How Much Bleach Should You Use In Your Pool?

Written by Michael Dean
May 11, 2023

bleach pouring into a swimming pool

As a household product, bleach is important for anyone looking to obliterate germs and undesirable contaminants. As a pool product, bleach can take on varied uses, from guarding the water against algae to stain removal and even deck sanitization. But if you’re unsure how to use bleach and exactly how much bleach to use, this article is for you.

Today, I’ll cover how much bleach to use, how to add it to the pool, what happens if you add too much, and more. Get to know this versatile household chemical!

Main Takeaways

  • The amount of bleach you need in your pool depends on your pool volume and current chlorine levels.
  • If you add too much bleach to your pool, this could lead to health hazards, damaged pool equipment, and altered pH levels.
  • After adding bleach, wait 4-5 hours for chlorine levels in the water to return to between 1-3 ppm and test before getting into the water.
  • Bleach is an efficient solution against germs, bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants.
  • It can be used for several purposes besides pool sanitization, such as spot-cleaning algae, stain removal, and deck and equipment cleaning.

How Much Bleach Should You Use In Your Pool?

The amount of bleach you should use in your pool depends on the size of your pool and the current level of chlorine in the water. As a pool owner, you should be familiar with the golden standard for chlorine levels, which is 1-3 parts per million (ppm).

To determine how much bleach you need to add to your pool, check the chlorine levels in your pool. Then, calculate the amount of bleach needed based on the volume of your pool. Use my pool chlorine calculator to determine how much bleach to use.

Make sure to pay particular attention to the concentration percentage. Generally, household bleach usually contains around 5-6% chlorine, whereas pool-grade chlorine will have anywhere between 10-90% chlorine.

How to Add Bleach to the Pool

Here’s my handy step-by-step guide to help you add bleach to your swimming pool.

Step One: Calculate How Much Bleach is Needed

First, you’ll need to calculate how much bleach you need to add to your pool. Use my chlorine calculator linked above to help.

Step Two: Pour the Bleach

Gently pour the required amount of bleach into the pool water while walking around the perimeter of the water, starting at the deep end. I recommend pouring the bleach into the pool after the sun goes down at night.

Step Three: Add Stabilizer (If Needed)

Test the water for cyanuric acid using a test strip or liquid drop test kit. The CYA levels should be between 30 and 50 ppm, and if your pool does not have enough, add a stabilizer to your pool. To do so, mix the stabilizer in a bucket of pool water and then pour it into your skimmer.

Step Four: Circulate the Water

If your pump isn’t already circulating the water, turn it on so that the chlorine (and stabilizer) can mix evenly and distribute throughout the pool.

Step Five: Wait For the Bleach to Circulate

Wait a bit and allow the bleach to circulate in the water for at least 15 to 30 minutes before swimming. And before you jump in, make sure to test the water and ensure the chlorine level is balanced between 1-3 ppm.

Step Six: Make Adjustments as Necessary

Depending on the chlorine level in your pool, you may need to add another dose of bleach. Repeat as needed.

Can You Add Too Much Bleach to the Pool?

Yes, you can. Balancing water chemistry for your pool requires restraint, careful consideration, and a rational approach. Dumping too much bleach into the water can cause a range of problems.

Health Hazards

The primary problem you may have to deal with when it comes to high levels of bleach would be skin irritation, which could come in the form of rashes, other skin conditions, or eye irritation, such as redness, itching, and discomfort. In addition, accidentally swallowing or inhaling the water could affect your lungs or even irritate your stomach lining.

Damaged Pool Equipment

Excess bleach can corrode the metal components of your pool equipment, such as ladders, rails, and diving boards. You could also encounter faded or stained pool liners and plaster.

Altered pH Levels

Adding too much bleach to the pool can significantly increase the pH levels, making the water too alkaline, which can cause cloudy or discolored water and leave behind deposits of hardened residue on your expensive equipment.

Is it Safe to Use Bleach in a Pool?

Technically speaking, yes, it is safe to use bleach in a pool as long as you use it correctly and follow safety instructions. As it is a chemical, you must handle bleach with care, and remember: never mix bleach with any other cleaner or other chemicals! Doing so can lead to toxic fumes. When handling bleach, as with any other chemical, wear protective gloves and goggles, keep the substance out of reach of children and animals, and store it safely in a cool, dry area.

How Long After Adding Bleach To Your Pool Can You Swim?

After you’ve added bleach to your pool, it’s best to wait at least 15 to 30 minutes to allow the bleach to dissolve and for the chlorine levels in the water to fall between 1-3 ppm again.

The time depends on your pool size and the type of bleach used. I suggest checking the levels of chlorine with a test strip before allowing anyone to swim in the pool to ensure that the chlorine levels are within safe limits.

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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Liquid Chlorine vs. Bleach

When it comes to chemical makeup, bleach, and liquid chlorine are nearly the same, but the key difference lies in the concentration of chlorine.

Household bleach typically contains a lower chlorine concentration than traditional pool-grade chlorine products. Bleach typically contains roughly 5-6% sodium hypochlorite (a type of chlorine), while liquid chlorine generally has a sodium hypochlorite concentration of around 10%, depending on the manufacturer. The chlorine concentration affects the effectiveness and dosage requirements of each product.

Another difference is that bleach can sometimes contain additives, such as fragrances, dyes, or thickeners, that are not found in liquid chlorine. These added ingredients can affect the performance of bleach in a pool. When using household bleach in a pool, you must ensure that the bleach used does not contain any additives. Look for a product labeled as unscented or free from additional ingredients that may cause adverse reactions or affect your pool water’s chemistry.

Other Uses For Bleach in a Swimming Pool

Bleach can be used for several purposes in your pool besides shocking. Here are a few other uses for bleach in a swimming pool.

Algae Treatment

If you notice algae growth in your pool, you can use bleach for spot treatment. To do so, first, dilute the bleach with water in a bucket at a ratio of one part bleach to three parts water. Use a nylon pool brush to scrub the affected areas with the bleach solution. Then, allow the solution to sit on the algae for around 15 minutes before rinsing it off.

Keep in mind that although bleach can be used to spot treat algae, the best way to deal with algae is to shock the pool and use an algaecide.

Stain Removal

Bleach can be used to remove stains from pool surfaces. Mix a solution of one part bleach to three parts water and apply it to the stained area. Using a soft brush, scrub the area in gentle, circular motions and rinse thoroughly.

Deck Cleaning

You can also use bleach to clean the deck surrounding your pool. Using a mild solution of one part bleach to three parts water, apply it to the deck using a mop or a pressurized sprayer and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping the surface down with a clean rag. This is especially useful after a crowd-heavy event if you’re looking to neutralize any bacteria or contaminants left behind by guests.

Equipment Cleaning

Bleach can also be used to effectively sanitize pool equipment such as skimmers, brushes, and vacuum heads. Mix a solution of one part bleach to ten parts water and soak the equipment for half an hour. Then, rinse thoroughly with clean water before using. Do NOT use bleach directly on soft materials such as fabric, canvas, or tarp!

Have more questions about how much bleach to use in your swimming pool? Let me know!

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