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DIY Homemade Pool Clarifiers

A nice cold swim on a summer afternoon sounds like an activity many would enjoy.

If you try closing your eyes and imagine a pool, you will most likely picture a clean swimming pool.

Nobody likes swimming in a cloudy pool as it is unpleasant to look at and definitely not healthy.

Cleaning your pool is, therefore, more of a necessity than optional.

The standard cleaning routine of cleaning a pool is running the pool water through a filter pump, removing dirt and residue.

However, a pool can be washed in several ways, including but not limited to removing the dirt; for instance, a murky swimming pool may be an indication that the pool has bacteria, and simply running the water through the filters won’t get the job done.

Clarifiers are chemicals used to clean water with various concentrations to better clarify the pool without necessarily draining the swimming pool.

Different clarifiers are used in the swimming pool for various reasons.

For DIY homemade pool clarifiers, the most common materials you can use are: Baking Soda, Muriatic Acid, Bleach, Borax, White Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Simple Green, and Rubbing Alcohol.

What Causes Cloudy Water?

A cloudy pool is the biggest mood killer for swimming.

If you frequent a public pool that is not well maintained or a pool of your own, there is a possibility you have been faced with cloudy water a couple of times or more.

Below are some causes of murky water:

  • Poor water Chemistry– It is the leading cause of cloudy water. A test determines an imbalance in the water chemistry. Therefore, a Test kit is necessary for the pool maintenance, and in a home setup, test strips would suffice.
  • Chlorine issues– Chlorine levels significantly influence the clarity of a swimming pool. There is a recommended dose to be added to the pool to maintain optimum clarity. It is, however, advisable to monitor the chlorine levels before making any adjustments to the water in the pool.
  • Poor water circulation– Filtration is the standard measure of cleaning a pool. Water is run through a filter pump trapping all the residue. The poor water circulation will lead to residue accumulation, including leaves, dirt, and pollen from nearby trees.
  • Weather events– some extreme weather conditions like a storm or strong winds will upset the pool. Winds could introduce more residue to the pool than usually experienced.
  • Increased swimmers– as mentioned before, cloudy water is not just from the residue; hence an increased number of swimmers in a pool will likely affect the clarity of the water. Each swimmer comes with their baggage, and a significant increase will lead to a considerable decrease in water clarity.

Homemade pool clarifiers

Homemade pool clarifiers are of different types for different purposes.

Some of the most commonly used natural homemade clarifiers include:

Baking Soda

Baking soda is familiar to many homes and often finds different uses every day, like cleaning a pool.

If a pool is cloudy and the water test suggests it is due to too much acidity, baking soda use is recommended; the acidity scraps off the walls in the pool, giving debris that looks cloudy.

When this happens, scraping off the rest of the paint corroded is the ideal move.

A homemade paste consisting of baking soda and water works wonders.

Baking soda is a chemical compound called Sodium hydrogen carbonate, which is alkaline.  

The alkalinity in baking soda serves as an added advantage to the pool reducing the corrosive effects of the acid.

Muriatic Acid

Muriatic acid provides deep cleaning effects in pools made of gunite or concrete.

The use of this clarifier should not be less than five years apart.

Thorough cleaning of pool walls involves removing residue and sticky dirt.

Its acidic nature also serves as an advantage by reducing the alkalinity of the pool.

It is, however, essential to test the water first and, when not sure, consult an expert to advise on what to do.

Muriatic acid is a strong chemical, and it is advisable to wear protective gear to protect you from its corrosive nature.


Bleach is essential in shocking a pool.

Shocking a pool is increasing the amount of chlorine in a pool.

Chlorine is a Sodium hypochlorite compound.

An increase in chlorine in water kills micro-organisms in the water.

Water is not as harmless as it may seem and is a harbor for many micro-organisms.

Reducing the number of micro-organisms in the water makes it safer for swimmers.

Apart from acting as an antimicrobial, bleach increases the level of free chlorine levels in the pool.


Borax is used in laundry to clean tough stains.

This feature helps its usefulness in cleaning surfaces in the pool.

Borax is mixed with water to form a paste and then scrub off the residue from pool surfaces.

Borax is a base, and it can therefore be effective in increasing its alkalinity by raising the pH.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is crucial when cleaning off surfaces from the sides of the pool.

A mixture of clean water and vinegar in the ratio of 1:1 can be used to wipe off deposits by a sponge.

The deposits from the sides are due to too much acidity or alkalinity forming calcium deposits.

Vinegar is also equally effective in cleaning metallic surfaces and hence crucial for ladder cleaning in the pool.

Vinegar is neither an acid nor base and is not poisonous; it should not cause an alarm if some spill into the pool.

Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice is commonly used to wipe dirt off surfaces, including tiles and metal.

It has Citric acid, which is responsible for the cleaning effect.

However, Citric acid is a mild acid which makes it friendlier to use than many clarifiers.

Lemon juice combined with salt making a mixture and, with the help of a sponge, works wonders.

Simple Green

Simple green is a household effect used to clean all manner of surfaces.

Dilute the simple green to maximize its cleaning effect.

Simple green is nonpoisonous and non-corrosive hence is safe for use.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing Alcohol is available in most houses.

It is primarily used to kill germs in personal effects like shaving blades and can be used to clean a wound.

Rubbing Alcohol is mixed with water to form between 50%-70% to clean metallic surfaces in a pool.

When should you use a pool clarifier?

Pool clarifiers are mostly but not all corrosive materials, and it is not advisable to use them all season long.

They are helpful, however, after algae infestation, on pool openings, or fighting murky water.

Each clarifier comes with detailed instructions on how and when to use them.

Overdosing the pool with clarifiers has a negative effect than the intended purpose.

Important tips to consider when clarifying your pool

  • Read and understand the instructions on the pool clarifier you wish to use. You should follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the said product, including aspects like water balance, application method, correct dosage, and pool filtration post-treatment followed religiously.
  • Do not overdose the pool with clarifier polymers. Overdosing might change the charge of the particles suspended to positive increasing turbidity of water.
  • Do not turn off the water filter pump 24 hours a day until the treatment of the pool is complete. This circulation ensures all residue is trapped.
  • If you are experiencing an algae problem, kill the organisms first. After eradicating the Algae is when you can safely use the Clarifiers you choose.
  • As compelling as it is to clean the filter pump, avoid doing so. Only clean or backwash the filter if there is a pressure increase, usually when the pressure gauge is above 9 lbs.
  • Check on the water balance and chlorine levels after treatment. The acidic and basic nature of the clarifiers alters the pH of the pool. A test kit or simply a test strip might prove effective in determining chlorine and water balance levels.

A cloudy pool is a danger to the swimmers and should be treated with the seriousness it deserves.