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7 Causes of Cloudy Swimming Pool Water and How to Clear It

How to Fix Cloudy Pool Water

How to Fix Cloudy Pool Water

Cloudy Pool Water: Causes, Treatment, and Preventive Measures

Cloudy or milky swimming pool water is caused by seven main issues: improper levels of chlorine, imbalanced pH and alkalinity, very high calcium hardness (CH) levels, faulty or clogged filter, early stages of algae, ammonia, and debris. This article will cover the seven main ways to clear that cloudy water and get your healthy pool back.

7 Ways to Clear Cloudy Pool Water

  1. Balance free chlorine (FC) levels.
  2. Eliminate ammonia.
  3. Get rid of young algae.
  4. Monitor and balance pH and TA levels.
  5. Correct calcium hardness (CH) levels.
  6. Backwash filter or replace filtering agent.
  7. Remove foreign particles and mineral deposits, scrub, and vacuum up the pool.

Start by Taking a Free Chlorine Reading and Balancing It

The first and most common cause of cloudy water is low free chlorine levels. Low free chlorine indicates you have chloramine (combined chlorine) that turns the water cloudy, and smells more of chlorine. With too much chloramine, the chlorine cannot sufficiently sanitize your pool water by killing harmful germs and bacteria, so algae and ammonia grow rapidly.

As such, if your pool water is cloudy, the first thing you should do is to measure your free or combined chlorine; you can get the value of combined chlorine by deducting the value of FC from Total Chlorine.

If you have your FC below 3 ppm or combined chlorine (CC) above 0.5 ppm, whether it's a saltwater or non-saltwater pool, FC is low and you need to shock your swimming pool immediately to fix cloudy water and kill bacteria before you get algae or ammonia in your pool.

If you have a saltwater pool and it's cloudy, the damage is already done, and raising the percentage setting in your saltwater chlorine generator (SWCG) or your pump's run-time will not help much in clearing cloudy water. You have to shut down your SWCG and shock your saltwater pool manually using harsh chlorine just like non-saltwater pools.

Could It Be Ammonia or Algae Starting Up?

In rare circumstances—especially during the beginning of summer when swimming pools are opening after closing for winter—your pool may have severe cloudy water that is difficult to clear. FC and cyanuric acid levels drop to zero or close to 0 ppm, there are very high CC levels, and there is a high demand for chlorine in your water, but FC levels will not rise easily, even after adding a lot of chlorine. If you notice these signs in your swimming pool, you have ammonia and you need to use a lot of chlorine to get rid of ammonia in your pool.

Early stages of algae make pool water look cloudy and dull. To be sure it is not algae starting up, perform an overnight chlorine loss test (OCLT), which is done by adding chlorine to pool water in the evening when the sun is down to avoid depleting FC and taking the FC reading the following morning. If FC levels drop by more than 1 ppm through the night, the result is positive, and you have algae starting up—and the sooner you get rid of the algae the better. Ammonia and algae come as a result of low FC levels, and the only way to keep them away from your pool is to maintain proper FC levels.

More Reasons Why Your Pool Is Cloudy

  1. Imbalanced chemicals: An improper chemical balance might mean there is too much or too little chlorine, or the pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, or stabilizer (cyanuric acid) levels are imbalanced.
  2. Faulty filter: Poor filtration means you might not be running your filter long enough, you have clogged or worn-out filter cartridges, or there is scaling on the filter, which all result in poor water circulation.
  3. Environmental factors, debris (particles), and minerals deposits: 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 or rain also contribute to cloudy pool water. Run-off water brings in minerals including nitrates, phosphates, silicates, and sulfates into your pool that may make your water cloudy.

Wrong or Imbalanced Chemicals Cause Cloudy Water

Pool chemistry is the trickiest part of pool management. Using 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 affects how chlorine and other chemicals work in your water. Very high pH usually leads to calcium not dissolving properly, causing cloudy pool water and calcium scaling both in saltwater and non-saltwater pools. On the other hand, if your pH gets too low, chlorine becomes very reactive and depletes very fast, forming lots of combined chlorine (chloramine), which turns the water cloudy and is ineffective in killing bacteria, algae, and other microorganisms in your water.
  • 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 process raises the pH to recommended levels.
  • High calcium hardness: Very high calcium hardness levels in pool water will lead to excess calcium, which can't dissolve in water and accumulates in your pool. This causes cloudy water that won't clear up and calcium scaling inside the pool, and sometimes scales might clog your filter—leading to poor filtration and dirty or cloudy water. The only way to lower CH levels is to partially drain and refill your pool water. As such, remember to keep CH levels between 200 and 400 ppm all the time.
  • Other chemical imbalances: 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. You might end up with severely cloudy water when bacteria converts cyanuric acid to ammonia. Use this chlorine/CYA chart to determine proper FC to CYA levels for your pool.

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 PoolMath by TFP 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 available chlorine that can sanitize your water. It differs from "combined chlorine," which is chlorine that has already been used up, oxidized, or diluted with the ammonia and nitrogen compounds in the water. Unlike free chlorine, combined chlorine is ineffective after disinfecting and killing microorganisms. Total chlorine is the sum of free chlorine and combined chlorine.

Ideal chlorine and combined chlorine to avoid chloramine in your pool.

Ideal chlorine and combined chlorine to avoid chloramine in your pool.

1. How to Clear Cloudy Pool Water Caused by Low Free Chlorine

Low free chlorine levels are caused by heavy usage, heavy rainfall (which dilutes the chlorine), or hot sunny days when UV light oxidizes lots of 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 to clear it.

Liquid chlorine or sodium hypochlorite is the best option for a daily free chlorine boost, because it does not affect pH, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid in your water, which make pH, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid scale high above the recommended levels—leading to cloudy water, metal stains, ammonia, algae, and other pool problems.

How to Know If Your 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 level of pH in pool water affects how all other 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. High pH also makes water look dull, and it should always be within the recommended range.

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 causing ammonia and 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 sand filters.

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 a 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, pay close attention to the chlorine levels, and adjust them as appropriate.

5. Can I Use Algaecide to Clear Cloudy Pool Water?

You can use an algaecide to kill early stages of green algae that might make your water appear cloudy, but the best method of getting rid of algae is to scrub and clean your pool using a large leaf net, vacuum, and kill algae with liquid 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 full green, black, or yellow algae, you may end up using a lot of algaecide, which can be very expensive and the best result is not guaranteed like when you use liquid chlorine. Some algaecides may also cause foaming or deposit copper metal in your water when used in large quantities.


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 a water clarifier to remove the debris through the filter or use a pool flocculant and then vacuum to remove any particles.

Why Is It Cloudy After Shocking and/or Adding Algaecide?

In most cases, your pool water may still be cloudy but FC is fine or high. Cloudy or milky water after shocking is normal, and the water should clear up within an hour or so. 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 liquid chlorine (sodium hypochlorite).

You should also check that all chemicals—especially pH, total alkalinity, cyanuric acid, and calcium hardness—are within the recommended levels. Remember that calcium hypochlorite chlorine shock and chlorine tablets are not recommended for daily pool sanitization, because they raise calcium, pH, and cyanuric acid in your water. You need to be extra careful when using them, or else these chemicals will get off the chart, causing cloudy water, algae, or ammonia in the long run.

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

What About 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 a 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?

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.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: 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?

Answer: 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.

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

Answer: 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.

Question: Cloudy material settles to the bottom of pool. When vacuumed, it comes back into the pool through the return inlet completely nullifying the vacuum process. What should I do?

Answer: Cloudy material coming through the return jets might be caused by two issues; sand sediment from your filter and air bubbles.

If it's sediment means, it means your filter is faulty and you need to replace your cartridges or clean your filter.

However, if it's bubbly, that is normal especially within few days of pool opening and will rectify soon. Air bubbles passing through the returns sometimes leads to poor filtration and that might be the cause of cloudy water coming to your pool through the jets.

Question: Why do people put baking soda in their pools?

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

Question: I have a 15 X 52 size above ground pool, the water was getting green so I added two 1lb bags of shock and turned on the filter but the water is still cloudy. I think I was supposed to add one bag instead of two. Will it clear up by itself? Do I need to add something else to fix this?

Answer: If your pool was green, it means you had algae. I don't know your chemicals readings and it could have been better if you included readings for FC, Cyanuric acid, pH, TA, and CH.

Also, you need to use liquid chlorine (sodium hypochlorite) since it won't affect your pH and Calcium hardness like Calcium hypochlorite and your pH and Calcium might get off the chart making your water more cloudy, but if you know what you are doing it's fine.

If you reached the recommended shock level in relation to Cyanuric acid level then your water will finally become clear. If it doesn't become clear within 24 hours then you might be having debris, ammonia, or algae is still present in your pool and you have two options:

1. Brush the walls and bottom of your pool then use poolfloc to collect any debris at the bottom of the pool then vacuum the pool to remove all dirt.

2. If it's not clear after brushing and vacuuming it, chances are high that you have ammonia or algae is still there: Test pH and lower it to around 7.2 if it's more than 7.4, then use liquid chlorine (preferably) to raise your FC to around 12ppm with cyanuric acid level of 30ppm, watch how FC will work by testing your FC level after 30 minutes, if FC drops below 4ppm quickly raise it back up to 12ppm and repeat the process until FC becomes stable between 4-6ppm, leave it to come down to 3ppm then raise Cyanuric acid to 40ppm and your water should come clear.

Make sure you balance all the other chemicals in your water including Calcium hardness.

Question: 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?

Answer: 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.

Question: I need to vacuum the bottom of my pool. However, I don't have a backwash on my filter. What should I do?

Answer: Backwash is very important for the pool water to clear up properly when vacuuming. However, you can try putting the pump off and then set the valve to rinse and watch the viewing bulb if the water will clear up within 2 minutes without backwashing. Try and fix the Backwash though.

Question: To have chlorine last longer in your pool what do you control?

Answer: To have Chlorine last longer in your pool you need to add stabiliser such as Cyanuric acid, which protects Chlorine from being deleted by UV light. Stabiliser is recommended during hot sunny days.

Question: My pool is still cloudy after using a flocculant. Why is this?

Answer: Counter check that all the Chemicals, especially Chlorine, pH, TA, and Calcium hardness are well balanced. Normally, cloudiness in a pool of water is associated with insufficient free Chlorine which should be 3 ppm always to keep away chloramine. Also, try backwashing your filter since it might be clogged. Pool floc only works when the water has dirt, and that means there is no dirt in your pool. The issue might be with your chemicals or filter.

Question: I have zero CA, ph levels about 7 and free chlorine at normal levels but my pool remains cloudy. What’s the best course of action?

Answer: Cyanuric acid shouldn't be at Zero for an outdoor swimming pool because chlorine will deplete faster in hot and humid weather, leading to cloudy water. If your FC is at normal level of 3ppm, raise Cyanuric acid level to 40 ppm and you will reduce chloramine levels that make your water appear cloudy.

Also, if you are sure your chemical readings are all fine, add poolfoc and vacuum your pool since you might have debris in your pool. Make sure you use a reliable test kit like Lamotte ColorQ Pro or Taylor test kit to give accurate readings.

Question: How do I reduce the chlorine level in my pool?

Answer: Don't worry about high chlorine levels, just leave your pump running for 24 hours and chlorine level will reduce by itself. Make sure you are using an accurate test kit to measure chlorine and other chemical levels in your water before adding any chemical in your pool.

Question: I was told to put 40lbs of baking soda in my pool. A week later my 12000 gallon pool has not cleared up but also has turned white. I put in some shock and 1 bottle of a clarifier. Waste water and added more water daily. Still not clear. Is the baking soda making the pool white?

Answer: You don't use baking soda to clear a cloudy pool water. Only chlorine should be used to clear a cloudy water. Your water turns cloudy because of low free chlorine(FC) level in your water. You need a reliable test kit like LaMotte ColorQ Pro or Taylor Test kit to measure your FC every day and add more liquid chlorine(sodium hypochlorite) shock to maintain FC at 3ppm all the time. If your FC goes below 2.5ppm, that means you have a lot of chloramine(combined chlorine) that is more than 0.5ppm in your water, which turns your water cloudy. Baking soda will raise your pH and high pH is dangerous since it can cause metal stains and also turns your water cloudy. As such, only use liquid chlorine to raise your FC to 3ppm every day whenever it goes below 3ppm especially after heavy swimming in the evening. Here is more on how to shock your swimming pool:

Question: I have a 70,000-gallon pool. How much granulated chlorine should I add daily? My pool always has algae.

Answer: Try using chlorine bleach (liquid chlorine) instead of granulated chlorine; this will clear and help keep away algae from your pool. Free chlorine should always be at 3ppm to avoid algae and cloudy water.

Question: We’ve just moved into a place with a pool and it’s my first time having to maintain a pool. It was standing for about a week without the pump running. The pool is blue but it is still quite cloudy. We’ve let the pumps run for a day and while I was scrubbing the bottom there was a sort of cloudy sediment that was at the bottom of the pool, after the pumps ran for a few ours the cloudiness still hasn’t cleared?

Answer: You need to do accurate water test using a reliable test kit to know exact chemical levels starting with FC.

If your FC level is low, cloudiness will not disappear until you add chlorine so that free chlorine level is stable at 3pp.

Also, blue stuff might be algae, which also comes as a result of low FC.

You can start off by measuring and balancing all chemical levels starting with FC and Cyanuric acid, then pH and TA, and finally CH. Here is more on how to shock your pool:

Question: Last year, I used chemicals that did not contain chlorine because my daughter has sensitive skin. There were a lot of problems with algae on the bottom of the pool (it is in full sun). This year I am using traditional chlorine but can’t seem to get the chemicals up. We have shocked it three times, but chlorine, ph, alkaline are all extremely low. Is there something we should try? There is also a lot of dead algae floating through the water, and the water is cloudy.

Answer: Firstly, you need to brush all the surfaces inside your pool to remove any sticking algae: You can then use a large leaf net to remove large debris from the water, and vacuum the pool to remove all fine particles.

Secondly, correct the pH level (7.4-7.8) first by adding pH Increaser before adding any chemical in the water.

Thirdly, tripple-shock the pool using stronger Chlorine like In The Swim calcium hypochlorite (3pounds for 10k gallons) to kill all the algae; depending on the number of algae in the pool, it may take 2-3 days for the pool to clear up. The filter should run 24 hours a day for faster results.

Finally, after the algae is over, balance all the chemicals starting with Free Chlorine (3 ppm) then raise TA using alkalinity Increaser to read between 80-120 ppm.


1. How to balance pH and TA:

2. How to get rid of pool algae:

Question: I have white particles in my pool and it's really cloudy. What is the problem?

Answer: White particles in your pool might be because of high Calcium levels in your water and it won't dissolve anymore. Confirm your Calcium Hardness level and make sure it is between 250 to 350ppm for plaster pool to avoid further Calcium saturation and scaling. You need to be very careful with your Calcium levels in your water because the only way to lower Calcium in your water is to partially drain and refill your pool water till you get the recommended levels.

Which chlorine are using to shock your swimming pool? Calcium Hypochlorite (granular) chlorine comes with high Calcium levels and in long the run will raise your Calcium levels without knowing it. We recommend using Sodium Hypichlorite (liquid chlorine) to shock your pool, otherwise, you will have to balance your calcium hardness level every time you shock your pool using Cal hypo.

Apart from scales and white particles, high Calcium levels will also make your pool appear cloudy. Low calcium level will also corrode plaster from your pool and the white particles could be plaster or cement, as such, always make sure your Calcium level is within the recommended range.

Question: Can I add more water to cloudy pool water?

Answer: No, cloudiness means your free chlorine is too low. Add more chlorine shock and the cloudiness will eventually disappear.

Question: Why is my pool still cloudy?

Answer: If you are sure it is not chloramine or ammonia causing that cloudiness, try back-washing your filter or replacing your filter media if you have not done that in 4-5.

Question: I cannot keep the pool water clear without using a flocculant on it every week. I NEVER EVER had to do this before, as 8 hrs. of filter operation with Polaris running, would get it crystal clear. Could I have purchased some inferior sand from Home Depot? That seems to be the only difference.

Answer: Have you tried backwashing your sand filter? The sand could be clogged reducing its efficiency in filtering your water. I am also assuming you replaced your filter sand not long ago, you should be doing so at least after every 4 to 5 years. I am not sure of the quality of the filter sand you bought but there are better quality alternatives like filter glass or ZeoSand that you can try out if you see no change after a backwash.

Question: What do you do for cloudy pool water?

Answer: Cloudy pool water normally means chlorine is low in the water forming chloramine that makes water cloudy. Simply do the Chlorine test and make sure your free Chlorine is 3 ppm.

Question: My pool is cloudy and I have shocked it four times already. The test strip is still showing no chlorine. What could be the issue?

Answer: You can try using a better quality or liquid chlorine and see if there is a change. Secondly, test all other chemicals especially pH, TA, Calcium Hardness and be sure that they are all balanced since a wrong composition of these chemicals will affect free chlorine. Finally, you can try adding chlorine stabilizer such as Cyanuric acid to help maintain free chlorine levels.

Question: Will low hardness cause my chemicals to not work and my pool to be cloudy?

Answer: Yes, low calcium hardness may affect other chemicals in the pool especially chlorine causing cloudy water and may also damage pool parts made of cement and glass. 250 to 350 ppm is ideal for plaster pools.

Question: Can low calcium hardness cause cloudy water?

Answer: Low calcium hardness(CH) is not associated with cloudy water but it causes damage to pool parts, especially to plaster, vinyl liners, grout in between tiles, metal rails, and concrete around the pool. Your water may appear cloudy though as a result of corroded plaster or cement. You need to raise your CH as soon as possible to avoid damages that might cost you a lot to repair.

Question: We have a Doughboy 12x24, filled with well water. We had the water tested many times at the pool store, followed chemical recipes, and the water is still cloudy. We used Drop Out, waited overnight, saw excessive debris, almost like D.Earth from our filter, on the floor of the pool. We vacuumed the DE and/or other debris, but within minutes the whole pool is cloudy again. How do we keep our pool from becoming cloudy?

Answer: Seems your pool filter is faulty. How is your pressure gauge? If it rises you may need to backwash and rinse your filter since it might be clogged. Also, consider replacing your DE filtering agent if worn out and that might be the reason why you have DE and other debris in your pool.

Question: How should chemicals be added to the pool?

Answer: First, you must have a reliable test kit that can measure all chemicals in a swimming pool including Free Chlorine(FC), Total Chlorine(TC), pH, Total Alkalinity(TA), Calcium Hardness(CH), and Cyanuric acid(Chlorine stabilizer). Add chemicals directly to your pool while filter and pump are on. Measure your chemical levels and add the right amount to raise the chemical level to the recommended range/level. Some chemicals you will test on a daily basis and adjust as appropriate like FC level, other chemicals can be measured after a couple of days to 1 week and their levels adjusted as appropriate. Here is more about all swimming pool chemicals you must have and their recommended levels:

Question: My pool is very foggy. We had the water tested and they said that the problem is the chlorine stabilizer. The level of chlorine is too high and won’t be able to go down. It’s saturated. They said the only solution is to empty 3/4 of the water. Any suggestions?

Answer: If Cyanuric acid level is not within 30 to 60ppm for nonsaltwater pools. If higher than that, you may have to drain a portion of your pool water and replace with fresh water to lower Cyanuric acid level. Also, if using tablet chlorine to shock your pool, you need to watch both chlorine and Cyanuric acid level because tablet chlorine will hugely increase your stabilizer levels in water. I recommend you use liquid chlorine to sanitize your pool because it won't raise levels of Cyanuric acid in your pool.

Question: My pool is cloudy, chlorine and pH levels are fine and I have changed the sand just yesterday. What could be the problem?

Answer: Try using pool flocculant then vacuum the pool to remove any particles that might be present in your water.

Question: I have shocked my grandkids pool, it holds 639 gallons of water, but the water is cloudy. What do I do next?

Answer: Check out your chemicals readings, especially Chlorine, pH, Alkalinity, and Calcium hardness and ensure that they are all balanced. Low chlorine level is the primary cause of cloudy water. Firstly, ensure that pH is stable between 7.4 and 7.6, and then balance your free chlorine to read 3 ppm; combined chlorine should be at 0 ppm. If all the chemicals are balanced, but water is still cloudy, there might be fine particles inside the pool, and you need to use a clarifier or pool flocculant and then vacuum up the pool. If all do not work, try backwashing your filter since it might be clogged.

Question: What happens if I put too much shock in my pool?

Answer: Very high levels of free chlorine can damage pool parts as a result of corrosion. You only need high FC levels when getting rid of algae or ammonia in your swimming pool where you have to reach high shock levels and maintain the level until you kill all algae or ammonia. If you have algae or ammonia in your pool, I recommend using liquid chlorine(sodium hypochlorite) that will not alter pH, Calcium, or Cya levels like granular or tablet chlorine.

Question: Our pool has turned cloudy blue and can't see bottom after adding soda ash, it's been 48 hours and has not cleared up. Tried backwashing etc. Pool people recommended a bag of balance pack 200 for low ph. Post this they still can't register a ph level. What do you think?

Answer: You don't need to add soda ash in a cloudy pool. You need chlorine to clear chloramine by raising FC level to at least 3pp and maintain it there. Blue or greenish colour might indicate green algae and if so, you need a lot of liquid chlorine (preferably) in order to kill algae.

Question: I added citric acid to my pool to remove a stain. I realized later that was a mistake, since it eats up chlorine. How do I get out of this trouble?

Answer: Leave the pump running for a day or two for the citric acid to be used up, then balance the pH and chlorine starting with the pH.

Question: Is it possible to use a pool floc if you have a cartridge filter?

Answer: Yes, you can use pool floc in a pool with any type of filter. Pool floc collects debris and dirt at the bottom of a pool and you need to Vacuum the pool to remove all the debris after using pool floc.

Question: Our pool was completely clear. We had to get a new furnace. The chemicals are all where they need to be but the pool got really cloudy. What can we do to clear it up?

Answer: Try using poolfloc and vacuum the pool, you might be having debris in your water.

Question: I super shocked my pool after putting in 4kg of alkajuster and now the pool is cloudy. Will it clear on its own and how long will it take?

Answer: If sure all chemicals are balanced, you can try using poolfloc to collect any debris at the bottom your pool then vacuum the pool.

Question: Why would the water go cloudy when adding PH up?

Answer: What is your pH level? If higher than 7.8, the chlorine will not be effective in sanitizing your water and turns cloudy.

Also, your FC level might be low and if you raise pH, available chlorine will be weak and that means your water turn cloudy.

Question: How do you balance free chlorine?

Answer: First, you need an accurate test kit to measure your total chlorine and free chlorine. Total Chlorine is the sum of combined and free chlorine. In most cases, your total chlorine and free chlorine should be same or close and the wider the range, the more your combined chlorine will be, which makes your pool appear cloudy.

So when balancing free chlorine, make sure it reads 3ppm, which means your combined chlorine(noneffective chlorine) should always be 0ppm or slightly above 0ppm but not more than 0.5 ppm. In short, just make sure your free chlorine is always 3ppm by taking readings daily and adjusting it to 3ppm. You can use liquid chlorine for daily shocking, and Calcium hypo chloride for cloudy and algae infected pool.

Question: I had about 10 kids swimming in my pool for about five hours. Then a few days later my pool started to go cloudy with low chlorine. Could this be due to the number of kids and length of time they were swimming or could there be another issue?

Answer: Free Chlorine is used up heavily when a swimming pool has a lot of swimmers swimming for a long time. You could have measured and added more chlorine for FC to read 3ppm immediately after they left the pool.

Question: Our pool was installed about 1 1/2 weeks ago and was filled with very hard water from the fire dept. We have been cleaning the filter daily. We added shock treatment, Muriatic acid, clarified, phosfree (two bottles) and a bottle of mineral and stain control, Not all at one time, but following instructions, our pH is low, and our pool is cloudy. There is no algae. What do we do now?

Answer: Balance the pH first to be between 7.2 and 7.6. After Balancing pH, add liquid chlorine in the pool and make sure free chlorine is stable at 3 pmm; cloudiness will disappear only after you balance chlorine.


Rob on August 13, 2020:

Thanks Barack. I appreciate the feedback.

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on August 13, 2020:

You need to lower stabilizer first. I am sorry but the only way to lower cya is by draining and refilling the pool. I suggest you stop using stabilized chlorine to shock your swimming pool since they add cyanuric acid in your water.

Rob on August 13, 2020:

Hi Barack,

Thank you for the reply. I'm confused about the Cy Acid as it seems to be in range (30 to 200 according to my local pool store and my last two readings are 100 and 102). Also, I had my pool refilled just last July so the thought of refilling, even partially, is quite upsetting. Is there anything else I can do to lower the Cy Acid (and what have I done incorrectly to cause the high CYA)? Also, should I begin to raise Calcium Hardness now or wait until I address the CYA? For reference I have a 23,000 gallon pool, vinyl liner. Thanks

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on August 13, 2020:

You also need to raise your calcium hardness as it's too low, it should read between 250ppm and 350ppm.

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on August 13, 2020:

Hi Rob, the problem seems to be high Cyanuric acid level, the higher the stabilizer level the more chlorine you will need to clear cloudy water. Lower the Cya level to read between 40ppm to 60ppm by draining and refilling a portion of your pool water.

High phosphate levels also contribute cloudy pool water. Get phosphate remover and lower phosphate levels in your pool.

Rob on August 12, 2020:

Hi Barack,

As a follow up to the below I had my water tested again on Monday and gave the cartridges a thorough hosing off this morning. They were pretty dirty. Unfortunately, the pool seems even cloudier than the previous days. Readings from Monday: Free & Total Chlorine both were 4.96, Combined Chl - 0, pH 7.3, Hardness 90, Alkalinity 75 (raised Monday seems fine now via test strips), Cy Acid 102 phosphates 698 ppb, Copper & Iron - 0. I did use a clarifier Monday evening which didn't seem to do much but I probably should've cleaned the filter cartridges before hand (I just cleaned them today). Any thoughts? Thanks

Rob on August 10, 2020:

Hi, after heavy rains from the hurricane last Wednesday my crystal clear pool is somewhat cloudy - ie. it is noticable that it is not as clear as pre rain but I can still see the deep end (8 foot). My chemistry post rain (Friday) is good - free & total chlorine 2.82 ppm, combined - 0, pH 7.4, hardness, alkalinity and CYA all within range, phosphates are under 1,000 (723 ppb). Immediately after the storm I fished out several branches, lowered the overall water level, vacuumed and cleaned out the filter basket. I have noticed I am getting green algae staining along the walls and deep end floor which seems a bit odd as the pool is properly chlorinated. It does easily brush away but seems to come back quickly.

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 23, 2020:

The only way to lower your Cyanuric acid (Cya) without causing more chemical problems in your pool is to drain and refill a portion of your pool water.

After lowering Cya to recommended level, start by raising pH and TA to their recommended levels, then add chlorine to raise FC to 3ppm.

Susan A Newton on June 23, 2020:

Best way to lower Cyanuric acid levels. It is reading high. Some say drain your pool, buy cyanuric acid granules, or wait for a heavy rain (lol)

My TA is very low, PH is low,Free chlorine is low and my TH is low. all are very low.

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 16, 2020:

When all chemical levels are fine but your water is still cloudy, that means you have debris in your water that is coming in due to faulty pool filter that needs backwashing or replacement of filter media.

Try backwashing your pool filter or replace the filter media ie filter sand or D.E filter media if you have not changed it for more than 4-5 years.

You can then use pool flocculant to collect the debris at the bottom of your pool and then vacuum the pool properly to clear all the debris.

charlene on June 16, 2020:

ok my level are good at the ideal levels but my pool still is cloudy.what should I do .

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 11, 2020:

I don't think the problem is coming because of the vacuuming machine, your filter might be the problem allowing debris into your pool.

Try to backwash your pool filter as it might be clogged, or change your filter sand or D.E filter media if worn out and has not been changed for more than 5 years.

Joanna on June 11, 2020:

Every time I vacuum my pool the machine makes it back cloudy.

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on May 28, 2020:

Jim, free chlorine level is too low in your pool and you need to raise it to 3ppm before you get algae or ammonia in your pool.

We recommend using liquid chlorine(sodium hypochlorite) to shock a swimming pool to avoid raising Cyanuric acid levels without knowing. Remember to maintain your Cyanuric acid level between 30-40ppm before adding non-stabilized chlorine.

Jim on May 28, 2020:

My water got cloudy after adding PH up. I add 2lds to a 18k gal pool.

PH no is 7.6, free chlorine is less then .05, alkalinity in 80, I use Pristine Blue. My filter run about 8 hours a day. I have cleaned the pool & back washed.

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on January 21, 2020:

What is your Free Chlorine and Cyanuric acid level in water? If they are all too low and you have been using a lot of chlorine, you may be having ammonia in your pool and you need a lot of liquid chlorine to clear it. To clear ammonia you need to reach high levels of FC (above 10ppm) and maintain that level by topping up chlorine when FC drops 3ppm. If it's not ammonia then it could be your filter that needs replacement of filtering media i.e sand or D.E filtering agent.

Ashraf Nashed on January 21, 2020:

I did resurface of my pool and i followed all the instruction in running the pool pump for the first 72 hours after filling my pool with city water and all the chemicals required by the pool guy and changed the filter and clean it almost daily and brushing the pool twice a day now is almost 21 days passed for this procedure and still getting cloudy water can you help thanks

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on July 14, 2019:

What is your Cyanuric acid level? If Cya is also low, you could be having ammonia in your water. To clear ammonia you need a lot of liquid chlorine. Liquid chlorine is recommended because it will not raise your pH, Calcium Hardness, and Cyanuric acid levels like granular or tablet chlorine.

Procedures to Clear Ammonia in your Pool:

1). Add liquid chlorine to raise your FC to 10ppm,

2). Test your FC after 15 minutes and raise it back to 10ppm if it falls below 5ppm.

3). Repeat the process of testing FC after 15 minutes and raising it back to 10ppm until FC settles between 5-10ppm to be sure your pool is free of ammonia.

4). Leave your FC to come down to 3ppm then raise your Cyanuric acid to 40ppm for non Saltwater pool and 70ppm for Saltwater pool.

5). Finally balance all your chemicals starting with pH.

Alexander on July 14, 2019:

I have Very Cloudy Pool Water. My PH level is normal at 7.6 to 7.8 but my Chlorine level gets down to Zero, even after increasing Chlorine. What is the remedy to clear the water. Thank you for your help.

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on July 02, 2019:

First of all, I will recommend you use liquid chlorine(sodium hypochlorite) which won't raise your pH. I can see you have very high pH level and Calcium hypochlorite is most likely the cause of that pH scaling. High pH will make your chlorine less active in killing bacteria and algae and will make your water appear cloudy and dull. I recommend you use pH minus to lower your pH to around 7.2, then use liquid chlorine(sodium hypochlorite) to shock your pool.

If your FC and Cyanuric acid remain too low and FC won't rise after adding too much chlorine, you might be having ammonia in your pool and here is more on how to kill ammonia and clear your water:

Rick on July 02, 2019:

Opened my pool this year with a foot of clear water and a floor covered in algae. Filled it, started the pump and dumping in chlorine (Sodium Dichloro 99%). The water got cloudy. Assumed dead algae. Have vacuumed it a number of times, pH is currently 7.9, Alkalinity was good at last test, hardness is low, tried some clarifier, shocked it a half dozen times (granular shock, two bags), an hour after shock the chlorine was up to 6.1 (guessing ppm) and the next evening it was 0.1 at best. Recently tested very high for phosphates. They gave me 2 bags of shock, said 12 hours after shocking to dump in a bottle of Pool Complete which would cause phosphates to drop to the floor of the pool, then vacuum to waste. It's been around 36 hours since dumping that in and no change. Cloudy water, can't see the floor. New media (zeobryte) in sand filter last year. About to change media back to sand and hit the pool with at LEAST 10 gallons of bleach or chlorine. Thoughts?

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 15, 2019:

White water through the returns may happen because of the air in the tubes and that shouldn't be a big problem since that is normal. Air gets pulled in through the skimmer, goes through the filter, and back out to the jets where it makes those white colored water. Also, if the stuff coming back in the pool is sand, your filter might be faulty and you need to check that your filter is not releasing sand into the pool.

Help! on June 15, 2019:

Should the water coming out of the return be white looking & it seems as if it's putting stuff back in the pool. White film on top of the water that I can't dip out with net.

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on May 06, 2019:

NB: The right amount of chlorine shock to add in a swimming pool: For liquid chlorine or Sodium Hypochlorite with 12.5% chlorine, add 10 ounces for 10k gallon pool to raise Free Chlorine(FC) by 1ppm.

For Calcium Hypochlorite or powder chlorine, add 1 pound for every 10k gallon pool. In case of algae, triple-shock the pool by adding 3 pounds for every 10k gallons. Only use Sodium Hypochlorite for pool sanitization, and Calcium Hypochlorite for fighting pool algae.

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on August 06, 2018:

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.

Shonnell winckler on August 06, 2018:

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

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on July 29, 2018:

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.

Ann Wilson from North Las Vegas on July 29, 2018:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on July 19, 2018:

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

aquamahn on July 19, 2018:

read this

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 27, 2018:

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.

Ginger on June 27, 2018:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 04, 2018:

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.

Chrissy on June 04, 2018:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on May 28, 2018:

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.

TERESA on May 28, 2018:


Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on May 28, 2018:

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.

mac smith on May 27, 2018:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on May 11, 2018:

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.

Sam GR on May 11, 2018:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on May 03, 2018:

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!

Scott on May 02, 2018:

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

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on November 09, 2017:

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!

G S Rupra on November 09, 2017:

Cloudy water and off white think at the bottom please advise

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on September 03, 2017:

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.

Tammy Ortega on September 03, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on August 29, 2017:

Welcome and good luck!

Katertater on August 29, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on August 28, 2017:

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.

Katertater on August 28, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on August 27, 2017:

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.

4boymomrealness on August 27, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on August 25, 2017:

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.

Bonebrake on August 24, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on August 24, 2017:

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.

Bonebrake on August 24, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on July 19, 2017:

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:

sunny on July 19, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on July 13, 2017:

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:

Portia on July 13, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on July 03, 2017:

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.

Bob on July 03, 2017:

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

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on July 02, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 28, 2017:

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:

matt on June 28, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 27, 2017:

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

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 27, 2017:

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.

Matt on June 27, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 26, 2017:

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.

Douglas H. on June 26, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 26, 2017:

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.

Douglas H on June 25, 2017:

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

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 22, 2017:

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.

Terri on June 22, 2017:

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!


Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 16, 2017:

Welcome Matt, Goodluck!

Matt Faulkner on June 16, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 16, 2017:

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 - feel free to communicate any progress.

Matt Faulkner on June 16, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 15, 2017:

Welcome Matt

matt faulkner on June 15, 2017:

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

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 14, 2017:

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:

Matt Faulkner on June 14, 2017:

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


Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 12, 2017:

You are so welcome Orlando

Orlando on June 12, 2017:

Thank you so much for your response.

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 12, 2017:

You are much welcome Karen...

Karen on June 12, 2017:

Thanks again. Thinking that may be the problem.

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 12, 2017:

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:

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 12, 2017:

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:

Karen on June 12, 2017:

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.

Orlando on June 12, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 12, 2017:

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.

Karen on June 12, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 12, 2017:

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:

Chan on June 12, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 12, 2017:

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:

Sara on June 12, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on May 28, 2017:

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.

Lynnette on May 28, 2017:

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 (author) from Green City in the Sun on May 25, 2017:

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.

Richard on May 23, 2017:

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.