Swimming in a pool is a great way to cool off and relax on a hot summer day. But one of the central questions when considering entering a pool is: Is it safe to swim in a pool without chlorine?
Chlorine has long been considered the best method for keeping swimming pools clean and free from bacteria and algae. Using chlorine allows for superb filtration and easy cleaning, which helps keep swimming pools safe for swimmers.
Despite chlorine being considered the standard for maintaining healthy swimming pools, other methods of keeping pools clean, such as ozone or ultraviolet (UV) systems, exist. It’s essential to understand the risks of swimming without chlorine and what you can do to stay safe while enjoying your time in the water. In this article, we will explore if swimming in a pool with no chlorine is okay and what steps you need to take if that is your preferred method.
Why Is Chlorine Being Added to the Pool in the First Place?
To address whether it is safe to swim in a pool without chlorine, it’s essential to understand the role of chlorine in a pool. Chlorine is commonly used in swimming pools for a variety of reasons, even in saltwater pools;
• Chlorine is a powerful disinfectant that slays bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that can cause illnesses.
• Chlorine helps to maintain a balanced pH level in the pool, which prevents skin irritation and eye discomfort.
• Chlorine helps to prevent the growth of algae and other contaminants that can make the water cloudy or discolored.
• Chlorine helps to keep the pool clean and free of debris, which makes swimming more enjoyable.
Additionally, chlorine is unique in that it can perform all of these tasks simultaneously, thus keeping the number of chemicals needed for pool maintenance at a minimum. It is considered safe when used at appropriate levels for the pool’s depth and size and properly balanced.
Is It Safe to Swim in a Pool Without Chlorine?
Pool owners use chlorine to treat swimming pool water to stop bacteria from multiplying and prevent swimmers from getting sick from infections caused by bacteria. Chlorine is a good disinfectant used to kill bacteria in swimming pools, but chlorine can be harmful to humans if they are highly exposed to or inhaled.
Therefore, swimmers should protect themselves by showering before swimming, not swimming when the water is cloudy or has algae, and not swimming in a pool if it produces a strong odor. Also, swimmers should shower after swimming to remove chlorine from their skin.
What Happens in a Chlorine-Free Pool?
As noted by the World Health Organization, unsanitized stagnant water can harbor unseen dangers. Without chlorine, the risk of water-borne illnesses increases. Not only that, but the pool’s appearance would also suffer due to unrestricted algae growth. While swimming in a chlorine-free pool may be possible without immediate harm, the long-term health and safety risks outweigh the potential benefits.
Related: Chlorine-Free Pools, Differences of Combined, Total & Free Chlorine
The Ocean Doesn’t Have Chlorine, but It’s Safe to Swim, Though?
While it may seem logical, the ocean and pool water comparison is only partially accurate. Ocean currents and natural water replacement prevent stagnation in the Ocean and lake, whereas pool water remains stagnant and contained, making it a breeding ground for bacteria growth.
4 Greener Alternatives For Pool Water Treatments
1. Natural Pool Purifiers
Three methods to significantly decrease chlorine usage for maintaining a clean and algae-free pool include using ultraviolet light systems, which utilize UV light for sanitation and can result in a reduction of chlorine usage by over 50%.
In addition to chlorine, ancient water treatment methods include using minerals like copper and silver, which possess natural bacteria-fighting properties. Today, technology has advanced to the point where we can utilize ozone, a gas that is injected into the plumbing system to eliminate any contaminants it encounters.
2. Going All-Natural or Switching to Salt
Saltwater pools have a self-cleaning mechanism that eliminates bacteria and germs through electrolysis, where salt is converted into chlorine and can be reused. These systems produce fewer harmful byproducts and have fewer adverse effects on skin, eyes, and respiratory health than chlorine pools. Additionally, saltwater pools have less chloramine buildup, and users often report the water feeling softer and having fewer pH imbalances.
Saltwater pools offer advantages over-chlorinated pools, but a natural pool is the most environmentally friendly option. These pools, which resemble ponds, use plants in shallow water to naturally purify the water. Natural swimming pools use a combination of vegetation, filtration, and circulation to maintain clean water without the use of chemicals.
3. Natural Pool Chemicals
The production, transportation, and storage of chlorine have an environmental impact. Using alternatives that reduce the need for chlorine, such as a salt system or natural water purification methods, decreases chlorine’s overall demand and production. Remember that one person’s decision to use a chlorine-free alternative can significantly reduce the amount of chlorine in the environment, as stated by ChasingGreen.
4. Pool Covers and Landscaping
Utilizing pool covers when not in use and incorporating landscaping to block wind can decrease the amount of debris entering the pool, reducing the need for cleaning. These methods also decrease water evaporation and heating costs. Solar pool covers can lower the need for chemicals, increase the water temperature, and reduce evaporation by up to 95%, as reported by Earth911.
Additionally, plants and shrubs surrounding the pool absorb carbon dioxide and other byproducts from traditional pool chemicals. Even if you don’t have a natural pool, purifying plants such as reeds and irises near the pool can help filter the soil and purify the air.
Chlorine or No Chlorine: What’s the Verdict?
Although swimming in a chlorine-free pool may not cause immediate health problems, prolonged exposure can lead to illnesses and skin irritations. Additionally, open wounds or cuts can put you at a higher risk for infection. To ensure safety and prevent any potential health hazards, it is recommended to swim in a pool that is properly treated with chlorine/chlorine alternatives and other balanced chemicals.
Moreover, saltwater and natural pools also have their own risks that must be considered before use. While chlorine may not be the best choice for keeping pools clean, there are alternative methods to consider that are less harmful to the environment. While these methods are not perfect or without drawbacks, they are a step in the right direction toward creating healthier swimming conditions for both swimmers and the environment.
Thanks for reading this far! As a bonus, here’s a quote from us: “Never stop swimming. Swim through every barrier and past every fear until you can swim through the deepest Ocean with your head held high and a smile on your face knowing you conquered your greatest fears!”