using water filter to clean cloudy pool water

How to Deal with Cloudy Pool Water

Cloudy pool water can be frustrating and cleaning it up can be a pain – especially when it happens out of nowhere. There are several reasons why your pool water might turn cloudy.

This article will cover the possible causes of cloudy pool water and offer a few maintenance tips to help you fix the issue and prevent future occurrences.

What Is Cloudy Pool Water?

a semi cloudy pool water

Cloudy pool water occurs when microscopic particles build up in your pool and reflect sunlight. The water is no longer clear. There are various degrees of cloudy pool water:

  • Dull – Your pool is not milky or murky at this level, but you will notice that it is not as sparkly as it should be.
  • Hazy – This is when the issue becomes more noticeable. You can see the pool floor, but it will be pretty unclear.
  • Cloudy – Now, your pool starts to look milky. At this point, you will barely be able to see the deepest parts of your pool.
  • Opaque – This is the worst case – you will not be able to see the pool floor at all.

What Are the Causes of Cloudy Pool Water?

a cloudy pool water

Here are some reasons why you pool may become cloudy:

Reduced Filtration Function

This is one of the major reasons for cloudy swimming pools. Your pool filter system is responsible for cleaning your pool water. 

However, if it begins to malfunction or does not run long enough, the water in the pool becomes stagnant. This stagnant water is not only cloudy but dirty as well.

Your Environment

Foreign particles such as leaves, pollen, flowers, and bird droppings can pollute your pool system. They may seem small, but over time debris can build up and become an issue, especially if your filter system is not doing its job.

Wrong PH or Chlorine Levels

When there is an imbalance of free chlorine and PH Levels, you end up with cloudy water. Pollutants like lotions, urine, or makeup can cause this imbalance.

Low levels of chlorine and chloramines (a combined chlorine form) will result in cloudy pool water. As a rule of thumb, the free chlorine should range from 1 to 3 ppm.

Also, when your pool water’s pH level is over 7.8, it renders the chlorine unable to effectively kill bacteria or prevent algae growth.

High Alkalinity 

If the total alkalinity (TA) in your pool is too high, it can lead to calcium scaling. If your TA goes above 200 ppm, the chlorine will be less effective and eventually lead to a cloudy pool.


Rainwater is another reason for cloudy pools. Runoff from rainfall can cause outside chemicals to flow into your pool, leading to an imbalance in pool chemicals.

High Calcium Hardness Level

Calcium Hardness (CH) is the total amount of calcium in your pool. When the CH is too high, you will likely have a cloudy pool or calcium scaling. You should shoot for about 100 to 400 ppm of CH. Keep in mind that the level of CH should also be based on the temperature.

Contaminants from Swimmers

Besides affecting the pH level of your pool water, contaminants like makeup, body oils, or sunscreens can build up in your pool, causing your pool water to look cloudy and grimy.

How to Deal with Cloudy Pool Water

So now that you know why your pool water is cloudy, how do you fix it?

You first need to remove all contaminants from your pool, such as algae and other particles. Clean your pool, making sure to scrub and vacuum the entire area. If you have an algae issue, shocking your pool should help with that. 

Filtration Issue

If the cause of your cloudy pool is mechanical, then you’ll want to focus on the filtration system. First, use a high-quality filter that is designed for your pool’s size and location.

Remember that as a pool owner, you must maintain your pool regularly. This means performing regular cleaning and maintenance checks to ensure all parts are working efficiently.

It is important to run the filtration system for the proper amount of time. If you use your pool frequently, you should allow the system to run for as long as 24 hours a day. However, if you do not use it often, you can run your system for about 8 to 10 hours daily.

Chemical Issue

As mentioned earlier, different forms of chemical imbalances can make your pool water cloudy. Here are a few solutions to this particular problem:

Chlorine Levels

Check the chlorine level of your pool every day and make adjustments accordingly. This is an essential measure to take, especially during the summer due to high temperatures.

PH Levels

If you notice the pH level of your pool is lower or higher than it should be, you should use a PH increaser or reducer. A PH reducer should also help with high TA levels. You might need to use these substances multiple times before getting the proper levels.

Reduce Calcium-based Chlorine

If you have CH issues caused by excess calcium, it is best to reduce how much calcium-based chlorine you use. You can use a setting agent to minimize the amount of calcium in your pool if need be. 

Use Flocculants or Clarifiers

If you are in a bind and need to clean your pool immediately, you can use a pool water clarifier or pool flocculant to clean your pool in a matter of hours. 

However, remember that you will need to change your cartridge filter element afterward. This is because your cartridge filter is made from paper and using clarifiers or flocculants will clog it.

Quick Tip

Many people wonder if pool covers are safe to use. Pool covers are safe and can help to maintain your pool. However, they should not be the only measure you take to keep your pool clean.

Also, be sure to use items like a pool fence or net to prevent drowning accidents, especially if you have young kids or pets.


Cloudy pool water can happen to anyone, what matters most is how you handle it. Treating this issue is relatively easy, and with this article, you now have the know-how to deal with it.

Check out the rest of this website for more tools and guides on maintaining your pool.

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