A Complete Guide to Administering Sodium Hypochlorite Solution to Ensure Your Pool’s Health

Sodium hypochlorite solution keeps your pool water safe and sparkling clean, making it easier to enjoy swimming all year long.

Sodium Hypochlorite Keeps Pool Healthy

Adding sodium hypochlorite (also known as liquid bleach) to your pool keeps your water safe and sparkling clean, making it easier to enjoy swimming all year long.

This article will explain to you the low-down on everything you need to know about sodium hypochlorite as a pool owner. It’s a powerful oxidizer that reduces organic matter for better functionality and preservation of your pool liner or pool chemicals. Unlike calcium hypochlorite and chlorine tablets, it is also less expensive, which will help relieve some of the stress on your wallet this season!

Put an end to the cloudy water by adding this chemical to your pool! It will keep everything safe and easy when it comes to having fun in the water this season. Let’s get started.

The Fundamentals of Sodium Hypochlorite Safety

The Chemistry Behind Sodium Hypochlorite

Sodium hypochlorite, often found in a 5% concentration, is best known for its presence in bleach products. Its chemical formula, which involves the hypochlorite ion, is a key component in understanding its effectiveness in various uses. In its common form, it appears as a liquid bleach, a widely used household and industrial chemical.

Sodium Hypochlorite in Water Purification

One of the critical uses of liquid bleach is in treating drinking water. Its ability to act as an aqueous solution makes it an effective agent in neutralizing harmful pathogens in water, ensuring its safety for consumption. The chlorine bleach aspect of sodium hypochlorite is what contributes to its disinfecting properties, making it an essential component in water treatment processes.

The Role of Sodium Hypochlorite in Bleach Solutions

In the context of bleach solutions, sodium hypochlorite serves as the primary ingredient. When utilized as a chlorine bleach, it is known for its potent disinfecting properties. It’s important to note that when sodium hypochlorite is heated, it can potentially decompose and release toxic gas, underscoring the need for careful handling and storage.

Interactions with Other Chemicals

Sodium hypochlorite can react with other chemicals to form different compounds. For instance, mixing it with a sodium hydroxide solution, commonly known as caustic soda, can impact its stability and effectiveness. Additionally, the available chlorine in sodium hypochlorite is a measure of its potency as a bleaching and disinfecting agent, which can vary based on its interactions with other substances.

What Is Sodium Hypochlorite?

Sodium Hypochlorite is a chemical compound primarily used for water purification. It is typically sold in tablet form, granules, or liquid. It breaks up the chloramines that make pools turn into a green color and emit some unpleasant odors.

Sodium Hypochlorite in a Glass Bottle

How Does Sodium Hypochlorite Work?

Sodium hypochlorite acts as a liquid chlorine source by converting it into other compounds, such as sodium chloride and sodium hydroxide. These are active compounds that can kill bacteria that cause black pool algae to grow. 

The chemical interaction also forms hydrogen, which destroys some organic molecules, including bacteria and carbon dioxide converted from the chloramines.

In most cases, depending on how much of the solution you add to pool water, it will not cause damage to the pool finish like Aggregate, Fiberglass, Vinyl liner, and Plaster.

When Is the Ideal Time to Administer it in Your Pool?

When it’s time to start enjoying that swimming pool again after the long summer months, consider using this chemical to add a little extra sparkle back into your water.

Because this solution is sprayed on the surface of the pool water, it’s ideal to use it at night when you’ll be gone and don’t have to worry about any care issues causing any problems.

Also, it’s advisable to administer liquid bleach in your pool during the night because your pool becomes a breeding ground for a wide array of germs and chemicals during the day. Sweat, sunscreen, pool algae, urine, dirt, and debris, are all examples of organic pollutants. In addition, because pool users are most active during the day, it is not surprising that many impurities can enter the water.

This means that if you want to maintain a healthy environment around your pool, you should apply this solution before the sun rises.

Electrolysis: Generating Sodium Hypochlorite and Acids

Certain generators employ electrolysis combined with salt to produce both hydrochloric acid and liquid bleach. This fascinating process touches upon the creation of two vital chemicals for pool maintenance. If you ever need to decrease the pH levels of your pool, introducing muriatic acid to the water can be the answer. Notably, muriatic acid and sodium bisulfate are two commonly used chemicals for this purpose.

Safety Protocols and Protective Equipment

When working with liquid bleach, your safety and that of others are paramount. Adopting stringent safety measures is non-negotiable. From regular safety inspections, and emergency response protocols to handling the chemical with care, every aspect plays a pivotal role in minimizing risks. To this end, donning the right personal protective equipment (PPE) becomes vital. For instance, ensuring protection against respiratory distress – a common outcome of inhaling toxic fumes or mist – is crucial. Employers have the responsibility to provide the necessary training and proper PPE, ensuring that employees working with these compound drums are well-equipped and knowledgeable.

Handling Spills and Neutralization

Accidents, although unintentional, can happen. It’s always better to be prepared. For minor spills, neutralizing agents come to the rescue. Carefully apply the neutralizing agent to the affected area using an absorbent material. Consider using agents like sodium bisulfite or sodium thiosulfate to neutralize any residual traces of sodium hypochlorite, adding an extra layer of safety. Planning, awareness, and neutralizing agents can greatly minimize potential risks during the disposal process. Remember, gradual emptying and meticulous handling are the keys to preventing unintended splashes or spills.

Risks and Environmental Concerns

Sodium hypochlorite is potent. Its high reactivity with organic matter and other substances presents significant risks to water sources, ecosystems, and wildlife. To ensure environmental safety, conducting thorough drum inspections for potential damage or leaks becomes essential. Awareness of the risks, combined with the right preventive measures, ensures that both human and environmental safety are prioritized.

Combustible Materials and Bleach

The presence of combustible materials near bleach drums poses a unique challenge. While some extinguishers may be effective in putting out initial fires, they might not provide enough cooling to counteract the decomposition of oxidizing agents or prevent the re-ignition of any combustible materials present. It’s crucial to be informed and prepared for such scenarios.

Its Role in Disinfection

Sodium hypochlorite is renowned for its disinfecting properties. It is a key ingredient in many bleach products, including household bleach, where it is often found at a concentration of about 5%. This concentration is sufficient to tackle germs on surfaces, making it a go-to solution for decontamination in homes and medical facilities. Its ability to break down into hypochlorous acid upon dilution enhances its potency as a disinfectant.

Water Purification

A critical application of sodium hypochlorite is in water treatment. It plays an indispensable role in transforming water into potable water by eliminating harmful microorganisms. The process of water disinfection using sodium hypochlorite ensures the eradication of bacteria and viruses, thereby safeguarding public health. This is especially important in areas where water-borne diseases are a concern.


The chemical identifiers of bleach include its formula, which consists of a sodium cation and a hypochlorite anion. Its reactivity is notable, especially when it comes to forming chlorine gas if improperly mixed with acids or heated. Additionally, it reacts with ammonia, which can lead to the production of potentially harmful compounds.

Safety Measures and Environmental Impact

Handling sodium hypochlorite requires caution. Exposure to concentrated forms can be hazardous, and mixing it with substances like hydrogen peroxide can lead to dangerous reactions. When using sodium hypochlorite solutions, especially in bleach products, it’s essential to ensure proper ventilation and adhere to safety guidelines. Furthermore, considering its environmental impact, such as the potential formation of sodium chlorate, is crucial in its large-scale use.

Versatility in Cleaning and Beyond

Beyond its role in water purification and surface disinfection, sodium hypochlorite finds its place in various cleaning contexts. From being a bleaching agent in laundry to its use in cleaning solutions for eliminating tough stains, its versatility is unmatched. In diluted forms, such as in certain hypochlorite solutions, it can be safely used on a variety of surfaces, contributing to its widespread popularity in both residential and commercial settings.

How to Use Sodium Hypochlorite in Your Pool

If a pool is used regularly for swimming, there are lots of organic pollutants and germs.

These can cause stains on the pool surface and can even damage the vinyl liner. Sodium hypochlorite helps remove these organic pollutants from water, leaving the pool free of debris and grime.

When it is time again for summer fun in the sun, it is important to clean your pool properly to avoid any health hazards or unsightly stains caused by impurities.

Sodium Hypochlorite - guy cleaning the pool

To keep your pool healthy and sparkling, follow these instructions on how to use sodium hypochlorite in your swimming pool:

  • Measure out the amount of sodium hypochlorite that you want to use in your pool. Next, place the sodium hypochlorite into your skimmer basket or wading pool. This will make it easier and quicker to dissolve in the water.
  • If you have a sand filter, you should be careful about adding this chemical to not damage your filter system.
  • The ideal time to add sodium hypochlorite is right before shutting off your pool’s pump so that it will dissolve overnight and not be exposed to sunlight.
  • After adding this chemical, do not run any other equipment or turn on any pumps for at least 24 hours for proper mixing and dissolving of the compound in the water.

How to Maintain Water Clarity After Adding Sodium Hypochlorite?

After adding the sodium hypochlorite (liquid chlorine), you should always follow up with chlorine tablets or calcium hypochlorite.

This will keep your water clean and clear of organic pollutants and germs for the next two weeks. After this period, your pool should be clear of floating algae in swimming pools and impurities, which will prevent any issues from occurring when it comes to your health or damage to the vinyl liner.

Tips on How to Use Sodium Hypochlorite in Your Pool

  • Before you start using the product, you should do a test first. Only 2.5 – 5 ppm of the chlorine solution is needed for every 10,000 gallons of water.
  • The best time to administer sodium hypochlorite in your pool is at night when the sun isn’t out so that it doesn’t affect the water and any other pools that may be nearby.
  • Keep a close eye on how much you are adding, and if it’s too much or too little. Calculate again before adding until it matches the size of your pool.
  • Test your pool water by using test strips. Those can show you how well your pH is balanced, the chlorine level left in your pool, and the temperature.
  • Always clean your filter after you’ve added sodium hypochlorite to your pool because you don’t want to contaminate your equipment or release any pool chemicals into the air.

You may want to think of using sodium hypochlorite because it’s inexpensive and will help kill germs and bacteria in your pool water.

Additionally, as a pool owner, you should remember that you should ask pool professionals if you don’t know how much of this chemical level to use in your pools. They can provide you with all your answers.

Precautions of Using Sodium Hypochlorite

  • Be careful about adding more sodium hypochlorite than is prescribed because it can also irritate the eyes, skin, and lungs.
  • If you accidentally release too much sodium hypochlorite into the air, it is recommended that you contact a professional who can help contain it.
  • Always keep sodium hypochlorite out of reach of pets and children so that it doesn’t become a choking hazard in your home.
  • Make sure to keep an eye on your pool water pH level and adjust it if needed.
  • It’s best to use a test strip to see how much chlorine or free chlorine is left in the water after you’ve added sodium hypochlorite.
Sodium Hypochlorite - Test Strip on the Poolside

Sodium vs. Calcium Hypochlorite

Both compounds have similar properties, but there are differences between them. For example, sodium hypochlorite is slightly acidic, whereas calcium hypochlorite is alkaline. This means that both types of hypochlorites react differently with different substances.

In addition, sodium hypochlorites tend to dissolve metals such as iron, aluminum, copper, lead, zinc, magnesium, and manganese. In contrast, calcium hypochlorites dissolve organic matter like fats, oils, proteins, carbohydrates, and cellulose.

Sodium Hypochlorite - Calcium Hypochlorite on Palm

Calcium hypochlorite is often preferred over sodium hypochlorite when dealing with metal corrosion problems since it does not cause damage to most materials. However, sodium hypochlorite is still effective against many organisms, including algae, fungi, viruses, protozoa, and bacteria. Both forms of hypochlorite work very effectively against pathogens and other microorganisms found in swimming pools.

The main difference between sodium hypochlorite and calcium hypochlorite comes down to cost.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How is Sodium Hypochlorite made?

Sodium Hypochlorite is typically produced by the electrolysis of salt (sodium chloride) in a solution, generating Sodium Hypochlorite and hydrogen gas.

Can Sodium Hypochlorite be used for disinfecting surfaces?

Yes, Sodium Hypochlorite is commonly used to disinfect surfaces, especially in healthcare settings, and for cleaning and sanitizing various surfaces at home.

Can Sodium Hypochlorite bleach clothing and fabrics?

Yes, Sodium Hypochlorite can bleach clothing and fabrics. It is often used as a laundry bleach to remove stains and whiten clothes.

Can Sodium Hypochlorite corrode metals?

Yes, Sodium Hypochlorite can corrode certain metals, especially when it is at higher concentrations. It is essential to choose the right materials when using Sodium Hypochlorite in industrial applications.

What is the shelf life of Sodium Hypochlorite Solution?

The shelf life of Sodium Hypochlorite Solution varies depending on the concentration and storage conditions. Typically, it has a shelf life of several months to a year when stored properly in a cool, dark place.


While various algae treatment and pool solutions are available, it is critical to select the most appropriate one for the situation. When it comes to maintaining your pool water clear and healthy this season, one of the most practical and safest solutions is using liquid sodium hypochlorite (chlorine).

Want to make sure your pool is clean and safe for everyone? Not sure how to do it? Liquid chlorine is the way to go. Find out more here.

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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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