Pool Sanitizing Chemicals
To keep you pool sparkling clean and safe for swimmers you need the help of sanitizers. Simply removing leaves and debris won’t do the trick. That’s because water chemistry is impacted by everything from sunshine to air pollutants to swimmers’ perspiration.
Maintaining a proper chemical balance in your pool requires several different types of chemicals working together, but sanitizers do the heavy hitting. Sanitizers kill bacteria, neutralize algae, and eliminate chloramines. They keep your pool looking and smelling nice. More importantly, they keep the water safe for swimmers.
So what pool sanitizer options are available, and how do you know what to choose? We’ll give you an overview of pool sanitizer options, answering these questions:
- What is a pool sanitizer?
- What is the best pool sanitizer?
- How do you sanitize a pool?
- What is the difference between chlorine vs. bromine?
Keep reading for more information on pool sanitizers. Then choose the best option for your pool or consult your local pool professional for pool-specific advice.
What is a pool sanitizer?
A pool sanitizer cleans your pool water, killing bacteria, viruses, algae, and other contaminants. Sanitizers make your water safe for swimmers, and they keep it looking sparkling clear too.
However, sanitizers are powerful chemicals and must be handled with care. Too little sanitizer means your pool water might harbor harmful contaminants while too much pool water sanitizer could irritate swimmers’ skin.
What is the best pool sanitizer?
The most common pool sanitizers are chlorine and bromine, but the best pool sanitizer depends on factors like your budget, your primary concern (are you most worried about bacteria? Killing algae? Both?), and maintenance routine.
Use this easy comparison chart to see which pool sanitizer is right for you:
This is an element in the form of solid calcium hypochlorite tablets or granules or liquid sodium hypochlorite.
- Keeps water clean
- Destroys harmful bacteria
- Keeps water safe for swimming
- Keeps algae away
Tips for using:
Add chlorine granules directly into your pool water or place chlorine tablets to a floating dispenser, skimmer basket, or automatic chlorinator.
Bromine is a heat-resistant sanitizing element that sanitizes contaminants in pool water.
- Breaks apart harmful bacteria
- Remains active longer than chlorine
- Works better in hot water
- More expensive than chlorine
Tips for using:
When bromine breaks down, it produces bromamines, which impact its sanitizing function. Shock your pool to rid it of bromamines. If you use bromine tablets, they contain some chlorine for optimal sanitizing function.
These salt systems pass electricity through dissolved salt to produce chlorine for a pool.
- Produces a purer form of chlorine
- Gentle on eyes and skin
- Lowers pool chemical costs
Tips for using:
Expect to replace the salt cell after four or more years of use.
How do you sanitize a pool?
To sanitize a pool, you need to understand what chemicals your pool requires. Figure out your pool water’s chemical profile by testing it with a liquid testing kit, test strips, or professional testing at your local pool store. Then add chemicals to get your pool water into desired range.
Here are some chemicals you may want to add:
- Pool chlorine or bromine pool chemicals to sanitize
- Cyanuric acid to stabilize chlorine
- Soda ash or baking soda to raise pH
- Muriatic acid to lower pH
After a pool party or heavy rain, as well as once every week, you’ll want to shock your pool. This usually means adding an extra strong dose of chlorine, although non-chlorine shock formulas are also available.
When Things Heat Up: Hot Tub Maintenance
Hot tub sanitization requires some of the same steps that you use to maintain your pool. First, test your water for measurements including pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Adjust these levels by adding acids, alkalizers, and minerals as needed. However, you’ll likely use bromine as the primary sanitizer for a hot tub. Get a floating bromine feeder to make hot tub maintenance easy. Remember to run your hot tub for at least 30 minutes a day to keep all these chemicals circulating throughout the spa.
What is the difference between chlorine and bromine?
Chlorine and bromine are both effective pool sanitizers, so what’s the difference between them?
Let’s start with chlorine, the king of all pool sanitizers. Chlorine is a chemical element that comes in several forms: granules, tablets, or liquid pool chlorine. Chlorine offers the following advantages:
- It’s easy to use
- When combined with a stabilizer like cyanuric acid, it tolerates sunlight
- It’s inexpensive, even in large amounts
- It works quickly and effectively
- It remains stable in cold temperatures
Bromine is a sanitizer that offers chlorine some underrated competition. Bromine is particularly effective for hot tubs’ high temperature, but it has some other advantages too:
- It remains stable at high temperatures
- It has little smell and is gentle on skin
- It kills bacteria and viruses
- It doesn’t have to be added as often as chlorine, lasting up to a week
Chlorine has the disadvantages of a strong smell, frequent application needed, and the potential to irritate skin. Bromine has disadvantages of being ineffective in cold water, making water cloudy, costing more, requiring a bromine feeder device, and difficulty washing off of skin.
Ultimately, it’s difficult to name a best sanitizer for your pool. To do so requires evaluating the unique aspects of your pool or hot tub, your lifestyle, and your needs. Know that both chlorine and bromine are effective sanitizers when used according to directions. For more information on what sanitizer would be best for your pool, visit your local pool store. The experts there can point you in the direction that will produce a sparkling clean pool.
Modern pools have a supplemental sanitizer system working alongside the residual to help improve water safety and chlorine performance. Reduce chlorine use, destroy chlorine-resistant germs and bacteria, and get clearer water with DEL Ozone, DEL UV-C and DEL AOP Advanced Sanitizer Systems. CMP combines the best available technologies to make the most complete sanitizer offerings in the industry.
Nature²® products provide a pool and spa sanitizing solution that uses the power of minerals like silver and copper to destroy harmful bacteria and algae for cleaner, clearer water you can enjoy while reducing chemical use.
No more mixing, measuring or handling liquid or tablet chlorine. Hayward's wide range of sanitization solutions offer the most convenient alternative to conventional chlorine - bringing pools the very best in soft, silky, perfectly sanitized water. By providing automatic, consistent sanitization, salt chlorination delivers water that won't irritate eyes, dry skin or cause fabrics to fade.
The features and benefits GLB® Triple Tab chlorinating tablets are: * Triple action chlorinating tablet that sanitizes, prevents algae and clarifies pool water * Contains copper sulfate to kill algae * Stabilized to help extend chlorine life - chlorinates for up to one week * Clarifies pool water * Protects against algae and bacteria AVAILABLE SIZES #71445A #71446A 10 lbs. 22.5 lbs
Regal Pool Care Products include sanitizers, shock and algaecides in addition to the 3-Step System. Regal's 3-Step Pool Care System is an easy-to-use pool maintenance chemical regiment including sanitizers, shock and algae prevention chemicals.
Ease into this pool season with PoolStyle's full line of swimming pool chemicals including sanitizers, oxidizers, algaecides, balancers and more. PoolStyle provides homeowners and pool professionals alike with safe and effective chemical products.
Achieve crystal-clear, balanced water all swim-season long with Pool Season's outstanding range of swimming pool chemicals. From algaecides and sanitizers to shock and sanitizers, Pool Season has the pool chemicals you need to maintain a safe pool.
Make pool care easy with E-Z Clor's complete assortment of swimming pool chemicals. E-Z Clor offers sanitizers, balancers, supplements and other chemical products to help you maintain the beautiful, crystal-clear pool water you love.