How to Get Rid of Green Water in a Swimming Pool

By June 23, 2021Pool Safety

Written by Admin and published on

It’s never fun to pull back your pool cover and see that the water has turned green and swampy. That means algae has temporarily taken over, and you’ll need to thoroughly clean and treat your pool before you can start swimming. Read on to learn how to get rid of the dreaded green water.

Treating a pool that has turned green? This article will take you step-by-step through how to get that nasty pool in shape. I will also cover some basic chemistry and filtering tips to prevent this from happening again.

The Water In Your Pool is Green: What Do You Do Now?

Nothing is as inviting as a cool, clear, clean pool on a hot summer’s day. Keeping pool water clean, however, is a never ending job. If you have ever viewed a home with a pool that has been unoccupied for a while, no doubt there is a literal swamp underneath that pool cover. Even going on vacation for two weeks without pool maintenance can make it turn green.

Pool water is not naturally blue, it takes on that color due to pool linings that are traditionally blue to make it look appealing. Algae is a naturally growing substance that can only be treated by constant vigilance. The most difficult part of pool ownership is keeping ahead of nature that wants to claim your pool water. You can filter out insects, and scoop out other nasty floaters, but chemical treatment is the only way to keep algae away, and keep your pool sanitized and safe for use.

Green pool water is due to algae growth that occurs in any body of standing water. Much like scum that forms on a stagnant pond, unless water is either in rapid motion or treated, it will develop a green film. Green algae itself is not harmful on its own, however, it attracts all sorts of organisms that feed on it, so it does constitute a health hazard. Plus it looks disgusting and ugly. Also, swimming in a pool with a coating of algae means you can’t see what lies beneath the surface, and can be a drowning hazard.

Pools should always be fenced, as well as secured with a locked cover when not in use to avoid risks of injury, drowning and also infection.

If you purchase a house with a pool and it’s been neglected, just draining it isn’t enough. All of the pools surfaces will have to be chemically scrubbed, and that can take lots of time and an awful lot of elbow grease, plus it is an unpleasant task. That is why many pool owners call in specialists to get rid of algae residue.

Types of Algae

There are actually three types of algae that can take over your pool, according to Aqua Magazine. There’s the green type, which is the most common and easily detected, but also black algae and mustard green algae.

Black algae comes from the ocean; however, it can travel to your pool courtesy of an unwashed swimsuit from someone who has been in the ocean and then jumps in your pool. Black algae can stubbornly cling to the parts of your pool, and is resistant to regular chlorine treatments, so it may have to be treated professionally. That is why it’s imperative to always wash bathing suits between uses, whether at home at the pool or after a visit to the beach or lake.

Mustard algae is yellow and is often mistaken for pollen that collects on top of the water. Chlorine is the only solution for that problem as well. According to House With A, pollen usually only collects on top of pool surfaces in autumn, and if you have been regularly keeping your chlorine at proper levels, it should not be an issue.

There are two ways to treat algae depending on whether or not it has already taken over your pool water:

1. Proper Pool Testing and Maintenance

How do you test your pool water? Check out this handy video from has “Pool School” a set of educational videos all about pool care. In the videos about water testing, the narrator explains that you need to test for three things: Alkalinity, PH,and Chlorine. If the chlorine level is too low, say under 1ppm (parts per million), algae is free to grow. One important thing to note is that if your alkalinity is too high or too low, the PH (the acidity) will be resistant to change and then affect the proper chlorine absorption. If the PH in the pool is wrong, the chlorine will break down and leave you with teary eyes and itchy skin. So, it is important to test the alkaline levels first and then go on to adjust the PH and Chlorine.

Also important to note is that algae can travel. If you are cleaning your pool that has had algae growth, it is important to clean the brushes that were used to scrub the sides and bottom of the pool. Algae and mold can cling to any wet surface, so it’s counterproductive to scrub your pool, fill it and shock it, and then proceed to use unwashed poles and nets in it. The same goes for toys, ladders and floats.

Always make sure you filter pumps are in good condition and running so that the water exchange is working as it should. Daily testing is a good idea if you use your pool often. Today’s test strips are easy to use and can be bought from specialty pool stores or at your local big box department store.

If your family member or neighbor has a pool and you use it often, consider chipping in on some of the supplies and labor that are necessary to maintain it.

2. Shocking

Shocking is one way to get rid of algae in a hurry.  The “Pool Professor” says it’s very important to wear safety goggles and gloves as shocking a pool requires exposures to high levels of chlorine. Pool “shock” can also bleach your garments, so be sure to wear an old tee shirt and shorts. He recommends shocking in the evening or at night, so that the chemicals can work at least 8 hours, with the pool running. 1 pound of shock can treat 10,000 pounds of water. How often you may have to shock your pool depends upon the number of guests using it as well. It is often prudent to do a shock treatment after a large party has been bathing in your pool, and of course, no matter how many use your pool, consistently checking the chemical variables in your pool will save you time and money.

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