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What to do if you can't find chlorine for your pool

woman in swimming pool
Posted at 2:15 PM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-03 20:18:17-04

Many pool owners are looking for alternatives because of the chlorine shortage. Here are some suggestions:

What can you use instead?

Other chemicals

Bromine — considered a safe substitute for chlorine. Looks for BCDMH tablets, which are typically 66% bromine and 27% chlorine. If unable to find, you can use just bromine but it may leave the water a dull green color.

PHMB — Chemical compound named polyhexamthylene biguanide. No need for chlorine. Doesn’t oxidize so you will need to use hydrogen peroxide. Will also need a separate algaecide and will have to clean filters more often. Must drain pool before switching to PHMB.

Baking soda — Baking soda will raise both the H and the alkalinity of a pool, improving stability and clarity. Many commercial products contain baking soda. Obviously, you will have to buy it in bulk.

RELATED: How to use baking soda for pool maintenance

Bleach — You can use bleach but make sure it is splashes bleach, which can contain several other dangerous additives.

RELATED: Using bleach to maintain a crystal-clear swimming pool

Hydrogen Peroxide -- As little as a cup per 100 gallons water will help keep germs at bay. Must be 35% peroxide.

Non-chlorine shock — Won’t do the job alone. Will also need chlorine. But, it can help reduce the amount of chlorine needed. Good for indoor pools or spas or hot tubs.

Devices etc.

Salt water system — Salt is a powerful sanitizer. No need for buckets of chlorine. However, it is expensive to convert to a salt water pool.

Ionizers — An ionizer is a devise that uses a low-voltage DC current to send two metals into the water — copper (algaecide) and silver (sanitizer). Will still need to use a small amount of chlorine. Must run the pool pump continuously. Cost is about $300 per device and cost of metals is about $130.

Ozonator — A machine that inserts ozone gas into pool. There are 2 types: ultraviolet and corona discharge. Can reduce chlorine usage up to 90% and uses very little electricity. Must circulate water 24/7. Ozonators combined with chlorine extremely effective. Work best in dry air. Cost starts around $600.

Mineral pool system — The cartridge-based system consists of minerals/alloys that deactivate algae and other microorganisms Can reduce need for chlorine up to 50%. Easy to use and low maintenance. Can be simply attached to the PVC pipes of pool systems.

Ultrafiltration - Filter tubes with very thin membranes are used to remove extremely small microbes, human skin fragments, hair and so on once the basically filtering is done. Can be extremely expensive.

What else can you do?

Go natural. There are many "green" pool products. Click here for some.

Put diatomaceous earth in your filter. It will make it work better on smaller debris.

Reduce the water temperature to colder than normal to help slow bacterial and algae growth.

Add plants, which will help keep algae out of a pool. It will also help keep pathogens in balance.

Shower before you swim to help keep bacteria out of your pool.

RELATED: 11 Household Products to Clean Your Pool

Use a pool cover to keep debris out of the pool.

SOURCES
Alternatives to chlorine
Healthier alternatives to chlorine