Using Baking Soda to Keep Pool Healthy, Blue, Clear, and Safe for Swimmers

Baking soda is the cheapest and most effective pool chemical you can use. Here’s how to use baking soda to keep your pool water clear, blue, and safe for swimming.

Baking soda is a naturally occurring compound that has long been used for pool maintenance. When you use baking soda in pool and it encounters the water, it generates an alkaline pH that kills many bacteria and other contaminants.

Sprinkle baking soda directly on the surface of your pool, or mix it with chlorine to give your water an active treatment. You can also use it to maintain your pool’s chemistry when you’re changing the pH levels.

In this article, you’ll understand the many reasons why owners use baking soda in their pools to keep them healthy, blue, clear, and safe for swimmers.

Raise pH and Alkalinity Using Baking Soda In Pool Water

Baking Soda: pH value alkaline

Baking soda can be used to raise pH levels in pools. Baking soda is a material that reacts with water and releases sodium bicarbonate, hydroxide, and carbon dioxide due to reaction.

It is the hydroxide released by the reaction that helps to increase the pH levels. The carbon dioxide released is what helps to increase the alkalinity levels.

For both pH and alkalinity, the reaction of baking soda in pool water takes several days to occur. So if you’re taking corrective measures to raise the pH of your pool water, it might take a few days before you can notice an appreciable difference in your pool’s pH levels. The increase in alkalinity also happens over a couple of days.

What you have to remember when using baking soda in pool water to raise pH and alkalinity is that it only affects the water itself. Your total alkalinity will be higher because of the increased bicarbonate, but there will be no change in the hardness or mineral content of your water.

Natural pool cleaners are a healthy alternative to chlorine. If you are thinking of switching to natural pool cleaners, you can find out about the best natural pool cleaners on this page.

How to Use Baking Soda in Pool Water to Increase Alkalinity

Baking Soda in Jar with Wooden Spoon

Follow these simple steps to test and raise the alkalinity and pH of your pool with baking soda.

Step 1: Daily Check the Alkalinity of Your Pool

Your pH should be between 7.2 and 7.8, and your alkalinity should be between 110 and 150 parts per million (parts per million). If your alkalinity level is low, especially if it is less than 80 ppm, you must increase the alkalinity of the pool water.

Step 2: Purchase Baking Soda in Bulk (Available in Pouches up to 15 Lbs.)

You’ll be adding anywhere between 1.5 and 8-10 pounds of baking soda in pool water, depending on your pool’s alkalinity level.

Step 3: Calculate the Amount to Add

First, you’ll need to determine the appropriate amount of baking soda to put in your pool water. A safe rule of thumb is 1.5 lbs of baking soda for every 10,000 gallons of water.

If your pool’s pH measures less than 7.2, add 3-4 pounds of baking soda. If this is your first time adding pool chemicals, begin with half or three-fourths of the suggested quantity. 

After retesting, if the level still remains low, you may always add more. Otherwise, you risk deviating too far from the optimal pH levels and need to add an acid.

Step 4: Add Baking Soda in Pool Water

Sodium bicarbonate is available in powder form and may be added straight to pool water. Distribute the water in wide arcs around the pool’s surface to prevent dropping it all in one location. Also, beware of adding baking soda on a windy day since the powder might get airborne.

Step 5: Wait Six Hours at the Very Least

Allow the baking soda in pool water to break down completely. Then, turn on the circulation system in your pool to assist it to disperse.

Step 6: Repeat the Test if Necessary

Retest your pool’s pH and total alkalinity between 6 and 24 hours after adding the baking soda. Repeat these procedures if the pH is less than 7.2 and the alkalinity is less than 110 ppm.

Benefits of Using Baking Soda in Pool Water

There are several benefits associated with using baking soda in your swimming pool:

Removes Chlorine Odors

One of the biggest problems with having a swimming pool is dealing with unpleasant odors from chlorine. These smells often linger after the swimmer leaves the pool area.

To eliminate them, simply sprinkle some baking soda around the perimeter of your pool before adding the necessary amounts of chlorine. Afterward, rinse off the baking soda with fresh water.

Kills Harmful Microorganisms

Another benefit of using baking soda in pool water is that it eliminates harmful microorganisms like E-coli and Giardia. Since these organisms thrive in warm temperatures, sprinkling baking soda around the edges of your pool will prevent them from growing inside your system.

Keeps Swimming Pool Chemicals From Becoming Toxic.

The third advantage of baking soda in conjunction with chlorine is that it prevents toxic substances such as cyanuric acid, hypochlorous acid, and hydrogen peroxide from becoming too concentrated.

Prevents Corrosion

“When the pH is too low, on the other hand, the water becomes corrosive.”

Chris Deziel, pool expert.

A bonus of using baking soda in combination with chlorine is that it protects against corrosion. Because the two compounds have different effects on the environment, they don’t react negatively. Instead, they enhance one another’s effectiveness.

Reduces Chemical Use

Finally, using baking soda instead of regular household cleaners saves money and reduces waste.

Using Baking Soda to Correct Common Pool Issues

Swimming Pool with Algae

Green, Blue, or Yellow Algae

If your pool is infested with algae, you’ll notice dull green water, sticky walls and bottom, and a slick pool surface. You’ll need to destroy the algae with an algaecide and then super chlorinate the pool to clean the water.

After this treatment, check your pH and alkalinity levels and add baking soda to get them to at least 100 ppm and a pH between 7.2 and 7.8. Here are some tips for choosing the right algaecide for your pool. Check this step-by-step guides on how to prevent algae from growing in the first place and how to treat it once it’s already there.

Pool Corrosion

If you notice corrosion on your pipes, ladders, or pits in your pool liner or tiles, your water alkalinity is dangerously low. Conduct a test and add Arm & Hammer baking soda as directed. Typically, at least 8 lbs. will be required if your levels are low enough to cause pool corrosion.

Scaling Buildup

Pool scaling is caused by an excessive amount of calcium, pH, and alkalinity.  Stop using calcium-based disinfectants and keep the alkalinity of your pool between 80 and 110 ppm. Next, check your pH levels and gently add a pool acid, such as muriatic acid, to bring the pH down to below 7.8. If you find that you have gone too far, use baking soda sparingly to get the levels back to normal.

Cloudy Pool Water

If your pool water is cloudy and murky, there could be a variety of reasons why. Check the filtration system in your pool; the issue with the filtration system may lie there. Suppose your water is hard or has a high concentration of minerals. In that case, you should avoid using any items that contain extra calcium and keep your alkalinity levels below 110 ppm (but higher than 80 ppm). To treat cloudy swimming pool water,  super chlorination is typically the quickest and most effective way.

After a hyper-chlorination treatment, always monitor your pH levels and gradually add baking soda to your pool water to bring it up to a range between 7.2 and 7.8 following the treatment. Cloudiness can occur when the pH level is elevated.

Bottom Line

Baking soda is an inexpensive and effective way to maintain your pool clean and healthy and provide you with a safe and comfortable swimming pool. However, if you’re looking for a more potent method of changing the PH level of your pool without affecting the alkalinity, you might want to try utilizing soda ash.

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About the author

Brian Anderson

The rather dry pool world out there is in need of some passion to make it shine. With the help of my son Ruben and his wife Maria our mission is to help you create the favorite spot of your house - your pool.

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