4 Ways to Clear Cloudy Swimming Pool Water

Updated on July 9, 2018
Barack James profile image

Barack is a chemical engineer with a knack for pool chemistry. He has been in the pool maintenance industry for 8 years.

How to fix cloudy pool water
How to fix cloudy pool water

Cloudy Pool Water: Causes, Treatment, and Preventive Measures

Maybe you have a pool party tomorrow and you suddenly realize that your water is cloudy. Cloudy pool water is caused by improper levels of chlorine, imbalanced pH and alkalinity, faulty or clogged filters, and/or algae and debris. To clear cloudy water, remove algae and foreign particles, replace filter cartridges, and add the right amount of chemicals. If you have a severe case of cloudy pool water wherein combined chlorine reads above 0.5 ppm, then you will need to shock your pool immediately.

Why Is My Pool Cloudy?

  1. Improper or imbalanced chemicals: An improper chemical balance might mean there is too much or too little chlorine, the pH and alkalinity is imbalanced, or the water has high calcium hardness levels.
  2. Faulty filter: Poor filtration means you might not be running your filter long enough or the filter is dirty, which results in poor water circulation.
  3. Environmental factors and debris (particles): Dust, pollen, and leaves can build up in your filter and impede the cleaning process. Insects, bird droppings, and run-off water after a storm also contribute to cloudy pool water. Run-off water brings nitrates, phosphates, and other chemicals into your pool.

How to Clear a Cloudy Pool

  1. Balance chlorine levels
  2. Monitor pH and total alkalinity levels
  3. Clean or replace filters
  4. Remove foreign particles, scrub, and vacuum up the pool

Note: These instructions are for a chlorinated pool. Here are the instructions for clearing a cloudy saltwater pool.

Why Wrong or Imbalanced Pool Chemicals Cause Cloudy Water

Pool chemistry is the trickiest part of pool management. Using the wrong chemicals or adding incorrect amounts are the major causes of cloudy water and may even lead to algae if extra care is not taken.

  • Improper pH and chlorine levels: These are the most common culprits. The pH is not directly associated with cloudiness in the water, but it consumes and renders free chlorine ineffective when it's not balanced. And when the free chlorine level goes down, it forms combined chlorine (chloramine), which turns the water cloudy and is ineffective in killing bacteria and other organisms such as algae.
  • High total alkalinity (TA): You also need to closely monitor changes in the level of TA. A high TA causes pH and calcium scaling, both of which are associated with cloudiness. The process of lowering total alkalinity involves aeration after adding muriatic acid. This processes raises the pH to recommended levels.
  • Chemical imbalance: High levels of accumulated phosphate and bromine and imbalanced stabilizers, such as cyanuric acid (CYA) might also cause cloudiness. If you are using cyanuric acid often, make sure that the CYA and free chlorine levels are balanced because excess CYA will significantly reduce free chlorine. Use this chlorine/CYA chart to determine proper levels.

How Do I Know Which Pool Chemical Is Imbalanced?

In order to verify which of these chemicals might be imbalanced, you need an accurate, fast, and easy-to-use test kit. I use the LaMotte ColorQ Pro 11 digital water test kit. It saves me lots of time as it is easy to use and very effective for frequent use. It tests pH, free chlorine, combined chlorine, total chlorine, bromine, calcium hardness, total alkalinity, cyanuric acid, and other metals including iron, copper, biguanide, and biguanide shock all at a glance.

I then use a pool calculator to find the exact amount of each chemical to add. Ideally, the recommended chlorine levels should be around 3 ppm, which should be the same as the total chlorine if chloramine is at 0 ppm.

What's the Difference Between Free Chlorine, Combined Chlorine, and Total Chlorine?

Free chlorine refers to the chlorine that you add into the water. It differs from "combined chlorine," which is chlorine that has been used up, oxidized, or diluted with the ammonia and nitrogen compounds in the water. Unlike free chlorine, combined chlorine is ineffective at disinfecting and killing microorganisms. Total chlorine is the sum of free chlorine and combined chlorine.

Ideal Chlorine Levels

Total chlorine should be 3 ppm and Combined Chlorine should always be below 0.5 ppm (or 0 ppm if possible) to avoid chloramine.

1. How to Clear Cloudy Pool Water Caused by a Chlorine Imbalance

Low free chlorine levels are caused by heavy usage, heavy rainfall (which dilutes the chlorine), or hot sunny days when UV light oxidizes the free chlorine. If you have an outdoor pool, you can use a chlorine stabilizer, such as cyanuric acid, to prevent chlorine depletion as a result of direct UV light. Remember that cyanuric acid is very strong, and if it exceeds the recommended levels, free chlorine will disappear, and the water will turn cloudy and be at high risk of algae growth.

In summary, if your combined chlorine reads above 0.5 ppm, your water may turn cloudy and become unsafe for swimming. If this is the case, you need to shock your pool immediately.

How to Know If the Chlorine Is Imbalanced?

The wider the range between free and total chlorine, the more combined chlorine (chloramine) is present in the water. Combined chlorine should always read below 0.5 ppm or just 0 ppm, if possible. This means you should test chlorine levels on a daily basis and adjust it as appropriate before there's excess chloramine, especially during the summer when it's hot and the pool is used heavily.

Safe pH Level for Swimming

The correct level of pH in a swimming pool should be between 7.4 and 7.8, with 7.6 being the ideal level.

2. Monitor pH and Total Alkalinity

The concentration of pH in the water affects how all the water's chemicals function, including chlorine. When pH level gets too high, chlorine will become ineffective, and we all know how important chlorine is in a pool.

How to Balance the pH in Your Pool

To lower pH, you need to use a pH reducer (pH minus), such as muriatic acid or sulfuric acid. Anything below a pH of 7.0 is too low, and apart from turning water cloudy, this environment brings about harmful bacteria, such as algae.

To increase low pH levels, you need to use a pH Increaser (pH plus) with soda ash.

How to Balance Total Alkalinity (TA)

Finally, ensure that total alkalinity is within the required range of 80 ppm and 120 ppm to avoid bringing up pH levels and causing calcium scaling. To lower total alkalinity without extra equipment, add muriatic acid and aerate the pool to restore pH levels without having to add a pH increaser, which will increase alkalinity levels too.

3. Clean the Pool Filtration and Circulation Systems

A poor water-circulation system can also be a big problem. If your water cannot circulate properly, it will become stagnant and cloudy. To fix this problem:

  • Ensure that the return fittings (eyeball fittings) are turned to point down, which enables the water at the bottom of the pool to circulate properly. However, the circulation system will largely depend on how the pool was built.
  • Make sure you are using the right pump size to adequately clean the water.
  • Make sure the filtration system is running long enough. A filter should run 24/7 for the water to remain clean all the time. However, for home pools that are not busy, at least 8 -10 hours a day might suffice.
  • Remove particles that may be blocking your filter. Your filter system continuously cleans the water, and if it does not function properly, the water becomes dirty, cloudy, and may even develop algae. Large particles are fond of blocking filtration systems, especially diatomaceous earth (D.E) and cartridge pool filters.
  • Ensure that you regularly clean, backwash, or replace the D.E and cartridge filter medium as appropriate. Cartridge filters usually last 2,000 hours and should be replaced every 1-2 years, depending on usage.

Which Pool Filter Is Best?

There are three types of filters: DE (diatomaceous earth), cartridge (paper), and sand. Each has its own pros and cons. A DE pool filter is the most efficient when it comes to filtration, followed by cartridge, and the sand filters. Here is my detailed guide on types of pool filters, how to select the best one, and how to properly maintain it.

Private Pools

DE and cartridge filters are recommended for home pools and may not be the best when it comes to public pools (apartments or hotels) due to their tendency to clog. The filter medium for DE and cartridge filters also require frequent replacement.

Public Pools

A sand filter is always best when it comes to public or semi-public swimming pools, but the sand used in a sand filter also gets clogged and becomes ineffective, which may cause your water to be cloudy or dirty. Consequently, the sand should be replaced every year.

4. Remove Foreign Particles, Scrub, and Vacuum the Pool

The environment and weather may also be the cause of cloudy water. To fix and prevent cloudy water, follow all of the best practices below.

  • Foreign particles, small and large, may find their way into the water, especially during spring. Body oil and sunscreen from swimmers also washes off in the water and accumulates in the pool, causing cloudiness. You can use nets to remove visible particles, and you may have to use pool clarifier to clear up the water when cloudiness persists. Also, I prefer using pool flocculant and vacuuming the pool to do away with fine particles that cannot be removed by leaf net or clarifier.
  • Algae also causes cloudiness in its early growth stages. To remove algae, scrub and clean the pool using a large leaf net and vacuum: Then do a pool shock to get rid of any remaining algae. Control the amounts of pH, chlorine, TA, phosphate, and other pool sanitizers to prevent algae growth.
  • Free chlorine depletes more quickly in full sunlight, but if trees and buildings are next to your pool, direct sun will be blocked. If your pool is in direct sunlight, consider using a chlorine stabilizer (CYA) and a pool cover when not using the pool.
  • Rain also contributes to cloudy water because it dilutes and therefore reduces free chlorine levels. All you have to do is test the chemicals, paying close attention to the chlorine levels, and adjust them as appropriate.

Should I Use Algaecide?

You can, but the best method of getting rid of algae is to scrub, clean using a large leaf net, vacuum and kill it with a chlorine shock. You should only use algaecide once in a while for preventive measures and when green algae is just starting to show up: It is not useful when algae outbreak is immense and very visible. Furthermore, if you have black or copper algae, you may need a specific type of algaecide, which can be very expensive. Algaecide also causes the water to foam, which is an annoyance that some pool owners rather not deal with.

FAQs

Why Is My Pool Water Cloudy After Opening a Pool?

Depending on how carefully you closed the pool for the winter, at the beginning of summer, you may see algae and cloudy water.

The main cause is usually imbalanced chemicals. If your water is free of algae, all you need to do is test for all the chemicals and adjust. Starting with the pH, then the chlorine, and then other chemicals after that.

If the water still appears cloudy after adjusting all the chemicals, you can try using either water clarifier to remove the debris through the filter or use pool flocculant and then vacuum to remove any particles.

Why Is the Pool Water Still Cloudy After Shocking and/or Adding Algaecide?

Cloudy or milky water after shocking is normal, and the water should clear up after a day. Just make sure your pump and filter are running properly. If you add algaecide, keep in mind that some algaecide contains copper, which can actually make a pool cloudy. If the cloudiness persists 24 hours after shocking, then it's possible that you used a poor-quality chlorine shock. In this case, you should take another reading of free chlorine and do the shocking again using a higher-quality chlorine shock.

You should also check that all chemicals—especially pH, total alkalinity, cyanuric acid, and calcium hardness—are within the recommended levels.

Finally, debris could cause continued cloudiness in the water. You can try using a water clarifier to send all the particles to the filter, or you can use pool floc to gather the debris together and then vacuum it up using a manual pool pump.

Why Is the Pool Cloudy After a Rain?

Rain water brings dirt, mud, dust, and other contaminants that contain phosphate, which breeds algae. With the presence of phosphate, the water will start to become cloudy even before the algae begins to grow. If you know a storm or shower is about to come, make sure there is ample chlorine to counter the dilution that rain water will bring, and have the filter running during the rain.

Why Is My Pool Cloudy When the Chemicals Are Balanced?

When all the pool chemicals are fine but your water is still cloudy, there is a good chance that you have particles in your pool. In this case, a water clarifier is used to collect all the fine particles so that they can be picked up by the filter.

Alternatively, you can use pool floc (flocculant), also known as a super floc, which is a chemical that is used to bring all the clouding particles to the bottom of your pool forming a large cloud that you can then vacuum up using a manual pump. The particles collected using a pool floc will not pass through the filter like they would if a water clarifier were used. Make sure that your filter is set on the backwash or waste option when you are vacuuming to avoid any damage that may happen to the filter as a result of clogging.

Can You Use Baking Soda to Clear Up a Cloudy Pool?

NO! Baking soda is a base and will hugely increase the level of pH, which actually causes the water to turn cloudy. Some people may suggest using baking soda as a quick fix if alkalinity is high, but it is not a reliable pool chemical. Chlorine should be the only substance used to clear a cloudy pool.

Is It Safe to Swim in a Cloudy Pool?

You shouldn't swim in a cloudy pool for several reasons:

  • If you can't see the bottom of the pool, struggling swimmers will also be hard to spot, making the risk of drowning much higher.
  • Cloudy pools are full of bacteria and pathogens that can cause urinary tract infections, stomach problems, and eye irritation. The most common bacteria found in cloudy or dirty pool water is E. coli.
  • It's just plain disgusting. A cloudy pool is an indication that the water contains high amounts of dirt, body oil, sunscreen, spit, urine, sweat, and other gross particles.

Which tool do you use to measure and control your pool chemistry?

See results

Questions & Answers

  • I have been cleaning up a severely neglected pool and still have cloudy water and barely any visibility. I've been keeping chlorine levels as best as possible while lowering the pH to 7.0 but nothing helps. Any advice?

    I think there is a problem with your chemicals. Use an accurate test kit and take a reading of all the chemicals especially pH, Alkalinity, and Calcium hardness. Chlorine cannot balance when other chemicals especially pH is not within the recommended range and might be the reason why your water is cloudy. Your pH is a little lower and it should be between 7.4 and 7.6. So make sure you take accurate readings and adjust all chemicals before adding chlorine.

  • My water is cloudy in my swimming pool, and I have shocked it, used a clarifier, and cleaned the filter at least once a day. What could be wrong?

    Counter check to ensure that all chemicals especially chlorine, pH, Alkalinity, and calcium hardness are well balanced. You may also try using pool floc and vacuum the pool if that will clear your water.

  • My pool has been cloudy for four days now. I've done all the chemicals, vacuuming, backwashing etc. What do I do now?

    Counter check if your chlorine is balanced. Make sure your free chlorine is 3 ppm, and combined chlorine is 0 ppm. If not, add more liquid chlorine. Also, you can use pool clarifier, or add pool flocculant first and then vacuum if that will work out for you.

  • Why do people put baking soda in their pools?

    Baking soda is used as an agent to increase pH and Alkalinity level when lower than recommended.

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    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      2 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hello Shonnel, using baking soda in a swimming pool is not a good idea as it has a lot of side effects like affecting pH and Alkalinity at the same time and at a different rate. Instead, you can use pH plus and Alkalinity increaser to raise pH and Alkalinity respectively and Muriatic acid to lower both.

    • profile image

      Shonnell winckler 

      2 months ago

      What if I have already s used baking soda in my swimming pool?

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      2 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hello Ann, the problem might be with the chlorine shock you are working with; try using plenty of liquid chlorine to shock the pool. Also due to the heat, free chlorine must be eaten up at a higher rate and you might need a chlorine stabiliser(cyanuric acid) to help keep chlorine in the water longer.

    • pool addic profile image

      Ann Wilson 

      2 months ago from North Las Vegas

      I went to my local pool store (I have a 16' x 16' x 48" above ground, 6,000 gallons) to find out why it was cloudy (I live in Vegas..115 degree heat each day..pool temp is 92 - 96). I was told it had no chlorine and I have 2 3" tablets in it at all times. I was told to add a bag of shock and that every other reading was perfect. I did that and the next day added a line of clairifier then vacuumed the pool the next day. I went back 3 days later cause it was still cloudy. He took another reading and said NO chlorine and I need to add shock every 3 to 5 days. He said to add another bag of shock (did at 5:30 pm) and to add a bag of Fresh & Clear (non-chlorine shock) 4 hours later (did at 10:30 pm). Kept pump running all night and was told all I would have to do the next day was clean the filter and it would not be cloudy. I went out at 7:00 am and pool is still cloudy. I pulled the filter cartridge from pump (2500 GPH) and it was like new, nothing on it. Why is it still cloudy?

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      3 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Yes Aquamahn, the post worth reading to keep away cloudy water and have a trouble-free pool in the summer.

    • profile image

      aquamahn 

      3 months ago

      read this

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      3 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi Ginger, please take accurate readings for other chemicals in the pool especially the alkalinity, calcium hardness, and any stabiliser you are using and make sure they are all balanced before adding chlorine. Chlorine will not balance until all chemicals are balanced.

    • profile image

      Ginger 

      3 months ago

      I have an in ground concrete pool that has a painted surface. The ph is 7.5, I had the water tested and it does not have a metal problem but will not sustain chlorine. I have put 17 pounds of shock and 4 gallons of liquid chlorine in since 06/20/18, 5 lbs of shock last night at 6pm and this morning at 6am there is NO chlorine in pool and it is still cloudy. I have been battling with this for a month now. Any advice?

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      4 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi Chrissy, you are not doing anything wrong, just keep vacuuming the pool till all the sand are removed. Also make sure your chemicals are all balanced all the time to avoid pool problems like cloudy water and algae.

    • profile image

      Chrissy 

      4 months ago

      My pool water is cloudy and i have been doin everything right. I found out that one of my kids through sand in my pool. So I been vacuuming making sure the filter is clean I have good levels. I just dont know what else to do can someone help me figure out what i need or if im doin something wrong

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      4 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hallo Teresa, to reduce the pH, you need to add pH reducer into the pool. Unfortunately, for Calcium Hardness to be reduced, the pool has to be partially drained and replace with fresh water.

    • profile image

      TERESA 

      4 months ago

      CLOUDY BLUE POOL TESTED STRIPS SAY PH HIGH AND HARDNESS HIGH

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      4 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hallo Smith, confirm that all chemicals in your pool are well balanced especially Chlorine, pH, TA, and Calcium hardness. Again, runoff water which sometimes carries phosphates and nitrates into the pool might be the cause of the persistent cloudy water, so try testing for these substances. However, if you just opened the pool recently, don't mind as the water will eventually clear up as you continue maintaining the chemicals in the water. On another though, make sure that there are not debris in the pool since pool floc works only when there is dirt in the water. Finally, your filter might be clogged, try backwashing your filter so that you can be sure it's not the filter.

    • profile image

      mac smith 

      4 months ago

      i have a 44 thousand gallon in ground pool have shocked it used clarifiers and the sand filter is only a year old even tried floc that helped out a lot but it still has just that kinda cloudy in it where i can barely see the bottom at 6 foot deep. what is it that i do next to get rid of the cloud that is driving me crazy. the chemicals are almost perfect the clorine is just a little high.just dont know what else to do.

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      5 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi Sam, if chlorine level is OK, the cloudiness could be as a result of small debris. Try pool flocculant and then vacuum the pool.

    • profile image

      Sam GR 

      5 months ago

      Hello, I have a 30,000 gallon in-ground pool with a liner. We had it opened a couple of weeks ago. We purchased new filter cartridges (3 days ago) and have been cleaning them once a day. The water levels seem balanced. The water is still cloudy - blueish color. When the company came to open the pool, they added 25# alkalinity as well as 25# calcium. I have used clarifier as well. We have a variable speed pump - we have been running it at 2850 RPM for 24 hours per day for the past 3 days. What can i do to clear it up?

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      5 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      This is kinda a hard job being that it's a Well and you cannot drain the water and replace with a fresh one. The only option for you is to saturate the Well water by adding a strong acid like Muriatic acid as directed; while this will not directly reduce the Calcium levels, it will balance the water and take care of the hardness caused by the Calcium. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Scott 

      5 months ago

      Hi I have to much calcium in my well water, how do I fix it?

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      11 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi Rupra, the cloudiness must be as a result of insufficient chlorine in the pool. Test for Chlorine and ensure that it is 3ppm. Also measure for all other pool chemicals like pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and see that they are all balanced. If chlorine and all other chemicals are balanced but the pool is still cloudy, try using pool clirifier and then vacuum the pool as the white substance at the bottom might be particles or dirt accumulated when people are swimming. Good luck!

    • profile image

      G S Rupra 

      11 months ago

      Cloudy water and off white think at the bottom please advise

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      13 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hallo Tammy, the first step you should take is make sure that your pH remains stable between 7.4 and 7.6. Try using a stronger pH plus so that you can get the pH higher faster. After the pH is stable, take the reading for chlorine and make sure that total chlorine is reading 3 ppm and not less. Chlorine level cannot stabilize unless your pH is stable so work on it first. The cloudiness is always due to low chlorine levels.

    • profile image

      Tammy Ortega 

      13 months ago

      I am new to pools. I have a 30k gallon built in pool that has been cloudy for several days. I took a sample to the local pool store and the only level off was a low PH below 6.8. I purchased GLB up because the PH was low and I'm not sure how long it takes to work or how to know if it's even working. I don't know what my next step should be because it doesn't look like any changes habe occurred

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      13 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Welcome and good luck!

    • profile image

      Katertater 

      13 months ago

      Thank you for your response!! It was very prompt I think! I have not heard of this so I will definitely give it a try!

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      13 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi Katertater, phosphate remover may just reduce phosphate levels in your water but will not clear up the cloudiness. There must be another course of the cloudiness may be pH or alkalinity levels if not chlorine. If all chemicals are OK but your water is still cloudy, you will have to try pool floc to collect all the particles at the bottom of the pool first and then vacuum the pool, or use pool clarifier which will remove all the particles through the filter. High level of phosphate means your water has some foreign bodies like dirt, body lotion, hair products etc etc that needs to be removed. Finally, continue adding chlorine shock after using pool floc or clarifier and run your pump high for 24 hours and you will see some change. Sorry for the late response though.

    • profile image

      Katertater 

      13 months ago

      I have an above ground 24 ft round 5000 gallon pool. Up until about 2 weeks ago the water has been crystal clear. We maintain out pool very well. My husband tests it everyday and adds chemicals when needed. We have backwashed the pool, vacuumed the bottom, shocked it and it is still very cloudy. Took a water sample to out local pool place and they tested the water and all levels tested perfect. Chlorine was a little high but all the other areas was great. They did a phosphate test and we have a high level of phosphate. Purchased phosphate remover yesterday, poured the whole bottle in the pool as told and used two bags of shock as told and today the water is still cloudy. Even more cloudy then yesterday. Can't see the bottom of the pool. I don't know what else to do and really want the pool nice and clean for Labor Day weekend. PLEASE HELP.

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      13 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi 4boymomrealness, a light green color means your pool is developing algae. An algaecide should make some changes, however if you notice no change, you will have to use a little of liquid chlorine to shock that pool until it clears up and do it fast before algae gets too much: Add 1 pound of chlorine to your 5000 gallon pool and watch it for a few hours as it clears up. The pool is not safe for swimming until the green color and cloudiness clear up.

    • profile image

      4boymomrealness 

      13 months ago

      Hello, all of my chemical readings in the pool are at almost perfect levels and my pool is still super cloudy. I went to my local pool place, and they said try algae cleaner, did that, scrubbed and vaccumed bottom and sides.. was shocked last night, nothing. Still really milky light green color. What can I do to clear it?? Is it safe for my kids?? It's an above ground 5000 gallon pool, had it for years, this has never happened for this long before, always was able to clear it, but this time ots been about 2 weeks. Thank you so much for any help or advice you could give.. we live in the south and it's HOT lol.. thank you again in advance.

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      14 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Yes Bonebrake, add more chlorine and make sure it is stable at 3 ppm all the time. If your pool is located where there is a lot of sunlight, you can add a sterbilizer (Cyanuric acid) in your water to help keep chlorine stable. Just see that you balance all the pool chemicals in your water and everything will be OK.

    • profile image

      Bonebrake 

      14 months ago

      Everything finally tested where they are suppose to except the free chlorine that said it was low on the test strip. The cloud sits on the bottom usually on the opposite side of the filter. I usually vacuum because I have tried to use the stuff that makes the particles go to the bottom of the pool and it's usually clear water after that until I vacuum and all the cloudy stuff goes back into the water. The particles go right through that cloth bag that they give you with the cheap vacuum that you use with the hose. If the chlorine and everything is testing fine would I still shock the pool to get rid of this cloud? This cloud has got smaller now that everything is testing better but it's still there. Does it take awhile after the chemicals are balanced before this cloud will go all the way away?

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      14 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi Bonebrake, how are your chemicals reading? I suspect your chemicals especially chlorine not in the correct balance. Ensure that Total Chlorine is always 3 ppm and combined chlorine not more than o.5 ppm all the time. Also, ensure that your pH is within the range 7.2 up to 7.8. If all the chemicals are balanced but your water is still cloudy, try using pool clarifier to clear the cloudiness. Vacuuming may not help unless you are certain your pool water has some particles.

    • profile image

      Bonebrake 

      14 months ago

      I have a 14 ft round above ground pool. I have had nothing but issues with the pool this year. I finally got all the chemicals where it is suppose to be but it keeps getting this cloud that settles in the bottom of the pool. When I go to vacuum up the stuff at the bottom of the pool it just goes through the filter bag and makes the pool cloudy all over. So much that you can't see the bottom of the pool. When the chemicals where not as controlled I had a slimy stuff that would go into the filter. The filter I have jus sits on the side of the pool and uses a size A paper filter. The vacuum I use is just one that uses the hose and has a bag that gets debris off the bottom but this cloud just goes through it. I have used it one of chemicals this year to get control over this and still has issues. I thought is was algae starting but it wouldn't go all the way away and it's not green. The cloud isn't green it's whitish

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      15 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi sunny, from the look of things, the problem is caused by your chemical readings: Your free chlorine is a little lower. You need to raise the level of free chlorine to settle between 2.5 ppm and 3 ppm and the combined chlorine should not exceed 0.5 ppm. That means you need to shock your pool using chlorine and make sure you do free chlorine test on a regular basis and adjust the level as appropriate and you will not have a cloudy pool.

      Also, Alkalinity (TA) should be kept between 80 and 120 ppm for pools with liners and between 100 and 125 ppm for pools made of plaster, which means the TA is slightly higher and you need to lower it a little using using muriatic acid. Muriatic acid also lowers the level of pH and extra care needs to be taken not to add a lot of it.

      Finally, your Calcium Hardness is too low: If you have a plaster pool, you need to keep calcium hardness between 250 ppm and 350 ppm and do it as soon as possible to avoid dissolving calcium out of plaster, tiles, and concrete. This could be the main reason why your pool water looks a little cloudy all the time.

      For a trouble-free pool, make sure you test your chemicals regularly and adjust them appropriately: Find out more about when to do test for your chemicals and the recommended levels for each chemical in the following link: https://hubpages.com/living/Swimming-Pool-Chemistr...

    • profile image

      sunny 

      15 months ago

      My pool has a little cloudy, I can see the bottom, but the water not very clear. Every reading is good: FC 1.8, TC 2.4, CC 0.6, PH 7.6, Hardness 180, Alkalinity 126. The pool doctor let me use Super Clarifier, running pump 8-12 hours, then turn pump off for 6+ hours, waiting particles fall to bottom of the pool. Then vacumm on Waster or Drain. I have done that, but the water always a little cloudy. Why? Thanks.

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      15 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi Portia, algaecide is not very necessary to use if you are using chlorine shock in your pool unless there are some signs of algae presence in the pool. Just make sure your chlorine is always 3 ppm by shocking your pool regularly and you wont have any algae growth in your pool. However, if you feel algae cleaner is good for you, you can do it on a weekly basis by adding .25 ounce for your 1,200 gallons above ground pool.

      For pH up, 1,200 gallons above ground pool will need about half a cup, while pH down may be as little as less than a quarter of a cup depending on how far your pH has drifted. you can use this Kem - Tek guide for more info about adding chemicals to a pool: http://www.kem-tek.com/kemtek_howto/how-pool-dosag...

    • profile image

      Portia 

      15 months ago

      I have a above ground small 1,200 gallon pool how much algae cleaner and ph up or down do I use for such a small pool! HELLLP Please!

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      15 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi Bob, you can use pH Reducer to get the level down to the range of 7.4 ppm - 7.6 ppm, then test for total chlorine and ensure that it reads 3 ppm, if not, add some chlorine shock to get total chlorine up to 3 ppm and the pool will clear up.

    • profile image

      Bob 

      15 months ago

      I added PH Rise directly to pool accidentally and water is milky. How do I fix this?

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      15 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi Sheila, ensure that pH is between 7.4 ppm and 7.6 ppm and total chlorine is reading 3 ppm for the water to clear up. If all the readings are ok but water is still cloudy (white), that means your pool has some dirt, try using water clarifier to collect and remove any dirt that may be present in your pool and all will be fine.

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      15 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      I'M happy for your progress Matt. Yes, once you get chlorine stable at 3 ppm you can swim. You will need to add more of liquid chlorine (shock) and maintain it at 3 ppm (total chlorine). See more about how to shock your pool and how often you should do every pool chemical test and adjust them as appropriate in this link: https://dengarden.com/swimming-pools/Shocking-a-No...

    • profile image

      matt 

      15 months ago

      Hi, I'm nearly there now just getting the chlorine in...once everything shows as "ok" or near ok on my test strips we can dive in right?

      How often then should I test the water and re-balance etec if neccessary? Thanks so much again for your help. M

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      15 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Yes Matt, try a stronger pH Increaser and add Borate if you can...

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      15 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi Matt, increasing pH should not be a big problem, maybe you can try a different or stronger brand like Pool & Spa pH Increaser if the pH+ you are using is not working out. Also, you can use some Borate to help stabilize the pH and all will be fine. About the foam, I think it has taken too long to clear up, you can try one of the best foam removers to clear the foam.

    • profile image

      Matt 

      15 months ago

      Me again hello! I'm baffled the foam is clearin as you said but still there. The TA is now in the OK band but I've been adding ph+ as you said to get that right first and that reading is still at the bottom of the scale?? Hadnt added anything yet to raise TA any ideas please this won't be sor ted before winter at this rate lol

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      16 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Douglas, try using more liquid chlorine shock and a stabilzer (Cyanuric acid) if that can work for you; 0 free chlorine may be also as a result of excess sunlight which can be controlled using Cyanuric acid. Also, Zinc helps prevent reaction between free Chlorine and Brass or any other metal, you can give zinc a try if all fail to work for your pool. Vacuuming may also work in case you have debris in your pool, you can use pool floc and then vacuum the pool using a manual pool pump.

    • profile image

      Douglas H. 

      16 months ago

      Barack, thank you for your reply, it was very much appreciated. That may be the cause of my cloudy water, I can't seem to raise the free chlorine level, it's at 0 despite everything else being OK. I keep putting burnout in the pool but it dose't raise the free chlorine level. According to the pool company, there are a lot of people in this area ( Upstate NY) who are having the same problem of not being able to rise the free chlorine level.

      Thank you again.

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      16 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi, Douglas, even in a right concentration, Chlorine reacts with any metal including stainless metal objects through corrosion. So the brass object will put free chlorine to more use and may make your pool water look cloudy due to low free chlorine in the pool.

    • profile image

      Douglas H 

      16 months ago

      Would a brass object in the pool make the water go cloudy and prevent a rise in the chlorine level?

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      16 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi, Terri, Sorry for everything. Which color is your pool water? Is it green, yellow, or black? If your pool water has one of the colors means you have pool algae. To get rid of algae, first, ensure that pH is reading between 7.4 ppm and 7.6 ppm. Secondly, you need to use more chlorine shock up to 12 ppm and leave it to work on the algae until the color clears up. If the pool is cloudy though, that means you have low free chlorine levels, ensure you do chlorine test and if it is below 3 ppm, add chlorine shock to raise the level up to 3 ppm (total chlorine), alternatively, if you have a test kit that can test for chloramine, ensure that chloramine is 0 ppm or not more than 0.5 since chloramine is the substance causing a cloudy pool water. If you are certain your pool is not affected by algae, and it is not cloudy too, that means you have sand in your pool as a result of a faulty sand filter: If that is the case, vacuuming the pool won't help the situation and you have to replace the sand urgently, after replacing the sand, you can use pool flock to collect all the debris present in your pool to the bottom of the pool then vacuum it to remove all the particles and your pool will clear up. Feel free to communicate any progress or problem for more help.

    • profile image

      Terri 

      16 months ago

      Please Please Help! My divorce left me all alone with a house I am having hard time managing.

      I have an In-ground Pacific oval shaped pool with an offset step in the shallow end. The pool is size 17 by 35 feet. The liner was replaced in 2004 and the loop lock cover was installed in 2005. It has a sand filter.

      I didn't open it last year. I didn't know that was a big no no! My filter has been running 24 hours a day for two weeks. I have put in 25 gallons of shock. The pool guy I hired to help me says that I have 2 inches of slugged on the bottom of the pool. I guess everything has been getting through the loop lock pool cover that looked fine to me. The deep end has been vacuumed twice and I keep brushing the edges and still can’t see the bottom. I know the sand needs changed which I have asked them to do many times now. I don't want to kill the filter or my electric bill fund. What do I do in this situation? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

      Thanks!

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      16 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Welcome Matt, Goodluck!

    • profile image

      Matt Faulkner 

      16 months ago

      Blimey - what a lot to do - yes have been skimming the soap off for a while now (even before I wrote to you) water underneath looks lovley though!

      I am just using a cardboard strip you dip in the water and then compare to a chart. Thanks again will be on it again tomorrow. M

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      16 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi, did you try using hand skimmer to remove the foam? If the foam persists you can use "Bestway Clear-Water Foam Remover" available on Amazon or at your local pool store. About the chemicals, you could have used liquid chlorine for faster results since it dissolves faster than chlorine tablet. I am not sure of the test kit you are using but make sure Total Chlorine is 3 ppm (free chlorine at least 2.5 ppm). The pH also is still too low, use pH increaser to raise pH levels to 7.4 - 7.6 ppm. Total alkalinity should be kept between 80 and 120 ppm which means your TA is still too low, use baking soda (alkalinity increaser) to raise the TA level. Don't add the chemicals at the same time, start with pH then chlorine then TA: Here is a link to how chemicals should be reading for a pool https://hubpages.com/living/Swimming-Pool-Chemistr... - feel free to communicate any progress.

    • profile image

      Matt Faulkner 

      16 months ago

      Hi, me again! Sorry for another question - I've "inherited" this pool and trying to get it round. Amazingly I had done most of the stuff you kindly sent me on your last post but I then took a reading of the pool:

      Free chlorine - 0

      Alk 40 ppm

      Ph 6.2

      Chlorine tablets dissolving slowly as I write, not sure how to get the other two readings up though - could you advise please (I think that may help get rid of the soap suds too?!) Thanks again Matt

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      16 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Welcome Matt

    • profile image

      matt faulkner 

      16 months ago

      Thanks so much - being patient with the damn thing! M

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      16 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi, Matt, the foam is obviously caused by the expired pool shock you used. The form will eventually clear up just give it time, or you can speed up the process by using hand skimmer to remove excess foam. Once the foam clears and your pool is still green, make sure you shock your pool with a good and high-quality chlorine shock or algaecide. Also, ensure that the pH and Alkalinity readings are within the recommended levels before shocking the pool. Here is a link to a complete guide on how to clear a green pool: https://dengarden.com/swimming-pools/clearing-up-a...

    • profile image

      Matt Faulkner 

      16 months ago

      Hi, my pool was green I shocked it but the shock stuff was 6 months out of date (with hindsight!) I know have a saopy type film on the top of the pool and it just bubbles when it goes through the filter. I have added chlorine but waiting for it to dissolve...any other ideas how to get rid of the stuff please?

      Many thanks

      Matt

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      16 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      You are so welcome Orlando

    • profile image

      Orlando 

      16 months ago

      Thank you so much for your response.

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      16 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      You are much welcome Karen...

    • profile image

      Karen 

      16 months ago

      Thanks again. Thinking that may be the problem.

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      16 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Karen, are you using a sand filter? If so, the brown silt at the bottom of the pool means your sand filter is faulty letting sand to come out into the pool making it appear cloudy. Stop vacuuming the pool and ensure that your filter is ok. See more about taking care of sand filter here: https://dengarden.com/swimming-pools/Swimming-Pool...

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      16 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi Orlando, NO, you cannot add chlorine shock, pH increaser, and metal control at the same time. If both pH and free chlorine are reading low, the first thing you should do is to ensure that pH level is somewhere between 7.4 to 7.6 ppm before adding chlorine shock. Secondly, shock your pool so that free chlorine reaches 1.5 ppm. Free chlorine of zero will make pool algae grow in your pool. See how to shock your pool here: https://dengarden.com/swimming-pools/Shocking-a-No...

    • profile image

      Karen 

      16 months ago

      Thank you. I have been vacuuming because there is a fine brown silt that is collecting on the bottom of the pool. Hard to vacuum as it is so fine it dispurses like a puff of dust as soon as the pump is turned on. Frustrating mess.

    • profile image

      Orlando 

      16 months ago

      Hi Barack, my question is this...can I add shock, pH up, and metal control at one time? I've been going through this process to de-cloud pool since last Wednesday. Also free chlorine remains at 0 and I cannot get up, how can I fix this?

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      16 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi Karen, total or calcium hardness will not make your pool appear cloudy. Calcium hardness of 250-350 ppm is needed mainly to protect pool parts such as tiles, plaster, or concrete from corroding. If your chemicals especially chlorine reading is ok, you can try vacuuming the pool if that will help. Also, check to ensure that your pool filter is working properly and filter medium (ie sand) not worn out if any.

    • profile image

      Karen 

      16 months ago

      Pool water is cloudy and when using a test strip it shows all levels good except very low total hardness. Everything I read states this will not cause a cloudy pool but high hardness levels will? Help!

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      16 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi Chan, a stabilizer does not clear a cloudy pool. A stabilizer is only used to help maintain chlorine levels, especially on sunny days to protect chlorine from UV light that consumes chlorine at a very high rate. I suggest you measure free chlorine level and ensure that it is around 1.5 ppm, if not, you need to shock your pool using chlorine. See how to shock your pool: https://dengarden.com/swimming-pools/Shocking-a-No...

    • profile image

      Chan 

      16 months ago

      My levels are good except for the stabilizer. . I added a stabilizer to the pool to and the water is still cloudy. What else should I do?

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      16 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi Sara, I don't think there is a problem with the sand. The sand can work as long as 5 years if the pool is not very busy unless it is a commercial pool. You should try backwashing your filter, remember it is recommended you backwash your sand filter at least once a week. If backwashing your filter does not work, then try vacuuming your pool to remove any particles that may be present in your pool. How to back a sand filter: https://dengarden.com/swimming-pools/Swimming-Pool...

    • profile image

      Sara 

      16 months ago

      We had our cloudy pool water tested ad were told all levels were good and swimmable. It was suggested to use a clarifier but that hasn't worked. Should we look at changing out the sand in our filter? We purchased house in December of 2015 and sand hasn't been changed since. Not certain when it was changed before

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      16 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi Lynnette, until you balance all the chemical readings in your pool it will not clear up. Use muriatic acid to get TA down. Also ensure Ph and free Chlorine are balanced.

    • profile image

      Lynnette 

      16 months ago

      I have high chlorine, high free chlorine, low pH and high Alkalinity. I have backwashed the pool the last two days, cleaned filters and ran pump 24 hrs. Cannot get rid of cloudy water. Pool is in ground 32,000 gallons, water is cold. Daily temp mid 6o's outside, opened it two weeks ago and cannot get it clear.

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      17 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Hi Richard, high levels of Phosphate means your pool is about to turn green since Algae feeds on phosphate. Phosphate remover is not enough. You need to shock your pool using chlorine and maintain the right level of free chlorine all the time.

    • profile image

      Richard 

      17 months ago

      All the readings on our pool are good.

      Our water has been tested an our phosphate are high. We have added phosphate reducer twice in the last 3 weeks. We have vacuumed an back washed everyday. An our pool is still cloudy.Any suggestions.

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      22 months ago from Green City in the Sun

      Don't mind Andrew; you can still clear the cloudiness, just follow the steps illustrated in this page and you are good to go. I don't understand why you put acid into the skimmer but that alone cannot damage or turn your pool cloudy. Cloudiness may be as a result of chlorine PH or Chlorine levels in your pool. Check on the two and make sure they are balanced.

    • profile image

      Andrew 

      22 months ago

      I put acid sraight into skimmer box now pool has gone cloudy have i damaged the pool

    • Barack James profile imageAUTHOR

      Barack James 

      3 years ago from Green City in the Sun

      Cheryl; from my own experience, I guess you are using Linear-Quat algaecide containg "Alkyl dimethylbenzylammonium chloride", which tends to foam, stop using it: Rather, next time try Poly-Quat 60 algaecide, which has the ingredient "Poly{oxyethylene(dimethyliminio)ethylene(dimethyliminio)ethylene dichloride}", this is a situation of get what you pay for. The foams will eventually breakdown but after about one week; you can use chlorine shock to speed up the algaecide breakdown.

      Also, vinyl and sometimes plaster pools with insufficient calcium tend to foam: If the issue is not the algaecide you are using, try raising Calcium Hardness (CH) levels to at least 100-150 ppm. Hope that helps!

    • profile image

      Cheryl Cheff 

      3 years ago

      Added algacide to pool and have had white foam on top for 3 days. How do I get rid of it?

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