How To Fix and Clear Cloudy Pool Water


Cloudy Pool Water

You have a luxurious and expensive pool at home and one day you are enjoying swimming or in a sparkling clear water and the next day you see a transparent pool water has turned into muddy looking cloudy water, much to your annoyance.

Swimming in cloudy water is prohibited since it can cause swollen eye and many kinds of skin diseases. Once the pool gets cloudy, it is not an easy job to clean it.

There are many factors that contribute to the cloudiness of pools; even the well maintained pools face the wrath of this contamination.

How The Pool Gets Cloudy

Pool Chemicals

Certain chemicals are necessary for upkeep of pools but uncontrolled dosages can disturb the balance needed in pool water. Following levels of chemicals can make the pool cloudy

All the above factors create extra particles and contamination that make the pool-water look cloudy.

Filtration Problems

The major reason of pool growing cloudy is either mal-functioning or non-functioning of filters, which are responsible for cleaning of pools. It is therefore necessary to keep an eye on filters installed in pools. The filters must work for at least 8 hours in a day to achieve the optimal conditions of pool water. Remember, stagnant water for longer period of times means higher chances of water getting cloudy.

The Atmosphere

The surrounding environment is equally important in affecting the condition of pool-water. Too much dust, non-fencing of pools, presence of algae, invasion by Mosquitoes, birds weather conditions and behavior of pool users can lead to cloudy water.

How To Get Rid Of Cloudy Water

Once you know the reason, it is easy to diagnose the problem. So first and foremost step is to clean the cloudiness is to know the most apparent reason for cloudiness. Easiest way is to get one test-kit which helps in knowing the chemical proportions present in pool water. If you find any discrepancy in the balance of chemicals, you can correct it by taking appropriate action and which might be the reason behind the cloudiness.

Use A Pool Clarifier

The filters installed in pools are effective to collect and remove only large particles but smaller particles are often left behind in the pool which contributes to pool cloudiness. Here the role of pool clarifier is very important, whose main objective is to collect or in more scientific terms coagulate the tiny particles, bind them to form larger particles, which can be then filtered easily.

Use Pool Floccunant

Floc is another, very effective method to clear the pool overnight (another pool maintenance tip). You have arranged a pool party next day but suddenly you observe the pool is cloudy and not in a condition for swimming, there is no point losing the hope and with some extra efforts, the pool can be de-clouded by using this miracle chemical called floccunant.

Floccunant works by collecting all the particles and contaminants, responsible for cloudy pool and sends them to the bottom of the pool. Remember these particles will not be able to get filtered out by filters rather you have to look for some alternative method to eliminate the contaminants from the floor.

Bottom Drainage Systems

Any filter system installed in pool is effective only to clean the pool at the top layer of pool only and is not able to collect and filter the particles from the bottom of pool. Following ways can help you clear the pool at the bottom as well.

  • The pool has to be stirred regularly either by using pool-brush or by other electrical stirrers, the idea is to push the cloudy articles to the top of pool and not let them settle down.
  • In ground pools and hidden water pools have the option of getting drainage system installed at bottom of the pool. Turning on the drain filters at the bottom and pulling the water off the circulation will clear the way for clean water at top.
  • But what if you have an above ground pool? You cannot install bottom-drainage systems but yes, you can pull the water from bottom to the top by installing a vacuum cleaner at the bottom which will circulate the water from bottom to the top

Important Faqs (Frequently Asked Questions) On Cloudy Pool

Why Is My Pool Still Cloudy/Murky After Clarifier

A pool clarifier collects together all tiny particles from the pool and this helps the filter to efficiently remove them, thus giving you clean water.

However, before using a clarifier, you need to read all the directions carefully.

  • If the treatment goes wrong, or if you over treat you pool with clarifier, your problem gets worse. If the pool water has not cleared in your first dose of clarifier treatment, use a second dose or even stronger clarifier chemical and continue with your filtration system.
  • You need to understand that too much concentration of clarifier chemical will actually work against the clarifying process. Instead of attracting all the tiny particles to come together, they will repel, thus worsening the situation. Also, multiple and over treatment of your pool with clarifier can cause skin irritation to the swimmers.
  • Read the label instructions carefully and ensure that you do not treat your pool with clarifier for more than two times in a week.
  • If you are unable to clear your pool even after multiple attempts, there might be issues with filtration as bad filters generally result in cloudy pool waters. If you are unable to detect real reason behind pool water, you need to better consult a pool cleaning professional who can get the work successfully done for you. The pool cleaning professionals are specially trained to detect the unseen problems behind your cloudy pool. There might be some cleaning hardware that is malfunctioning.

What Does Shocking The Pool Mean

  • Shocking means to super chlorinate the pool by adding 10 times the normal amount of chlorine or any other chemical sanitizer. This raises the chlorine levels in the pool drastically for a short period. During this time, when the concentration level reaches a point called as ‘breakpoint chlorination’, the pool achieves shock status during which something of a shock rips through the water that slashes and burns everything in its path. The free chlorine oxidizes all the organic matter present in its path. This way, the pool water becomes safe and clean. Experts recommend shocking your pool at least once a week. You can do so by making use of any form of chlorine, but you need to ensure that you are using correct dosage.
  • Some people prefer to use slow dissolving chlorine tablets. This option might work efficiently to slowly release chlorine into your pool waters, but will eventually fail to achieve concentrated chlorine levels in the pool, thus resulting in failure of shocking process.
  • You can also shock your pool with non-chlorine method where you usually make use of potassium monopersulphate. This method is preferred when you want to resume swimming within 15 minutes of treatment whereas chlorine shock treatment needs you to wait for sufficient time to allow the chlorine levels to return to normal stage. Hence, if you prefer a chlorine shock treatment over non-chlorine shock treatment, you can plan it during evenings by allowing the pool pump and filter to run overnight.

Will Low Ph Cause Cloudy Pool Water

  • If your pool is full of chemicals that exceed the normal recommended limits, the water might turn out to be cloudy. The chemicals include in your pool high calcium hardness, high levels of chlorine or other sanitizers, high alkalinity or high pH.
  • The pH levels in your pool water decide how every chemical in your pool should function.
  • When pH levels are too high than the recommended limits, chlorine in your pool turns out to be ineffective. This way, the intention behind adding chlorine to your pool becomes waste.
  • Ensure that the pH levels in your pool are within the range of 7.4 to 7.8 ppm. Try to reach 7.6ppm as the target pH level.
  • If your pH level has increased high, you can reduce the concentration by making use of ‘pH Reducer’, referred to as ‘pH Minus’ such as sulfuric acid or muriatic acid.
  • If your pH level is below 7.0ppm then, it means your pool has too low pH. Low levels of pH will not only turn your pool cloudy, but also allows harmful bacteria like algae to thrive into your pool. This causes the pool to turn green. You can increase the pH level concentration in your pool by making use of ‘pH Increaser’, referred to as ‘pH Plus’ such as soda ash.
  • Lastly, take care that the alkalinity of your pool is within the range of 80 – 120 ppm so that pH levels do not rise to cause calcium scaling.

Is Your Pool Still Cloudy After Shocking

If your pool appears cloudy even after shocking; there might be issues with the filters. You must know that there might be several reasons to turn the pool waters cloudy. Hence, shocking alone will not clear up your cloudy pool.

  • Try checking if there are any filtration issues. If your filters are not working properly then, all your pain to shock your pool will land in vain.
  • If you are making use of a good working sand filter, it might take several hours, even up to a week or more to clear your pool completely.
  • You need to ensure that your cartridge filter is working well and you need to clean it every day until your pool water turns clear from cloudy condition. You can only do that much of maintenance with cartridge filters.
  • If you are making use of a good DE filter, your pool water will generally not turn cloudy if the pump runs on a long enough cycle. If your pool uses DE filter but your pool water is still cloudy, then one of the following reasons could be the reasons for foggy water and you need to repair the filter accordingly.
  1. The filter is not backwashed
  2. DE is not fresh
  3. The filter is defective
  4. The filter is not functioning properly
  5. You might have torn filter grids
  6. There might be a broken manifold
  7. DE powder might not be shooting back into the pool when you add it

How To Clear Up Cloudy Pool Water Quick & Fast

If you want to clear up you cloudy pool water to quickly appear clean, you can follow one or more of the methods mentioned below:

  • Check if the filtration process is happening correctly. Check each and every type of filter you have used in your pool maintenance system.
  1. Check if DE filter is fresh or not
  2. Check if your filter grids are torn
  3. Install a new DE filter if you encounter a defective one
  4. Backwash your DE filter
  5. Clean your cartridge filter
  • Check and find a solution if you encounter with improper pH balance in your pool.
  1. If the pH balance is above the recommended level, mostly above 7.6 ppm, reduce it by making use of ‘pH Plus’ or ‘pH Increaser’
  2. If the pH balance is below the recommended level, mostly below 7.4 ppm, increase it by making use of ‘pH Minus’ or ‘pH Reducer’
  • Make use of pool floc. This chemical clears your cloudy pool very fast by transforming it to crystal clear overnight. It is different from clarifier in a way that instead of collecting the tiny particles together and assisting the filter, the pool flocculants collect the tiny dirt particles at the bottom of the pool. Then you need to vacuum the dirty water from your pool instead of running them through the filter system. Hence, it is quite labor intensive and requires good skilled personnel or else, the dirt might blow up again in the pool, turning it cloudy again.

Why Is My Pool Light Green And Cloudy/Murky

  • Generally, a pool turns out to be cloudy or murkier due to following reasons:
  1. Over treat your pool with clarifier chemicals or other chemical sanitizers
  2. Treat your pool multiple times with clarifier
  3. Maintain improper chemical balance
  4. Maintain improper pH levels
  5. Make use of bad filters
  6. Improper dosage of chlorines while shocking the pool
  • Generally, a pool turns out to be light green when bad bacteria like algae grow in the pool. This happens when you maintain improper pH levels in your pool or improper chemical balance.
  1. If the pH level is below the recommended level, i.e. below 7.4 ppm, then the pool water offers a friendly climate for algae to grow in them. This makes the pool waters to appear green.
  2. If you maintain bad chemical balance, something other than just low chlorine, your pool turns out to appear green.
  3. If your pool filters are not working properly, this might result in debris to settle and clog the filters. You need to ensure that your filters run constantly throughout the day for 24 hours whenever the water start to turn cloudy or green.
  4. If the bottom and sides of your pool are not scrubbed regularly, you might be giving a chance for algae to grow.
  5. Sometimes, if there are any metals in your pool water and if you shock your pool, you might result in oxidizing the metals along with other dirt and this result in green waters.

Does Cloudy, Foggy, Milky, Murky Swimming Pool Mean The Same?

If there is an algae growing all around your swimming pool then, the pool waters start turning green. On the other hand, your pool can also turn you off if it looks cloudy. The water might not be green, but if it appears cloudy and not crystal clear, you might again not desire to enter the pool waters.

The water appears cloudy because of tiny particles that could not get filtered efficiently at the filtering system. The other reasons could be debris or chemical imbalance or over treating your pool with clarifiers.

Whatever the reason is, you pool will not look crystal clear if the above discussed reasons are not cleared for your pool. Depending on the type of tiny particles in the pool, or the type of debris, your pool might turn cloudy from light to heavy, also heating your pool with heater will help immensely.

In general, all of the terms like cloudy, foggy, milky or murky are used interchangeably. If the pool contains less tiny particles of dirt, it might look cloudy, which is a bit next to not being crystal clear.

  • If the concentration of dirt is much more, then the water might appear even more unclear, generally termed as foggy.
  • If the dirt levels are too high, then your pool might appear even higher than foggy appearance, giving a milky look.
  • You might term to muddy look as murky waters.

On the whole, finally, all the terms are used interchangeably depending on how you personally feel about the pool waters appearance. There is nothing much difference between these terms.

Bryan Mallory

My name is Bryan Mallory and I have over 25 years of experience in swimming pool, spa maintenance and repairs. With my experience and knowledge I can return your pool back to its best and keep it in peak condition.