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A cloudy pool can be an embarrassing experience for a pool owner. Cloudy pool water indicates that your pool has a lot of untreated bacteria and debris. If you have a cloudy pool, it can indicate something is wrong with your pool filter or an imbalance of water chemicals.

You’ll need to test your pool water and invest in some maintenance tools to prevent cloudy water. Determine if your pool water is cloudy because of a chemical imbalance, a lack of stabilizer, or a clog in your filter.

If you’re tired of seeing your pool water cloudy pool water, then read on!

How Do You Treat Cloudy Pool Water? 

You can treat cloudy pool water by balancing the pool chemistry, purifying the water, and running the pool filter. Running the filter is the first tool you should utilize for clearing up the cloudy pool water. 

The pool pump is designed to collect debris from the water and filter it through the filtration system. The filter’s medium separates the particles from the water. This allows the pump to push clean water back into the pool and dispels bacteria and debris in the backwash. 

However, if your pool’s filter isn’t cleaning the water as it should, you can use sanitizer or pool stabilizers. Sanitizers include the following pool chemicals: 

  • Bromine 
  • Chlorine
  • Salt 

These compounds bind to bacteria and parasites, creating larger clumps of elements. This makes it easier for these contaminants to be pulled into and processed by the pool filter. If you have cloudy pool water, it could be an issue with your chlorine or sanitizer levels. 

Finally, your pool may need a shock treatment to clear away excess bacteria. If you struggle to maintain proper chlorine levels you might need to use a stabilizer.

Unbalanced water usually manifests as either high or low pH levels. If the pH is unbalanced in your pool, it can cause the chlorine or sanitizer not to work correctly. 

What Causes Cloudy Pool Water? 

There are several issues that can cause cloudy pool water. The main causes include the following:

  • Dirty pool filter system
  • Clogged pool filters
  • Tiny particles of debris
  • Foliage
  • Pollen
  • Pool algae
  • Bacteria and parasites
  • Issues with the drain on the bottom of the pool
  • Low cyanuric acid levels
  • Bad water chemistry

Cloudy pool water is typically caused by poor water chemistry or a malfunctioning filtration system. It could indicate that your pool’s systems aren’t working properly or that your pool chemicals are not working properly.

Poor pool chemistry can disrupt the efficacy of your chlorine. If the cyanuric acid or muriatic acid levels are too high or low, it can affect how well your chlorine works. Chlorine gets disrupted by UV rays which can dissolve up to half of the chlorine levels in your pool water.

Cyanuric and muriatic acid enhance the capabilities of chlorine and shield it from UV radiation. If you have cloudy pool water, it could be that either your chlorine levels aren’t correct or you need to add a stabilizer to your water.

You should also test the pH levels of your pool water. If the water has a high alkalinity level, it can impede your chlorine and affect how your pool sanitizer works.

However, it could also be your filtration system. Your filter has many parts which can become clogged or broken with continuous use. Changing your pool filter media can help solve your cloudy water issue. 

The filter media is the medium the water is pressed through to separate the debris from the water. The most common media is a sand filter, but there are also cartridge filters and DE filters.

If this media becomes contaminated, it will disrupt your filter’s ability to clean the water. Ideally, you should change the media every five years at least to keep it working properly.

Finally, check the skimmer basket and other filter parts. If these parts become dirty or clogged, they’ll no longer perform their job up to par. Clean your skimmer and other exposed filter parts on a daily basis to ensure it’s not circulating debris into your pool.

Is Pool Water Clarifier the Quickest Way to Clear Cloudy Pool Water?

A pool water clarifier is the fastest way to clear cloudy pool water. Although it’s not the only way, it is the fastest since it effectively clears small particles from the water. 

It’s best to use this treatment after you clean your pool with a vacuum and treat it with shock. This way you’ve cleaned away most of the large debris from the water and purified most of the bacteria. 

What’s the Most Effective Way to Clear Murky Pool Water?

Regularly cleaning your pool water is the most effective way to prevent murky pool water. You should also test your pool water every few days to ensure the pH, acidity, alkalinity, and chlorine are all balanced. 

How Long Should it Take to Clear Your Pool Water? 

The amount of time it takes to clear your cloudy water depends on the clarification method you choose. If you choose to use a traditional method of cleaning your pool and correcting the pool’s chemical balance, it can take 2-3 days. 

To clear cloudy pool water, start by skimming and vacuuming your pool. This should pick up any large and tiny particles from the pool walls and floor. Next, you need to balance the water chemistry to clear cloudy pool water.

Once you get the pool clean on the surface, start working on correcting the pool water. Test the chlorine levels with test strips. Use a small amount of the swimming pool water as a sample and determine if you need to add more acid or base.

You might need to add pool shock to remove bacteria and algae growth. This depends on how badly balanced your pool water is. While cloudy pool water can indicate heavy amounts of bacteria or parasites, most of the time, basic chlorine can do the trick.

But pool shock is a good idea if the swimming pool is badly off balance. It should kill any lingering algae and bacteria. Harness your pool filter and skimmer to remove excess debris and circulate the chemicals throughout the pool water.

The fastest way to clear cloudy pool water is with a pool clarifier. A pool clarifier is a chemical that is far more potent than chlorine at binding elements in the water. The pollutants are carried out from the pool water in the filters, clearing it up within a day or two.

Are Pool Clarifiers Effective for Clearing Pool Water? 

Pool clarifiers are very effective tools for creating balanced pool water. They’re especially effective at enhancing other pool chemicals like combined chlorine and acidic stabilizers.

While pool clarifiers can be used alone, they’re most effective when used with shock treatment and cleaning. You should avoid just adding clarifiers to your pool water without running the pool vacuum, filter, and adding shock treatment.

The shock treatment and clarifier work together to pull the contaminants out of the water. This will ensure the pool water is safe for swimming.


A cloudy pool can be detrimental to your health and the well-being of your pool systems. Properly balancing your pool water can keep it from passing along harmful parasites and preserve your pool filter.

Debris and small particles can become lodged in the pool filter, disrupting the flow of water and the distribution of chemicals. This can quickly give you a cloudy pool and make people too nervous about continuing to use it.

Should You Drain Your Swimming Pool When it’s Cloudy? 

You do not need to drain your pool water when it’s cloudy. Draining your pool will not solve the issue unless you figure out why you have cloudy water. 

Additionally, the germs and bacteria can linger on your pool liner even after draining the cloudy water. You need to figure out if it’s your pool water’s chemistry or an issue with your pool filter.

To fix cloudy pool water, you need correct the issues causing the problem. Draining pool water can be useful in certain circumstances, but it’s not the best solution for cloudy water. 

Is Cloudy Pool Water Dangerous for Swimming? 

Cloudy water can be dangerous for swimming. A cloudy swimming pool can have several types of bacteria and parasites that are harmful to human health. Avoid swimming in the pool until the water is clear and the chlorine levels are balanced.

What Is Pool Flocculant?

Pool flocculant, also known as pool floc, is a coagulating chemical. It’s used to bind debris together and make it easier for the filter and skimmer to remove debris from the cloudy pool water.

Flocculant is an effective tool to use in tandem with shock and other purifying agents.

What is Free Chlorine?

Free chlorine is a term used to describe how much chlorine is in the water. It differs from combined chlorine levels. One refers to the total amount of chlorine, and the other refers to chlorine’s interaction with other compounds.

What is Calcium Hypochlorite?

Calcium hypochlorite is a common chemical used to treat public pools and drinking water. It’s a very potent sanitizer and thus is widely used in shared spaces.

However, it’s not really necessary to use such a powerful chemical in your home pool. Shock treatment and clarifiers should suffice for cleaning a private pool.