Can You Clear a Green Pool With Bleach?

Written by Michael Dean
May 18, 2023

pouring bleach in a green swimming pool

Maintaining the clarity and hygiene of a pool is a full-time job, not to mention a financially demanding one. So, pool owners always look for helpful ways to keep their water clean, especially when the dreaded tinge of green shows up despite your efforts. As a pool owner, you should already know that shocking your pool with pool shock is the recommended way to deal with this issue, but have you ever wondered if you could use bleach to clear a green pool?

In this article, I will answer the above question, provide my step-by-step guide on clearing a green pool with bleach, go over other methods to clear a green pool, and more. Let’s get started!

Main Takeaways

  • You can technically clear a green pool with bleach, but it’s not usually recommended over regular pool shock.
  • To clear green pool water with bleach, balance your pool water, calculate how much bleach you need, pour in the bleach, brush and vacuum the pool, and test the pool water.
  • Your pool water is green due to poor circulation, low sanitizer levels, imbalanced pH levels, high levels of phosphates, or environmental factors.
  • Other ways to clear a green pool involve shocking the pool and using algaecide, enzymes, and/or flocculants.

Can You Clear A Green Pool With Bleach?

In short, yes, you can technically use bleach to clear a green pool.

First, let’s go over what causes a green pool. Green pools are generally caused by an overgrowth of algae due to poor maintenance or lack of sanitation (more on this topic below). Algae thrive in warm, stagnant water with high levels of organic material, such as leaves or debris. While there are several methods to clear a green pool, the most effective solution is using chlorine pool shock, but you can also use bleach.

Bleach is a household cleaning agent commonly used to sanitize surfaces and disinfect fabrics. It contains sodium hypochlorite (a type of chlorine), a disinfectant that can kill viruses, bacteria, and more. The same properties that make bleach effective for cleaning can also make it a useful tool for clearing green pools.

If you’re using bleach to clear a green pool, keep in mind that bleach is far lower in chlorine concentration than traditional granular or liquid pool shock. Household bleach typically contains 5-6% sodium hypochlorite, while pool-grade chlorine contains 10-90%, depending on the type of chlorine and the brand. But despite the lower chlorine content, bleach can still be a suitable method (albeit not the preferred method) to clear your green pool.

Step-By-Step: How To Clear A Green Pool With Bleach

Here’s my handy step-by-step guide to help you clear your green pool with bleach.

Supplies Checklist

  • Pool testing kit
  • Pool brush
  • Pool vacuum
  • Bleach

Step One: Balance Your Pool Water

Before adding any chemicals to your pool, you must first balance your pool water chemistry. Check the pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid levels using a pool water testing kit, and adjust them as necessary to ensure they are at the proper levels. To refresh your memory, the water chemistry levels should be:

  • pH: 7.2-7.6
  • Total alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
  • Calcium hardness: 175-275 ppm
  • Cyanuric acid: 30-50 ppm for chlorine pools, 60-80 ppm for saltwater pools, 30 ppm for hot tubs

Step Two: Calculate How Much Bleach You Need

The amount of bleach you need will depend on your pool size and the chlorine concentration of the bleach. Use my chlorine calculator to help you determine how much bleach to add to your pool.

Step Three: Pour The Bleach And Run The Pump

Pour the bleach around the edges of the pool. After that, run your pool pump and filtration system for at least 6 to 8 hours to circulate the water to distribute the solution evenly.

Step Four: Brush And Vacuum The Pool

The bleach will need all the help it can get! Brush the walls, floors, and steps of your pool to remove any visible algae or debris, and use a pool vacuum to remove any algae that have settled at the bottom.

Step Five: Test The Pool Water

After 24 hours, test the pool water to check the chlorine levels, which should be between 1-3 ppm (parts per million) for optimal sanitation. If the levels are too low, add more bleach as needed. If they are too high, wait it out a bit longer.

Why Is My Pool Water Green?

Green pool water is usually an indication of an algae infestation. Here are the reasons why you may be dealing with this issue.

Poor Circulation

Your pump is the first line of defense against an algae infestation. If the pool water is not circulated and filtered enough, it can lead to areas of stagnant water where algae can easily multiply and grow.

Low Sanitizer Levels

If the pool’s chlorine or other sanitizer levels are too low, it will not effectively kill any possible bacterial or algal infestations.

Imbalanced pH Levels

You should keep your pH levels balanced between 7.2 and 7.6. If the pH levels are too low, the water becomes acidic, which can make the water corrosive and dangerous to swim in. On the other hand, if the pH is too high, the water becomes alkaline, which can cause the chlorine to become less effective at killing bacteria and other harmful microorganisms and creates the perfect environment for algae to thrive.

High Levels Of Phosphates

Phosphates are a nutrient that can come from various sources, such as fertilizers, leaves, and debris that fall into the pool. When there are high levels of phosphates in the pool water, it can act as a food source for algae, allowing it to grow and thrive.

Environmental Factors

Leaves, grass, rain, and other organic matter can fall into the pool, carrying contaminants that could cause your pool water to turn green.

Contaminants From Swimmers

Another common way algae blooms can enter your pool is on swimmers’ bathing suits. If you or other swimmers have recently gone swimming in a natural body of water or another pool, it is a good idea to wash or at least rinse off your swimwear before jumping in the pool. Regardless, it’s always good practice to take a quick shower before swimming in your pool.

Other Methods To Clear A Green Pool

In addition to using bleach, there are other ways to clear a green pool.

Pool Shock

Of course, the most effective method of clearing a green pool is to shock the water. Shock treatment involves adding a high dose of chlorine or other sanitizers to the pool to quickly kill off any bacteria, algae, or other microorganisms that may be present.

When shocking the pool, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid causing damage to the pool and harm to swimmers. And always test the water to ensure the chlorine levels are back to normal before jumping back into the pool!


Algaecide is a chemical that is specifically designed to both kill and prevent algae growth. There are many different types of algaecides, and when used in conjunction with pool shock, they are pretty effective in clearing up a green pool.


Enzymes are natural compounds that help break down organic matter, such as leaves, grass, and other debris contributing to algae growth. They work by digesting organic matter, making it easier to remove from the pool.

Flocculant Or Clarifier

Flocculants and clarifiers work by causing particles to clump together, making them much easier to filter out. While this can be an effective method for clearing up cloudy or murky water, it’s not as effective for clearing up a green pool. But used with pool shock, it can help speed up the process of clearing the pool.

Tips For Preventing A Green Pool

The best way to clear a green pool is to prevent it in the first place. Here are my top tips for preventing a green pool.

Test The Water Regularly

Test the pool water at least once a week to ensure that the pH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels are properly balanced. If they are out of range, adjust them immediately. This is the most efficient step any pool owner can take weekly to prevent algae growth and ensure the water is safe for swimming.

Keep The Pool Clean

Remove any leaves, branches, or other debris that fall into the pool. This will help prevent organic matter from building up in the pool and provide a food source for algae. If you find this too much of a chore, consider investing in an automatic pool cleaner.

Brush And Vacuum The Pool Regularly

In addition to chemical treatments, manual cleaning is also necessary to prevent a green pool. At least once a week, brush the walls, floors, and steps of the pool to remove any visible algae or debris, and use a pool vacuum to remove any debris or algae that may have settled on the bottom of the pool.

Maintain Proper Circulation

Keep the pool water circulating properly by running the pool pump for at least 8-12 hours per day. Algae love stagnant environments. It is in your best interests to ensure it doesn’t get a chance to settle down in your pool because of pockets of stagnant, unfiltered water.

Shock The Pool Regularly

Shocking the pool with bleach or another shock treatment regularly can help kill any algae or other bacteria that may be present in the water, thus preventing a green pool.

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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fastest way to clean a green pool?

The fastest method is to use a combination of shock treatment and algaecide. When used correctly, this combination can effectively and quickly kill bacteria and algae and restore the pool to a clear state once again.

Can I use household bleach in my pool?

Yes, you can use household bleach in your pool, but as with any other chemical, use bleach with care. But keep in mind that household bleach is much weaker in strength than liquid chlorine or pool shock.

How long after adding bleach to your pool can you swim?

After adding bleach to a green pool, wait at least 15 to 30 minutes before jumping into the pool. But before you go for a swim, test the pool water to ensure the chlorine level is between 1-3 ppm. If the chlorine level is still too high, wait a bit longer.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any more questions about green swimming pools or using bleach.

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