How To Clear Up A Cloudy Swimming Pool

Importance of Maintaining a Clean and Clear Swimming Pool

Maintaining a clean and clear swimming pool is essential for both aesthetic and health reasons. No one wants to swim in murky water or risk their health by exposing themselves to bacteria or algae growth. In this article, we will discuss the common causes of cloudy pool water and provide an overview of the steps to clear up a cloudy swimming pool.

Common Causes of Cloudy Pool Water

Cloudy pool water can be caused by various factors, including:

  1. Organic matter: Leaves, grass clippings, pollen, sunscreen residues, body oils, and other organic materials can accumulate in the pool water over time. These contaminants contribute to cloudiness.

  2. High levels of minerals: Excessive amounts of minerals such as calcium can lead to cloudiness in your swimming pool. This often occurs when there is hard water or when you add too many mineral-based chemicals.

  3. Poor filtration or circulation: If your pool filter is not functioning properly or if there is inadequate circulation within your swimming pool system, it can result in particles remaining suspended in the water instead of being filtered out.

Overview of Steps to Clear Up a Cloudy Swimming Pool

To restore clarity to your cloudy swimming pool water, follow these steps:

Assessing the Situation

Before taking any corrective action for cloudy pool water, it’s important to assess the situation accurately. This involves testing the water chemistry and identifying the cause(s) behind cloudiness.

Testing Water Chemistry

To test your pools’ chemistry levels use these four key tests:

1. pH Levels
– The ideal range for pH levels should be between 7.4-7.6.

2. Chlorine Levels
– Proper chlorine levels are necessary for sanitizing your swimming pools’water.

3. Total Alkalinity
– Alkalinity helps stabilize pH levels; maintaining alkalinity between 80-120 parts per million (ppm) is ideal.

4. Calcium Hardness
– Maintaining the right calcium hardness levels between 200-400 ppm helps prevent corrosion or scale formation in your pool.

Identifying the Cause of Cloudiness

After testing the water chemistry, it’s important to identify what is causing cloudiness in your swimming pool. The most common causes are organic matter, high mineral levels, and poor filtration or circulation.

Basic Maintenance Steps

Before attempting any specialized treatment for cloudy pool water, you should perform basic maintenance steps to improve water clarity. These include:

1. Skimming and Removing Debris
– Use a skimmer net or leaf rake to remove leaves, bugs, and other debris floating on the surface of your pool.

2. Brushing the Pool Walls and Floor
– Regularly brushing your pool walls and floor helps dislodge algae or dirt particles clinging to these surfaces.

3. Vacuuming the Pool
– Use a manual vacuum cleaner or an automatic pool cleaner to remove debris from all areas of your swimming pool.

4. Backwashing/Cleaning the Filter
* For sand filters: Backwash according to manufacturer instructions
* For cartridge filters: Remove cartridges for cleaning

5.\ Checking and Adjusting Water Chemistry Levels:
a. Adjust pH level using pH increaser if necessary (increase by adding sodium bicarbonate)
b. Add chlorine shock based on test kit results.
c. If alkalinity is too low add Sodium bisulfate

Treating Organic Matter

If organic matter is causing cloudiness in your swimming pool, follow these steps:

Shocking Your Pool

Shocking involves raising chlorine levels dramatically for a short period; this process destroys contaminants that can contribute to cloudy water.

1.\ Choosing The Right Shock Treatment

To choose which shock treatment product best suits you there are three types to consider:
– Calcium Hypochlorite
– Lithium Hypochlorite
– Potassium Monopersulfate

2.\ Calculating The Required Amount of Shock

To calculate the amount of shock needed, refer to your product’s instructions and use a pool calculator based on your pool size.

3.\ Applying The Shock Treatment

Apply the shock treatment in the evening or at dusk when sunlight won’t degrade it. Dissolve the shock in water before adding it evenly around the pool.

Adding Algaecide

Adding an algaecide helps prevent and treat algae growth which can contribute to cloudiness.

1. Selecting The Appropriate Algaecide

Choose an algaecide that is suitable for your type of algae problem. There are different types available, including copper-based and non-metallic algaecides.

2. Following Manufacturer’s Instructions

Always follow manufacturer instructions carefully when applying algaecides. Apply directly to affected areas as directed.

Running Pool Pump And Filter Continuously

Running your pool pump and filter continuously helps remove contaminants from the water effectively. Ensure you clean skimmer baskets regularly while doing so.

Addressing High Mineral Levels

If high mineral levels are causing cloudiness in your swimming pool, follow these steps:

Testing For High Mineral Content

Use a test kit or take a sample of water to a professional pool store for testing if you suspect high mineral content.

Using A Sequestering Agent

A sequestering agent is used to bind with minerals such as calcium and prevent them from forming scale deposits or causing cloudiness.

1. Understanding Sequestering Agents

Sequestering agents work by binding with minerals in solution so they cannot react with other chemicals present in your swimming pools’water.

2.\ Applying The Sequestering Agent

Follow manufacturer instructions closely when using sequestering agents; add them directly to the pool water as directed.

Regularly Checking And Adjusting pH and Alkalinity Levels

Maintaining proper pH and alkalinity levels is crucial for preventing cloudiness. Use test kits or a digital tester to check these levels regularly, and adjust them accordingly.

Draining And Refilling The Pool (If Necessary)

In extreme cases of high mineral content, it may be necessary to drain and refill your swimming pool. Consult with a professional if you are unsure about this step.

Improving Filtration And Circulation

If poor filtration or circulation is causing cloudiness in your swimming pool, follow these steps:

Checking The Filter System

Ensure that your filter system is functioning correctly by checking the following:

1. Backwashing Or Cleaning The Filter

For sand filters, backwash according to manufacturer instructions. For cartridge filters, remove cartridges for cleaning.

2.\ Inspecting And Replacing Filter Media (If Needed)

Inspect filter media for any signs of damage or excessive wear; replace if necessary.

Ensuring Proper Circulation

Proper circulation helps ensure that particles are effectively filtered out of the water. Follow these steps:

1.\ Adjusting Pool Pump Speed

Increase the pump speed during periods when there is heavy usage or contamination in your pool; reduce it during quieter times.

2.\ Checking And Cleaning Skimmers/Returns

Regularly check skimmers and returns for any obstructions or blockages; clean them thoroughly as needed.

3.\ Using A Pool Clarifier

Pool clarifiers help coagulate small particles into larger ones that can be easily filtered out by your system’s filter.

4.\ Adding The Appropriate Amount Of Clarifier

Follow manufacturer instructions closely when adding a pool clarifier; add it directly into the water around the return jets while circulating.

Preventive Measures

To prevent future occurrences of cloudy pool water, follow these preventive measures:

1.\ Regular Pool Maintenance Routine

Follow a regular pool maintenance routine that includes skimming and removing debris daily, brushing the pool walls and floor weekly, and vacuuming as needed.

2.\ Proper Water Chemistry Balance

Maintain proper water chemistry balance by regularly testing and adjusting pH, chlorine levels, alkalinity, and calcium hardness.

3.\ Regularly Cleaning And Maintaining The Filter System

Clean or backwash your filter system on a regular basis to ensure optimal filtration efficiency.

4.\ Shocking The Pool Regularly

Regularly shock your swimming pool to prevent algae growth; this helps maintain clean water throughout the swimming season.


In conclusion, maintaining a clean and clear swimming pool is crucial for both aesthetic appeal and health reasons. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can effectively address cloudiness in your swimming pool. Remember to assess the situation accurately by testing water chemistry levels before taking any corrective action. Additionally, implementing preventive measures such as regular maintenance routines will help ensure that you enjoy a clean and clear swimming pool all season long


  • Hours: The amount of time required for a specific task or process.
  • Chloramines: Chemical compounds formed when chlorine reacts with ammonia or organic matter in the pool water, causing unpleasant odors and irritations.
  • Pool flocculant: A chemical substance used to gather small particles in the pool water together, making it easier to remove them through filtration.
  • Pool owners: Individuals who own and maintain a swimming pool.
  • Pool chemicals: Substances used to treat and balance the water chemistry in a swimming pool, including chlorine, pH adjusters, algaecides, etc.
  • Dirty filters: Filters that have accumulated debris and impurities from the pool water over time and need cleaning or replacement.
  • Pool shock: The process of adding a high dose of chlorine to quickly sanitize and eliminate contaminants from the pool water.
  • Pool brush: A tool used for scrubbing and brushing off dirt, algae, or other debris from various surfaces inside the swimming pool.
  • Type of filter: Different types include sand filters, cartridge filters, diatomaceous earth (DE) filters; each has its own method of trapping impurities as water passes through them.

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Mike Hunter

Mike is the owner of the local pool shop. He's been in the business for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know about pools. He's always happy to help his customers with whatever they need, whether it's advice on pool maintenance or choosing the right chemicals. He's also a bit of a pool expert, and is always happy to share his knowledge with anyone who's interested.

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