How To Clear Cloudy Pool Water FAST!

By Shiloh McGinley

January 15, 2023

How to clear cloudy pool water fast,

We’ve all seen it at some point in our lives – a poorly maintained pool, resulting in cloudy pool water. And even if you practice regular swimming pool maintenance, and use all the right products, it’s almost magical how the swimming pool turns milky and murky over time.

Although cloudy pool water does not automatically mean your swimming pool is unsafe to swim in, let’s be honest, nobody wants to swim in a murky or cloudy pool!

Improper levels of chlorine, imbalanced pH and alkalinity, high calcium hardness (CH) levels, faulty or clogged pool filters, early stages of algae, ammonia, and debris all are likely culprits of a murky pool.

Though the reasons why you’ll get a cloudy pool are numerous, the good news is they’re all easily corrected and quickly.


In this article, we’ll go over all of the causes of cloudy water in your pool, teach you how to fix cloudy pool water fast, and how to prevent it in the future!

Clearing cloudy pool water can be easy, so grab a cup of coffee and learn all there is to know! The good news is, you can get ALL of the below at your local pool store, or even my favorite shop, here!

1. Balance the chemical levels.

The most common cause of cloudy pool water is the imbalance of chemicals.

An improper chemical balance might mean there is too much or too little chlorine, or the pH, alkalinity, high calcium hardness levels, or stabilizer (cyanuric acid) levels are imbalanced.

Chlorine imbalance in your swimming pool

If your cloudy pool is caused by an imbalance of chlorine, this can easily be solved by regularly testing your swimming pool water with either testing strips or testing kits. If you find that one or more of the chemicals are too high, administer the solution to raise or lower it.

The water might be looking cloudy due to a lack of free chlorine. If your combined chlorine levels read above 0.5 ppm, your water may turn cloudy and become unsafe for swimming.

As an FYI, the optimal time to get pool water for testing is in the morning hours, as there should not be any chlorine depletion by the sun.

If this is the case, you need to shock your pool immediately to clear it.

Shocking refers to the process of adding chlorine or non-chlorine pool chemicals to the water in order to raise the “free chlorine” level.

The goal is to raise this level to a point where contaminants such as algae, black algae, chloramines, and bacteria are destroyed.

There are numerous products in the market made specifically for shocking a swimming pool.

pH and Alkalinity imbalance

Another cause of cloudy pool water is pH or alkalinity levels.

If your tests find them to be too low, adding soda ash or baking soda should do the trick.

  • If the alkalinity levels are too high, you can use muriatic acid to bring it lower without affecting pH levels.
  • For high pH levels, you can use a made-for-pools chemical additive called pH reducer (or pH minus) to help take those high ph levels down.

High Calcium Hardness

Remember to keep CH levels between 200 and 400 ppm all the time.

Though it should be noted that muriatic acid added to balance alkalinity levels will also help prevent calcium from hardening.

With regards to dealing with a swimming pool that has high calcium levels, the only way to deal with this is to partially drain your pool and refill it.

Cyanuric Acid imbalance

If you’re adding chlorine to your pool water, chances are you’re adding cyanuric acid along with it so take care if you’re adding extra cyanuric acid in as well.

If you find that the cyanuric acid levels are too high, then you’ll have to either partially drain and refill the swimming pool or purchase a reverse osmosis pool filter.

2. Get rid of algae.

Another factor that can lead to cloudy pool water is the growth of algae.

Both algae and ammonia form as a result of low free chlorine levels – again a result of an imbalance in the swimming pool chemistry.

The sooner you get rid of algae the better since they are very hard to deal with in large amounts.

To deal with algae quickly, a combination of vacuuming and brushing your pool, and rebalancing your pool chemistry is needed. For good measure, you’ll also need to shock your pool and filter it thoroughly.

Not a single sliver of algae should remain since they are quick to bloom and regrow again.

3. Eliminate ammonia.

Chlorine is not just effective against germs and bacteria but ammonia as well. Ensuring the proper balance of chemicals is the surest and easiest way to avoid high ammonia levels.

If you do have high ammonia levels though, so much that it’s causing the cloudy pool, then know that you would eliminate ammonia from your swimming pool generally the same way you would eliminate algae.

Do this by adding sufficient chlorine as quickly as possible. This is to SLAM your pool, which means reaching high shock levels and maintaining that pool shock level by adding more chlorine every 15 minutes if the free chlorine levels drop.

Do this until your tests show little to no ammonia left, and you should also find your cloudy pool water being less of an issue!

4. Backwash filter or replace filtering agent.

Sometimes cloudy swimming pool water might just be the result of a clogged, dirty, or broken pool filter system.

A pool filter will help remove particles and debris from the pool water and ensure proper circulation. Without proper circulation, the water becomes stagnant and murky.

There are three types of filters: DE (diatomaceous earth), a cartridge filter (paper), and sand. Each has its pros and cons.

A DE pool filter system is the most efficient when it comes to filtration, followed by cartridge, and sand filters.

Make it a habit to check and clean filters, declogging them if necessary, empty the vacuum baskets, and replace cartridges.

Also ensure that your swimming pools filter system and your pump is running at least 8-24 hours a day, replacing them immediately if broken.

5. Vacuum out any foreign particles.

A pool vacuum, either robotic or otherwise, is a good investment that filters out any dirt, debris, and swimming pool algae that might affect your water’s chemical balance.

If you’re on a budget, then simply cleaning the pool with a pole and net at least once a day should work just fine too.


And that was all you needed to know about how to clear cloudy pool water fast.

As you can see, getting rid of cloudy pool water doesn’t have to be difficult to achieve. Always ensure you always keep the chemicals balanced and the pool filter system is working at all times.

Regular testing and cleaning are just a short price to pay for a pool that’s always crystal clear and safe to swim in!

Thanks for reading, please feel free to have a look around and drop us an email or comment with any questions!

We’re here to help! 🙂

Shiloh McGinley

About the author

Shiloh McGinley has been in and around swimming pools her whole life. She's seen a lot of products come and go, and she wants to share with you the best products that really work!

Shiloh is passionate about helping people stay safe in the water, and she loves educating others on how to choose the right pool products.

When she's not working, Shiloh enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and swimming - of course!

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