cloudy swimming pool

Summer is the perfect season to hit the pool. Most pool owners want sparkling clean water, but it can be a fight to keep it looking good. Sometimes, that water might have a cloudy or green appearance. No one wants to swim in dirty water. It is up to you to treat the problem. Here are the reasons behind cloudy pool water and what steps to take to clean it.

Types of Cloudy Water

Your pool's water should have a clean and clear appearance. While cloudy water can happen from time to time, it is not normal. You need to find the issue behind those poor water conditions.

When there is a chemical imbalance in the pool, it can affect the water's appearance. Dull, cloudy, and hazy water could result from issues with the filtration system. On the other hand, green water occurs when the pool has a significant amount of algae. No matter the color of the water, you need to get to the root of the problem. If you don't fix the initial issue, you will struggle to get crystal clear water.

Cloudy Pool Water Reasons

Broken pool components, chemical imbalances, and environmental factors can lead to poor water conditions. You could try cleaning the pool, but the water will continue to turn cloudy if you don't treat the source. Here are some of the reasons behind that cloudy pool water.

Faulty or Clogged Filter

Most cloudy water is caused by pump or filter problems. Running the system for a few hours might not be enough to clean the pool thoroughly. Cloudy water is not normal if the pump and filter operate throughout the day. You might have a broken part in the system. In some situations, the problem is just tied to a full skimmer basket or clogged filter.

Environmental Reasons

Debris and leaves can fall into the pool and affect the appearance of your water. Bird droppings and runoff water are other culprits that give that water a hazy appearance. Some people try to keep the pool clean by taking a shower before hitting the pool. Hair, skincare, and makeup products will affect the clarity of the water. Also, sweat, skin oils, and dirt can make your pool water look hazy.

Imbalanced Chemicals

A chemical imbalance is one of the most common causes of cloudy pool water. You will want to test the water with a kit. Once you get the results, you can tell whether your pool has improper chlorine, alkaline, or calcium levels. You can even determine if your pool has the ideal pH level.


If your pool water has a green tint, it could be from algae. With an algae buildup, the water will be cloudy and green. Treating algae can be complex, especially if you have a significant amount in the pool. However, the problem will continue to cause havoc in your water if you don't treat it.

How to Clear a Cloudy Pool

Now that you know the reasons behind cloudy pool water, there are ways to treat these problems. In no time, you will have a sparkling pool waiting for you. Here is how to clear cloudy pool water fast.

Clean or Change the Filter

Old or broken pool filtration components can cause the water to look cloudy. In some cases, the filter has not been cleaned. You might have to backwash the filter to remove any debris. If the filter is damaged or extremely dirty, it may need to be replaced. You will want to clean the cartridge filters every two to three years. For those with filter sand, replace it about every five years.

After that, you should check the skimmer baskets. Twigs, leaves, and other debris can clog up the components. Clean out these parts for optimal filtration performance. Sometimes, cloudy water occurs because the filter is not operating throughout the day. The filtration system must run at least eight hours per day. If all else fails, your pool pump could need a replacement.

Use a Clarifier

After checking and cleaning the filtration system, it is time to use a pool clarifier. A clarifier will clear up that cloudy water. This chemical works as a coagulant to bond loose pollen, dirt, and other small particles together. The filtration system will collect all that floating debris.

Add Chlorine

You will want to add a high dose of chlorine to shock your pool. In some situations, contaminants and chloramines build up in the water. Shocking the water eliminates that problem. You should shock the pool at dusk or dawn for maximum effectiveness.

Algae Guard Products

If you are having problems with algae, consider using an algae guard product. These chemicals target the algae in the pool. You can add the product straight to the pool water. While most people add an algae guard before opening the pool, you can use it to clear up cloudy water.

Use a Pool Flocculant

Like a clarifier, a pool flocculant also works like a coagulant. This chemical is more powerful and faster than a clarifier. However, the filtration system cannot collect tiny particles. To get rid of them, you must vacuum the pool.

Check Calcium and pH Levels

Keeping the water clear takes a lot of work. You need to monitor the pH and calcium levels of the water. If the water is not in an optimal range, it can create a haze in the pool. Make sure to test your pool water at least twice a week with test strips or a liquid test kit.

The pool should have a pH level between 7.2 and 7.8. Calcium hardness should fall between 180 and 220 ppm. While there are many steps to clear up pool water, you never want to use baking soda. Adding baking soda to the pool can increase the pH levels and make the water cloudy.

How Long Should It Take to Clear a Cloudy Pool?

Once you have found the cause of that cloudiness, the pool water should clear up in 24 to 48 hours after using the above steps. However, it could take longer to resolve if you need to troubleshoot the issues.

What Happens When the Pool Is Not Clearing Up After a Shock?

When you shock the water, it can also have a cloudy appearance. In most cases, the water will clear up on its own within 24 hours. If the cloudiness continues, then you might have used a poor-quality chlorine shock. Use a different product or liquid chlorine to get the job done.

The Importance of Cleaning a Cloudy or Green Pool

When it comes time to hit the pool, you want clean and clear water. Cloudy water means that something is not right with the pool. While it might be okay to take a dip, you need to treat the source of the problem. Regular cleaning of the pool can help you maintain the appearance of your water. Plus, clean pools will not have issues maintaining proper pH and calcium levels in the water. As a result, you are left with sparkling clear water for the season.

Now that you know the causes of cloudy pool water, you can find ways to treat it. Find a store near you to pick up those supplies to keep your pool's water looking great all year long.