The Dangers of Over-Shocking Pool and Best Tips on How to Treat It

Read the article to learn about the dangers of over-shocking pool water and how to treat it. You’ll also learn how to shock your pool the right way and the best equipment to use.

Overcompensating on pool shock treatment can backfire and cause more harm than good. If your swimming pool is well-maintained, you don’t need to be so generous with chlorine. Letting the water stay at a natural level will do wonders for your body as well!

Over-shocking pool can cause it to become cloudy. When the chlorine level gets too high, particles in the water break down and form a sludge. This sludge closes up your pool’s filters, making them less effective at removing particles from the water. The result? Cloudy water and an unpleasant odor (if not worse).

cloudy swimming pool

Poor maintenance can put you at risk for infections and other diseases! But, of course, one of the biggest headaches with over-shocking is that it gives off some pretty nasty fumes.

To understand why over-shocking your pool is bad, you need first to understand how chlorine works in water.

In this article, you’ll have a good understanding of over-shocking the pool. Excited? Let’s dive in. 

What Is Pool Shock Treatment?

Pool Shock

Pool shock treatment is a technique used in swimming pools to ensure that the pool water has the appropriate pH level. The chlorine levels in the water are also increased by this process, which provides additional benefits for pool water use.

It is a method used to prevent the growth of algae and other bacteria in the pool. Here are a few shock treatments that many pool owners use to shock their pools. For safety precautions, make sure to be mindful of how much you are using.

Calcium Hypochlorite

A pool shock treatment of calcium hypochlorite is effective in maintaining the pH levels of the water. This is because it is a hypochlorite chemical, which is a chlorine-based chemical and is one of the most common chemicals used to shock the pools.

This is a solid type of chlorine used to disinfect swimming pool water and works as a bleaching agent. Calcium hypochlorite shock is commonly in granules, although it may also be available in the form of chlorine tablets.

Make sure to dissolve the chemical in at least five gallons of water before adding it to the pool, regardless of whether you’re using powder or tablet form. This will prevent undiluted bleach from settling on the pool’s floor or liner, which can cause damage or staining to the surface material over time.

Sodium Hypochlorite

Sodium hypochlorite is an excellent chemical to use for shocking your pool. This is because it breaks down into chlorine over time, which acts as the oxidizer in water. It’s also one of the most common chemicals used to shock pools, especially swimming pools that are not well-maintained.

The benefit of using sodium hypochlorite as a pool shock treatment is it’s also a disinfectant and bleaching agent. The only downside of this chemical is that it might cause skin irritation or itchiness following ingestion or contact with eyes and skin, but this can be avoided if you take proper precautions when using this type of chemical in your pool.

Sodium Dichlor

This is a pool shock treatment that you should use when maintaining your pool as it is an efficient chlorine-based chemical. It also benefits from being less toxic than other chlorine-based chemicals, such as sodium hypochlorite, since it does not contain dangerous compounds like chloroform.

Although sodium dichlor is quite similar to calcium hypochlorite, the primary distinction is that sodium dichlor has cyanuric acid (CYA). CYA helps to keep chlorine stable for extended periods and protects it from deteriorating when exposed to sunshine.

Pool Shock Is Not a New Thing

It has existed for many years and is well known by many pool owners. Although it may seem like a new thing, it has been around since the 1940s. Professional pool owners have used this technique for so long because they know how beneficial it can be for their pools.

How Do You Know if Your Pool Is Overshocked?

If you have been using this technique and your chlorination levels have increased, you may need to reevaluate the situation. Your water will turn cloudy if you over-shock the water, and your chlorine levels can be too high. Here are some symptoms of over-shocking:

  • Your water becomes cloudy
  • Your chlorine levels are higher than they should be
  • Algae are forming in your pool

Why is this happening? Here is a science-based answer for you: over-shocking can cause lots of problems for your swimming pool.

Over-Shocking Pool Causes Bacteria to Spread and Grow in Your Pool Water, Test Your Chlorine Regularly for Sure!

Swimming pool turned greed due to bacteria

Excessive chlorine-based products lead to bacteria and algae that usually live in the chlorinated phase of swimming pools. When chlorine levels get too high, the growth of bacteria and algae is inevitable. This is because chlorine reacts with nitrogen compounds from natural organic matter found in swimming pool water.

Usually, the bacteria would grow in the non-chlorinated part of the pool water; however, if your chlorine levels are higher than they should be, these bacteria will be able to grow throughout your entire body of water.

What Is the Solution?

The best way to handle this situation is to understand that you are over-shocking your pool and need to decrease the amount of chlorine you use. If you can do this, you can prevent bacteria and algae from growing within your pool.

Also, if you’ve already confirmed that your pool is suffering from over shock, you may try these steps to help your pool water chemistry return to normal. 

Step by Step Guide on How to Fix Too Much Shock in a Swimming Pool

Step 1: Get a Chlorine Test Kit

Chlorine Test Kit beside pool

You should first get a chlorine test kit, which detects the amount of free chlorine in your pool. A pool that has been excessively shocked will have a high amount of free chlorine in the water. But because every test kit is different, you should carefully read the guidelines on the bottle to ensure that you are reading the results properly.

Step 2: Get Everyone Out of the Water as Soon as Possible

Clear Swimming Pool

When treating a pool, you cannot have any swimmers in it, especially if the pool is being treated for excessive chlorine levels. This is because chlorine will react with body tissue and cause discoloring or other damage.

Step 3: Remove All the Rocks From the Bottom of Your Pool

Stones in net removed from pool

This will reduce the amount of contaminants in your pool. Also, if you don’t remove the stones, they can be used as a breeding ground for bacteria and algae to grow in your pool. When it is over-shocked, the chlorine tends to build up on top of rocks, allowing bacteria and algae to grow underneath them.

Removing these rocks from the bottom of your pool will prevent bacteria from growing under there and will not act as a buffer when you are adding chlorine to your water supply.

Step 4: Switch on the Pool Filtration Pump to Begin Cleaning the Pool

Pool Filtration Pump

To achieve the needed results, you will need to add half an ounce of sodium thiosulfate per 1,000 gallons of water. To use, simply pour it straight into the pool’s most shallow part. Then, let it circulate for around 30 minutes while the sodium thiosulfate is present in the water.

Step 5: Switch the Pool Filtration Pump off and Turn It Back On

The final step is switching the pool filtration pump off and turning it back on. The amounts of chlorine should be checked every week.

You will need to measure and follow the instructions for the chlorine that you have chosen, as well as the instructions for adding more chlorine to your pool. This will need to be done to avoid future problems caused by an excessive shock in the water.

Make sure to maintain your pool’s free chlorine level at around 2.0 parts per million (ppm) to maintain a constant PH. You can use sodium thiosulfate to neutralize chlorine instantly.

Pools that do not emit a chlorine stench are entirely balanced, meaning they do not have excessive chlorine levels or shock in the pool.

How to Treat an Over-Shocked Saltwater Pool?

swimming pool with algae

Algae growth is a concern in both saltwater and chlorinated swimming pools. Like a chlorinated pool, a saltwater pool will occasionally require further chlorination to eliminate basic pool issues.

The biggest difference between saltwater and the chlorinated pool is their cleaning systems.

The salt cells in a saltwater pool turn into chlorine, so you usually don’t have to add chlorine to this type of pool. However, in some circumstances, saltwater pools might need additional chlorine if there’s too much contaminants load. So if you accidentally over-chlorinated your saltwater pool, you can follow the steps above, but you will need to perform this one last step.

Step 6: After the Completion of Step 5

  • Turn down the salt cell system and check the chlorine levels in the water.
  • Keep your salt chlorinators, which is another word for the cell system, running for a bit longer because the shock can continue several days or more.
  • Keep an eye on the levels, and as soon as chlorine begins to move, you may switch the cell system back on.


As you probably know by now, a pool with a strong chlorine odor that causes burning or itching of the eyes or nose is likely to have an excessive amount of chlorine. This is caused by the combined chlorine left behind by sweat, urine, skin cells, and blood being broken down in the water, resulting in an overstocking of the pool.

With the help of these strategies above, you may not have to worry about over-shocking for the rest of your life. Although it may need some effort, you will be back in your pristine blue and healthy pool in no time.

Interested in more helpful tips and tricks for keeping your family safe and healthy by using the pool? These articles provide the answers. Visit our website to see a complete list of our pool articles.

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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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