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How Long After Shocking a Pool Can You Swim? The Real Answer

Swimming pool shock is quite strong. It comes in liquid and granular variants, both of which spike the pool’s chlorine levels. Undissolved pool shock can cause irritation, discomfort, and more. It’s essential to wait a while after adding the shock before you go swimming in the pool if you want to avoid such health hazards.

You can swim 6 to 24 hours after shocking a pool. Circulate the pump until all of the shock is dissolved, then wait until the pool’s chlorine is at or below 5ppm. Swimming in a newly-shocked pool can cause redness, burning sensations, dryness, and breathing problems.

Throughout this article, I’ll explain how long you need to wait after shocking the pool, how to know when it’s safe, and whether or not six hours is long enough. I’ll also explain what happens if you swim in a pool with a fresh shock treatment.

How Long Should You Wait to Swim After Shock Treatments?

You should wait long enough after a shock treatment for the chlorine to dissolve completely. There shouldn’t be any cloudiness, and the chlorine should be below six parts per million. Brush the pool’s liner to mix the shock and send it into the plumbing. However, it’s best to avoid pouring shock directly into the skimmer or pump.

It’s best to skip the pool if the chlorine is too high. Some experts recommend waiting up to 24 hours to swim after adding strong shock treatments. Evaporation, chlorine availability, and pump circulation will influence the evaporation rate. Balancing the cyanuric acid will also preserve most of the chlorine, but make sure you don’t add too much chlorine, or it’ll take days to dissolve.

What Happens if You Go in a Pool That Was Just Shocked?

If you go in a pool that was just shocked, you’ll experience various health problems. These issues range from skin dryness, peeling, respiratory difficulties, and more. The high chlorine content can burn your eyes and change your hair color. Pool shock is extremely concentrated chlorine that should be handled with care.

If you accidentally go into a pool that was just shocked, follow these instructions:

  1. Get out of the pool immediately. It’s important to halt your skin’s exposure to chlorine and other harsh chemicals in the water. Pool shock is mostly chlorine, but there are a couple of other concentrated filler ingredients that can cause discomfort. Hop out of the water and grab a towel.
  2. Wash the chlorine off of your body with a garden hose. Spray the hose from head to toe to remove as much of the pool shock as possible. Concentrated pool shock is extremely dangerous and can cause various health problems. Scrub your skin and hair to remove the chlorine granules or liquid.
  3. Take a warm shower with plenty of shampoo and soap. Use a sponge or brush to scrub the chlorine off of your skin and hair. The garden hose tip prevents you from bringing chlorine into the house and staining everything, but it won’t help too much with skin irritation and hair discoloration.
  4. Use body lotion and hair conditioner to bring the moisture back to your skin and hair. Concentrated chlorine dries your skin and hair, so it’s important to use a couple of hydrating products to prevent cracking and discomfort. This method also stops redness and peeling from occurring.
  5. Test the pool’s chlorine levels and ensure they’re balanced. Not only should you wait to swim until the chlorine is below 6ppm, but you should also check if you removed too much shock. The granules and liquid stick to your body, which means you inevitably took some of them with you when you got out of the pool.

These dangers are drastically reduced if you know how much shock to add to the pool. Using too much shock can increase the risk of eye irritation, hair dryness, etc. Your chlorine shouldn’t get too high unless you’re dealing with an algae bloom. Never swim in a pool with loads of shock and algae.

Can You Swim 6 Hours After Shocking a Pool?

You can swim six hours after shocking a pool if the chlorine is below 6ppm. People often shock swimming pools to remove the algae, which means the chlorine level should be around 7ppm.

However, this level is unsafe for swimming. Circulate the water or neutralize some of the chlorine to bring it between the recommended range of 2ppm to 4ppm.

Neutralizing the chlorine is an excellent choice if you have a pool party around the corner. Keep in mind that removing some of the chlorine means there’s a chance of an algae bloom. Never reduce your swimming pool’s chlorine below 2ppm. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations beforehand.

In the Swim’s Chlorine Chlorine Neutralizer reduces your pool’s chlorine by up to 5ppm. Five ounces is enough for a 10,000-gallon swimming pool. Each container has 2.25 pounds, so you’ll be good to go for many years to come.

In The Swim Pool Water Chlorine Neutralizer – 2.25 Pounds

It only takes 30 minutes for the chemical to remove the chlorine. Check it again to see if you need to add more before swimming.

It’s not always the time required to swim after shocking, but more so the parts-per-million of chlorine once it’s circulated. Check your pool’s gallons per minute to know how many hours it takes to circulate the whole pool. For example, if your pump circulates 100 GPM (6,000 gallons per hour), it’ll take five hours to cover a 30,000-gallon pool.

Why Can’t You Swim After Shocking the Pool?

You can’t swim after shocking the pool because the chlorine hasn’t dissolved in the water. It takes several hours for the shock treatment to disperse.

You’ll remove a lot of chlorine from the water and have to add more during the next week. Make sure you circulate the pool to dissolve the chlorine quicker.

Here’s what can happen if you swim right after shocking the water:

  • Your hair could change colors (typically green or bright white). Have you ever noticed that bleach dyes anything it touches? This process happens due to the chlorine content. Since pool shock has significantly more chlorine than bleach, it’ll dye your hair and clothes much quicker.
  • You’ll undoubtedly have skin dryness, especially around your elbows, knees, and other areas where the chlorine sticks. Chlorine dries everything it touches, which is why you should use soap and water to remove it. You might also want to use Aloe Vera to soothe the itchiness.
  • There’s a high chance that your eyes will burn if you open them underwater. Swimming through pockets of pool shock will cause quite a bit of pain and redness. Make sure you wear goggles if you swim within 24 hours of adding shock. In fact, it’s best to wear goggles if you ever open your eyes underwater.
  • You’ll probably have itchy skin from head to toe. The dryness and redness lead to itchiness. The sooner you scrub and rinse the chlorine off your skin, the lower the chance you’ll have to deal with prolonged itchiness. The itchiness is much more common around the exposed areas.
  • There’s a small chance that nothing bad could happen. Shock treatments drop-in pockets of chlorine. If you somehow don’t swim through the chlorine pocket, you won’t have any of the issues mentioned above. It’s quite rare to avoid chlorine, so make sure you follow the aforementioned steps to wash it off.

Shocking your pool regularly will remove and prevent algae. However, it’s best to avoid swimming in the heavily-chlorinated water until it dissolves. Let the water clear up, then wait a few more hours. Test it to ensure it’s around 5ppm before you take a plunge.

Author

  • Jonah Ryan

    Jonah has worked for several years in the swimming pool industry installing and repairing equipment, treating pools with chemicals, and fixing damaged liners. He also has plumbing and electrical experience with air conditioning, ceiling fans, boilers, and more. When he's not writing for Temperature Master, he's usually writing for his own websites, LawnCareLessons.com and DIYByHand.com.

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