How To Keep Ice Bath Water Clean (Ice Bath Maintenance 101)

Imagine one morning, you’re sitting alone in an ice bath and smelling something funny, wondering if it was you or…it can’t be!

You see, ice bath water can smell if you don’t clean it. It can also cause some skin infections, and, as we just saw, make you go crazy.

So, what is the best way to keep ice bath water clean? Is it with a water chiller? Yes! Is it by changing water now and then? Also Yes. 

Key Takeaways

  • Get a water chiller that filters your water. It also keeps it cold.
  • Clean and filter the water with hydrogen peroxide (You can also add Epsom salt).
  • Change the water once every 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Deep clean your tub whenever you’re changing the water.
  • Protect the tub from debris with a lid or a cover.
  • Preventive methods can go a long way in keeping your ice bath water clean.
  • Tips on how to unfreeze the ice bath water if you’re from a cold area ūü•∂

How To Keep Ice Bath Water Clean?

Before I give you the ultimate revelations (it’s not that surprising…you’ll see), let me clarify why it’s important to clean your ice bath water, just like it is to clean a sauna.

I have read multiple studies on the matter, and out of all the research and findings, none talks about the effect of clean water on health or the ice bath experience…

To clear any false information, cleaner ice bath water does not enhance your experience…It also does not lead to major health issues.

reasons why dirty ice baths are not good

However, it is still important to clean for the sake of hygiene and common sense, especially in cold water therapy. We still need to live cleanly…

Here’s what might happen if you don’t maintain a clean and well-maintained cold plunge.

  • Skin Irritations and Infections
  • It will stink
  • If bacteria are numerous, and you dip your head in the water, you might get sick

Now that we got all the misinformation out of the way, let’s see how to clean your water.

1. Use A Water Chiller

If you read the blog, then you know I am a big fan of water chillers. It’s a machine that keeps your water cold, at your desired temperature…

And most ice bath chillers have pumps and filters…which keep your water clean for a long time.

The hygienic benefit of a water chiller is that you can wait longer times before changing the water.

2. Clean The Water With Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizer and bleaching agent. It’s also known for cleaning and clearing water…in other words, it’s disinfecting the water.

You can safely add some to your tub to keep your ice bath water looking clean and hygienic. 

Concerning that, here’s what ice bath expert David Maus Jr. recommends:

  1. A quarter of a bottle every 2 to 4 weeks
  2. Add the hydrogen peroxide whenever you change the water
  3. If multiple people are using the ice bath, then adding a small amount is good

There’s no problem dumping your head in the water with hydrogen peroxide…after all, it’s used to clean for human use. I simply recommend showering after.

3. Change The Water

The best way to keep your ice bath clean is to get rid of dirty water regularly. 

It is strongly recommended to change your water every 2 weeks, or if you’re using a water chiller or filter, for up to a month.

However, when you decide to empty your ice bath, don’t forget to clean the tub, which is my next point…

4. Well…Deep Clean It

Whenever there’s a water change, it is recommended to clean the tub itself.

Deep cleaning a tub is simple. Here are the steps to take:

1. Hose down (or pressure wash) the empty tub to keep your cold plunge clean.

2. Use cleaning soap and a washcloth to soap your tub

3. Rinse the tub until all the soap is gone and it looks and smells like wellness heaven

The soap you can use:

5. Protect The Tub With A Lid

The biggest threat to water quality in a cold plunge is the dirt and random stuff that land and accumulate in the water. 

This can be resolved by adding an ice bath cover on top of your tub to block any debris from getting in.

Now, most ice bathtubs have lids that come with them. If you have a DIY tub for cold water therapy, you can get pre-made lids like this one.

Note: If you plan on getting a cover or lid, I suggest going with an insulated cover. It’s a cover that tightly closes your tub so that the water temperature stays the same. It also, naturally, keeps your water clean.

My Maintenance Tips: Cold Plunge Maintenance 101

how to keep ice bath water clean

Now that we have seen how to keep ice bath water clean, let’s see some tips to prevent water from getting dirty, AKA preventive methods:

  • Make yourself and anyone who uses the cold plunge shower or rinse before entering. This goes a long way by removing dirt and bacteria, just like in the sauna.
  • It is reported that salts tend to keep the water clean. Adding Epsom salt could be a good idea, especially since Epsom salts are great for recovery, and they can help with another water problem we will see later.
  • Get yourself a water filter to continuously keep your tub and water clean.¬†However, if you plan on spending on an electrical filter, then I suggest getting a water chiller with a built-in filter. That way, you solved two (even more) problems at once.
  • Use a net, like the one used for swimming pools, but on a smaller scale. This is a great way to keep the debris out of your tub. Or, as mentioned before, you can add a lid or cover to your ice bath.

How To Keep Ice Bath Water From Freezing?

If you live in an area with cold temperatures, especially in winter, your ice bath water will need far more maintenance than cleaning and maintenance…

You will have to deal with freezing water, an annoying problem if you ask me.

how to keep water from freezing in an ice bath
How to keep water from freezing in an ice bath

Here’s how you solve that problem:

  • Break the ice safely. I use a hammer, but anything works. Just be safe.
  • Add salt…Epsom Salts. It is known that salts lower the freezing temperature, and since Epsom salt is safe in an ice bath, that wouldn’t be a bad idea.
  • For heavy-duty defrosting, get yourself a stock tank de-icer. It’s a unit that you sink in the bottom of the water and it heats your water (weird right? considering it’s a cold bath) electrically.
  • That damn water chiller. By now you’re very familiar with a water chiller. Since you can control the water temperature, then you can prevent the water from freezing and keep cold.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you keep ice water clean?

To keep your ice bath clean, it is important to regularly change the water and ensure the water quality is maintained. You can use hydrogen peroxide or other cleaning solutions to clean and maintain your ice bath regularly.

What are some maintenance tips for keeping the water clean in an ice bath?

For ice bath maintenance and to keep ice bath water clean, you can follow some maintenance tips such as using an ice bath filter, cleaning your ice bath before getting in, and ensuring clean water at least every time you use it.

What can I put in my ice bath to keep it clean?

You can put hydrogen peroxide to disinfect and clean the water. It is also a common practice to add Epsom salts since it helps with ridding bacteria.

How long can you keep the same water in an ice bath?

It is recommended to change the water once every 2 to 4 weeks, depending on how many people use it, if you have a filter or water chiller. You can also change it whenever you see it’s dirty.

Why is it important to keep your ice bath water clean?

It is important to keep your ice bath water clean to maintain water quality and to ensure clean and hygienic practices. It also prevents from smelling and developing skin irritations.

It does not, contrary to many sources on the internet, enhance the benefits or experiences of an ice bath.

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