Green pool water is a common problem that many pool owners face, especially during the warm summer months when algae growth is more prevalent. While there are many products on the market that claim to clear up green pool water, one household item that has gained attention for its alleged effectiveness is baking soda. But can baking soda really clear a green pool?
In this article, I will go over whether or not baking soda can clear a green swimming pool and kill algae. I will also focus on how to use this common household ingredient for other pool-related concerns. Let’s dive in!
- While baking soda is an excellent all-purpose cleanser, it cannot clear a green pool or kill off algae.
- Baking soda is useful in a pool for balancing pH and alkalinity levels, improving water clarity, and clearing cloudy water.
- The best way to clear an unsightly green pool is to use a combination of pool shock and algaecide, along with baking soda.
Will Baking Soda Clear A Green Pool?
The short answer is no, it cannot.
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a white crystalline powder commonly used as a household chemical that is a cure-all for many issues found in and around the home, including the swimming pool. It is known for its ability to be a gentle, non-abrasive cleaning solution that can help break down and dissolve dirt, grime, and other substances stuck to surfaces.
A green pool typically indicates an imbalance in the pool’s chemistry and is strongly indicative of the presence of algae spores in the pool water. So why can’t baking soda destroy those spores? Well, when it boils down to simple chemistry, there are three major reasons why baking soda is simply not an effective enough sanitizing agent against algae:
- Baking soda has no direct antibacterial properties, meaning it cannot kill algae (and most other bacteria as well) on its own.
- Although baking soda is a cleansing agent, it cannot prevent algae growth by removing the nutrients that algae need to survive, such as phosphates and nitrates, which is a common reason why algae take root in a pool.
- Sometimes, in the right conditions, high alkalinity levels caused by baking soda can exacerbate the growth of some types of algae in the pool.
To address a green pool effectively, you’ll need to test the water to determine the specific issue causing this issue, which will help you determine the appropriate treatment. In most cases, you’ll need to shock the pool using a pool shock treatment, which will kill the algae and other contaminants (more on this below).
So while baking soda is definitely an all-purpose cleanser, it is not a suitable substitute for pool shock or bleach. There are better chemicals suited for that purpose.
Does Baking Soda Kill Algae?
No, baking soda is not an effective algae killer. However, it can contribute to conditions that make it difficult for algae to take root (i.e., balanced pool chemistry), but as a standalone chemical, it is not the right agent against algae infestations.
Algae and other phytoplankton can be very stubborn and may require a swift and effective sanitizing treatment to be eliminated from a pool. Baking soda is simply not a chemical that can treat algae that has already established itself in a pool. You will need specialized chemicals, such as algaecide or chlorine, to kill algae in a pool.
Uses For Baking Soda In A Pool
Although baking soda is not the right chemical to use when tackling a green pool, it can still be an incredibly useful product in the world of pool chemistry. Here are potential uses for baking soda in a pool.
Balancing pH Levels
Baking soda can help increase pool water’s pH level, making it less acidic. This can be useful for preventing corrosion of pool surfaces and equipment and for creating a more comfortable swimming environment. As a general rule, 1.25 pounds of baking soda can raise the pH levels of a 10,000-gallon pool by roughly 0.1 units.
More often than not, baking soda is used for its ability to raise the alkalinity level rather than the pH. This helps to stabilize the pH level and prevent rapid fluctuations. Add around 1.25 pounds of baking soda per 10,000 gallons to raise the alkalinity by 10 ppm (parts per million).
Stain Removal and Water Clarity
Mix baking soda with water to make a magic paste to help remove stains and grime from pool surfaces, drains, and equipment. Simply apply the paste onto the affected area, scrub with a brush, and rinse it off.
Baking soda by itself can also help with cloudy water in some cases.
Best Method To Clear A Green Pool
A green pool can be a headache for pool owners, but the best way to clear it is to use a combination of pool shock and algaecide. Here’s how.
Step One: Test and Balance the Water
When it comes to any pool issue, the first step is diagnosing what’s happened. Grab a fresh pool test kit to check if everything is within the recommended levels of pH, alkalinity, chlorine, and other essential parameters. This will help you determine if any specific imbalances contribute to the green water. Make sure to balance any chemical levels that are off.
Step Two: Shock the Pool
Shocking the pool involves adding a high dose of chlorine to the water to kill off any algae or other contaminants causing the pool to turn green. Calculate the amount you need using my pool shock calculator. Generally, 1 pound of shock per 10,000 gallons is the guideline. However, you may need to double, triple, or even quadruple shock your pool in some cases in cases of severe algae infestations.
Pour the shock into your pool at a steady, even pace while walking around the perimeter of the pool. Ensure to shock the pool in the evening after the sun sets.
Step Three: Run the Filter
Run the pool filter continuously after adding pool shock. After shocking the pool, run your filter for at least 24 hours. It’s important to clean the filter regularly during this process to prevent clogging and ensure it is working effectively.
Step Four: Add Algaecide and Brush the Pool
Around a couple of hours, add an algaecide to the water to help prevent algae from coming back. As the water clears up, use a pool brush to remove any remaining debris and algae from the pool surfaces.
Step Five: Assess and Adjust
Even if your water looks clear and blue again, test your pH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels again before jumping back into the pool.
Remember: preventing a green pool is far much easier than fixing one! Regular testing and adjustment of pool chemistry and routine cleaning and maintenance will go a long way in preventing any green from creeping back into your water.
Get My Free Pool Care Checklist
Download my free, printable pool maintenance checklist to help you accomplish regular pool care tasks for any type of swimming pool.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you clear a green pool with bleach?
Yes, you can clear a green pool with bleach. It contains a form of chlorine, sodium hypochlorite, which is a common chemical used to sanitize and disinfect swimming pool water. It’s not an ideal substitute for pool shock, though, since it’s weaker, so you’ll need to add more for it to work.
Will baking soda raise the pH in your pool?
Yes, baking soda is an alkaline compound that can help to increase the pH level of acidic pool water. When added to the pool, baking soda reacts with the acidic components in the water, such as carbon dioxide, and releases a small amount of carbon dioxide gas, thus increasing the pH level.
Can baking soda clear cloudy water?
Baking soda can help to clear cloudy pool water caused by low alkalinity and stabilize the pH of your water. However, it is not effective in all cases of cloudy water. This is because cloudy pool water can have a variety of causes, such as low chlorine levels, too much pH, high levels of dissolved minerals such as calcium, or the presence of debris or other contaminants.
Send me a message if you have any more questions about using baking soda or clearing a green swimming pool – I’m always happy to help!