How to Clear Cloudy Pool Water Fast: 6 Simple Steps

clean pool with blue cloudy skies

Your swimming pool water might get cloudy and unclear – which might be an ugly, unappealing sight. With this guide, you’re going to learn, in 6 easy steps, how you can bring back the 100% transparency of your pool for better enjoyment of your leisure time.

Before we pounce on it, let's learn some things about cloudy pool water. They say “The easiest solution to a problem is finding the cause,” and that seems to hold true for every situation. If you have a cloudy pool, you may clear it, and after some time, the problem will come up again because you didn’t address the cause. If you find out what is causing the cloudy pool and rectify it, you’re sure to stay longer without having a recurrence. That is why in the next section, we are going to learn some of the causes of the cloudy pool.

Why Is My Swimming Pool Water So Cloudy?

So you’re asking yourself why the water in your pool looks murky and unclear. You should probably…

Check the Chlorine Contents

Adding some amount of chlorine to your swimming pool is recommendable to keep it fit for swimming in. The presence of chlorine wards off organisms or bacteria present in pools that eventually cause athlete's foot, ear infections, and Legionnaire’s disease, amongst others.

The concentration of chlorine in your pool fluctuates depending on three factors:

  • Amount of rainfall at that time or season – if the amount of rainfall is high, it will dilute the chlorine concentrations, giving pathogens and unhealthy organisms the chance to reproduce.
  • Amount of sun radiation that has reached the pool – Ultra Violet radiation can destroy chlorine levels.
  • The number of people that frolic in the pool

Now, a pool with high chlorine concentration is bound to look cloudy – opaque. As more rain pours, sun rays or more people use it; the chlorine levels should drop drastically, leading to a much clearer and more transparent pool.
The point is not to allow chlorine concentration in your pool to get too high or too low. It should be tested every day to ensure it doesn’t deviate from the average chlorine concentration of 2 to 4 ppm (parts per million).

Check the Calcium Contents

Do you know that hardness in water affects its transparency? Did you also know that calcium is a principal component of the compound that causes hard water? If the concentration of calcium is too high, your swimming pool water is bound to appear murky.

Besides your pool looking murky, the plumbing and pool filter are bound to experience considerable damage as the calcium deposit level rises in your pool. On the other hand, when your pool’s water is too soft, or the calcium concentration is drastically low, there will be issues like corroding the water surface, which will eventually destroy your swimming pool in no time.

Check the Hydrogen Concentration

In water, the concentration of hydrogen determines acidity or basicity. A hydrogen concentration of 7.0 or less means the water is acidic. On the other hand, a concentration of 8.0 or more means the water is overly basic.
When the water is too acidic, the pool frame is at risk of being corroded. When that happens, as it wears away, the debris and dirt can cause cloudy water. So also, an overly basic pool can cause instability due to the added chlorine. When that happens, the water is bound to be murky.

Check if it’s caused By Too Much Rainfall

One thing that causes a murky pool is too much rainfall. Given, we think rainwater is so pure – around the purest form of water, nature gives. However, do you know that even the smallest amount of downpour can tamper with the chlorine concentration in your pool? Besides the chlorine, there are other calibrated chemicals in the pool that all get messed up due to much rain. Controlling the amount of rain that enters your pool is impractical – so what do you do? You should always check the pH, chlorine, and other chemical levels if your swimming pool appears murky after rainfall.
Another culprit for cloudy pool water is…

Pool Shock-ing

One of the several ways of handling pool water issues is by ” Shocking.” Pool shocking is usually done to regulate the chlorine concentration in the pool. For example, if you take a sample of the pool water for testing and notice a strong chlorine smell or higher-than-normal level of the element (chlorine), your best way of solving this is via pool shock.

After shocking, your pool’s chlorine ppm is bound to rise to a staggering 10.0. At this concentration, any bacteria or pool algae in the water body has zero survival chance. Also, chloramines (the compound responsible for the strong chlorine smell in the water) are broken down by the high chlorine concentration due to pool shock.

Despite the need to shock your pool, the consequences can be cloudy water. The cloudy water situation can be anything from temporary to lasting longer than necessary. Running your filter through the pool should facilitate the pace at which the cloudy water wears off. Also, the condition of the swimming pool before it was shocked determines if the water would get cloudy or not.

Take a reasonably basic pH of 7.6 in swimming pool water, for example. Shocking, such water disrupts the bicarbonate compounds. To avoid this, pH testing before shocking is essential. If your pool’s water pH is between 7.3 and 7.4, that is the only time you can shock it.

Shocking Hard Water

Shocking is a process that makes use of calcium hypochlorite. Hard water is a result of high calcium concentration. Now, imagine injecting a compound of calcium into water already concentrated with calcium – a cloudy residue. To avoid this, you shouldn’t treat a hard water swimming pool with calcium-containing shock.

Most times, after using a calcium-containing shock, you would discover floating solids (made of calcium compounds) in the water, making it look unkempt. The shock products that dissolve quickly are the ones that are chlorine-free or contain fine particles.

Now To the Business of the Day…

After grasping the cloudy water phenomenon and its causes, it is time to fix it. What do you do? Below, you are going to learn the six easy steps for clearing a cloudy swimming pool water. Buckle up…

1. Ensure the Water Is Tested

In one glance, you can tell if your swimming pool water is cloudy – it is not that easy to identify the cause. You would have to rely on specially-made pool testing machines to determine the cause of the murkiness. With a pool testing kit, all the factors for quality pool water are brought to the fore.

Testing water is done in two ways:

  • One is using test strips that are then dipped into a sample of the pool’s water to check its acidity, basicity, and hardness. When all of these factors are on the high side, your swimming pool water will be murky.
  • The second way is to acquire a testing kit comprising reagents that are often added to the swimming pool water, and the color changes that occur would indicate the chlorine and pH concentrations, respectively.
How to Get the Sample Water from the Pool

The best way to get the correct sample water for testing is to scoop it from 18 inches counting from the surface. Also, the best time to get water for testing is in the morning, as there wouldn’t have been any chlorine depletion by the sun.

If your test results show a high pH concentration or basicity, the addition of some quantity of HCl (Hydrochloric acid) or Sodium Hydrogen Sulfate can be useful in lowering the hydrogen ion concentration. On the other hand, if your swimming pool water is acidic (low hydrogen concentration), sodium carbonate is your best bet for reducing the acidity. Also, the chlorine level of your swimming pool water must be kept regulated using cyanuric acid.

2. A Pool Clarifier Would Come In Handy

Another great way of fixing a cloudy or murky swimming pool is by making use of a pool clarifier. The pool clarifier is often seen as a preventive measure instead of a combative measure.

How Does It Work?

A pool clarifier, when administered into the water, makes fine particles clump together to form larger particles, which are then filtered out of the pool using a filter.

3. Use of a Pool Flocculant

The ‘pool floc’ works in a slightly different style from the pool clarifier. The pool Flocculant is a powder that is dissolved in a small amount of water. This mixture is then spread on the surface of the pool’s water body.
After that, your pool’s filter pump should be turned off for at least 2 days. You’d discover that whatever particles that have been causing murkiness in your pool would all clump into larger particles and sink to the bottom of the pool.
To finish the job, your manual vacuum should be employed to suck up the sunken clumps right at the bottom of the pool.

4. Assist your Pool Filter

Pool filters are often fixed on the surface of the water body to scoop out particles that float on top. They, however, aren’t so useful for other particles that get clumped together and sink to the bottom of the pool.

As a pool owner, you can make yourself useful by assisting your pool filter in the following ways:

  • Vacuum the pool: If your pool doesn’t have drains, your vacuum cleaner can efficiently act as one. Just put it at the bottom of the pool while turned upside down. As the machine whirs the water around it, the sunken particles would be dragged up towards the filter.
  • Use the Drain: If your pool is in-ground and has a drain, an occasional opening can help the water circulate, thereby pushing sunk particles to the surface where they are scooped away by the pool filter.
  • Brushing or Disturbing the Water: Regular use of the swimming pool can stir the water and make sunken particles rise to the surface where they can be filtered out. If that isn’t the case, you can brush the pool water with a special brush regularly to remove debris.

5. Adequately Maintain Your Pool Filter

Regular cleaning or prompt replacement of your pool filter helps in the practical working and improved appearance of your swimming pool. You must know that the more debris-clogged your pool filter, the less useful it becomes.

For that, it is recommended to use a premium filter cleaner at least twice in the season when your pool experiences peak usage.
However, if the filter is heavily clogged and appears gross, the wisest option might just be a complete replacement.

6. General Pool Maintenance

It is a daunting task, the general maintenance of your pool, but it is worth the hassle. If you can do it consistently, your pool will look clean, clear, and safe throughout the swim season. You can make the maintenance routine feel much more comfortable by creating a weekly schedule for it.

Such plans would incorporate the following actions:

  • Weekly check and removal of debris
  • Weekly bottom and side pool brushing to discourage algae and dirt build-up
  • Weekly filter check for de-clumping
  • Testing the water for pH, chlorine, calcium, and other chemical balances
  • Using the vacuum cleaner – in the case of an above-ground pool
  • Weekly shocking of the pool water


Whether it is a commercial or a private pool, no one would be interested in it if it looks murky. If it were a commercial pool, your pool revenue would steadily decline if you don’t care for it and make it safe and clean. The above six steps are ways of caring for your swimming pool and must be done regularly to elongate its lifespan. Always test your pool! Always act on the test results!