When Pool Water Is Cloudy: Demystifying Causes and Proven Effective Treatments

A cloudy pool can be a real pain. Not only does it look bad, but it can also be dangerous, depending on why it is cloudy. For example, too much chlorine can harm your eyes, nose, and skin. Bad PH levels can harbor harmful bacteria. So, why is your pool water cloudy?

When your pool water is cloudy, it could be due to incorrect PH levels, a faulty filter, improper circulation, bad chlorine, or incorrect use of chlorine. The best thing to do is start with a PH test, then inspect your filter, pumps, and vacuum. Once checked, shock your pool and wait 24 to 48 hours.

I have had to deal with this issue so many times, but the best way for me to help is to give you an in-depth article on why pool water goes cloudy, how to fix it, and whether it is safe to swim in the water. So, I recommend that you keep reading for everything you need to know.

Why Is Your Pool Water Cloudy? 4 Reasons

Before you solve the issue, it is essential to find the root cause of the issue. For example, if you shock your pool and it works but have not solved the root cause, your pool will become cloudy again. So, what should you look out for? Keep reading.

Faulty Filter

The two most common types of pool filters are sand and cartridge. A sand filter needs to be back-washed at least once a month. A cartridge filter should also be cleaned with a hose at least once per month.

If the filter is not maintained, it cannot efficiently remove dirt and debris from the water if it is clogged or unclean, which can result in hazy water. Also, if the filter isn’t working correctly, it might not be able to circulate the water as it should, which could lead to water that is stagnant and more prone to grow cloudy.

Poor Quality Chlorine

Often overlooked, poor quality chlorine can lead to various issues, including causing your swimming pool to become cloudy. This is due to impurities and additives in the chlorine, which can disrupt the water’s chemical balance.

Furthermore, low-quality chlorine might not dissolve evenly in the water, leading to localized areas with high chlorine concentrations. These uneven distributions can exacerbate cloudiness in the pool.

Improper circulation

Every pool needs proper circulation. Without it, algae will start growing, but before that happens, debris will stay in the pool while bacteria thrives.

As the debris clumps together and the bacteria grows, it can create a murky or cloudy look on the pool water’s surface. A swimming pools circulation can be negatively affected by some of these reasons:

  • Malfunctioning pool pump or filter
  • Clogged or dirty skimmer baskets
  • Inadequate water flow through the pool’s return jets
  • Blockages in the pool’s plumbing or circulation system
  • Obstructed or improperly positioned pool water inlets
  • Inadequate water levels in the pool
  • Broken or damaged pool plumbing or fittings
  • Obstructed or improperly placed pool vacuum or cleaner hoses

The pump, filter, and return jets are the most important things to check.

Bad PH levels

The pH levels in a swimming pool are extremely important. It must be within the recommended range (between 7.2 and 7.8) to ensure swimmers’ safety and comfort and protect the pool equipment from damage.

Every pool owner should own and know how to use a pool testing kit. It is essential that you test the water once a month. However, if you experience heavy rain or notice a debris build-up, do not wait to test the water; do it immediately.

Is it OK To Swim In A Cloudy Pool?

When it comes to health and safety, it is best to always err on the side of caution. That said, most of the time, it is safe to swim in a slightly cloudy pool. My advice, though, is to first solve the issue.

If you do decide to swim in the pool, use goggles or avoid opening your eyes underwater. Too much chlorine can burn your eyes, and bacteria can make you ill.

How To Solve Cloudy Pool Water: 9 Easy Steps

The most important tip that I have for you is to be patient. It may take from 24 hours, up to 72 hours to get your pool from being cloudy to clear; however, most of that is just waiting. See, you only need to spend around 10 to 15 minutes every day fixing your pool, and the rest of the time, you just have to wait.

That said, here are my nine easy steps for clearing out your pool:

  1. Test the water: To find out the chemical levels, test the water using a pool water test kit as the first step.
  2. Chemical balance: If the chemical levels are off, you must correct them. The testing kit’s recommendations for adjusting the pH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels should be followed. The pH levels should range from 7.2 to 7.8. The chlorine should be 1 part per million.
  3. My secret tip: Most people recommend brushing the pool after shocking it, so the algae die. However, brush it before and after. Doing this will loosen debris and allow the filters and pumps to remove the debris as soon as they start working.
  4. Shock the pool: You’ll need to shock the pool with a high dosage of chlorine. For the right dosage, refer to the shock treatment package’s instructions. I like to use liquid chlorine with three or four tablets. Every pool is different. If you are struggling to find the right dosage, use five gallons of chlorine.
  5. Run the filter: Turn on the pool filter and let it run for 24 hours. Any dirt or particles that may be causing the cloudiness will be filtered away as a result.
  6. Clean the skimmer basket: To clear out any debris blocking it up, check and clean the skimmer basket every day.
  7. Brush the pool’s walls and floor: Scrub the pool’s walls and floor using a pool brush to get rid of any dirt or algae.
  8. Vacuum the pool: Use a pool vacuum to suck up any remaining debris or particles that may be contributing to the cloudiness.
  9. Depending on how murky the water is, you may need to repeat these processes several times before the water is fully clean. I recommend giving yourself a 72-hour window from start to finish. You may only need 24 hours, but you must repeat the steps in severe cases.

You may consider using a pool clarifier, although it’s not always the most effective solution. Once the pool water becomes clear, it’s essential to check your chlorine levels. Keep in mind that shocking the pool water will temporarily raise the chlorine levels; however, these levels will typically decrease naturally over time.


One of the primary concerns, at least for me, with a cloudy pool is that it can be a bit awkward when friends and family come over, particularly if they are looking forward to swimming. However, by identifying the cause of the cloudiness and following a step-by-step guide, you can quickly resolve the issue and restore your pool’s pristine appearance, ensuring an enjoyable experience for everyone.