauty of ozone is that it gets to work extremely quickly. The oxidization process can be completed in a short time, so it does not need to be left on all the time.


You’ll notice in summer that the water in your ice bath doesn’t last as long as it does during the colder months. This is due to a combination of things, including, reduced microorganism activity, slower chemical reactions, decreased evaporation, and higher oxygen solubility.

Some people like to keep their ice baths indoor in summer months as direct sunlight can result in the water quality deteroiate quicker. But typically, in warmer weather you can expect to clean your ice bath more often.

Keeping your ice bath clean

This post has gone through quite a range of considerations for keeping your ice bath clean. The important easy takeaways are to be mindful of how clean you are before you get in, keeping debris out, and deep cleaning during water changes.

It can also be extremely effective to use products such as bromine, water pumps, UV filters, and ozone generators to keep bacteria at bay. Utilising all these products could be considered overkill, but with a decent set-up and routine your ice bath can last for months between water changes. Not to mention a much more enjoyable experience not worrying whether your water is clean or not.





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