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Maintaining a neutral pool ph balance is vital for your health and comfort in the water. However, it’s also essential for your pool since acidic water can corrode critical pool equipment.

Fortunately, raising your pool’s pH doesn’t require any special pool chemicals or compounds. Most of these compounds can be found in your kitchen!

If you want to learn the best ways to raise your pool’s pH, then you’re in the right place.

What’s the Best Way to Raise the pH Levels in Your Pool? 

Baking soda is the best way to raise pH levels in your swimming pool. Baking powder and soda have a pH level of 8.5, making them one of the easiest base compounds for lowering your pool water’s alkalinity and pH. However, baking powder is not ideal for a swimming pool since it has starches and other compounds.

The pH level of swimming pools determines the acidity and alkalinity of the water. The word pH stands for “potential of hydrogen” and indicates the movement of hydrogen molecules in the pool water.

Adding an acidic compound like lemon juice or vinegar to pool water lowers pH and decreases potential hydrogen. Adding baking soda or other base compounds to water will increase the pH level and the potential hydrogen.

Adding something like baking soda with a pH level above the neutral point of 7 will bring up the water’s overall pH. It’s an effective and affordable option but not the most potent. You can also use soda ash in your water which has much higher pH levels.

How Can You Add pH Increaser to Your Pool Water? 

Before adding anything to your pool water, you must test the water’s acidity and alkalinity levels. If the acidity is high, the pH levels will be below 7.2. If the pH levels are a 7 or 6, the water is acidic but not extremely acidic.

This acidity level can be balanced with 2-3 pounds of baking soda (depending on the size of your pool). If your pool water is very acidic, you may use something stronger than baking soda or sodium bicarbonate.

Sodium bicarbonate will still balance the water, but you will need to use several pounds. Thankfully, this compound is not expensive and can be found at almost any local pool store.

First, test the water with test strips to add baking soda or sodium bicarbonate to your pool water. A test kit is typically easy to use and requires you to dip the strip into the water and read it based on the color charts.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll need 1.5 pounds of baking soda in a 10,000-gallon pool to increase pH by ten parts per million. The safest way to increase your pool pH is to add the base compounds gradually. Test the water after adding the first dose to determine if the alkalinity levels have risen.

Does Chlorine Raise pH Levels? 

Chlorine is not the best choice for raising pH levels. While liquid Chlorine and most chlorine tablets have a high pH, they also react with the pH in your pool. Initially, it will raise the pH, but it may not last, depending on water loss and disturbance.

Bromine is much more neutral, with a pH of 7. This means while it won’t raise pH levels, it won’t interfere with the pool water pH.

How Can You Raise the pH Level in Your Pool Naturally?

Baking soda ash is a naturally occurring compound. However, it does go through some chemical treatments to make the substance we’re all familiar with.

One of the most natural ways to raise the pH in the water is through pool aeration. Aeration is the process of stimulating the water’s surface with a pump. This increases the amount of potential hydrogen in the pool.

It doesn’t raise the alkalinity of the water, though. This is because alkalinity and pH aren’t directly related, even though raising one usually raises the other.

What Causes Low pH in Your Pool Water?

There are three major causes of low pH in your pool water. These include heavy rainfall, high chemical levels, and constant pool use.

A pool’s pH levels decrease because acid is introduced into the water. This can lower the pool’s pH since the adicity displaces the alkalinity.

Adding too many pool chemicals can introduce acidic compounds to the water that doesn’t get broken down.

Or, these chemicals may interact with the pH, creating a chemical reaction that adds hydrogen to the water. This is fairly common if your pool has too much Chlorine. Too much Chlorine can actually lower pH in the long run because the Chlorine won’t be able to effectively sanitize the pool water.

Activity in the pool can raise pH levels in your water by introducing bodily fluids. Urine, sweat, and any artificial hair gels can raise your pool’s pH since these chemicals disrupt your pool’s chemicals.

Last, heavy rainfall can displace the treated water in your pool. Rainwater has low pH levels of around 5 or 5.5. When this enters your pool water, it displaces your treated water and adds acid.

Is Low pH Bad for Swimming Pools?

Low pH is bad for a pool since it’s acidic water. This acidic water can corrode your pool’s metal parts and the vinyl of your pool liner. If left untreated, this highly acidic water can stain or damage your liner, which can be difficult to repair or clean.

Is it Dangerous to Swim in a Pool with Low pH Reading?

Swimming in a pool with low pH levels can be bad for your health, especially after prolonged exposure. Low pH in the pool indicates there are a lot of acids that can hurt your eyes and possibly irritate your skin.

If you recently added a pH increase to counteract the low pH in your pool, it can also be dangerous for swimming. You should never enter swimming pools that were just treated without first testing the water to ensure the Chlorine is at safe levels.


Managing your pool’s pH level is important to everyone’s pool maintenance. Keeping your pool’s water at a balanced 7.4-7.6 is the goal, but don’t panic if it’s a little above or below.

If you notice your pool’s pH is low, there are many natural ways to treat your water. Adding base compounds is the safest way to treat your low pH. But if you need to, don’t be afraid to use a harsher chemical to rebalance your pool chemicals!


Is pH Indicative of the Number of Hydrogen ions in Water?

Yes, pH stands for potential hydrogen and indicates the number of hydrogen ions in a fluid. High acidic chemicals add more hydrogen ions into the water, while alkaline compounds lower the hydrogen ions.

Is Baking Soda Used to Clear a Cloudy Pool?

Yes, baking soda can be used to clear cloudy pool water. This is especially true if your pool has too many chemicals in it.

Cloudy water can be caused by bacteria and algae spores in your water. If the water is too acidic or alkaline, it can interfere with your pool chemicals. This can make the water contaminated and cloudy.

However, if the cause of the cloudy pool water is high pH, then sodium bicarbonate won’t solve the problem. You’ll have to balance your pool chemistry and possibly add an acidic compound.

What Does it Mean if You Have Small White Particles on Your Pool’s Surface?

The small white specks on the pool’s surface can mean your pool’s pH is higher than it should be. You’ll want to add a stabilizer and an acidic treatment to your water.

The white spacks are actually caused by hard water in swimming pools. Calcium hardness floats on pool surfaces as the water evaporates, leaving minerals behind. This calcium hardness can accumulate on swimming pool walls or inside the filter.

Is Sodium Carbonate the Same as Soda Ash?

Yes, sodium carbonate is the same chemical compound as soda ash. Soda ash is the more common name, while sodium carbonate is the chemical term.

Soda ash has a very high pH level and increases the alkalinity of your water. You will only need approximately six tablespoons of soda ash to raise the pH levels of your pool. Soda ash is very safe but can be irritating to the skin and eyes if you hold it with your bare hands.

What Kind of Test Strips Should You Use to tTestpH in a Pool?

A color-changing test kit is usually preferred by most people testing your pool’s ph levels. Most test strips use to indicate a balanced or neutral pH level.

Yellow usually means your swimming pool has low pH levels, and red indicates high pH. These colors mean your water is either too alkaline or acidic, respectively.