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Using Sphagnum Moss to Naturally Purify Spa & Hot tub Water

Yes, sphagnum moss! But, isn’t moss kind of like algae? No algae are microscopic plants where as sphagnum moss is a plant with leaves, stems and a root system.  There are different varieties of sphagnum moss. Some grown on trees or in trees or rocks. Some grow in or on moist places that don’t get much sun. Other sphagnum moss grow in bogs or ponds and lakes. 

The kind of  sphagnum moss that we’re referring to is a type found growing in bogs next to ponds or lakes; and when you look at and swim or soak in those bodies of water, the water tends to be pristine and clear and fresh.

In fact visit one of the many lakes in northern Minnesota and southern Canada and you’ll find that the water is so clean and clear simply because of the sphagnum moss. Why? Simply put, the sphagnum moss exudes or leaches (think of a tea bag leaching out the “tea”) a substance that is antimicrobial in nature (think of green tea & its antioxidants) and that antimicrobial action prevents bacteria, mold & fungus from growing and reproducing. It is a fact that has been known and used for literally thousands of years.

Centuries ago, our ancestors would wrap freshly trapped fish or meat in sphagnum moss to preserve it until they could return home.  Recently, a man from “ice age” Europe was found frozen in a glacier. Upon examination, it was noted that he had a wound that was packed with sphagnum moss. Keep in mind that the ancient world used other “common” things to kill or prevent bacterial growth such as a silver coin in a water jar. As recently as World War I sphagnum moss was used to protect open wounds from festering with disease while waiting for proper treatment.  Those soldiers who were fortunate enough to be “treated” with the sphagnum moss had significantly less occurrence of medical maladies than their “untreated” comrades.  Today, certain wounds care centers around the world utilize sphagnum moss to successfully treat “non-healing” wounds.

So what does this mean for spas & hot tubs?  Plenty of good stuff. Creative Water Solutions, the people who have brought us PoolNaturally and SpaNaturally, have found a particular species of sphagnum moss that is an excellent preventive treatment for bacteria, mold & fungus found in all kinds of hot tubs and spas.  It appears that algae is also suppressed due to the lack of nutrients available to cause an algae bloom.  

Keep in mind that only about 1% of the bacteria found in swimming pools is “planktonic” or floating around in the water. The other approximately 99% is found in biofilms residing on spa surfaces – any and all spa & hot tub surfaces. That means plumbing lines, step treads, the backs of skimmer weirs (doors), inside light niches, heater cores (heat exchangers), filter media (filter cartridge) etc. That’s the breeding ground for the “stuff” that can lead to cloudy water, slime, chlorine demand, scaling, not to mention odors and foaming in hot tubs. Utilizing established research methods for determining the effects on bacterial biofilms developed at the Center for Biofilm Engineering at Montana State University (an accredited Nation Science Foundation Research Center) Creative Water Solutions have patented their PoolNaturally® and SpaNaturally® System.  Please refer to our other articles on Spa Biofilm.

The species of sphagnum moss that is used in SpaNaturally is found in New Zealand and has very potent antimicrobial qualities.  The sphagnum moss is naturally and ecologically harvested, dried and processed, and put into easy to use, easy to handle packets that are placed in a dispenser and “fed” into the spa or hot tub. It takes about one month for the “tea” (don’t worry, no taste) to leach from the moss packets and do their work. The packets are then replaced (the packets are biodegradable).

The “tea” from the sphagnum moss is antimicrobial & therefore is able to prevent the growth and spreading of bio-films plus aids in neutralizing other bacteria found in the pool. As an added benefit, sphagnum moss also collects positively charged metals such as iron and copper that can stain spas & hot tubs - especially concrete or gunite. Furthermore, as powerful natural buffers emanate from the sphagnum moss,  Water becomes cleaner, clearer, softer feeling, better smelling and using significantly less chemicals. Results are typically noticed in under one week’s time.

SpaNaturally® sphagnum moss products ARE compatible with all halogen spa care products (chlorine, bromine - maintain a FAC residual of 1.0 - 3.0 ppm chlorine), ionizers such as Nature2, Spa Frog, ozone. SpaNaturally® sphagnum moss products are NOT compatible with biguanides (biguanides are long string polymers that will “clog up” the moss) such as BaquaSpa (Arch Chemical products), or Soft Soak (BioLab products).

Learn how to treat & remove biofilms here.

Click here to purchase SpaNaturally® products.

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