How to Eliminate Cloudy Water

Cloudy water is often seen as uninviting or dirty so it’s no surprise we get plenty of questions asking how to get rid of it.

Before we begin to treat the cloudy water it’s valuable to know how we obtained cloudy water in the first place. Cloudy water can be a caused by a couple different circumstances. Circumstances range from stormy weather, unbalanced water, filtration problems to an increased amount of swimmers in your pool.

Stormy Weather

pool storm

If you have recently encountered a storm front in your area, this is likely the culprit.Rain water, dirt and debris enter your pool during storms and can throw off your pH levels, leaving you with cloudy, unattractive water.

Aside from regular maintenance like brushing and skimming, you’ll want to take care of a couple of additional chores. First off, you’ll want to shock or superchlorinate your pool using a product like Di-Chlor or Cal-Hypo Shock. For a breakdown of the differences between shocks, check out the table below each product or our shock article here. The addition of contaminants in your pool causes your chlorine to become less effective and it needs a bit of a boost in the form of shock or super chlorination.

After you have shocked your pool, make sure your run your pool system overnight or for about 8 hours. This will help filter our the extra dirt and debris that has accumulated due to the storm.

Unbalanced Water

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Unbalanced water can certainly cause pool water to appear white or cloudy and is relatively simple to rectify. Simply test your water with a reliable test kit. We recommend the TFTestkits TF100, which you can purchase from PoolSupplyWorld for only TF-100. Once tested you’ll want to check your free chlorine and pH levels.

Free Chlorine

Check your free chlorine levels and make sure your free chlorine levels are at least 3ppm (parts per million) and relatively close to total chlorine levels. If you are off by more than 1ppm you will want to shock you pool using a product like Di-Chlor or Cal-Hypo Shock to bring levels back up.


High pH levels are commonly the cause for cloudy or white pool water. Fortunately there’s an easy way to reduce pH levels. If pH levels are high (above 7.8ppm or so), apply a product like pH Reducer to your pool and re-test your water until you reach a healthy level. When testing, you’ll be looking for levels between 7.4 and 7.8. If your levels are low, apply pH Increaser to bring levels back up.

Filtration Issues

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Your filter can be a major contributor to cloudy water. A good indicator is if you notice higher than usual filter pressure readings from your filter. If not make sure you backwash your filter if you have a sand or D.E. filter. You may also want to replace the sand or D.E. in your filter if it’s been more than 5 years or so. If you have a Cartridge or D.E. filter you will need to inspect and clean your cartridge or filter grids. This is easily done with a garden hose and a flosser attachment. If cartridges are old or warn they will need to be replaced.

Increased Amount of Swimmers

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If you have recently had an increased amount of swimmers in your pool you’ll want to make sure you shock your pool. Use a shock like Di-Chlor or Cal-Hypo Shock. Much like a rain storm, extra bathers in the pool increases the amount of contaminants in your pool having an effect on the free chlorine levels. In addition to shock you may want to add a clarifier to help you filter remove organic contaminants left behind by swimmers.

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When Kevin’s not enjoying the water himself he’s engaging himself in the wide world of pool and spa knowledge which he passes on to our customers through producing content for our blogs and website. Outside of the pool world you can find him enjoying life with friends, family and his off the wall dog Brixton.