Pool Clarifier and Pool Flocculant: What Are They and Why It Matters

Pool clarifier and pool flocculant are two different products that play the same role: to remove particles from your pool. Learn the difference between the two and why it matters.

Clear pools are beautiful, and there’s nothing worse than waking up to find your pool has turned murky overnight. But don’t fear; because pool clarifiers and flocculant got you covered! 

Pool clarifiers and flocculant are good for the environment, it’s safe for you, and it keeps your eyes sparkling when you see that perfect blue! So how do they work? 

Pool clarifier and flocculant coagulate the tiny particles that cause cloudiness into larger ones that can be removed while significantly reducing the time it takes for your pool to clear up. This means you can enjoy a clearer, more active swimming experience with less chemical use and spending!

Here’s a helpful guide that will cover the difference between the two, the disadvantages of both products and how you can treat cloudy water in a pool using a pool clarifier and flocculant.

What Is a Pool Clarifier?

A pool clarifier is a liquid solution that includes polymers, which are chain-like molecules that act as coagulants on tiny substances that are too small to be captured by the pool’s filtration system.

Adding a pool clarifier enables these particles to cluster together, making it easy for your filter to catch it up or be picked out by your skimmer.

How to Use a Pool Clarifier?

Pool clarifiers are simple to use, but it is critical to precisely follow the instructions to prevent making the situation worse.

Insiders note: If you have algae in your pool besides cloudiness, treat the algae issue first before attempting to clear the water from the pool. Unfortunately, there is no amount of clarifier that can eliminate algae.

Step 1: Keep the pH balance in your pool to between 7.4 and 7.6.

Pool Clarifier - Keep the pH balance in your pool to between 7.4 and 7.6.

Step 2: Read the instructions provided by the manufacturer. The usage of a pool clarifier isn’t tricky, but there may be slight variations between models, so make sure you’re following the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Step 3: If you don’t know the size of your pool, you should figure it out first. This is simple to do with the help of a pool calculator.

Step 4: Add the appropriate quantity of clarifier to your pool based on the size of the pool.

Step 5: Turn on the pool filter and leave it running 24 hours a day (or as much as you can) until your cloudy water clears out.

Step 6: Thoroughly clean the pool filter.

Pool Clarifier - Clean the pool filter.

Step 7: Check the pH level in your pool once again. Some clarifiers can enhance the pool’s chemistry. If required, rebalance the water (along with all other levels).

Step 8: Dive in and enjoy your pristine blue pool!

Pool Clarifier - Pristine blue pool

Benefits and Drawbacks of Pool Clarifier

If you know the pros and cons of a situation, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision.

Benefits of Pool Clarifier

  • You’ll have less work to do. To use the pool clarifier, just pour it into the water and walk away while it does its magic.
  • Good for clearing out mild cloudiness. Have you recognized that the water in your pool has become hazy, but you can still look through it for the most part? A clarifier is the best way to go. 
  • It helps to save water. You will not have to remove any water from the pool to clean it, as pool clarifier will assist your filter in performing more effectively.
  • You can use the pool clarifier anytime. Even if your pool is not hazy, you may use a small amount of clarifier to give the water a little boost to look extra sparkling.

Drawbacks of Pool Clarifier

Although it seems to be a miraculous pool chemical, just like anything else, it does have certain drawbacks: 

  • Pool clarifier can take days to work. Depending on the degree of cloudiness, it may take two to three days for your pool to clear.
  • You still need to clean the filter. Once the clarifier has completed its job, all of the clumped particles will be trapped in the filter, which may reduce the filter’s efficiency.

What Is Pool Flocculant?

A flocculant is a substance that causes fragments in your cloudy water to clump together. These flocs are often heavier than the liquid, so they settle at the bottom of the pool.

How to Use Pool Flocculant

Step 1: Make sure to turn your sand or DE filter to the option Recirculate.

Step 2: Keep the pH balance in your pool to between 7.4 and 7.6.

Step 3: Read the instructions provided by the manufacturer. The usage of a pool flocculant isn’t difficult, but there may be small variations between models, so make sure you’re following the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Step 4: If you don’t know the size of your pool, you should figure it out first. This is simple to do with the help of a pool calculator.

Step 5: Add the appropriate quantity of pool flocculant to your pool based on the size of the pool.

Step 6: Turn on the pool pump for at least two hours to let the floc circulate.

Pool Clarifier - Turn on the pool pump for at least two hours to let the floc circulate.

Step 7: After that, let the pool rest for eight hours. It’s easier to do this step overnight. Remember to turn off your automatic timer.

Step 8: Set the pool filter settings to “Waste.”

Step 9: Start using your manual vacuum.

Step 10: Remove the particle clumps from the bottom of your pool using a pool vacuum.

Pool Clarifier - Manual vacuum pool
  • The vacuum may mix up the particles, causing your pool to become cloudy once again. If this happens, take a pause, let the particles settle, and then vacuum again, moving slowly as much as possible.
  • It’s possible that you’ll have to vacuum twice or three times to get all the clumps out.

Step 11: Check the water level in the pool. If the water level has dropped (as it certainly will), use a garden hose to replenish it and get it back up to where it should be.

Step 12: Check your pool’s chemistry and balance the water.

Step 13: Dive in!

Insiders note: Before you begin this procedure, double-check to make sure your filter is set on Recirculate. Allowing pool flocculant to enter your filter is not recommended. Imagine the clumps in your filter. It will quickly block everything, making your filter completely ineffective. So, spare yourself the effort and make sure that you are vacuuming to waste.

Drawbacks and Benefits of a Pool Flocculant

Benefits of Pool Flocculant

  • It works fast. You won’t have to sit around waiting for flocculant to perform its work for you. In a couple of hours, the clouding particles will clump and will rest in the bottom of your swimming pool.
  • It’s a powerful chemical. Pool floc binds particles together and holds them in place until you remove them from the pool. 
  • Pool flocculant works well with sand and diatomaceous earth (DE) filters. Given that these filters are often equipped with multiport valves that feature a “Waste” option, it is simple to bypass the filter when removing the clumped particles and flocculant.

Drawbacks of Using Pool Flocculant

Before you choose floc over clarifier, be sure you understand the risks.

  • It takes more effort from you. Once the clumps develop on the pool bottom, you’ll have to remove them manually using a pool vacuum.
  • You’ll lose pool water. You can start vacuuming the waste to bypass the filter. Water will decrease by doing this, so you need to replace what’s lost. 
  • You can’t use pool flocculant with a cartridge filter. 

Pool Clarifier vs Flocculant

A pool clarifier is a chemical that clears up substances that are causing cloudy water. It is also specifically designed for pools with large surface areas or pools with lots of swimmers.However, the pool clarifier is not designed to be used for pools that are not well-circulated. 

On the other hand, the flocculant does not need to be as concentrated as the pool clarifier since it works differently by acting as an attractant for dirt and other particles in the water.

Pool clarifier and flocculant have a lot in common, but to avoid some confusion. Let’s further clarify:

  • Pool clarifier and flocculant bind to floating debris such as oils, scum, and extra metals that are present in your pool.
  • Pool clarifier clumps debris together and leaves them floating on the surface of the pool, where the pool’s filtration system absorbs them.
  • Flocculant (also known as pool floc) is a chemical that collects all the cloudy-causing particles in your pool, clusters them together, and sinks them to the bottom of the pool.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a pool clarifier?

A pool clarifier is a chemical additive used in swimming pools to help improve water clarity by aiding in the removal of tiny particles and contaminants that can cause cloudiness. It works by causing these particles to clump together, making them larger and easier to filter out or settle to the bottom of the pool.

How does a pool flocculant work?

A pool flocculant, also known as a pool floc, is a chemical compound used to treat severely cloudy or murky pool water. It works by causing suspended particles to coagulate and settle at the bottom of the pool, forming a larger mass that can be easily vacuumed or manually removed. Flocculants are particularly effective for addressing water clarity issues that traditional filtration methods may struggle to handle.

Can I use a pool clarifier and a pool flocculant together?

In general, it’s not recommended to use a pool clarifier and a pool flocculant together at the same time. Both products work by causing particles to clump together, and using them simultaneously could result in excessive clumping that’s difficult to manage. It’s best to choose one product based on the severity of the water clarity issue. If the pool is slightly cloudy, a clarifier may suffice. For more severe cloudiness, a flocculant could be a better choice.

Are pool clarifiers and flocculants safe to use?

When used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, pool clarifiers and flocculants are generally safe to use. However, it’s important to follow proper safety precautions, such as wearing gloves and protective eyewear when handling chemicals, and keeping these products out of reach of children and pets. Additionally, it’s recommended to avoid swimming while these products are being used and until the water has been properly treated and filtered. Always read and follow the product labels for usage guidelines and safety information.


There you have it; all the needed information about pool clarifiers and flocculants and why they are helpful for your pool maintenance routine. We hope that after referring to this article, you feel more confident about how to use them.

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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