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How To Keep Ice Bath Water Clean: 4 Maintenance Tips

If you’re wondering how to keep ice bath water clean, you’re not alone. An ice bath can be a great experience – it’s refreshing and has quite a few health benefits. But what if the water isn’t quite clean? Does it affect the benefits?

Well, if you’re lucky, bathing in dirty ice water will just be unpleasant. If you’re unlucky, you’ll end up with a bacterial infection, irritated skin, or in extreme cases, an actual waterborne disease. So, you see, you really want to keep that water clean by any means necessary. It’s a chore and you’d rather be doing something else, but you absolutely should not skip the cleaning process.

Let’s jump right in and see how to keep that icy goodness fresh and clean.

How to keep ice bath water clean? To keep the water clean, change it regularly, use a water filtration system, add pool-grade disinfectants, maintain a balanced pH level, and ensure proper hygiene before you get into the bath.

how to keep ice bath water clean

The Importance of Water Treatment in Ice Bath

Imagine this: you’ve finished an intense workout a few hours ago and you’re excited to get in your ice bath because you know your muscles will love you for it. Sure, it’s cold, and it’s not the most relaxing experience, but it’s good for you, and you can see the benefits from it. But wait… Your bath water isn’t completely clear, and it… stinks? Does the stink come from that weird stuff floating on the surface, or does it come from just everything?

Not a pretty picture, right? What you’ve imagined right here is the reason why you need cold plunge maintenance. If you don’t clean the water regularly, the fact that dirty water is disgusting will be the least of your problems. Filthy water has impurities, bacteria, and minerals that can compromise the effects of cold therapy, and they can also irritate your skin and carry diseases. 

Purified, properly treated water will make your ice bath clean, fresh, crisp, and it will prevent potential skin irritations and infections. 

How Often Should You Clean the Ice Bath Water?

The best advice – do it often/regulary. The frequency depends on a lot of different factors, like the number of people that were in the bath, environmental conditions if you’re using it outside, etc., but there’s no such thing as changing or cleaning your ice bath water too frequently. 

athlete after taking ice bath

If the water is clean and there’s no cloudiness or smell, you’re good to go. If you don’t have a filtering system built in and you’re the only person using it, you probably can get away with 2 to 3 uses before the water needs to be cleaned, even if it looks impeccable. However, if you’ve shared the bath with anyone else, no filter, no water treatment, then you need to clean it after every use to maintain good hygiene. 

Tips on How to Keep Your Water Clean for Longer

There are a few things that can make your life easier and your water cleaner, like taking a shower and making sure you keep your feet clean before getting in the tub. Feet often have more germs and bacteria than other parts of your body, especially if you walk barefoot. You can also add essential oils to your bath, like tea tree or eucalyptus. Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties and can keep the water fresh for longer. 
Another good tip for keeping cold plunge clean is to expose your bath water to UV light. It has natural sterilizing effects that can prevent bacteria and algae buildup.

How to Clean and Maintain Ice Bath?

You might be wondering on how to keep cold plunge water clean. Well, keeping the water clean is not complicated. And we’ll go through the steps that will help you achieve just  that. 

Ice bath water maintenance is something that needs to be done on a regular basis, so you can’t skip it even if you don’t feel like doing it.

1. Water Filtration Process

A consistent water filtration system will make sure the water stays pure and suitable for use. Commercial-grade water filters designed for spa and pool use are a good option because they’re made to handle large volumes of water and effectively remove bacteria, impurities, and contaminants. You can find ice baths with water filters built in, or even add one to your existing barrel. 

2. Water Purifying Capsules

These capsules are compact, practical, and don’t necessarily have harmful byproducts. They absorb impurities, neutralize contaminants, and keep your water fresh and clean. They use specific materials or agents (activated carbon is very popular for water purifying) to attract and trap particles, odors, and microorganisms in the water.

diving into ice bath

3. Pool-Grade Disinfectants

Don’t worry; you won’t smell like a public pool after your ice bath because you want a pool-grade disinfectant without chlorine. A pool-grade disinfectant is serious stuff, and it will eliminate all bacteria that crosses its way. If you stick to the dosage and application guidelines, you’ll have clear, disinfected water whose quality won’t be compromised. 

4. Maintain a Balanced pH Level

Disinfectants’ efficacy is closely tied to the water’s pH level, so you need to maintain it. A balanced pH will also help prevent the formation of scale deposits on surfaces, like the walls or plumbing. PH testing strips or kits will show you the current pH of your water (ideally, it should be between 7.2 and 7.8), and adding pH stabilizers will keep the pH at the perfect level. 

Ice Barrel Maintenance Kit We Recommend

Maintenance Kit

Maintenance Kit Ice barrel
  • Silicone Cleaning Brush: 1
  • Stainless Steel Mesh Net: 1
  • Bottle of Cleaning Soap: 1-16oz
  • Bag of Eucalyptus Epsom Salt: 1-6lb
  • Shatter-resistant Thermometer: 1
  • Bottle of Water Stabilizer: 1-8oz

As far as maintenance kits go, the one from Ice Barrel is superb. Since their ice barrels are so high-quality, it makes sense that they would make an excellent kit to go with them and make cleaning easier. 

ice bath cleaning before use

This kit has everything you need – a silicone cleaning brush, stainless steel mesh net, a 16-ounce bottle of cleaning soap, and a 6-pound bag of eucalyptus Epsom salt. You also get a shatter-resistant thermometer and an 8-ounce bottle of water stabilizer that improves the quality of your water.


  • Specialized cleaning soap made specifically for maintaining ice baths
  • Eucalyptus salt promotes relaxation
  • Water stabilizer to maintain stable water conditions
  • Included thermometer

Could be better:

  • Pricey


How Do You Keep Ice Bath Water From Going Bad?

Keeping ice bath water from going bad is not that complicated. You need to keep the pH level balanced, and use water purification methods – filters, tablets, and disinfectants. 

Do Ice Baths Need Chlorine?

Ice baths don’t need chlorine, but pool-grade disinfectants without chlorine can still be used to keep the water clean. You can also use hydrogen peroxide for an ice bath instead of a regular disinfectant. This will give you an extra layer of protection against contaminants, but keep in mind that chlorine is considered completely safe when you have the right concentration of it. Besides, you can always take a quick shower after your ice bath if you don’t like chlorine or if you’re sensitive.  

How Do You Disinfect an Ice Bath?

Use a mild, non-toxic cleaning solution to disinfect the tub and scrub all surfaces, even those that are hard to reach. If you use a silicone brush, scrubbing won’t do any damage. 


Can you smell chlorine and bleach after all this cleaning? Hopefully you don’t because you shouldn’t use something that strong. Keeping cold plunge water clean is not difficult and it doesn’t mean you need to add toxic disinfectants to it. Remember – it needs to be therapeutic, not sterile. Use mild cleansers and prolong the cleanliness with a few drops of eucalyptus or tea tree oil. 

If you don’t feel like doing any of this, go the easy route and get yourself the Maintenance Kit from Ice Barrel. It has absolutely everything you need to keep your bath water clean. 

Any cleaning tips from you? What do you do to keep your ice bath water clean? How often do you change it? 

Share any tips and tricks you have because water can never be too clean!

Also read:


  1. Manisha Biswal, Parakriti Gupta, Charu Singh, Shashi Vig, P. S. Saini “Bacterial diversity of hospital water tanks and the efficacy of hydrogen peroxide based cleaning: Experience in a tertiary care center in India,” American Journal of Infection Control 51, no. 1 (2023): 18-22.
  2. Nader Pazyar, Reza Yaghoobi, Nooshin Bagherani, Afshin Kazerouni, “A review of applications of tea tree oil in dermatology,” International Journal of Dermatology 52, no. 7 (2013): 784-790.
  3. “Research team makes new, water-purifying hydrogel tablets,” WaterWorld, (accessed January 22nd, 2024)
  4. Y. K. Siong, Mehdi Mazar Atabaki, Jamaliah Idris, “Performance of Activated Carbon in Water Filters,” Water Resources (January 2013).
  5. Zubair Qureshi, Mohamed H Yassin, “Role of Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection in Infection Control and Environmental Cleaning,” Infectious Disorders – Drug Targets 13, no. 3 (2013): 191-195.

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Jacek Szymanowski

Author: Jacek Szymanowski

Certified Nutritionist,
M.Sc.Eng. Biotechnology
Performance Architect,
Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Experience: 20 years

With over 30 years of fighting experience, specialization in nutrition coaching for athletes, and expertise in metabolic health and dietary strategies, Jacek offers a comprehensive approach to optimizing your performance and well-being. Backed by a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology, Jacek remains at the forefront of scientific advancements, ensuring that his coaching is always evidence-based and up-to-date.

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