Pool Troubleshooting

How to Fix Cloudy Pool Water

How to clear cloudy swimming pool water fast in easy steps. 

By Allen Hayward

Your swimming pool water should always look clear. If you notice it looking cloudy or foggy, then it means you likely have bacteria, algae, or other organic invaders in the water. They can damage your circulation system if you don’t eliminate them quickly. Then you’ll end up paying hundreds of dollars in repair costs. Not only that, but you’re also risking the health of the swimmers in the water.

Therefore, investigate why your pool water is cloudy and then do something about it. The only way you can come up with a good solution is to first find out the cause.

Overnight Cloudiness

In most cases, a pool gradually becomes cloudy over time. There starts to be a little cloudiness and then it builds up slowly. It is easy for someone to just ignore a small amount of cloudiness. But when it becomes excessively cloudy in the water, then you definitely need to take it seriously.

However, sometimes you can get problems with your water which causes overnight cloudiness. How does this happen?

Well, it has to do with large pieces of debris interacting with the sanitizing chemicals in your pool water. When something like leaves falls into your pool, these chemicals try to dissolve it. The only problem is that sanitizers are not designed to eliminate big pieces of debris, especially solids. You need to use your filtration system to remove these solids, or you can manually remove them yourself. If you fail to remove the solids, they’ll eliminate the sanitizer in the water.

Solids in the water can come from humans too. People often put urine, sunscreen, sweat, and beauty formulas in the water, which then gets mixed around with the chlorine and depletes it. For this reason, you must keep adding sanitizer to the water to control this problem.

The UV rays of the sun will destroy the sanitizer fast. They separate the hypochlorite ions of the sanitizer which are produced after chlorine is added to the water. Once these ions evaporate, the level of sanitizer in the water decreases.

Finally, algae can compromise your chlorine too. You need large amounts of chlorine to combat your algae problem. In the meantime, you cannot swim in the water either until the algae are gone.

Be sure to add extra sanitizer to the water because the chlorine will have a lot to deal with already with the algae. However, the chlorine won’t be as effective in stopping bacteria and dangerous pathogens, particularly E. Coli. Therefore, don’t swim in a pool that is cloudy because the risk is too great.

The Circulatory System of the Pool

If there is poor circulation in your swimming pool, then it is likely the reason for the cloudiness in the water. Just maintain a strong circulation system to reduce this cloudiness. Keep your filtration system fully functional and running for a minimum of 8 hours per day. You shouldn’t see much debris in the pool water if you do this. The filtration system removes lots of different contaminants in conjunction with the sanitizer.

If you have an old circulation system in your pool, it can start to fail. Sometimes the chemicals that you put in the water can damage the system too. You’ll know when this is happening because the contaminants in the water won’t get filtered out anymore and it will appear cloudy.

Is This Important Knowledge for Me to Know?

No one is saying that you must be an expert in chemistry. But if you want to own a pool and keep it healthy and safe, you need to educate yourself in the basics of pool chemistry. That is the only way you will be successful in maintaining balanced pool water. Otherwise, a cloudy pool may be in your immediate future.

Water imbalance can cause other problems than just cloudiness. Your pool walls will become stained, and your pool’s components and accessories will become corroded and damaged. If you don’t believe this, then spend a few weeks not balancing the chemistry of your pool and see what happens. It will be cloudy and disgusting.

On the flip side, using excessive amounts of sanitizer, calcium hardness, pH, and alkalinity can also make your pool cloudy as well. So, you need to be careful not to overdo it.

Why is a Cloudy Pool Bad?

A cloudy pool is not just a cosmetic problem. It is a sign of something dangerous and unhealthy in your water that must be removed.


Chlorine kills bacteria in pool water and keeps it clear. If you don’t use enough sanitizer, then your pool will have more bacterial growth in the water. In addition, the filtration system will have more contaminants to block out.

Bacteria can survive for a long time in your pool when there is very little sanitizer. If you were to go swimming in this water, you could be exposed to Legionella, E. Coli, and other hazardous contaminants.

Bad Filtration

Swimming pools can have cloudy water if the pump is weak, the filter is clogged, or the filtration system is not running for a minimum of 8 hours per day. If the problem is that you haven’t run the filtration system for this long, debris can build in your filter despite the filtration system being functional. This can result in cloudy water.

Sanitizer depletes quickly under this circumstance. Plus, your water pump gets more stressed out as less water makes it through the filter because of the debris buildup. As a result, the circulation in your pool is very poor, and the water looks dirty and cloudy. The bacteria in the water can put people’s health in danger.

Results of Bad Water Chemistry

If your pool has high levels of pH, it means the water is not very acidic. Scales will form on the interior plumbing and pool surfaces. Meanwhile, the sanitizer and filtration system won’t work very well. Cloudiness and bacterial growth will soon follow.

If your pool has high levels of alkaline, scales will form on the water, and your pH levels will be unstable. If you have high alkalinity and pH levels, the vinyl material will suffer wear and tear. Lots of calcium causes flakiness in the water, causing clouds and clogged filters.

If your pool has high levels of chlorine, it can irritate your lungs and skin. People with respiratory issues like asthma may have trouble breathing too. Unstable chlorine levels cause an increase in chloramines, which is both corrosive and irritating.

Risky Swimming Conditions

Cloudiness is the least of your worries if you have algae in your pool water. Although the algae in your pool isn’t usually a health hazard, it can still make it dangerous for swimmers because the cloudiness blocks them from being seen if they go under the water. This means if someone is drowning in the pool or struggling underwater, no one will see it.

Drowning victims don’t actually cause a lot of commotion during their struggles to rise up to the surface of the water. This is known as Instinctive Drowning Response. Pets and little children are at the greatest risk of this.

Therefore, your pool should be off-limits to swimmers until the cloudiness is gone. Keep your pool secured so that animals and children cannot accidentally wander into the water. This is something you should do anyway even if the water is not cloudy.

Renovate Your Pool Water

If you’re ready to get your pool water looking shiny and vibrant again, it will simply require a little bit of work.

Deep Scrub and Clean

The first thing your pool needs is a thorough scrub. Use a heavy-duty skimmer to remove any big pieces of debris. A firm pool brush can be used to brush the walls off with. Finally, vacuum the pool.

Shock the Pool

Now that you’ve cleaned out the debris, you must shock the pool to eliminate the crud in the water. This means putting a high dose of chlorine in the water to kill the bacteria, algae, and all other organic invaders. The cloudiness should diminish after you do this. But if the cloudiness remains, you may need to perform two or three pool shocks to remove certain types of algae.


Your pool filter should be on for at least 8 hours per day for the average residential pool. Make sure you deep clean the pool first and have the filter replaced. Once you do this, you can run the filtration system.

Bottom Drains

Your pool surface is where the primary skimmer is located. It won’t remove debris from the bottom of the pool. In fact, many pool vacuums won’t totally remove sediment from the bottom either. But if you activate the bottom drains which should be installed in your inground swimming pool, then all that sediment gets pulled into the filter.

If you have an above ground pool with no bottom drains, then place a manual pool vacuum in the middle of your pool on the bottom. Flip it over, and the vacuum head will suck in water from the bottom. Once the water is filtered, it will shoot out of the return jet.

Pool Chemistry Balance

After your water is cleaned, test the water to ensure its chemicals are balanced in it. To sustain the chlorine levels, use a chlorine stabilizer known as cyanuric acid.


If you only have a little cloudiness, you can use a pool flocculant. After you use it, the water’s suspended debris will fall to the floor of the pool. Then you’ll just need to vacuum it out of the bottom and balance the water accordingly.

Water Clarifier

Water clarifiers can help make swimming pools sustain their good looks. Basically, they gather up the small particles of debris in the water to make it simpler for the filter to block them. Water clarifiers won’t remove major contaminants, but they can help if you’re already shocking and cleaning your pool too.

Take Precautions Now

It is better to start clearing out your pool and keeping it clean now before it gets worse. Every week, you should be testing your water and balancing it out where necessary. You should be shocking skimming, rinsing the filter, and vacuuming the floors too. If you stay committed to your pool maintenance and perform it at the scheduled times, you should never see any more cloudiness in your pool water.


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