Understanding The Truth On Swimming In A Cloudy Pool

A cloudy pool can sometimes scare swimmers and pool owners. It is caused by various reasons which need an immediate fix.

Usually, the cloudy pool does not pose threats to the pool goers. However, to prevent serious problems in the future, this issue must be solved as soon as possible.

Thus, this article aims to discuss the truth behind cloudy pools. It will unleash the details what’s really in the water to understand the case better.

To this end, this will present the causes about the matter plus the possible effects it can give to owners and swimmers. Finally, the article will present methodologies on how to resolve the cloudy pool and sustain it for a longer period.

How Cloudy Is A Cloudy Pool

A cloudiness of the pool has various degrees. The degree of cloudiness will determine its cause and the necessary treatment. Here are the following:

Flat Or Dull

If the pool water has already lost its shine, then it becomes flat or dull, which is between matte and glossy.


The water is hazy if appears more than flat or dull. Although one can see the bottom of the pool, it is not distinct and the water is unclear.


If the water has a definite milky quality, then it is cloudy. Also, it is when one can see the bottom of the pool at the shallow end. But he has to stare hard on the pool when one is looking at the deep end.


An opaque water is when one cannot see the bottom and it is very milky.

The Causes of A Cloudy Pool

Cloudy pools do not just pop out, however, it is caused by various factors in the environment. If the pool is red, green, black, or yellow, then the problem must be addressed differently.

Meanwhile, if the pool water is cloudy, it can be because of improper filtration or due to lack of essential sanitizers. Another cause is due to the debris suspended in the water.

Now, here are some more reasons behind a cloudy pool:

Debris Messes With The Pool Sanitizers

Admit it, the swimming pool can have natural debris like dry leaves and branches from time to time. Apart from this, swimmers can introduce sweat, beauty products, urine, and feces on the water.

Pool owners always want to have a clean and safe pool for their clients. As such, they invest in sanitizers like chlorine.

However, pool sanitizers do not have the power to dissolve large solids. When foreign matter accumulates on the pool, it messes with the pool sanitizers and starts to produce a cloudy water.

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

The Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is the measurement used to determine all the particles dissolved in the water. It includes salt, metals, and even calcium.

If the TDS is high, then there is a higher chance that the water will be cloudy. For most pools, TDS is invisible to the naked eye not until it gets really high.

As such, the TDS will keep on rising up until the swimming pool is refilled, drained, or filtered using the reverse osmosis or other techniques.

Pool Chemicals

If there is an imbalanced amount of pool chemicals, then there are higher chances of cloudy water. Examples of which are high alkalinity, high pH level, high or low chlorine levels, and high calcium hardness levels.

Take note that if there is no balance in the chemical content of the pool water, unwanted particles plus chemicals will more likely to multiply in the water.

With that, it can affect the health of the swimmers especially the children.

Filtration Problems

If one has a faulty filtration system or if it does not run as per the required number of hours, then, one can have higher chances of having a cloudy pool. For example, filtration system must be operated for 8 to 10 hours. But when it is run under the recommended hours, then it could lead to some problem.

The system filter is designed to clean the pool water. If it is not used properly, then the water will become stagnant and murky.

Pool Shocking

Another reason why pool water turns cloudy is that of pool shocking.

But unlike the paragraphs above, the water can just clear on its own after few hours. It must be noted that the water filter must still run to help clear up the swimming pool.

The Effects Of A Cloudy Pool

Surprisingly, cloudy pools can lead to various outcomes that could be devastating. Some pool owners just neglect cloudy pools because no reports have ever been reported on their office. However, here are some of the effects according to the experts:

Possible Drowning

According to the authorities, cloudy water contributes to a number of drowning cases each year in the United States. Statistics show that the deaths come from pools with lifeguards.

However, due to the decreased visibility, lifeguard can’t save swimmers all the time since the water is unclear. Scanning the water is a challenge and it becomes too late to save someone’s life.

Each year, there are around 3,000 drowning deaths in America. The majority of the victims are children under 14 years old. 10% of these cases are caused by murky waters. If only pool owners have performed simple maintenance steps, then over 300 lives can be saved.

Urinary Tract Infection And Other Digestive Problems

Cloudy water has bacteria on it such as the E.coli which can cause Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). With this, patients can experience pain in their lower abdomen. They can have difficulty urinating and may experience blood in their urine.

Also, the infection in the cloudy water can cause stomach bugs. It can lead to nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Medication can be costly and it can take some time.

Methods To Solve Cloudy Pool 

Once one has determined the cause of a cloudy pool, then, he can now start fixing the problem area.

However, before trying any of the methods, it is a must to test the pool water first using a home test kit. With this, one will make sure if all the chemicals are properly balanced.

Indeed, it is essential to address any chemical imbalances because this might be the reason why the water is milky.

Now, here are some of the methods to solve the issue:

Use A Pool Clarifier

One method to try is through the use of a pool water clarifier. This innovation works by collecting the tiny particles that cause the water to get cloudy. It binds all the particles together as it becomes one big lump until the filter can pick them up. As such, the water becomes crystal clear once again in due time!

Opt For A Flocculant

The Flocculant or Floc is amazing in cleaning the swimming pool quickly. It can transform the pool into crystal clear water overnight. However, this method requires hard labor from the pool maintenance team.

The Flocculant works almost the same with the pool clarifier. It assembles all the tiny particles into one big lump so cleaning can be easy. Then, the large matter settles at the bottom of the pool.

However, unlike the pool clarifier, the use of Flocculant requires manual labor too. One has to vacuum the cloud of matter with a pump. Using an automatic pool cleaner, it will just blow up the cloud of particles on the floor and dissolve it once again in the water.

When one tries to vacuum the pool, always remember to set the filter on backwash or waste option. If one is using the cartridge filter, see to it that the drain plug is removed.

This process can be difficult than other methods. There can also be lots of water wastage too. However, rest assured that the swimming pool can be cleaned within 24 hours whenever the technique is done properly.

Use The Filter System And The Bottom Drains

The swimming pool’s main skimmer is located at the top. It assists in clearing the area which can’t be cleaned by the flocculant at the bottom. As such, assist the filter in the collection of the tiny particles.

To do this, constantly stir the water with the use of a pool brush so the particles will be moved to the surface. One can also turn on the bottom drains. It is highly recommended for ground pools to have one or two bottom drains to be used easily.

The bottom drains will allow the filter to pull water from the floor where the majority of the tiny particles are located. Also, this will enable the easy flow of the clean water on the top of the pool.

For Above The Ground Pool

For above the ground pool, just hook the manual vacuum cleaner. Place it at the center of the floor of the pool and enable it to stay upside down.

The pool filter will pull the water from the bottom of the pool. Then, it will release the filtered crystal clear water at the top of the pool.

Best Practices To Maintain Clear Pool Water 

Now that we have known the cause and effects of cloudy pool plus the recommended methods to solve it, it is time to discuss the tips on how to maintain a clear water. This aims to have a sustainable pool environment for the swimmers.

In reducing the turbidity of the pool, take note of the three main causes of dirty pool water. These are the improper maintenance of filter, total dissolved solids, and organic wastes. One does not need any special degree in doing the job. It just takes pool water maintenance and some patience.

Use Chlorine Wisely

Pool owners and the maintenance team cannot stop swimmers from using sunscreens as they swim. Even if one wants to totally avoid the organic wastes, the most that he can do is to limit it.

Meanwhile, to make things sustainable, help the chlorine do its job effectively. How can one do it?

First, remember that direct sunlight can cause chlorine to break down in just a few hours. To avoid this, use stabilizers to diminish the oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) of chlorine.

Also, minimize the use of liquid bleach because its byproduct which is the sodium hydroxide can raise the pool’s pH level. With this, it can slow down chlorine.

Do take note that if phosphates are present, it interferes with the strength of the chlorine. The chemical element is not designed to oxidize carbon-based organic waste. However, there can be disinfection whenever the oxidant demand is destroyed.

Drain And Refill The Pool

Always drain and refill the pool, this is especially true for TDS. One can also use the reverse osmosis filters in his swimming pool.

TDS can be challenging to remove so be careful. For filtration, be particularly observant on the pressure and backwash to keep the circulation rates up.

Indeed, the best way to avoid the sad story of having a cloudy pool is to maintain properly and check routinely the facilities. Do everything in ensuring the water is visible, crystal clear, and without a foul smell.

There must always be proper pool chemistry to make things better. Put the pool chemicals within ideal ranges. Backwash and clean regularly the pool filters.

Whenever there is an influx of many swimmers, double the efforts in checking the water and it needs to be shocked.

Lifeguards must enforce the rules on swimmers so they will have to shower before jumping on the pool. With this, the likelihood of water illnesses and water cloudiness will be decreased.


In a nutshell, don’t give up easily whenever the pool water is cloudy. One may tend to panic as they found out that the condition has become shocking, but think and act wisely.

Investigate the cause of the problem, gather evidence, and perform the necessary method in solving the issue. Always remember the techniques mentioned above.

To prevent the frequent recurrence of cloudy water, make sure to keep the water clean all the time. Impose strict rules on the swimmers and be consistent about it. After all, pool owners and maintenance team are just ensuring the safety of all their clients.

Invest in necessary equipment when needed. However, there is no need to spend a lot of money. One has to start the habit of draining, filtering,and cleaning the pool water regularly.

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