Can I Use Bleach Instead of Chlorine to Clean My Swimming Pool?


In these unprecedented times, we’re facing unexpected questions. One I never thought I’d hear is, “Is it safe to use bleach to wash my pool?” I’ve encountered this question in pool owner Facebook groups, on social media, in blogs, YouTube comments, emails, and even a few panicked calls.

You might have noticed a shortage of pool chlorine if you’ve been keeping up with the news or trying to buy it. If you do find chlorine, you might be surprised at its cost. If you can’t get any, you’ll need an alternative way to clean your pool. This article will look at the pros and cons of using bleach instead of chlorine. But before that, let’s understand what bleach actually is.

The Basics of Bleach vs. Chlorine Pool

Let’s first clarify something: chlorine is chlorine. Chemically, pool-grade chlorine is the same as the chlorine in a jug of Clorox. However, they are not made using the same chlorine concentration.

Pool-grade chlorine is available as tablets, granules, or liquids, with concentrations ranging from 65% to nearly 100%. Hypochlorous Acid is the term for pure chlorine. The most common form of pool-grade chlorine is calcium hypochlorite, usually in tablet or granule form, and tends to have a lower concentration. Many tablet-based treatments are formulated as trichloro-s-triazinetrione, or trichlor. When dissolved in water, a trichlor tablet can deliver almost 100% pure chlorine.

Similar to Clorox, a jug of bleach is mostly water. About 5%-6% of the bleach in a jug is sodium hypochlorite, meaning that 95% of it won’t do much to clean your swimming pool. Some bleach formulations may contain colorings and scents that could negatively affect your pool’s water quality.

Liquid chlorine treatment is also primarily water-based, but it should contain at least 10% sodium chlorite and be free of unwanted colorants or fragrances.

Can You Use Bleach Instead of Chlorine?

Yes, that’s the short answer. The long answer is: it depends on how you phrase it.

On the label of every bleach bottle, you should find the ratio between sodium hypochlorite and available chlorine. The higher the percentage, the better, as you’ll need less bleach for your pool. A formulation without fragrances or chemicals is also recommended. You don’t want to dye your pool water or make it smell like a summer breeze.

You can find label information on chemical products like bleach online. This allows you to check the chlorine content and any additives or chemicals before purchasing. If you plan to use bleach for future treatments, store extra bleach in a cool and dry area indoors. Don’t leave your bleach jugs out in the open!

How to Disinfect and Sanitize Your Swimming Pool Using Bleach

Like any pool treatment, bleach is best used at specific concentrations. You need to be able to detect a certain level of chlorine in the water. If you use too little bleach, you won’t effectively sanitize the water or its surfaces. On the other hand, using too much bleach may make the pool water harsh.

In scientific terms, the ideal range for added chlorine is between 1 and 3 parts per million (ppm), with 2 ppm as the target. Clorox recommends using between 100-200 ounces per 10,000 gallons of pool water. A gallon equals 128 ounces, and most bleach bottles come in half-gallon and one-gallon sizes.

Florida Pool Patio is a second-generation company that comprises of engineering professionals with a top-notch team. Our team has built a reputation for providing a positive experience and satisfied clientele with the latest technology. Our luxury pool builders in Parkland FL will not settle merely building pools and patios; we want to positively impact the environment and benefit our clients from our knowledge. From construction to maintenance to outstanding customer service, we will never settle for less than the best.

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