Running a pool can be expensive because of the chemicals used for ongoing pool maintenance.
But fortunately, there are household remedies that can partially replace expensive chemicals to keep pool water clean.
This post will discover cheap pool chemicals alternatives and what home remedies can be used for natural pool cleaning.
#1 Using baking soda for pool maintenance
Baking soda is often used for the pool maintenance, but what is baking soda used for in a pool exactly?
You can use baking soda to optimize the pool alkalinity and pH levels. Even pool stains can be removed by mixing a paste of baking soda, bleach, and water.
Baking soda is an excellent pool chemical alternative because it is cheap and safe for humans and animals swimming in your pool.
But does baking soda kill bacteria and algae?
Baking soda does not kill bacteria directly, but chlorine’s ability to oxidize contaminants will increase when you balance your pH and alkalinity with baking soda.
Let’s assume you added baking soda to your pool. How long should you wait after adding baking soda to the pool?
The good news is that you don’t need to wait. You also don’t have to worry about the chlorine level in the water dropping.
#2 Bleach as a cheap pool shock
A pool shock remedy is quite expensive, especially if you regularly use it to shock your pool or hot tub.
Bleach is a cheaper version of a pool shock, but it is also weaker in the oxidation effect to kill algae and bacteria. But if you are looking for a DIY pool shock, then bleach is a good alternative.
But can you put bleach without worries in your pool?
Yes, but you have to be careful.
Bleach will destroy a vinyl pool, so if your pool is made from this material, the chlorine from the bleach will eat through it and make it brittle. Bleach can also damage other materials used for swimming pools after a while of exposure.
You should also only use bleach without perfumes and other additives. This is important because other chemicals in the bleach will add to your pool’s chemical load and may defeat its purpose.
Can you use Clorox?
Clorox is a chlorine-based bleach, so you have to be cautious if you decide to use it in a pool or hot tub. It can kill algae and bacteria, which is part of the reason you use a shock treatment.
The downside to using Clorox is that it can damage the vinyl lining and other materials in a swimming pool if you misuse it.
Warning: You should never mix chlorine bleach with other chemicals, especially acids like vinegar or muriatic acid.
Read my other blog post if you want to learn the difference between bleach and chlorine. Click on the link to read the post.
#3 Lower the pH level and alkalinity in the pool with muriatic acid
Muriatic acid is a chemical that falls under dangerous goods. As a pool owner, you should wear protective equipment when using this acid.
And what can muriatic acid be used for in your swimming pool?
It will lower the pH level or the alkalinity in your pool.
It is recommended to start with a small portion of the acid in the pool water and observe its effects.
Lowering the pH level will increase acidity in the pool. The muriatic acid reacts with the calcium salts, which are by-products of limescale; this reduces their concentration in water, making it harder for them to precipitate and cause limescale.
You can also use muriatic acid to clean stains and lower your pool water’s calcium hardness.
And is muriatic acid a pool stabilizer alternative?
Muriatic acid is not a replacement pool stabilizer. The pH level in the pool water will be lower, but it will still require regular maintenance by adding pool stabilizers or chlorine to keep your pool clean and properly balanced.
Please read my full guide on using muriatic acid in your pool. Follow the link to read the post.
#4 Melamine sponge that works wonders in pool cleaning
You have already heard about a melamine sponge (magic eraser) cleaning tiles and other surfaces.
But did you know it’s also a great pool cleaner?
Because of the high absorption power, this type of foam sponge is perfect for removing stains from your swimming pool, as well as other impurities such as pollen and dirt.
Be aware when using the sponge because it can scratch the surfaces.
To prevent this, you can combine it with another effective pool cleaner that is baking soda.
For example, mix half a cup of baking soda with two tablespoons of water. Combine the ingredients well and dip the sponge in the mixture before using it to clean the pool.
And should you use the magic eraser in the pool skimmer?
No, I do not recommend it because the sponge can get stuck to the skimmer, which would be a real pain in the neck.
#5 How to clean pool tiles with white vinegar?
White vinegar is a cheap and effective pool cleaner to eliminate the white grunge at the waterline.
The white line is a calcium buildup and can cause cloudy pool water. It also doesn’t look great at all.
With a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water, you can clean your tile line.
- Mix the solution in a bottle.
- Moisten a sponge with the solution.
- Scrub with the sponge the pool tiles.
- Clean the line with a clean sponge after 10-15 minutes.
It is okay if some vinegar gets into the water.
If you are concerned, test the water with a test strip after using the vinegar and adjust the pH levels.
You can also use this natural pool cleaner to clean the tiles around the pool and the ladder.
Another method to get rid of calcium buildup from pool tiles is by using a pH decrease. Read my full guide about calcium buildup in the pool and how to get rid of them.
#6 Vitamin C against cloudy pool water
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant that can be used to remove polluting compounds from pool water.
Adding vitamin C in pool water can help clean your cloudy green pool water.
Vitamin C is easy to find and cheap (you can get a kilogram for less than $20), but make sure the powder dissolves completely in pool water.
Also, you need to know that vitamin C may not kill algae, but it can help reduce their appearance.
At this point, however, I must say that you should not use vitamin C in the pool to clean your pool in the long run.
Vitamin C has only a cosmetic effect in your pool.
Yes, it can clear up dirty water, but it doesn’t really get rid of all the turbidity and bacteria.
It might be okay for an emergency if you want to start a pool party, but there’s a risk of making the pool dirtier afterward and incurring more pool cleaning costs.
In my blog article, I go into more detail on using vitamin C in the pool. If you are interested, follow the link.
#7 Lemon juice as a natural pool cleaner
Lemon juice or lime smells much better than vinegar, and it is a great remedy to clean metal surfaces. It can remove calcium buildups, grime, and small amounts of rust from the ladder or other equipment.
Mix the lemon juice with a grain of salt to make a slurry.
Then you have to apply the sauce to a sponge and scrub the surface until it has removed all stains.
In addition, you can use lemon juice to remove corrosion from the metal surfaces of the pool pump.
Then after rinsing with water, add a few drops of oil to protect your metal against further damage.
Even if lemon juice works as a natural pool cleaner, the effect is quite weak, and other means are much more effective in removing stains in the pool.
#8 Clean your pool with isopropyl alcohol
We all have isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) in our house to clean small wounds. Especially when our kids run around barefoot all day long, they tend to get small wounds on their toes.
So we used to grab the isopropyl alcohol and start treating our kids’ wounds with it. It effectively killed bacteria while disinfecting the wound at the same time.
But did you know that isopropyl alcohol can also be used for your pool?
Isopropyl alcohol is an effective pool cleaner.
Mixing isopropyl alcohol with water (50/50) can help remove gunk and clean stainless steel surfaces.
#9 Using borax as a pool cleaner
Borax is great to get bad smells out of clothes, but it can also do wonders with pool cleaning.
Borax helps eliminate bacteria, sticky residue, and stains in or out of your swimming pool.
But how should you use the borax to clean the pool?
Mix a little water to the borax to make a paste and use it to scrub the walls and floor of your pool.
You can also use borax to raise the pH level in the pool. Add half a cup per 10,000 gallons of pool water for this purpose. But be cautious not to raise the pH level too high as it can damage your pool completely.
If the pH is too high, you can use muriatic acid as mentioned above to lower it.
Tip: In my blog article, I wrote a detailed tutorial on lowering the pool’s pH.
#10 Use a non-toxic natural pool cleaner like Simple Green
Simple Green is an effective way to keep your pool looking great all season long without the use of toxic chemicals.
It is helpful to remove stains, grimy residue, and rust in the pool.
Because the agent is highly concentrated, it must be diluted with water beforehand.
- If your pool has light stains, use 1 ounce Simple Green and 2 Cups of water.
- I would use 1 ounce Simple Green and 1 cup water for general purpose cleaning.
- Is your pool heavy dirty? Then try a 1:1 mixture (1 Cup Simple Green and 1 cup water).
Simple Green can also be used on surfaces like pool covers and vinyl liners but should not be used on painted surfaces.
Try this agent if you are looking for a cheap way to keep your pool sparkling.
#11 Clean the pool deck with olive oil
Let’s be clear. You don’t want to add the olive oil into your pool water as it can create a slimy mess and is not good for the swimmers.
Olive oil, however, is great for cleaning tile and grout on pool decks without all the toxic fumes.
Treat the floor with some olive oil and let it sit overnight before rinsing away in the morning with a mop or use a pressure washer.
Cleaning the pool deck with olive oil can save you money by allowing you to use fewer chemicals on your pool.
Test the pool water afterward
I have tried to point out the most effective natural pool cleaners.
But at this point, I must mention that you should test the pool water after each use.
A subsequent water test is always recommended since it is difficult to say how much the agents affect the water balance.
Use simple test strips so that you can be sure that the pH value, alkalinity, and calcium hardness are in the ideal range.
A word of warning: Natural pool cleaners are a great way to save costs, but you can easily overuse them and thus change the water balance.
Instead, do not let that happen. Test often and use just enough to keep your pool clean.
Further, not all natural home pool cleaners are recommended, as is often suggested on other blogs.
Stick to the tried and true remedies!
Finally, I want to mention that these home remedies can not be compared with a special agent for pool maintenance.
Pool care with special pool cleaners is easier and faster because the concentration is higher, and the dosage can be done exactly.
If you want to learn more about maintaining your pool without chlorine and other chemicals, I highly recommend my ultimate blog article.
Do you have further questions about household pool chemicals?
The best way to contact me is @contactswimfool on Twitter or Pinterest. I am happy to help you.
Have fun swimming!