How Long Do You Have to Wait to Swim After Adding Muriatic Acid to Your Pool?

As a swimming pool owner, in the eternal quest to keep a pool clean and balanced, you have to handle a lot of chemicals. And chemicals can be very hazardous substances, especially when mishandled. One chemical in particular that needs a cautious and responsible approach is muriatic acid.

In this article, I will answer how long you have to wait to swim after adding muriatic acid (and other chemicals) to the pool water and other frequently asked questions regarding the safety of muriatic acid.


Main Takeaways

  • Waiting for 2-3 hours after adding muriatic acid to the pool is acceptable, but always test your pool before getting in.
  • Muriatic acid is a high-risk chemical and dangerous to use without proper protective gear.
  • When adding muriatic acid to the pool, work slowly, in stages, and in an area clear of pets or children.

How Long Do You Have to Wait to Swim After Adding Muriatic Acid to Your Pool?

Muriatic acid is a substance that requires careful consideration before use. It is commonly used in pool maintenance to lower pH levels, clean pool surfaces, remove algae spores, and remove scaling.

Since it’s a hazardous substance, you can’t just jump into the swimming pool after using it in your water. Instead, you must wait a bit before diving back into your pool. The recommended waiting time after adding muriatic acid to your pool is typically around 2-3 hours. However, this may vary depending on the specific product used, the amount used, the purpose for it, and the size of your pool.

I cannot stress enough how crucial it is that you carefully read (and follow) the manufacturer’s instructions and follow any specific recommendations provided by the manufacturer.

Even after you wait the recommended 2-3 hours, do not dip your toes in before you’ve tested the water chemistry and ensured it’s safe for human use again. A pH range of 7.2 to 7.6 is considered safe for swimming.

How Long Do You Have to Wait to Swim After Adding Other Pool Chemicals?

In addition to muriatic acid, there are several other pool chemicals you need to use to maintain the cleanliness and safety of your water. It’s handy to know how long to wait before swimming after adding them, just to be on the safe side!

Chlorine

The time you need to wait before swimming after adding chlorine to your pool varies depending on the type of chlorine used. For example, if you use granular chlorine, I’d say wait for around 3-4 hours before swimming. But if you use liquid chlorine, you can probably swim after 15-30 minutes of running the filter. To be safe, test the water levels before getting in. Chlorine needs to hover between 1-3 ppm (parts per million).

Algaecide

Like chlorine, the waiting time after adding algaecide can vary depending on the specific product used. But generally, you should wait at least 15-30 minutes to get into the water after you add algaecide.

Bromine

Bromine is an alternative to chlorine that is sometimes used to sanitize pools. After adding bromine to your pool, the waiting time is around 2-4 hours, or until the bromine levels drop to 3-5 ppm.

Pool shock

Since shock is an intense treatment, you must wait 12-16 hours before getting into the pool again. And make sure the pool pump is running the whole time! Always test the water before getting back in.

Stabilizer

After adding cyanuric acid, wait at least 4 hours before using the pool again.

Once again, please remember to check the product label for instructions and take the necessary safety precautions to protect your health and the safety of you and your family! If you are in doubt regarding adding any chemicals to a pool, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional for help.

Is Muriatic Acid Dangerous?

In short, yes. Muriatic acid is a colorless (or slightly yellow), highly acidic solution with a pungent, irritating odor. It is a corrosive and toxic substance that can inflict severe burns, making it quite dangerous. If handled carelessly, you risk serious skin irritation, permanent damage to your eyes, and major respiratory conditions.

How To Safely Use Muriatic Acid

Handling a hazardous chemical like muriatic acid requires care and attention. If you’re looking to decrease pH levels, but you’re a first-timer to muriatic acid, or you simply need to refresh your knowledge, here is a checklist to help you safely add the chemical to your pool:

1. Grab Your Safety Gear

Before doing anything else, wear the appropriate protective gloves, safety goggles, and a respirator mask to protect your skin, eyes, and lungs from acid fumes and stray splashes. This step is not optional!

Even a tiny splash can cause bad burns on your skin. There shouldn’t be any pets or children in the area as well. If your pool is indoors, make sure the room is well-ventilated.

2. Dilute the Acid

Muriatic acid is a concentrated substance that has to be diluted before adding it to your pool. If added directly, the solution will be way too potent. The recommended dilution is one part acid to ten parts water. Use a 5-gallon plastic bucket to mix the acid and water, and make sure to add the acid to the water and not the other way around. 

3. Pour the Acid Solution Slowly

Walking around the pool, pour the diluted muriatic acid gently and slowly into the pool water in short sections. No sudden movements. Avoid your skimmer or return jets or any pool equipment. Aim for large empty areas of the pool. You do not have to pour continuously, just go clockwise and add the solution to the pool until the bucket is empty.

4. Turn On Your Pump

After adding the muriatic acid, you must let the water circulate. You need to ensure the chemical spreads and dissolves as much as possible. Run the pump for a couple of hours to thoroughly mix the water and help the acid diffuse evenly.

5. Test the pH Levels 

After a few hours have elapsed, test your pH levels. If you’re still seeing high readings of pool pH levels, you could try dosing the pool once more with muriatic acid.

6. Store the Acid Safely

After using muriatic acid, stash it somewhere safe, preferably in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area. Keep it away from children and pets, and make sure to label the container with a hazard label, a proper warning, and instructions.

By following these steps, you can safely use muriatic acid to maintain the pH balance of your swimming pool. And it’s not just muriatic acid; handle any pool chemical with care if you are not overly fond of personal hazards and injuries. Always err on the side of caution!

Do you have any questions? Let me know; I’ll be happy to help.

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