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How to Fix Cloudy Pool Water

When you have a cloudy pool, it can be a challenging and time-consuming process to get it clear again. Sometimes your swimming pool can turn cloudy overnight!

I’ll explain the reasons your pool got cloudy in the first place, then share a few methods on how to fix the cloudy water. It won’t be a challenging and time-consuming process if you follow these practices.

Why Do I Have Cloudy Pool Water?

There are many causes of cloudy pool water, and I have broken it down into three leading causes.

  1. The Environment: Everything around your pool can cause your water to be cloudy. That includes weather, birds, construction, trees, gardens, the sun, people, and pool algae.
  2. Your Pool Filter: If your filter system is not working properly, or you’re not running your filter at least 8 to 10 hours per day, then you are at high risk for cloudy pool water. Your filter system continuously cleans the water in your pool. Without it, you’ll have stagnant water that could become cloudy.
  3. Pool Chemicals: An excessive amount of pool chemicals can cause your water to be cloudy. That includes high pH, high alkalinity, high chlorine or other sanitizers, and high calcium hardness.

Is Your Pool Cloudy After Shocking?

It’s important you shock your swimming pool every week with the proper amount of shock for your pool size. But sometimes you’ll get cloudy pool water after shocking.

It’s common and should dissipate over time. Just keep your filter running, and it should clear up. Also, look into a new brand of shock (make sure you buy shock that has a main active ingredient of calcium hypochlorite). Cheaper shocks that you get from the big box retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club, are NOT the best choices.

How To Clear A Cloudy Pool

Once you have fixed all the possible problems that can cause your water to be cloudy, now we can work on a cloudy pool water fix. Here are three ways to clear your cloudy swimming pool:

1. Use A Pool Clarifier

It’s always a good idea to use some pool water clarifier weekly. Pool Clarifiers work to gather the tiny particles that are making your pool water cloudy and bring them together to create bigger particles so that your filter will have a better chance of picking it up. Clarifiers are also known as coagulants, which is a term used for describing blood clots.

The particles alone will have a hard time being picked up by your pool filter, so this chemical “clots” them together and your filter now will be able to trap them.

Most swimming pool chemical retailers will carry more than one form of swimming pool clarifier. Just ask if the chemical is a coagulant and you will be well on your way to a crystal clear swimming pool.

Clorox Pool&Spa Super Water Clarifier, 1-Quart 58032CLX

Clorox Pool&Spa Super Water Clarifier, 1-Quart 58032CLX

List Price:$8.99
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Use this simple clarifier to bind small particles in your water to create bigger particles that your filter will have an easier time getting out of the pool water.

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2. Use Pool Floc (Flocculant)

A chemical called Floc or Flocculant is a good idea if you’re in a rush, or would like to see your pool cleared up quickly.

Let’s say you have a pool party tomorrow and your swimming pool is cloudy. By using Pool Floc, you can clear your cloudy swimming pool overnight (with a little extra work on your part). Floccing your swimming pool is an excellent method, but it’s very time-consuming and challenging.

Pool Flocculants work by gathering all the particles, that are making your water cloudy, and sending them to the bottom of your pool, creating a huge cloud on the floor of your pool. Unlike a water clarifier, this chemical WILL NOT help your filter to pick up the particles because all of the cloudy pool particles are now at the bottom.

In The Swim Super Floc Pool Water Clarifier - 1 Quarts

In The Swim Super Floc Pool Water Clarifier - 1 Quarts

List Price:$18.99
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One of the most under-rated pool chemicals. If you’re looking to quickly get rid of algae (and don’t mind a little hard work), use this to settle all the algae to the bottom of the pool and vacuum it out to Waste.

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At this point, you will need to manually vacuum up that cloud using your pool pump, not an automatic pool cleaner. When vacuuming, your filter setting should be on the “waste” or “backwash” option. If you’re using a DE filter or Cartridge Filter, make sure you remove the drain plug.

How to Vacuum a Pool Manually

If you don't own an automatic cleaner, or having water issues, you need to learn how to vacuum a pool manually with this easy-to-follow VIDEO tutorial.

The idea here is to vacuum up the cloudy water right OUT of your pool because putting that much dirty water through your filter WILL NOT work and will send that dirty water right back into your pool.

By vacuuming out to “waste,” it will never run through your filter system. You’re going to lose pool water, so keep your garden hose running in your pool during vacuuming.

Also, you must use a manual vacuum for this process. Automatic pool cleaners will not work and will disturb the cloud you created at the bottom of your pool. It’s difficult, and you’ll waste a lot of water. But it will clear your pool in 24 hours if done properly.

3. Use Your Filter System and Bottom Drain(s)

main-drainYour pool’s main skimmer is located at the waterline and clears the surface water. It does not collect the cloudy particles that are at the bottom of the pool. Knowing this, we need to help the filter get to those particles.

You can achieve this two ways:

  1. Constantly stir up the water, by swimming or with a pool brush, so that it pushes the particles closer to the top of the pool.
  2. Turn on the bottom drains.

Every inground pool is equipped with 1 or 2 bottom drains, so it’s easy to utilize them. It allows the filter to start pulling water from the bottom of the pool, where the cloudy particles are. Then, circulates the clean water back to the top.

But what if you have an above ground pool that doesn’t have bottom drains? 

We have a little trick to mimic the effect of a bottom drain in an above ground pool: Hook up your manual vacuum cleaner and place it at the bottom middle of your pool. Then, turn it upside down. Your filter pulls water from the bottom of your pool using the vacuum head. Then releases the filtered water through the return jet.

These are three methods of how to clear a cloudy water using chemicals and your pool’s equipment. Check out some of our related articles to get more information about cloudy swimming pools.

Happy Swimming!

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Last Updated: Sunday, July 28th, 2013