Does Pool Water Harm Plants? Uncovering the Truth & Tips for Safe Gardening

If you have a pool in your backyard, you have probably considered using pool water to water your plants and lawn. Or you might be wondering if it is safe for the plants to backwash your pool into your garden. Although it is possible to do so safely, knowing how to use pool water without harming the plants is essential.

Chlorinated or salt pool water can harm plants if the water has a high concentration of chlorine or salt. The high chlorine and salt levels can cause yellowing and dehydration or even kill the plants and grass. However, low chlorine and salt concentration water are safe for plants.

If you're looking to intentionally control weed growth, learn how pool salt can be used as an effective tool.

In this article, we will discuss all the harm pool water can cause to plants and grass and how to deal with them correctly. If you want to know how to safely use pool water on your plants and lawn without harming them, continue reading.

Will Standard Chlorine Pool Water Kill Plants?

Pool water can potentially harm or kill plants if it contains high levels of chemicals or minerals that are toxic to plants. For example, chlorine is commonly used in swimming pools to disinfect the water, and undiluted chlorine can harm plants. Therefore, it would be best to wait a while after adding chlorine to the pool before using it on plants because the chlorine concentration will be too high to safely use.

Pool water should not be used to water plants for at least 24 to 48 hours after adding chlorine. During this time, the chlorine in the pool water will dissipate as it evaporates and is exposed to sunlight. However, testing the water before using it on plants is still essential to ensure it will not harm them.

Diluting the water is also another option if you don’t want to wait for the chlorine to dissipate over time. You can dilute the chlorine pool water by adding fresh water, allowing you to safely use it to water your plants.

Just like pool water can harm plants, pool chemicals like chlorine can affect other materials like your clothes.

Will Salt Pool Water Kill Plants?

Saltwater pools are becoming more popular as an alternative to chlorinated pools. The saltwater pool water gets treated with a salt chlorinator that converts salt into chlorine. Even though saltwater pools are generally considered gentler on the skin and eyes than traditional chlorine pools, their high salt content can harm plants.

If you have plants near a saltwater pool, you can take some precautions to protect them. After swimming, you can water the plants with fresh water to dilute any salt water that may have been splashed onto the plants. Creating a barrier between the pool and the plants can also protect them.

While salt is necessary for plant growth, too much in the soil can interfere with the moisture and nutrient levels required for plant health. Too much saltwater can cause plants to suffer from stunted growth, leaf yellowing, and even death.

Will Dirty Pool Water Kill Plants?

Dirty pool water can be used on plants but can harm or kill them if it becomes stagnant and infested with disease. For example, if a pool has been untreated for a few weeks, months, or years, all the debris will fall to the bottom of the pool, and algae will start growing. Frogs, mosquitos, and other water bugs will infest the pool.

Testing the water before using it on any plants is still essential to ensure no damage is caused to the plants. The top water will have less debris and harmful chemicals, so you should try to pump it from the middle of the pool. About a foot from the ground. If you must use pool water on your plants, ensure not to put on vegetables or other consumables.

Will Pool Water Kill Grass?

Splashing your grass with pool water should be safe, depending on the type of water (chlorinated or salt water) and how much water gets splashed on the grass. Small quantities of pool water should be acceptable. However, large amounts of water with highly concentrated chemicals or salt can damage or even kill the grass.

Chlorine Pool Water Against Grass

Undiluted chlorine can harm plants and grass if it comes into direct contact. However, the chlorine gets diluted once you throw it in your pool, so splashing small quantities of chlorine pool water on your grass is okay. It is also possible for you to empty your pool onto your grass if the water is diluted enough, so the chlorine does not harm the grass.

Because undiluted chlorine is so dangerous to grass and plants, it is essential to be careful when adding it to your pool when adjusting the pH levels. If you spill some undiluted chlorine on grass, use fresh water in the area to dilute the chlorine you spilled.

Salt Pool Water Against Grass

Grass and plants require a tiny amount of salt to grow, but salt in saltwater pools might be too much and could damage or kill the grass. However, similarly to chlorine water, if you dilute the salt water enough, it should be harmless to the grass.

Occasional splashing should not cause any immediate problems to the grass. However, continuous splashing could result in salt buildup over an extended period, and it could cause damage. You can reduce salt buildup by watering the grass with fresh water after having a day in the pool.

Discover more the Impact of Pool Water on Your Lawn

Chemical Balancing Pool Water

Maintaining the chemical balance is one of the most important aspects of keeping a swimming pool safe and healthy. This entails taking chemical concentration readings and adjusting them so that the water can be used for plants while remaining safe for swimming.

The pH scale is used to determine the acidity or alkalinity of a solution; values range from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. For example, the pH of swimming pool water should be between 7.4 and 7.6.

Suppose the pH level in a swimming pool is too high or too low. In that case, harmful bacteria can thrive, causing skin and eye irritation. Therefore, a slightly alkaline pH range is preferred for chlorine, the most common disinfectant used in swimming pools.

Regular pool maintenance is vital. Check out our Weekly Pool Maintenance Checklist for guidance.

Can Pool Water Impact The Soil Ph Levels?

Both chlorine and salt water can significantly alter soil pH levels. This can result in an acidic or alkaline soil environment, detrimental to plant growth and nutrient uptake. Therefore, it is critical to regularly test the soil’s pH and make any necessary adjustments to keep the pH within the optimal range for the growing plants.

Avoiding the common mistake of overwatering plants with pool water is also critical. Overwatering can cause root rot and other problems by altering the pH of the soil.


Pool water with high levels of chlorine or salt and other chemicals and minerals harmful to plant life can harm vegetation. Before watering plants, it is critical to test the water and, if necessary, dilute it. In addition to the chemicals used to treat and clean pool water, algae-infested pool water can harm plants. The grass is generally more resistant to pool water than other plants, but excessive salt and chlorine can harm or kill it.