A swimming pool is the ideal backyard oasis. But when the water is cloudy, or you see algae growing, you must act fast before your pool becomes a swamp.
Unfortunately, swimming pool maintenance companies are costly, and getting them to show up can be a big hassle.
Keep reading for the best tips on how to get your pool clear.
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, this site earns from qualifying purchases. Thank you!
Test Your Water
When wondering how to get your pool clear, the first thing you need to do is test your pool water routinely. Test strips help you check on key measurements, like the pH, total alkalinity, cyanuric acid, and chlorine levels. Strips are easy to use and are more reliable than going to a pool store to test a sample of your water.
Simply dip a strip about arm’s length deep into the water, swish it around, and then pull it out. The strips’ various readings will change color as they interact with the water. Compare the reactions to the guide that comes with your bottle of test strips.
You’ll see that the guide shows your results versus nominal readings for a healthy swimming pool.
Balance the Water
This chart should help you figure out what you need to add.
|Total Dissolved Solids||500 – 4000 parts per million (ppm)|
|Chlorine||1.0 – 3.0 ppm|
|pH||7.4 – 7.6 (7.2 for salt pools)|
|Total Alkalinity||80 – 120 ppm|
|Calcium Hardness||200 – 400|
|Cyanuric Acid (stabilizer)||25 – 50 ppm|
It’s helpful to use an online calculator to input your readings and the size of your pool when adding pool chemicals.
For example, a small cocktail pool of about 3,000 gallons won’t require as much chlorine as a massive 65,000-gallon pool.
Adding less product than you think you need is always a good idea. It’s always easier to add more than remove it from the water.
For instance, if you add too much cyanuric acid, partially draining and replacing the water is the only way to reduce its concentration.
Check Your Circulation
Pools turning cloudy or green often suffer from poor circulation. Study your valves and ensure you understand how the pool works and that your skimmers are all sucking.
Then, ensure your skimmer baskets and the hair and lint basket inside your filter pump are clear of debris.
The skimmers should draw in any surface debris. You can enhance that effect by aiming your returns at them, pushing the water toward the suction points.
If you have a main drain, make sure that its valve is at least partially open, so the water on the bottom of the pool circulates through the filter as well.
Clean or Backwash Your Filter
Most filters have a gauge on top, showing the pounds per square inch (PSI) of pressure inside the tank. Each filter is different, but a typical gauge allows you to set an arrow marker at the ‘clean’ PSI.
As the filter strains debris from the water, the media inside becomes dirty. Sand and DE filters require routine backwashing to flush the debris from the media.
Doing so is usually pretty simple, but make sure to follow the instructions on your equipment carefully.
After a thorough backwash, go back to filter mode. The filter pressure should drop considerably. If you have a DE pool, you need to add another dose of DE right into your skimmer.
Cartridge filters don’t have a backwash feature. Instead, you’ll have to open your filter tank and clean the grids inside. Never open your tank without first bleeding all of the pressure.
Once disassembled, you can rinse the grids with a cleaning product and a hose or pressure washer. Then, reinstall them, reassemble the tank, and turn the system back on.
Shock the Pool
Now that you have the pool circulating strongly and know the filter is clean; you need to add a strong sanitizer to your pool. For most pool owners, that means adding a large dose of chlorine.
Some people refer to granular chlorine as ‘shock.’ That’s a misnomer. Shocking your pool is adding enough chlorine in a large dose to kill all the organics in the water and holding that level for at least 24 hours. Typically, that means using granular shock, hence the confusion.
Adding granular should be done carefully and according to the manufacturer’s instructions, as it can cause staining if done improperly.
You might also consider using pure chlorine bleach, as it is the same chemical.
Again, online pool calculators can help you figure out how much extra chlorine to add.
Brush, Brush, Brush Away
Now that you have plenty of sanitizer in your water and the filter is working to strain out the debris, you need to put in a little bit of manual labor. Using an appropriate, soft-bristled brush, agitate the walls and floor of the pool.
Your brushing will sweep off the green coating that lives on the surface of algae, and it will help disrupt new algae growth. Without its protective coating, the algae become more likely to die from exposure to the extra chlorine.
Brushing will likely turn your pool cloudier in the short term. But once you have all of the nasty algae off the walls, lights, stairs, ladder, and floor, the chlorine will kill it, and the filter will suck up and strain the debris.
Make sure to use a leaf rake to remove any larger debris, and keep your filter baskets clear. Run the filter 24/7 overnight and check your chlorine again in the morning.
Keep the chlorine at shock level until the water clears, and make sure you’re also maintaining all your other chemical levels.
Vacuum to Waste
Now, after your shock period, all the algae has likely fallen out of the water and made a bit of a mess on the bottom. The last thing you want to do is mix that nasty debris back into the water.
So, instead of vacuuming into the filter or using a robotic vacuum that might stir things up, you will want to manually vacuum with your filter on the ‘waste’ setting.
Not every pool has a multi-port with this important option, but most designers and builders include a trick valve or a means to pump the water out without putting it through the filter.
If your pool doesn’t have this feature, you can vacuum to waste with an external pump.
Once you have your pool in ‘waste’ mode, set up your vacuum and start the system. The water you suck into the vacuum will exit the system before entering your filter.
Move slowly, ensuring that you don’t stir up the debris. You don’t have to get every little bit, but make sure you get all of the heaviest sludge, algae, and debris.
Ensure you don’t take out so much water that the level falls below the skimmers, or the filter will suck air.
If that happens, you’ll have to either add more water from a hose or run the pool on the drains only until it is full again.
Use a Clarifier or Flocculant
When shocking, cleaning the water, and improving the circulation don’t help, then it’s time to break out the big guns.
Clarifiers help small pieces of debris bind together, making it easier for your filter to strain them out of the water.
You can add a clarifier to the pool by following the bottle’s directions, which will help clear up your cloudy water. Some pool owners also add maintenance doses of clarifier even when the water is clear, just to make things easier on the filter.
A flocculant is similar to a clarifier, as it helps small particles bind together. But instead of remaining in suspension, the debris will precipitate out of the water and end up as a layer of dirt on the bottom of the pool.
Typically, you’ll add your flocculant, let the pool circulate for a few hours, and then shut the system off so the water becomes very still.
Then, slowly and carefully, you will manually vacuum to waste, removing the debris from the pool. It’s essential that you use a manual vacuum and that you don’t put the debris back through the filter.
Flocculant is a last resort, but it is very effective when you can’t solve a cloudy pool with traditional methods.
FAQs about Getting Your Pool Clear
If you still have questions about how to get your pool clear, check out some common queries below.
How Long Does it Take to Clear a Cloudy Pool?
Typically, it will take 24 hours to shock your pool and another 24 to 48 hours for all the debris to end up in the filter. But you may see significant improvements in a relatively short period.
Is Swimming in a Cloudy Pool Safe?
A little bit of cloudiness isn’t necessarily dangerous. But warm, unsanitized water can harbor bacteria, so be cautious.
Can too much chlorine make pool cloudy?
Too much chlorine in a pool can indeed result in cloudy water. The excessive presence of chemicals can disrupt the delicate pH balance, leading to cloudiness. Cloudy water can be caused by an excessive amount of any pool chemical, including high pH, high chlorine, and high alkalinity.
Should I add chlorine to a cloudy pool?
Statement: Adding chlorine to a cloudy pool is necessary.Rephrased answer: In order to address cloudiness in a pool caused by a lack of chlorine, it is important to continuously add chlorine to the water until there is a chlorine residual of 2ppm or higher. If the cloudiness is suspected to be a result of imbalanced water, adding a chemical that decreases pH/alkalinity will help bring the water back into balance.
What is the most common cause of cloudy pool water?
The most common cause of cloudy pool water is often attributed to factors such as elevated calcium levels, obstructed filters, initial stages of algae development, excessive chlorine levels, incorrect pH balance, different types of debris, and presence of ammonia. Rest assured, regardless of the specific issue you may be facing, there are effective solutions available to rectify the situation.
Can I use pool shock and clarifier at the same time?
The following question has been restated as a declarative sentence: “Using pool shock and clarifier simultaneously is not recommended.” Rewritten answer: It is not advisable to add both pool shock and clarifier to your pool water at the same time. While pool shock is necessary to eliminate algae, if you have early stages of algae growth, pool flocculant can assist in binding floating algae particles for easier vacuuming. However, it is important to note that adding two chemicals simultaneously to your pool water is not recommended.
What chemical fixes a cloudy pool?
The chemical that fixes a cloudy pool is pool flocculant. By adding pool flocculant to your pool water, it can effectively gather the cloudy particles and bring them down to the bottom of the swimming pool. Once settled, these particles can be easily removed by using a pool vacuum.
How long does it take for clarifier to clear a cloudy pool?
The clarifier will clear a cloudy pool in a certain amount of time. To achieve this, follow the manufacturer’s recommended method of adding clarifier to your pool. After adding the clarifier, ensure that your pool pump is turned on so that the coagulated particles can pass through the filter. The longer the pump runs, the quicker your pool will become clear. It is necessary to wait for a period of 2-3 days or until your pool becomes visibly clean and sparkly.
Why is my pool still cloudy after shocking it?
The pool may still be cloudy after shocking it due to a high pH level. According to Hubert Miles, when the water has pH levels above 7.8, it becomes alkaline, leading to cloudiness even after shocking.
How do I add clarity to my pool water?
To add clarity to your pool water, you should ensure that your filter is running continuously, maintain balanced water chemistry, and regularly add the appropriate amount of water clarifier every other day until the water becomes clear. Alternatively, you can opt for a more potent pool flocculant, which can effectively clear up cloudy pool water within a span of 1-2 days.
Why can’t I get my pool crystal clear?
You cannot get your pool crystal clear because the pool chemicals may be unbalanced or the pH level may be incorrect. Maintaining proper chlorine levels and pH balance is crucial for a clear pool. Additionally, if the pool’s pump or filter is not functioning properly, the water may appear cloudy. Furthermore, storms or excessive rainfall can also impact the clarity of your pool water.
What chemical makes pool sparkle?
The chemical that makes a pool sparkle is Aliphatic Polyamine, which functions as a flocculant for pools and spas. It effectively eliminates particulate matter that can cause cloudiness in pool or spa water. To clear cloudy water, you should add 250ml of Aliphatic Polyamine per 10,000 gallons of pool/spa water. For maintaining clear water, it is recommended to add 60ml of Aliphatic Polyamine per 10,000 gallons of pool/spa water on a weekly basis.
Will baking soda clear a cloudy pool?
Baking soda can indeed clear a cloudy pool and bring back its sparkle. Additionally, it can be used to spot-treat algae.
How often should you shock your pool?
You should shock your pool regularly to maintain clean and contaminant-free water. It is recommended to shock your pool approximately once a week, and additionally after periods of heavy use. Cloudy, foamy, green, or odorous water are indicators that your pool needs to be shocked.
What do I need to get my pool clear fast?
You need to skim, brush, and vacuum the pool thoroughly to get your pool clear fast. Additionally, treat the water by adding shock and algaecide. After a storm, it is important to test the water, remove any visible debris, and clean the pool.
Will chlorine make my pool clear again?
Chlorine can make your pool clear again by eliminating contaminants and chloramines in the water. To achieve this, you should shock your pool with a high dose of chlorine. If the cloudiness is caused by an algae bloom, you may need to double or triple the shock treatment depending on the type of algae present.
Why is my pool cloudy after shocking it?
The pool becomes cloudy after shocking it due to imbalanced levels of pH and total alkalinity, which is indicated by the hazy pool water. The accumulation of calcium in the pool is usually caused by high pH levels, affecting the clarity of the water. The water becomes alkaline with high pH and acidic with low pH.
Why is my pool not 100% clear?
Your pool may not be 100% clear due to various factors, such as the presence of dirt, debris, or even algae. To address this, start by checking the pH level of the water. If it is either too high or too low, it can result in cloudy water. Utilize a pool test kit to measure the pH level and make necessary adjustments accordingly.
How long does it take for chlorine to make a pool clear?
It takes approximately 3 to 4 days for chlorine to effectively clear a pool. To eliminate algae, it is necessary to increase the chlorine level by shocking the pool and maintain it at a high level until all the algae is eradicated. It is also recommended to continuously run the filter for 24 hours a day during this process.
How much chlorine does it take to clear a pool?
It takes a significant amount of chlorine to clear a pool, as filtration and circulation are crucial during and after periods of heavy swimmer loads. Super-chlorination with 10-20 ppm of chlorine is highly effective in eliminating algae, making it an essential step in eradicating any algae growth in the pool.
Will shocking a pool make the water clear?
Shocking a pool with a product like HTH Shock it can effectively clear the water by sanitizing and eliminating contaminants, such as bacteria, algae, and other organic matter that may be causing cloudiness.
Do I add chlorine or shock first?
The answer to the question “Do I add chlorine or shock first?” is that it is not recommended to add them together. Mixing chlorine and shock simultaneously renders both ineffective. Therefore, it is advisable to first shock the pool and allow the chlorine levels to decrease below 5 PPM before introducing algaecide. This sequence will yield optimal results.
What turns pool water clear?
Pool water turns clear by running the filter continuously and maintaining proper chemical balance. To prevent cloudiness, it is essential to remove debris and vacuum the pool daily.
Why is my pool still cloudy after shock and clarifier?
The pool water remaining cloudy despite the use of shock and clarifier suggests that there may be an imbalance in the pH and total alkalinity levels. This is often caused by a high pH level, which leads to the accumulation of calcium in the pool and affects water clarity. The high pH makes the water more alkaline, while a low pH makes it acidic.
Why is my pool still cloudy after shock and algaecide?
The pool may still be cloudy after shock and algaecide due to improper functioning of the pump and filter. Additionally, the use of algaecide containing copper can contribute to cloudiness in the pool. If the cloudiness persists for 24 hours after shocking, it is likely that a low-quality chlorine shock was used.
Is it OK to shock pool during the day?
It is recommended to shock your pool in the evening when the sun has set. This allows sufficient time for the chlorine to work and the water to be cleaned overnight. By shocking your pool during the day, the chlorine can be dissolved by the UV rays of the sun.
Why won’t my pool clear up after shocking?
Your pool may not clear up after shocking because you did not use any Flocculants or Clarifiers. If the bottom of your pool is still not visible after shocking, it might be necessary to add a clarifier or flocculant the following day to eliminate the dead algae. By adding a flocculant, it will bind to small particle impurities in the water, causing them to clump together and sink to the bottom of the pool.
How long does shock take to clear a cloudy pool?
The time it takes for shock to clear a cloudy pool can vary, but typically it should resolve within an hour or two after shocking. If you use a granular chlorine shock, it may take around 24 hours for the granules to fully dissolve and for the water to become clear again.