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Will Bleach Clear Up a Cloudy Pool?

Pool owners often use bleach since it has some of the same chemical properties as liquid chlorine.

However, bleach contains all sorts of dyes, fragrances, and additives used to clean clothes, not pool water.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a high enough concentration of chlorine to be as effective as almost any pool treatment.

Bleach will clear up a cloudy pool at a much slower rate than powder or liquid pool chlorine. It can also cause cloudiness by adding unwanted dyes and fragrances. It’s best to use calcium hypochlorite, also known as pool shock. Cloudiness is often a sign of dead algae that needs to be filtered.

In this article, I’ll cover whether or not you should use bleach in your swimming pool as a last resort, why it’s not the best for a clear pool, and what it does to the algae in the water.

I’ll also provide a few suggestions to get rid of the cloudiness in the pool. Let’s get started!

Can I Put Household Bleach in My Pool?

You can put household bleach in your pool, but it won’t be as effective as pool-grade chlorine. Liquid chlorine and powder chlorine have a much higher concentration of chlorine compared to chlorine.

Most household bleach bottles contain about 5% chlorine, while liquid chlorine goes up to 12% and powder chlorine goes up to 90%.

Keep these things in mind before putting household bleach into your pool:

  • Bleach often contains additives that can cause various issues in the water. Many household bleaches are filled with all sorts of chemicals that shouldn’t go into the water. While you can put untreated bleach into the water, these loaded bleaches shouldn’t go anywhere near the pool.
  • Bleach is less than half as effective as liquid chlorine. You’ll have to use twice as much bleach to reach the effectiveness of the traditional pool chlorine. The only reason you should choose the bleach is if you don’t want to run to the store to get a bottle of liquid chlorine.
  • Household bleach can discolor your swimming pool cover. Pool covers prevent algae, evaporation, and heat loss. However, the bleach can corrode the cover, making it much less effective. If you want to use bleach in the water, wait until the following day to replace the cover.
  • While bleach can maintain your pool’s chlorine levels, it’s unlikely to get rid of massive algae blooms. You need quite a bit of chlorine to eliminate algae blooms, so the standard 2ppm to 4ppm levels won’t be as effective. Liquid chlorine and powder chlorine raise the chlorine levels significantly faster than bleach.

Pro-tip: Chlorine (whether it’s in bleach, liquid, or powder) typically isn’t enough to completely eliminate the cloudiness in your swimming pool. The algae turns white when it dies, which is why the water might look cloudy after you get rid of an algae bloom. Let’s discuss how you can treat the cloudiness and dead algae below.

Does Bleach Clear Cloudy Pool Water?

Bleach clears cloudy pool water, but it can also cause cloudiness if there are any additives. Diluted bleach can be used for minor cloudiness.

However, you’d have to use so much bleach that it’s worth it to switch to liquid pool chlorine. Make sure you clean the filter to get rid of the dead algae in the water.

Cloudy water is often caused by dead algae. And contrary to popular belief, adding extra chlorine won’t always get rid of the cloudiness.

I suggest cleaning your pool filter and adding a filtration agent to the skimmer to enhance the filter’s effectiveness. Following a routine pool shock schedule will also make a significant difference.

If you need to get rid of dead algae, I recommend using Robarb Super Blue Clarifier. It collects the dead algae in the filter, preventing it from getting back into the pool. One ounce is enough to treat 5,000 gallons, and each bottle comes with 32 fluid ounces.

Robarb Super Blue Clarifier 1-Quart Crystal Clear Pool Water Polisher

I suggest cleaning the filter before using the product for maximum effectiveness. You should also clean the filter after 48 hours to remove the clarifying agent.

If the water looks cloudy after using a bleach treatment and there isn’t algae in the water, stop using the brand immediately. Some bleaches are bad for your swimming pool and can create hazardous issues.

It’s best to stick with routine swimming pool chemicals, including pool shock, liquid chlorine, and various algaecides.

That being said, the bleach isn’t entirely useless in a swimming pool. It can save the water from algae blooms in a pinch, though it won’t be as effective.

Read on if you want to know how and why bleach can handle some algae blooms.

Will Bleach Kill Algae in a Pool?

Bleach will kill algae in a pool because it contains chlorine. Test the water to find out how much chlorine there is before adding the bleach. Your pool’s chlorine levels should be at about 5ppm to 6ppm when you’re dealing with an algae bloom. Powder chlorine offers to quickest and most effective chlorine boost since it’s more than ten times stronger than bleach.

Most bleaches have between 5% to 6% chlorine. Compared to the impressive 12% to 90% of other chlorinating options, bleach should only be used as a last resort.

It’s not nearly as useful in any scenario, nor does it cost less in the long run. One bottle of bleach is often half as effective as the same amount of liquid chlorine.

Here’s my tried and true method of eliminating algae in the pool:

  1. Test the chlorine and shock the pool until it reaches 6ppm.
  2. Use half of a bottle of the 4-lb Green-to-Clean Algaecide. This algaecide is the most effective treatment I’ve used when removing large algae blooms from swimming pools. It has to be used with pool shock to be effective.
  3. Clean the filter.
  4. Run the pump for eight hours.
  5. The next day, repeat the previous four steps.
  6. Use the aforementioned Robarb Super Blue Clarifier after cleaning the filter, then run the pump for another eight hours to remove as much of the cloudy dead algae as possible.
  7. Test the chlorine, pH, and alkalinity, and make the necessary adjustments to balance the chemicals and restore the pool’s clean, clear, and healthy chemistry.


  • 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, and

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