10+ Chlorine Alternatives for Your Pool

Chlorine is commonly used in pools but can cause health issues; alternatives like salt systems, bromine, ozone, mineral water systems, and UV light can reduce or eliminate chlorine usage.

what to use instead of chlorine in pool

To a certain degree, sanitation procedures are necessary for commercial and residential pools. This process also removes pathogens, debris, and algae in swimming pools for health and hygiene reasons. It also controls metabolic waste like oil and sweat in the water.

The most common chemical used in cleaning and maintaining pools is chlorine. However, chlorine can also cause health & other problems with too much exposure. Below is an extensive list of what to use instead of chlorine in your pool.

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Chlorine Alternatives for Swimming Pools

Although chlorine is the most simple and inexpensive agent to clean pools, it can cause allergic reactions and health risks in some people. 

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Below are the signs and symptoms to watch out for as complications of long-term chlorine exposure:

  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Chest tightness and difficulty in breathing
  • Burning feeling in eyes, nose, or throat
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Vomiting
  • Presence of fluids in lungs

Some of these alternatives can lessen or even eliminate the use of chlorine in pools. Here are options you can consider and what to use instead of chlorine in the pool.

The Salt System

Hayward W3AQR15 AquaRite Salt Chlorination System for In-Ground Pools up to 40,000 Gallons

This sanitation process can help clean pools by safely producing low amounts of chlorine. Compared with conventional chlorine, saltwater pools don’t irritate the skin and eyes. It also doesn’t contain a strong chemical smell.

The salt system uses chlorine differently from standard pools by using the process known as electrolysis. The first step is to add salt to the water to produce a saltwater solution. Afterward, it’ll pass to a salt generator that uses electricity to break down, convert, and create chlorine.

This breakdown process maintains the lower grades of chloramine and keeps the free chlorine high. As a result, the chemical smell of chlorine and the risk of skin irritation can be minimal to none.

You can compare the level of saltwater salinity to human tears. It is not as potent as ocean water and uses only a minimal amount of chlorine compared with traditional methods.

Regarded as a gentle option for swimmers — because of low chloramine levels and balanced salinity — salt systems are also cheaper than other chemical substitutes. However, salt generators require maintenance, regular cleaning, and necessary replacements every three to five years.


With similar properties to chlorine, bromine is another alternative you can use to keep your swimming pool sanitary. You can typically find this chemical in seawater as sodium bromide and potassium bromide.

Bromine uses the process of oxidation and kills contaminants by atomizing its chemical bonds. Bromine, as a chemical alternative to chlorine, also has lower pH levels. As a result, you’ll test your pool’s chlorine and pH levels less frequently and save more money on additional chemicals.

Likewise, bromine works perfectly for high-temperature water. It can clean at 58.8 degrees Celsius, while chlorine only has a limit of 32 degrees Celsius. It is why bromine is one of the most common chemicals applied in hot tubs.

However, bromine needs to partner with other chemicals and additives. Pool experts also do not advise this chemical to use outdoors, as it doesn’t have stability against UV rays — but it is a terrific option for indoor pools, spas, and other waters sheltered against sunlight. 

Bromine can still produce that strong chemical smell. Yet, unlike chlorine, it doesn’t irritate your:

  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Nasal passages

It is also simple to use since it comes in tablet form, which you can distribute in the water using a feeder. 

In addition, professionals suggest using a separate feeder when using bromate. This practice can help prevent bromine from coming in contact with any traces of chlorine.


Usually attached to the swimming pool’s filtering system, ozone generators present ozone gas into the water, which helps break down bacteria and other waste. 

Opting for this alternative can help you lessen the application of chlorine by 60% to 90%. Ozone generators also depend on an electric arc to create elements that kill microorganisms.

However, like the other available alternatives, ozonization can’t perform independently. This method is more efficient when used with other chemicals or sanitizing agents. In addition, this ozone-generating equipment can be expensive to purchase and maintain.

The apparatus also works better in dry conditions, so these types of equipment aren’t advisable to use in humid areas — as its effectiveness might be reduced. 

Ozone emitted by generators is also highly effective when combined with water and chlorine. However, this method is a convenient find if you want to reduce chlorine usage without losing its efficiency.

Mineral Water Pool Systems

This refining system comprises cartridges made of chemicals and alloys that can prevent the formation of algae and other microorganisms. Once the pool water flows inside its chamber, a filtering mechanism can sift the unwanted debris.

Mineral systems became a popular choice and replacement for sole chlorine in maintaining pools because of their easy usage and maintenance. They also help decrease chlorine usage by up to 50%.

Some models available can also combine minerals and salt to sanitize the contaminated water. However, one drawback is that cartridges can be costly. With large or commercial pools, mineral water pool systems might become an expensive preference because of the necessity of regular maintenance.

Non-Chlorine Shock

This pool-cleaning method works like the other options since it acts as an oxidizer that removes contaminants and keeps chloramines low. However, it can’t act as a lone pool sanitizer and still needs the help of other chemicals to clean your pool.

Also known as Potassium monopersulfate (MPS), it produces a reaction that can oxidize and break down body oil and sweat in the water. It is the best option to go for when you want an instant cleaning of your cloudy pool water. 

This approach can help prolong your pool’s chlorine life, make the chemicals more efficient, and save money. It’s another great option to lessen chlorine usage — even if you have an outdoor or indoor pool.


An ionizer includes two metals: silver and copper. These metals work together as an algaecide by using low-charged currents to activate the metals. Afterward, the currently charged metals will release positively charged ions into the water.

These positive charge elements can entice algae, bacteria, germs, and other contaminants and eliminate them by converting them into other compounds. These compounds will travel to the pool’s filtering system for elimination.

You can compare ionizers with mineral water pool systems, which both use the process of ionization. They only differ in methods, as ionizers release directly on pools, while mineral systems use pre-filled cartridges to clean.

Like the mineral system, ionizers use some chemicals for thorough cleaning. Ionizers require bromate or chlorine to disinfect the water after removing the debris and contaminants.

Although it doesn’t eliminate chlorine, ionization is still one of your best choices if you’re looking to use less chlorine. If you want to lessen the use of chemicals and additives, an ionizer can help remove impurities in the water to prepare it better for chemical treatment.

Polyhexamethylene Biguanide (PHMB)

Polyhexamethylene Biguanide (PHMB) is another excellent alternative for chlorine in sanitizing and maintaining your pool. This option is one method that allows your swimming pool to be 100% chlorine-free.

PHMB is easy to use since it doesn’t require stabilizers and doesn’t disintegrate under sunlight. Additionally,  it doesn’t irritate skin and eyes and doesn’t damage tiles or furnishings of pool floors and walls.

PHMB can help disinfect your pool by penetrating each bacteria’s cells and killing them. It causes them to burst and sink to the bottom of the pool. The filtering system will do its job in removing these fragments.

However, since PHMB doesn’t have oxidative properties, you’ll need hydrogen peroxide to activate it. It is also necessary to clean pool filters every four to six weeks using a different algaecide. 

Likewise, PHMB is not compatible with chlorine. So, it is necessary to drain your entire pool once you switch to a particular chemical option. This factor makes PHMB an expensive alternative.

UV Light System

UV light systems comprise the use of UV light and chlorine. The UV light functions as a sanitizer, while chlorine preserves the lingering effect. Installing a UV light system in your pool can guarantee a minimal usage of chlorine and even destroy the bacteria and viruses in the water.

It also helps reduce the amounts of chloramines — chemicals that give your pool its pungent, chlorine smell. It is essential to purchase the right size of UV light system for your swimming pool for it to be effective.


Ultrafiltration is another option available when considering what to use instead of chlorine in the pool. This pool-cleaning method uses a highly fine sieve to remove hair, microbes, and other debris.

The system comprises filter tubes with thin membranes composed of semi-permeable pores — where low-pressure water flows in a loop. The semi-permeable pores filter the essential additives and salt back into the water, so the filtration happens with no chemicals.

Ultrafiltration is an excellent option to keep your pool chlorine and chemical-free. However, compared with other available alternatives and with chlorine itself, filtering technology can be expensive.

Reducing Water Temperature

Some people want to avert harsh chemicals and prefer something natural. Reducing water temperature is another option when you want to avoid chlorine.

Lower water temperature can help slow down bacterial and algae growth in your pool — since microorganisms thrive in warmer habitats. You can achieve this state by keeping the water covered from the sun and turning off heaters, bulbs, and electronic equipment.

However, this alternative can be troublesome for swimmers who are used to swimming in warmer waters. Investing in pool chillers can also be expensive compared with opting for chlorine.

More FAQs

How do you chlorinate a pool naturally?

To chlorinate a pool naturally, one can employ various methods. One option is to use UV light, where water is directed through a tube containing a UV light source. Another approach involves the use of Diatomaceous Earth (DE), which helps in natural pool chlorination. Additionally, PHMB, plants, hydrogen peroxide, showering before swimming, and salt water can all be utilized as alternative methods for naturally chlorinating a pool.

Is it OK to swim in a pool without chlorine?

It is not safe to swim in a pool without chlorine due to health concerns. The absence of chemicals in a pool creates an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria, viruses, and parasites, posing potential risks to swimmers.

What is a natural alternative to chlorine?

A natural alternative to chlorine is ozone, which is a gas known for its effective elimination of viruses, fungi, and bacteria, making it an excellent option for treating pool water. Another natural method is using salt water, which can treat a swimming pool without the need for chlorine. Non-chlorine shock and PHMB are additional alternatives to chlorine.

Can I make my own pool chlorine?

It is possible to make your own pool chlorine by using common unscented household bleach, also known as sodium hypochlorite. To raise the chlorine level by 5ppm in a 10,000 gallon pool, you would require approximately 1/2 Gallon of basic household bleach.

Can I use hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine in my pool?

The use of hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine in a pool is a proven and effective method, especially popular in hydrotherapy pools, spas, and among individuals with allergies to common pool chemicals. This combination of ultraviolet disinfection and hydrogen peroxide creates a chlorine-free environment successfully.

What is an alternative to chlorine tablets?

An alternative to chlorine tablets is PHMB or Biguanide PHMB. This substance, also known as polyhexamethylene biguanide, offers a more stable option compared to the frequently used chlorine. By utilizing PHMB, it is possible to forgo the use of chlorine as a sanitizer.

How do you shock a pool without chlorine?

To shock a pool without chlorine, you can use potassium peroxymonosulfate, which is a more affordable alternative. Simply add it directly to your pool water at any time. It takes approximately 15 minutes to take effect before you can safely swim.

Can I just use shock instead of chlorine?

You cannot just use shock instead of chlorine. Chlorine is a sanitizer that is essential for keeping your pool clear and healthy, unless you are using Baquacil products. Shock, on the other hand, is a high dose of chlorine meant to quickly raise the chlorine level in your pool.

What happens if you don’t chlorinate a pool?

If a pool is not chlorinated, it is not safe to operate as it becomes an ideal environment for bacteria, viruses, and parasites to thrive due to the absence of chemicals that combat these contaminants.

What happens if you don’t put chlorine in a pool?

If chlorine is not added to a pool, it can lead to the growth of bacteria, resulting in water discoloration, unpleasant odors, and potential health risks. Additionally, untreated pools are prone to algae blooms.

What is an alternative to pool shock?

An alternative to pool shock is using common unscented household bleach, which contains sodium hypochlorite. To achieve a 5ppm increase in chlorine level in a 10,000 gallon pool, you would require approximately 1/2 Gallon of basic household bleach.

How much shock do I add to my pool without chlorine?

The amount of non-chlorine shock to add to your pool without chlorine is about 1 pound per 10k gallons of pool water. Non-chlorine shock has numerous potential benefits as it dissolves instantly upon contact with water and does not leave any residue. Additionally, it effectively oxidizes organic matter originating from sources such as dead skin cells, sweat, sunscreen, dirt, leaves, and more.

Is there a non chlorine shock?

There is a non-chlorine shock called Potassium monopersulfate (MPS), which is a chemical that offers numerous advantages for maintaining your hot tub water. However, it is a product that is not well understood or commonly used by many hot tub owners.

Can you shock a pool with salt?

It is possible to shock a pool with salt, although it may appear counterintuitive. Saltwater pools are designed to be self-cleaning, reducing the need for regular shocks to sanitize the water. However, many individuals still opt to periodically shock their saltwater pools to maintain an even cleaner water environment.

How do I keep my small pool clean without chlorine?

To keep a small pool clean without chlorine, you can drain and refill it when the water becomes dirty. Use a regular kitchen brush and mild dish soap to scrub the pool before refilling it with fresh water.

Can a pool be safe without chlorine?

A pool cannot be safe without chlorine or another sanitizer, as it is impossible to maintain safe pool water without at least some low-level residual of chlorine or another sanitizer. Some companies may falsely market their pool products as “chemical-free,” but these claims are either misleading or unsafe for consumers.

Can you use Clorox instead of chlorine in a pool?

You can use Clorox instead of chlorine in a pool, but it depends on the formulation. The ratio of sodium hypochlorite (and available chlorine) to other ingredients is stated on the label of each bleach bottle. It is generally preferable to have a higher percentage of sodium hypochlorite, as this allows you to use less bleach for pool treatment.

How do I keep my pool from turning green without chlorine?

To keep your pool from turning green without chlorine, you can maintain stable water chemistry by regularly checking the pH levels of your pool water. Additionally, ensure proper filtration by cleaning or replacing the filter, and regularly vacuum and brush the pool to prevent algae growth. It is also important to clean the skimmer systems for good circulation. If needed, consider hiring a professional for assistance.

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