Do you have a green pool without meaning to at all? That definitely won’t be any fun to swim in, or to look at. Don’t worry, though. All is not lost.
You don’t have to drain your pool and start over. You can send that algae packing, and then take steps to keep it from coming back.
Why Do I Have a Green Pool?
When your pool water turns from a lovely shade of blue to a sickly green, there’s only one reason: pool algae. If it’s a light shade of green, the algae has probably just started to take hold. But a deeper green means a bigger problem.
Algae develops when the pool’s sanitizer levels are too low. If you haven’t been keeping up with pool water testing and water balancing, or you’re not adding enough chlorine, bromine, or whatever type of sanitizer you use, you’re practically laying out the welcome mat for algae to come in and make itself at home.
Before we dive in, if you want to stop your pool from turning green ever again, invest in our pool care video course. You’ll learn how to keep your pool chemistry in check so you never have to fight a green pool ever again.
Frustrated by adding chemicals and trying to keep your pool clear all the time?
We cut out all the confusion of pool maintenance in this easy-to-read illustrated ebook and video course. It'll help you save $100 right away on pool care!Click Here to Learn More
How to Fix a Green Pool Fast
1. Vacuum Your Pool to Waste
Once you start removing algae and debris from your pool, you obviously don’t want anything you take out to make its way back in. So your first step is to vacuum the pool to Waste.
Set the valve on your filter to Waste, then vacuum away, removing as much algae and sediment from the bottom of the pool as you can.
2. Brush the Pool Walls and Floor
Rather than just your usual, regular pool brush, it’s best to use an algae brush for this task. Algae is tough, and will stubbornly cling to the pool’s surfaces, so a heavy-duty brush works better than soft nylon bristles to remove it.
Use the brush to scrub the pool walls, floor, steps, and any other surface the algae may be clinging to.
Strong and sturdy that will last for years. 20-inch extra-wide brushing that will cover large areas and finish cleaning quickly. Clean the most stubborn algae buildup quickly. The curved edges will help clean the hard corners very easy.
Note: You may be wondering, why don’t you brush the pool first, then vacuum it? Don’t you want to vacuum up the algae? No. No you don’t. You want to kill the algae, and it still has to be in the pool for you to do that. Trust us.
3. Test The Water For pH and Alkalinity
Using test strips or a liquid test kit, test the pH and alkalinity levels. Note the levels as you’ll refer to them later.
If you want to, you can also note the chlorine (or other sanitizer) level. We’re willing to bet it’s going to be too low or even nonexistent. If the sanitizer level was where it should be, you wouldn’t be dealing with algae. It also won’t matter once you get to the next step.
This digital pool and hot tub water test kit checks for Free Chlorine, Total Chlorine, Bromine, PH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, and Cyanuric Acid.
Note: Testing the water could be the first step. If you’d rather test, then vacuum, then brush, go for it. It won’t affect the algae removal process.
4. Shock Your Pool with Chlorine to Kill Algae
This is the main event in clearing a green pool—killing the algae. Pool shock contains a high level of chlorine that will kill the algae and sanitize the pool.
For the best results, use a shock that contains at least 70% available chlorine, and shock the pool twice.
Important: Even if you normally use non-chlorine shock, you must use chlorine shock to kill algae.
If your pool is dark green, meaning you have a larger algae infestation, we recommend shocking the pool three times. And if the color of your green pool is reminiscent of a dark, spooky swamp, shock it four times.
5. Run, Filter, Run!
Once you’ve shocked the pool as many times as you’re going to shock it, turn the filter on, and don’t turn it off until the water is completely clear. Here’s where those five days or less come in. Be patient.
Again, you can use pool clarifier if you want to clear it more quickly, but even if you do, be sure to run the filter for at least 24 hours to get the dead algae out of the water, and ensure the shock has fully dissipated.
Your filter can clear a cloudy pool. But your filter needs help picking up particles that are too small. A clarifier binds these particles together, so your filter can remove them easier.
6. Test, Balance, and Test Again
When your green pool isn’t green anymore, test the water, this time not just for pH and alkalinity, but also for sanitizer. Add chemicals as needed to balance things out. Test it again to make sure everything’s as it should be, and you’re ready to enjoy your pool again.
How to Keep Pool Algae From Returning
Now that your pool’s clear again, you want to keep it that way. The number one method to do that is to ensure you maintain proper sanitizer levels. This entails testing your water frequently, at least once a week, but we like to test about every other day.
If you notice levels are a bit on the low side, add sanitizer immediately. Don’t let algae get another toehold in your pool.
And if it will put your mind further at ease, you can add algaecide during regular water maintenance. But honestly, your best bet is just to stay on top of the sanitizer situation.
Do I Need to Worry About Pool Phosphates?
You may have heard pool pros or other pool owners say that to control algae, you need to control pool phosphates, and use phosphate remover to do so.
We have one word for that: No.
No, you don’t need to worry about phosphates, and no, you don’t need to use phosphate remover.
Trying to remove phosphates from any environment is like trying to remove dust particles from the air. You will never, ever, ever be able to do it completely. Well, unless you build a clean room. The same is true for phosphates. They’re everywhere and in everything.
Yes, they’re a food source for algae. But to control pests in your vegetable garden, do you remove the vegetables? Of course not. You kill the pests. The same is true for algae.
Sanitize, sanitize, test, balance, and sanitize some more. And use the money you would’ve spent on phosphate remover on a nice pool float.
No More Green Pool!
Opening your cover to a green pool may be disappointing. No, not “maybe.” It is. But never again will you feel defeated by algae now that you have the upper hand.
All it takes is a little hard work and the right chemicals, and you can kick that algae to the curb — er, the pool deck.
By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Swim University. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.
You've probably heard phosphate remover is essential to pool care. We did some research and the truth is, it's not. Learn why you should save your money.
Nitrates in your pool? Only one solution: Get every bit of nitrate out! Or, do the logical thing, and educate yourself first. You’ll be glad you did.
Got black algae in your pool? It's extremely difficult to get rid of because it's actually a type of bacteria. But knowing that is half the battle won.
Sanitizer alone won't prevent an invasion of algae in your pool. Get rid of algae and keep it from coming back so you can enjoy a clean, clear pool again.
Finding a thick film of pollen in your pool is no fun. Removing it isn't much fun either. But at least it's easy as long as you have the right tools.
Got mustard algae? Here's a very simple tutorial that will walk you through how to remove stubborn mustard algae from your swimming pool.