When we talk about pool disinfection, we automatically think about chlorine. And in fact, chlorine is the most popular chemical to disinfect pool water.
But when you miscalculate and add more chlorine into your swimming pool than necessary, you are in trouble. Overly chlorinated pool water can have several negative effects.
In this case, you have to lower the chlorine level. It is believed that baking soda reduces chlorine levels. But is this true? Let’s find out!
Why is chlorine used in a pool?
At first glance, it may seem that chlorinating and maintaining water’s purity and transparency is very difficult.
Chlorine is popular because it performs three main tasks in keeping your pool clean:
- It disinfects (kills bacteria and germs).
- Oxidizes (controls organic waste from sweat and body fat).
- Prevent algae from spreading.
Chlorine does not harm humans if you properly dosage this chemical in your pool. It is important to understand that all substances used to clean your pool require the correct dosage written in the instructions.
However, improper pool maintenance can lead to unpleasant health problems if you’re not careful. In fact, too much chlorine in a pool can lead to poisoning.
In water with normal chlorine content, there is no chance for the growth and reproduction of pathogens, bacteria, and fungi.
Before using chlorine, it is very important to bring the pH level back to normal (optimum pH = 7.2-7.4), and it is important not to forget that a high pH level blocks the action of chlorine.
As a result of research, it has been proven that disinfection at pH = 7.2 is 2 times better than at pH = 7.8. This means, to obtain the same disinfection at pH 7.8, you consume twice more chlorine than at pH 7.2.
This also applies to the pool shock and the chlorine tablets for long-term disinfection.
Why is a high chlorine level in your pool harmful?
Pool chlorine cannot harm you in real life, especially in public pools.
Chlorine becomes dangerous only in case of an overdose.
It can cause severe irritation of the mucous membranes, dry skin, and hair, as well as allergic reactions and an asthma attack.
If the pool water has a high chlorine content for a long time, it can discolor fiberglass (composite), frame, and inflatable pools.
Also, high chlorine levels significantly lower the pH level of the water, making it more acidic, which can cause corrosive processes on equipment and pool surfaces.
How To Tell If Your Pool Has High Chlorine Levels?
Many people mistakenly believe that a chlorine smell in water is a sign of an excess of chlorine.
In fact, this smell means that there is too little usable chlorine in your pool.
While issues are generally rare, high chlorine has a couple of indications:
- Skin redness.
- Irritated eyes.
- Dull chest pain.
- Trouble in breathing.
- Consuming sensation in the throat.
- Abrupt beginning of sickness and vomit.
Typical reactions while swimming in chlorinated water are eye redness, irritation, and temporary blurred vision resulting from corneal edema.
Depending on how long the exposure to chlorinated water lasts, these symptoms can go away quickly once the tear film has healed.
This is why you have to lower a high chlorine level in your pool.
Does baking soda lower the chlorine level in a pool?
The popular remedy for neutralizing excess chlorine is baking soda. This powerful oxidant reacts with chlorine to form water and oxygen.
So it’s true that baking soda can lower the chlorine level in your swimming pool.
But, how to use baking soda to lower the chlorine in your pool?
Firstly, baking soda should be added to your pool in small portions because it can harm pool water quality.
- Dissolve baking soda into small portions of water before adding it to your pool.
- Typically, baking soda is added at a level of 100g per 10 liters of water (1%).
- Routinely test the chlorine levels after 30 minutes.
- If baking soda is added correctly, the chlorine level in your pool will drop.
If baking soda didn’t have an effect, add baking soda again in the same manner. Make sure that the chlorine level doesn’t go below 0.3 ppm.
However, baking soda can be very harmful if it is used in excessive amounts because this substance may increase pH levels in your pool too fast.
For best results, use a pool-specific chlorine neutralizer – this neutralizer is often offered in powder form.
The chlorine neutralizer works most effectively at pH levels above 7.0. Therefore, remember to check the ph level and adjust it if necessary.
Add any neutralizer gradually to avoid removing too much chlorine. Several procedures may be required to return the chlorine to a safe level.
Why does baking soda lower chlorine levels?
When baking soda is added to water with free chlorine, baking soda reacts with that free chlorine to form sodium chloride (salt) and water.
What baking soda does is neutralize the chlorine and make it harmless.
This happens because of a chemical reaction between baking soda and chlorine: Baking soda has a high pH value (alkaline), while chlorinated water has a low pH value (acidic).
These two chemicals react with each other to create salt and water.
This neutralized chlorine has the same effect as in its non-neutralized form. It can disinfect pool water, remove algae, clean pool equipment, or do whatever else you want it to do.
That’s why baking soda does not change the overall chlorine level in your pool – this baking soda salt can be considered a chlorine product.
It is just that baking soda neutralizes un-reactive, free chlorine and turns it into a safe baking soda salt and water.
Tip: If the pool is very dirty, it is still necessary to use bleach or chlorine pool shock. You can read about the differences in the blog.
What are the dangers of using baking soda in the pool?
Over-dosing baking soda is not dangerous in itself. High concentrations of baking soda in water can affect the pool equipment and pool walls.
Extremely high baking soda concentration could lead to corrosive processes on metal pool equipment. At that point, it will be necessary to replace these parts or at least clean them thoroughly to prevent corrosion and damage to equipment.
Baking soda can also affect water filtering devices if baking soda is used in excessive quantities.
Conclusion about chlorine and the use of baking soda in the pool
You should not be afraid of chlorinated pools.
Chlorine is used in most swimming pools because it is very difficult and expensive to maintain a pool without chlorine.
Even if another cleaning agent is used in your pool, this does not mean that chlorine is unnecessary at all.
But you have to be carefully and regularly test the chlorine level in your swimming pool.
Make sure that the chlorine stays between 0.3 – 1.5 ppm. Otherwise, use baking soda to lower the chlorine level in the pool water.
In the next chapters, you will find further exciting questions and answers on the topic to clear up any remaining ambiguity.
How does long-term exposure to chlorine affect eye health?
Humans have been in contact with chlorinated water for generations, as water flowing from taps is usually chlorinated.
However, there has never been any documented evidence that continuous exposure to this diluted substance can cause permanent eye damage.
How much pH should the pool be?
At pH = 7.0 to 7.4 water is neutral. At pH> 7.0 the water is alkaline, and at pH <7.0 it is acidic.
For pool water, the optimal pH level is in the range of 7.2 – 7.6 (7.0 – 7.6 is allowed).
Do you have any further questions about how to lower the chlorine level in the pool with baking soda?
Contact me on Twitter at @contactswimfool. I am happy to help you.
Have fun cleaning your swimming pool!