The pool must be clear, and foaming pool water isn’t a good sign. What is the cause of pool foam, and how do you get rid of the foam in your pool?
In most cases, the pool foaming arises because the water balance is incorrect. There are too many organic substances in the pool water, a low calcium level, or the incorrect use of the algaecide. In most cases, a pool shock will help against the foam in the pool.
No panic. With my step-by-step guide and tips, you can quickly remove the foam in your pool. I will also explain how you can avoid your pool water foaming in the future.
Quick help to get rid of the foam in your pool
Removing the pool foam and determining the exact cause takes a full day.
But you don’t have time to read the entire article, and you urgently need a universal solution on how to remove the foam in your swimming pool?
Maybe you want to host a pool party, and you only have a few hours to get your pool clean again.
Then the following foam remover is suitable for a quick remedy.
You have to dose the agent according to the manufacturer’s instructions – some foam removers must be shaken before use.
This pool chemistry will ensure that the pool foam disappears right in front of your eyes, and the pool party can take place without foaming water.
But at this point, I have to mention that the foam remover is only an interim solution.
The root cause of the pool or hot tub foaming is not actually eliminated.
Later you have to face the problem again and clean your pool with the methods described.
What does the foam in the pool mean?
At first glance, you might think that the filter pump is creating too many air bubbles in your pool, but this is dense white foam with many bubbles on the pool water.
White foam in the pool water is not something to worry about too much.
The foam on the water’s surface in your pool or whirlpool only means a high organic content in your pool.
This organic dirt cannot be removed entirely by the chemicals in your pool and leads to dense bubbles and foam.
Normal air bubbles that are created by the filter pump burst immediately.
On the other hand, the pool foam is not just made of air.
The surface of the foam consists of the organic substances present in the water. It prevents the air bubbles in the pool water from bursting – a dense foam is created in your pool.
The running filter system or a wind breeze further encourages foam formation in your pool.
In the worst case, a blanket of foam forms on the pool water, and your pool becomes cloudy.
But what exactly is causing the foam in your pool, and how can it be removed? Read more about this in the next chapter.
What causes pool foam?
The pool foam can arise even with optimal water treatment.
There are many reasons for this. In some cases, the foam forms due to incorrect use of the pool chemistry.
In this chapter, I’ll show you all the possible causes that cause the water to foam and what to do if your pool foams.
Personal care products in the water
The problem with foam in your pool is often not due to poor pool maintenance but to the bathers who use your pool.
I’m talking about so-called colloidal dirt (fine particles) that every swimmer drags into your swimming pool or hot tub.
That would be body care products such as perfumes, deodorants, body lotions, sunscreen, or any kind of makeup.
The fine particles will not immediately cause your pool to foam.
Over time, the organic content in your pool increases. The pool chemicals are no longer sufficient to remove all substances from a certain point.
The result: Pool foam is created.
What to do: Use a pool shock with liquid chlorine and let the filter system run through for 24 hours. The chlorine will remove the impurities from the pool water and help clear your pool again – during this time, swimming in your pool is prohibited.
I explain in my blog post how to use the pool shock correctly. Follow the link to read the guide.
How to prevent it: Remove the personal care products you are using from your skin as best you can and shower just before you go into your pool.
Haircare products cause pool foam
A small amount of hair care products such as gel or hairspray is enough to contaminate your pool with fine organic contaminants.
Even light residues from shampoo or conditioner for the hair can trigger the foam problem in your pool.
What to do: Here, too, only a pool shock can help remove the fine substances from the water and stop the formation of foam.
How to prevent it: The hair should at least be rinsed briefly under the garden shower, but it is best to wash your hair with a special shampoo for swimmers before using the pool area.
Soaps and detergents are bad for the water quality in your pool
Soaps and shampoos – used before taking a swim in your pool – can also build up residue on the skin or hair and cause the pool to foam.
This is especially true for care products that are supposed to provide dry skin with moisture – that’s why I recommend the shower gel for swimmers.
But detergents used to wash clothes can also leave residues on your skin.
The pleasantly fresh smell on clothing doesn’t come from anywhere. Perfume particles must be leftover on your clothes to be perceived as odor.
These particles stick to the skin and are inevitably brought into the pool.
What to do: You already know what to do. In this case, do a pool shock to remove the white foam on the pool water’s surface.
How to prevent it: You can take precautions to stop the pool from foaming. The shower in front of your pool and the shower gel for swimmers will help to avoid the problem.
But what can still be done is to replace the detergent used on your clothes.
I recommend a perfume-free detergent – called ECO detergent.
There is one more thing to watch out for, in addition to the soaps mentioned above and detergents for your clothing.
Home remedies for pool cleaning are often used among pool beginners. This usually happens when cleaning the pool after the winter.
After scrubbing the surfaces in the pool, the used detergents leave behind soap residues, which leads to foam formation when the pool is filled.
To prevent pool foam, all surfaces that have been cleaned with a detergent should be rinsed off thoroughly.
The pool should not be filled with fresh water beforehand.
If there is still foam in your water, do you know what to do?
Right. Use a pool shock.
I know what you think. Looks like a pool shock is always the solution for pool maintenance. But it isn’t in my eyes – Just read on.
Too many bathers in the pool
I have already explained that every swimmer brings a certain amount of colloidal substances into your pool.
Even if the bathers take a quick shower before taking a dip in your swimming pool, substances such as sweat, urine, and other pollutants get into the pool water.
These may only be small amounts, but when these are added together, the water can quickly become oversaturated, which in turn causes the pool water to foam.
What to do: Here, you can only shock your swimming pool with chlorine to remove the foam.
How to prevent it: Make it a rule that every swimmer must shower before entering your pool. A solar shower in your garden makes it easier to comply with the bathing rules.
Pool chemistry problems
Some things can go wrong with pool water treatment.
Beginners who misuse pool chemistry due to insufficient information are particularly affected.
Chlorine, active oxygen, and algaecides are no guarantee of clean water.
Did you know? Even the use of pool chemicals can lead to a high level of organic dirt in your pool.
Another cause of foam in your pool or hot tub is the use of inexpensive, non-certified pool cleaners.
These are mostly the all-in-one products offered in large quantities at low prices.
Many beginners neglect to regularly test and optimize the water using such agents.
But the water test is the first step in the right direction to crystal clear pool water.
What to do: You need to balance the water in your pool.
- First, test the pool water with test strips or an electronic water tester.
- If necessary, optimize the alkalinity – the level should be between 80 – 120 ppm.
- Next, the pH level is adjusted between 7.2 -7.6.
- The calcium hardness should be between 200 – 400 ppm. 300 ppm is an excellent mean level in a pool.
- In the last step, chlorine or another disinfectant is added to the water according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Let the pool pump run for a few hours.
If your pool is still foaming after a few hours, then the pool must be shocked.
Since the parameters have been optimized beforehand, you can immediately start with the pool shock.
How to prevent it: Read my article on applying pool chemicals and test the pool water 2-3x/week.
Water treatment can be expensive, but don’t save up in the wrong places.
The subsequent elimination of the various problems arising from poor pool cleaners is far more expensive.
Therefore, buy pool cleaners that are certified and recommended by me.
A low calcium level in the pool
If the pool water is too soft, it can lead to unwanted foam formation.
The reason for this is that the calcium level in your pool is too low.
Therefore, you should test the calcium level at least once a month and, if necessary, improve it.
What to do: First, perform a pool shock to remove the foam in your pool. A calcium hardness stabilizer is then added to your pool water.
How to prevent it: Avoid that the calcium level in the pool drops below 200 ppm and keep the value between 200 – 400 ppm.
By using the calcium hardness stabilizer, you not only prevent foam in the water, but also limescale deposits in your pool and on the pool equipment.
Too much algaecide in the pool
Algaecides are popular and are often used when the pool water has turned green.
As with any other pool chemistry, incorrect use of the algaecide can lead to increased foam formation in the water.
Slight foaming is normal, but too much of the algaecide in your pool can cover the entire pool with a foam blanket.
This need not surprise anyone because algaecides are available in 3 different forms:
- Strong foaming algaecide
- Slightly foaming algaecide
- Non-foaming algaecide
The strong foaming algaecides are the cheapest, and a non-foaming algaecide costs a little more on average.
What to do: Use the skimmer to remove the foam from the water surface and wait a few days until the agent loses its effect. Alternatively, you can change a part of the water to speed up the process.
How to prevent it: Do not use the algaecide too often, and preferably only when there are algae in your pool. I also recommend using a non-foaming algaecide.
Weekly, one liter per 100 m³ of pool water is sufficient. In a pool with 50 m³, this corresponds to 0.5 liters per week.
Do not save when buying the algaecide because cheap products foam too much for my taste.
Many pool starter kits contain algaecides, and unsuspecting pool owners overdo it with the application.
If possible, avoid the algaecide and clean the pool with tried and tested methods such as chlorine, bromine, and active oxygen.
But it is also not uncommon for many chlorine products to contain an algaecide to improve the chlorine’s disinfecting effect- pay attention to which products you buy.
How to prevent foaming pool water
The easiest way to prevent foam in a pool is to pay attention to the water balance.
In properly treated water, pool owners or whirlpool operators will only have to contend with foam in the water in extreme cases.
Stick to the following table for the optimal water levels in your swimming pool:
|Chlorine||0,3 – 1,5 ppm||1-2/Week|
|Cyanuric acid||30 – 50 ppm||1/Month|
|Bromine||3,0 – 5,0 ppm||1-2/Week|
|pH level||7,2 – 7,6||1-2/Week|
|Alkalinity||80 – 120 ppm||1/Month|
|Calcium||200 – 400 ppm||1/Month|
|TDS||less than 2000 ppm||Only if necessary|
In order to keep the water levels always at the optimum, I recommend testing the water regularly.
This is the only way to use the proper pool chemistry to avoid foam in the pool in the long term.
Rough guessing when using pool chemicals is not a good idea.
In case of doubt, I recommend reading my guide for the use of pool chemicals, which I have linked above.
A pool cleaner that can prevent foam in your pool is the flocculant.
The flocculant is specially designed to bind the fine pollutants in your pool and make them filterable.
You effectively prevent foam in your pool with regular use of the flocculant and get incredibly clear water as a bonus.
150 to 200 ml of flocculant are required for 10 m³ of pool water – it should be used once a week.
And a final word.
As a pool owner, you shouldn’t be solely responsible for keeping the water clean and free of algae.
You may encounter resistance, but make it a rule that every swimmer must take a shower before they get into your swimming pool.
Don’t be fooled: Something like waterproof sunscreen or waterproof makeup doesn’t really exist.
Small particles always get into your pool, which leads to white foaming pool water and causes grease marks on the wall.
I hope I was able to help you with the foam problem in your pool.
If not, contact me at @contactswimfool on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest. I will help you personally.
I wish you a good look removing pool foam!