Tips to keep your hot tub surroundings slip-free during the winter

December 18, 2022

December 18th, 2022 – I recently learned a very important lesson on hot tubbing in the winter: DON’T FALL!

My hot tub is on my rooftop deck. It’s a lovely way to end the day! I head up there about an hour and a half before I plan to go to bed. It’s one of the best sleep aids you can have.

A couple of days before Thanksgiving, it had rained non-stop after being pretty dry for a number of weeks. The rain had stopped, and it was time for me to take a soak. Soooo…up to the deck I went. I had a truly terrific soak in the tub, turned on the clean cycle, and returned the cover to the tub. 

What I didn’t realize: The dry weather we had prior to that very wet day had allowed a bit of pollen to gather and a bit of algae to start taking hold on the steps. Well…I slipped on that top step and took a very bumpy nasty painful ride down nine wooden stairs. The litany of expletives that were coming out of me…well, it’s no wonder my cat didn’t try to call 911.

Three hours in the emergency room revealed that, thankfully, I had not broken any bones. I also was lucky enough to not hit my head. Nevertheless, my entire left arm was bruised and swollen like nothing I’d ever seen. I also had a serious large bruise on my left thigh and my left ankle. Nearly a month later and things are still on the mend!

Obviously, this tumble could have been avoided. It put me on the path of thinking of the things we all could do to make sure the deck, stairs, and pathway to our hot tubs are safe and slip free during the fall and winter. Here are some things to consider doing to make sure your hot tub soaks are accident free.

  • Be sure your deck and stairs are thoroughly cleaned prior to fall. If you do have any algae present, a stiff putty knife will aid you in scraping any buildup away. Once you’ve done that, you can use steel wool to scrub the steps with mild soap and warm water, rinsing it well when finished. If you choose to use any bleach, make sure it’s oxygen bleach. Because it’s nontoxic, it will not remove any color from the wood.
  • Once you do the necessary cleaning, a synthetic resin deck product can be used to seal the stairs.
  • If your stairs or deck get slick when it’s cold and frosty, you can employ the use of an anti-slip product like Safe Paw instead of salt. Salt can obviously do damage to wood or the finish that you’d want to avoid. You can use the nontoxic product on stairs, brick, deck, and stone. And it’s clearly safe for pets too! It serves as an ice melter and prevents ice and frost from sticking too for up to three days. If you know a storm is on the horizon, it’s smart to use some ahead of time.
  • It should be obvious to use handrails when using stairs, but when you’re so used to your environment, you think you don’t need to. I’m here to tell you that’s a mistake! 
  • AND—also important to make sure you have good lighting at night so you can see where you’re going.

Hot tubs are terrific! Falls are not! I hope you’ll all get out there and enjoy your tub on these crisp winter nights. It’s really great. Just be sure you take the proper precautions to make the area to and from your tub safe.