All-Encompassing Guide About Sodium Bisulfate and How It Is Used as a Pool Additive

If you want to learn about the effects of sodium bisulfate, what it’s used for, how you can make it, and all the other fun stuff, then you need to check out our comprehensive guide.

If you’ve been searching for ways to maintain your pool so that it’s always crystal clear, then you might find our article very helpful. Sodium bisulfate in pool water is a great way to help it remain clear because it helps lower the pool’s ph balance and total alkalinity. This maintains healthy water chemistry.

It also has the added benefit of assuring that chlorine levels are at their lowest possible point. We discuss how sodium bisulfate can be used for pools and the benefits in more detail below.

Muriatic Acid vs. Sodium Bisulfate in Pool Water

Sodium Salt Spilled from Jar

Of course, sodium bisulfate is not the only pool chemical that can be used to decrease the pH balance—muriatic acid is also easily accessible and works just as well.

It is important to note that while both muriatic acid and sodium bisulfate are able to clear pools, it is also important to know the differences between the two. 

The problem with muriatic acid is it can cause corrosion and discoloration on pool equipment over time. It is also corrosive when it contacts copper, brass, gold, or chrome. Sodium bisulfate will not cause any of these issues but will still produce a clear pool. As a comparison, sodium bisulfate is also less expensive than muriatic acid.

However, some individuals choose to use muriatic acid to clean their tiles and remove buildup, in addition to lowering the pH in their pools.

The choice is totally up to you, but we recommend sticking with sodium bisulfate as much as possible.

Importance of pH & Alkalinity Balance

Hand Holding pH Test Kit in Pool

Maintaining your pool’s pH and alkalinity levels in check is important for water safety. 

The proper pH balance will keep skin from tearing when swimming, avoid scaling on pool surfaces, and prevent corrosion of metal components such as valves, fittings, pipes, filters, heaters.

The alkalinity level in the water is also important because it keeps chlorine working properly to sanitize the pool. 

Higher alkalinity also helps prevent acidity levels from rising too high (pH below 7), which can be harmful to swimmers and pets who come into contact with the water.

How to Use Sodium Bisulfate to Lower pH

Man Pouring Salt in Bucket

Step 1: Test Pools Chemistry Levels

First, you’ll need to test your pool’s chemistry using either a strip, liquid, or a pool testing kit. If the pH balance is not in the ideal range or too high, you’ll have to adjust it with sodium bisulfate.

Ideally, you should maintain a pH level of 7.2 to 7.6 in your pool.

Many pH reducers bought in the market are made with a concentration of at least 93.2 percent. 

Additionally, each product comes with its own set of instructions for use, which you should read before attempting to use in your pool.

Step 2: Figure Out the Amount of Sodium Bisulfate to Use in the Pool

Once you’ve already confirmed that your pH does indeed need to be decreased, you’ll need to calculate the appropriate amount of sodium bisulfate to apply.

Most pool experts recommend starting with around 3/4 of the amount specified in the instructions and add more later as necessary. 

Step 3: Read the Product Label to Determine Whether to Dilute

Then, read the directions to see whether the product requires diluting.

If it does, the ideal container for mixing the acid and water is often a five-gallon bucket.

Step 4: Add the Sodium Bisulfate

Sodium bisulfate is a powder, so it would be best to avoid dealing with it on windy days. After all, it’s acid, and getting it in your clothing or skin may be extremely harmful. 

Pour the powder into your pool near the jets and not near the intake/skimmer (if you have an inground pool), as well as along the pool’s walls (for above-ground pools). This gives the product more time to dissolve in the water and spread equally throughout the area.

Step 5: Now Wait for a Bit and Let the Product Do Its Work

Allow the product to dissolve completely for approximately 6 hours. 

You should test both pH and alkalinity simultaneously because the two levels typically correlate with each other.

Step 6: Retest the PH of the Pool Water

Retest the water and note the pH levels. If the water in your pool is properly balanced, you’re good to go! If the pH remains too low, repeat Step 2, add another quarter, rinse, and repeat.

How to Use Sodium Bisulfate to Lower the Alkalinity

“As a general rule for pool experts, alkalinity should be around 80 – 120 ppm.”


Alkalinity stabilizes the pH levels, and if the pH is too high, the alkalinity will often be too low—so always test these two values at the same time.

Low levels of alkalinity cause etching, staining, and burning eyes and skin. pH levels will also be extremely volatile in this condition, sometimes bouncing up and down, reducing the sanitizer’s efficacy.

Sodium bisulfate lowers both ph and alkalinity for pools.

This is a gradual procedure, so you need to be patient and keep adding product over a few days to achieve the desired results.

Again, read the directions thoroughly before using the product, but here’s a five-step overview of the procedure:

Step 1: Determine the appropriate amount of product to use for your specific pool size and, if necessary, dilute the dry acid with water.

Step 2: Turn off the jets and wait approximately an hour. After the water stops circulating, add roughly a third of the amount specified in the instructions in the shallow end of the pool.

Step 3: Pour the product gently in a stream; this prevents it from interrupting the pH balance as much as it would be if you were to add it all at once through the pool jets.

Step 4: Wait at least 6 hours before re-testing the alkalinity and pH levels for the second time.

Step 5: If the alkalinity and pH levels are still not in balance, repeat steps 1 to 4 every 6 hours until your pool chemistry is in the optimal levels. 

Useful Tips for Adding Sodium Bisulfate to a Pool

  • Refrain using the pool after adding sodium bisulfate for at least 4-6 hours. Sodium bisulfate upon contact can cause skin burns
  •  Don’t add more than the suggested amount of sodium bisulfate to your swimming pool at once. It can potentially harm the surface and pipes of your pool.
  •  Keep in mind to gently add sodium bisulfate in your pool water. 


Although pool care comes with its own set of difficulties, having a gorgeous backyard pool is one of the most enjoyable and gratifying gifts you can offer to your loved ones and friends. With the right instructions and pool chemicals to use, maintaining the balance and cleanliness of your pools has just got a lot easier.

With the right pool water chemistry, your chemicals work more smoothly with each other, lasting longer and saving you money. 

If you want to ensure your pool is safe and maintained properly, then our articles can help you. You can find our complete guide here, and some of it has been added below as well.

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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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