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Household Chemicals For Pool Maintenance

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For pool maintenance, you can use these generic household chemicals to replace most of the pool store ones.

  • Baking soda is the same thing as pool store total alkalinity increaser (sodium bicarbonate or the more proper sodium hydrogen carbonate). 1.5 lbs per 10,000 gallons of pool water will increase total alkalinity by 10ppm.
  • Household bleach (sodium hypochlorite) can be used to shock the pool. This is especially important if you don't want to deal with calcium precipitation (especially in hard water). 1/2 gallon of household bleach (non scented) per 10,000 gallons of pool water will increase the chlorine level by 5ppm.
  • Muriatic acid can be used to lower the total alkalinity of a pool. You can find this in almost all hardware stores and it's sold as a cleaner. 1.3 pints per 10,000 gallons of pool water will decrease the total alkalinity by 10ppm.
  • Borax (yes, the stuff in the green box in the laundry isle) can be used to buffer the pH and raise it. 1/2 cup per 10,000 gallons will increase your pH. How much depends on quite a few factors so you will have to adjust according to the results you receive in your particular pool.

By Rob from Gig Harbor, WA


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By lkbrown340605/27/2014

I have had an above ground pool for 12 years now and last year was the first year I had no problems with my pool water. I have always relied on the pool places to help me with the balancing of my pool and every year spend between 500 & 800. We have hard water, sulfur in our water and live in the country surrounded by fields. Weve always had algae problems etc. Last year I used bleach, borax, & baking soda and spent less than 250.00.

My pool even looked great when we opened it up just a week ago. Household products are not any more harmful to our bodies than the pool chemicals. If anything they are safer not worse. Fisrt key step is alkalinity balance, if your alkalinity is off you will waste your bleach. The only pool chemical I use is the stuff to lower PH because its stronger than the muriatic acid found in the cleaning isle of hardware stores. and less corrosive on my pools hardware. Good luck with your pools this year.

By Ronnie in NJ (Guest Post)08/24/2008

I have a high end pool store a 1/2 mile from the house I moved into in 2005. I spent hundreds trying to get the water to read right on their "computer". One day I came home and it was green, I almost lost my mind!

I came across a similar pool site that gave the same suggestions, along with the "technical" reasons why it was o.k.

I am happy to say, my pool has never looked better! Water is crystal clear, stubborn black mold on the liner is completely gone and I have not used algicide once this summer.

Takes some experimenting with amounts for your pool. I have a 20 * 40, liner pool and I usually only put a half bag baking soda (from BJ's) or 1/2 box Borax (make sure it is 20 mule and not detergent!!!!)

Also, my father has been maintaining their 16*32 liner pool for YEARS with just liquid clorine & algecide.

Pool places want to sell chemicals and promote the hype. This stuff truly works!

By regina frohn (Guest Post)06/11/2007

help....we are new to all this and are spending $$$$ on chemicals and still getting cloudy and green/yellow water....we have shocked it , algae it and scrubbed I am going to drain it and plant flowers....

By Robert Joanis [3]06/07/2007

Very true. Pool maintenance can be hazardous if caution is not taken when dealing with caustic or oxidation chemicals. However, following the precautions right on the label of the products is enough to keep one safe.

Not sure what the problem was about the eye problems, but I've never encountered them nor heard of such.

By Lynda (Guest Post)05/27/2007

Hm-m-m-mmmm. This reminds me of my neighbor a block away who is renting a house/pool, on low buget and whose husband died mysteriously at an early age. The pool pump/filter is broken so they just add whatever chemicals they can to the pool, not knowing what's what. It's critical that anyone trying to do their own pool service know how to use and to buy a water PH tester, then keep it up.
Also, Muriatic Acid and Common Bleach can truly burn the eyes, skin so BE CAREFUL, BE CAREFUL....
My mother had a pool for 20 yrs. and every single pool maintenance person began to have eye problems, left and was promptly replaced by some unsuspecting young person, and the same story
repeated itself. It's terribly dangerous, especially if the pool is located in full sun and in the SOUTH or
TEXAS. Use EXTREME CAUTION and do your homework. God bless and keep you. : )

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