Most people use swimming pools for relaxing and refreshing their bodies during hot summer days. Owning a pool certainly provides you with a wide range of activities to do in the summertime. You can practice swimming, get wet and wild with your friends, or even get professional assistance from a lifeguard if you’re feeling particularly adventurous.
However, the water in your pool can become quite stagnant and toxic over time. There’s no denying that swimming pools are somewhat of a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Even small amounts of feces from animals and humans can cause serious infections if not treated promptly with proper chemicals and water changes.
Luckily, there are simple and effective ways to keep your pool clean. One of the simplest and most effective ways is to use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) as a pool cleaner. Baking soda is a natural substance with a centuries-old history of use as a pool cleaner. It’s a common and inexpensive substance that almost everyone has within reach. The compound is both biodegradable and affordable, which makes it extremely suitable for use in home pools.
In addition to being a natural pool cleaner, baking soda has a number of other beneficial properties. It’s a mild deterrant that strips away algae and stains from tiles and surfaces around the pool. It also serves as an alkaline buffer in case there’s any acidity in the water. For these reasons, almost everyone in the U.S. owns a baking soda can, which is conveniently placed near the entrance to their swimming pools.
Why Baking Soda As A Pool Cleaner?
If you’ve ever tried to clean a pool without using baking soda, you’ll know how frustrating and ineffective it can be. Baking soda is a naturally occurring material with broad-spectrum antimicrobial and antifouling properties. As a result, using it as a pool cleaner has been popularized throughout the U.S. since the early 20th century.
Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane and revisit the early days of household pools. Back in the day, people had to manually remove impurities from their pool water by means of a long pole with a brush on the end. They would have to scrub the surface of the water with this pole, removing all the gunk at the end. Since much of this cleaning was performed manually, people quickly got the idea that a mechanical scrubber could be handy for removing all the gunk from their pools. This is when the idea of a mechanical pool cleaner was born.
Fast-forward a few decades, and we see that mechanical pool cleaners have become incredibly popular. This is largely due to the introduction of chlorinator units, which automatically convert saltwater to fresh water. Although these units are quite effective at maintaining a healthy pool environment, they do require a bit of maintenance to keep them working at their optimum efficiency level. This is when adding an algaecide to the mix becomes beneficial. This is because chlorinators tend to promote algae growth, which in turn promotes the development of sludge.
Adding a bit of alkalinity to the pool water helps to combat the effects of the chlorinator. This is why pools with baking soda often have better water quality than those without. The alkalinity of the baking soda helps to offset the acidity of the water and prevent algae growth. A typical pool with a water pH between 8.4 and 8.8 is considered to be in a good condition.
If you’ve ever tried to keep a pool clean using ordinary pool chemicals, you’ll know how expensive these can be. Buying a pool chemical treatment that covers a whole year’s worth of costs is not unusual. If you decide to go this route, be sure to consult with your pool servicing company or well-established pool care giver to see if there is a cheaper alternative. They may be able to get you a bulk discount or provide other forms of financial relief.
How Long Does It Take For Baking Soda To Clean A Pool?
Although baking soda is a natural substance with powerful cleaning properties, it doesn’t happen overnight that your pool will look pristine. It takes time for the baking soda to work its magic. This is why it’s always a good idea to add a bit more each week during pool maintenance. The rule of thumb is anytime the water level is below the pump, add some baking soda and water to the pool to ensure the water remains clear. Wait at least 15 minutes for the pool to settle down before swimming or diving in.
Adding Baking Soda To Improve Swimming Pools’ Water Quality
As mentioned above, the water in your pool can become stagnated and dirty over time. This is due to all the germs and bacteria that live in and around the pool. Baking soda helps to keep your water clean by acting as a deterrant, hindering the growth of algae and other forms of organic matter. This means that adding baking soda to your pool will result in better water quality overall, as well as preventing more frequent water changes.
- Bacillus Subtillus
- Dirty Water
Algae (also known as green slime) is a slimy, unappetizing film that builds up on pool surfaces over time. Even a small amount of algae can result in an unattractive sheen that makes the water look dull. The buildup of algae on pool surfaces is also known as sludge. Just like the name suggests, sludge is essentially any kind of sediment that builds up in your pool over time. The four basic types of sludge are mud, sand, silt, and clay. The most common and least sludge-forming type of pool surface is tile. This is because most people don’t clean their pools very often, resulting in large deposits of calcium and magnesium carbonates.
In addition to being unappetizing and causing the water to look dull, algae also prevents sunlight from being effectively absorbed by the water, resulting in a hotter pool. Another very unpleasant consequence of algae growth is the formation of a scum on top of the water. This is a film composed of dead skin cells, oils, and feces. This film can harbor harmful bacteria that make you sick if you inhale it. One type of bacteria commonly found in swimmer’s ear is the fungus, Candida albicans. This fungus can cause an infection that spreads throughout the body, becoming very hard to treat. There is also the risk of the yeast infection, dermatophytosis, which can cause a burning sensation and skin damage if not treated promptly.
What Type Of Bacteria Are Found In Pools?
It’s important to note that the bacteria that inhabit your pool aren’t necessarily harmful. Most bacteria that cause disease are dangerous when there is a large population of them in a small area. Staphylococcus aureus is a bacteria that can make you sick if you get it in your bloodstream. This type of bacteria is common in hospitals and nursing homes because these are the places where a lot of people gather. It can also cause skin and soft tissue infections, which is why it’s frequently found in swimming pools and other such water-related settings. Fortunately, most of the bacteria that you’re likely to come across are benign, or at least don’t cause serious disease.
The primary function of a good, healthy pool is for recreational purposes, so it’s best to keep the overall bacterial population to a minimum. Fortunately, most of the bacteria that you’re going to come across in your pool are going to be easily killed by the chlorine and other chemicals that you add to the pool.