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The pH of your pool impact how well pool cleaners like chlorine purify the water. If your pool acidity, alkalinity, or pH is too high or low it can make your water unsafe for swimming.

Before adding any chemicals to your water, test the total alkalinity. Pool owners should avoid excessively adding chemicals to the water unless they know what their pool water needs. The total alkalinity level will help you determine the best course of action and keep your water pure and clear.

We’ll help you understand your pool’s pH and how to raise it when the levels have become too high.

What’s the Best Way to Lower Your Pool pH? 

Using a pH reducer is the safest and most effective way to lower your pool’s pH levels. A pH reducer usually contains either sodium bisulfate or muriatic acid. These compounds have very low pH levels and thus bring down the overall pH levels of your swimming pool.

The ideal pH value for your swimming pool is between 7.4-7.6. This is known as neutral pH, whereas anything below 7.4 is considered acidic, and above 7.6 is alkaline.

Algae produce carbon dioxide in the water which increases the overall pH of a pool. This is because it increases the overall aeration of the pool, thus increasing the potential hydrogen of the water.

The pH in your pool can be impacted by several factors, including weather, use, and algae growth. Or, if you recently added pool shock treatment to your pool it can throw off your water chemistry by adding base compounds in the water. This is especially true if you use a chlorine-based pool shock treatment.

Adding an acidic compound is the most effective way to lower your pool pH. However, not all acids are the same and can interact with your pool differently. Using a standard acid from your local pool supply store is the quickest and most effective tool for lowering pH.

How to Lower pH Without Affecting Your Water Alkalinity?

The alkalinity and pH of your pool water chemistry are closely correlated, but not directly connected. Typically, lowering your pool’s pH lowers your alkalinity, and raising your pH also increases your alkalinity.

Alkalinity is vital for regulating the pH in your pool. When your total alkalinity drops it impacts how all the other pool chemicals interact. This can cause your pool’s pH to fluctuate rather radically.

Balanced total alkalinity readings between 100-150 parts per million will help keep your pH level stable. If you need to have a lower pH reading but don’t want to lower the total alkalinity, there are a few things you can do.

Before attempting to lower pH levels in your pool, test your pool’s alkaline levels. Most of the time, balancing your pool’s alkalinity will fix your pH imbalance. If your pool’s pH is high, adding an acid like muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate will bring down your pool’s pH.

However, this will also lower the alkalinity. An alkalinity increaser usually has baking soda in it, which will lower the pH and total alkalinity of your water.

In most instances, if you add an alkalinity increase after lowering the pH it should balance both compounds. However, if you’re struggling to balance both of these, you can add a carbon dioxide injection. This will artificially lower pH in your pool without affecting the alkalinity of your water.

Can You Naturally Lower Your Pool pH? 

Muriatic acid, dry acid, and sodium bisulfate will all lower pH levels in the swimming pool. Most are derived from natural sources. However, they usually undergo significant chemical alterations that change their chemistry.

Lemon juice and vinegar can raise the pH in your pool water, but they’re not as effective as other acids. Lemon juice has a lower pH than water, with an acidity level of between 2-3. This means adding it to your pool water will significantly lower pH levels in your water.

Similarly, vinegar has an acidity level of between 2-3 and will also significantly impact your pool water. However, they’re not the most effective way to lower pH in your pool water. This is because these substances can increase the sugar levels in your pool water and lead to high levels of microbes and bacteria.

Should You Use Lemon Juice or Vinegar to Lower the pH in a Pool?

You can use lemon juice or vinegar to address high pH. However, it’s the best option to lower high pH levels in your swimming pool.

They’re certainly effective enough at lowering your pH as long as you don’t have to add a lot. If your high pH is between 7.8-8.2. you can probably safely use lemon juice or vinegar. However, if your high pH levels are above 8.3, you’ll need to add a lot of vinegar or lemon juice to impact the water. In this case, add a more potent acid like muriatic acid.

How Can You Safely Add Muriatic Acid to Pool Water? 

Before handling a harsh acid like muriatic acid, you should wear protective equipment like gloves and goggles. Muriatic acid is very corrosive and can severely burn your eyes or skin.

Add warm water to a 5-10 gallon bucket. Always add the water first and then add muriatic acid. Never add water to the acid, because it can cause the muriatic acid to splash onto your body. Alternatively, you can add muriatic acid directly to your pool or pool pump, but this isn’t the best way to do it.

Adding the acid to warm water will ensure you use the correct amount of muriatic acid dosage. It will also ensure the acid dosage dissolves in the water before being added to your swimming pool.

Once you add the muriatic acid to your swimming pool, run the pump for at least eight hours. This will guarantee the acid thoroughly mixes into your pool. After eight hours use a testing kit to determine the pool pH and see if you still need to lower it.

How Much Muriatic Acid Should You Add to Your Pool to Lower pH? 

The exact amount of muriatic acid you need depends on your current pH level and pool size. To raise the pH in a pool, start by testing your pool water to see how much pH decreaser you need to use.

If your pool pH level is between 7.8-8, you should use approximately 1/4 a pound of muriatic acid. This is about one quart of pH decreaser for 15,000-gallon swimming pools. If your pool is larger or smaller, you’ll have to adjust this dosage.

Is Low pH Dangerous for Swimming? 

Low pH can be dangerous for swimming because low acidity breeds bacteria and parasites. If the acidity is low, it means the water is favorable for bacteria like E.Coli. If you swallow this water or get it inside a wound it can contaminate your body and get you sick.

However, this is rare and unlikely to happen if you take good care of your pool’s water. Using swimming pools with high pH will probably only cause eye and skin irritation. To be safe, test your pool’s pH level before swimming!

Can High pH Damage Your Pool? 

High pH levels can damage your pool equipment if left untreated. While it’s not as corrosive as low pH, it can cause harm to your pump, filter, and pool liner.

High pH can lead to calcium scale build-up on the pool walls and in your pool’s systems. This calcium scale can clog your pool pipes and disrupt how your pool cleans the water. This can damage your pool and leave stains.


The pH level of your pool water is an important part of your pool maintenance. Always calculate how much acid to add to your water before doing anything. Base this dosage on the current pH level and total alkalinity of your pool water.

Keep the pH between 7.4-7.6 as much as possible. This will prevent algae, mold, and bacteria in the swimming pool and protect all the swimmers.


Does Too Much Chlorine Raise pH Levels? 

Chlorine has a very high pH level. Most liquid chlorine has a pH level of 13, making it one of the most alkaline substances you can add to your pool water.

However, too much chlorine can actually impact chlorine effectiveness in the water. This is because a healthy pH balance helps the chlorine do its job correctly. Too many chemicals can cause the pH level to rise and fall dramatically.

If you recently added chlorine to your water check the pH and total alkalinity. Slowly add acid to the water and check the levels of pH regularly until it reaches the correct amount.

What is Hydrochloric Acid?  

Hydrochloric acid is another name for muriatic acid. It’s a highly corrosive acid that is used as an industrial solvent and to balance a pool’s pH.

What Kind of Pool Equipment Should You Have to Balance Your Pool’s pH?

Maintaining your pool’s pH is an important part of pool care. Keeping your pool water clean will help you keep your pH balanced.

You should have a pool brush, bug net, and testing kit to ensure the water is clean and balanced. Debris in the water can impact your pool’s pH and throw off your pool chemicals.