Is Cloudy Pool Water Safe for Swimming?

How to Get Your Pool from Cloudy to Clear

The sun is shining, there is nothing on the schedule for the day, and everyone is ready to jump into the pool! Then, you notice that the water is murky and doesn’t look quite right. Now, you are on your phone googling if cloudy water is safe and the correct steps to remedy the problem. 

The quick, non-specific google answer to the problem is “do not enter the water.” Cloudy pool water is not safe, and it is vital to figure out the cause before you take a dip. In fact, there are a lot of elements in place that impact the clarity of pool water. For example, imbalanced chemicals, filtration issues, or an increase in particulate matter can be some of the reasons your pool has become a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria.

Imbalance of Pool Chemicals

Most often, a lack of sanitizer is the culprit when it comes to cloudy pool water. When there are low levels of sanitizer (chlorine, bromine, etc.), your pool water will experience an increase in bacterial growth which can stress the filtration system. In addition, high pH and alkalinity can also form scale on the pool equipment surfaces that can make it difficult for the sanitizer to work as intended. 

To help remedy this problem, take a look at your water’s alkalinity, pH, phosphate levels, and chlorine levels. These are just a few elements to test each week to make sure that there are no harmful bacteria and cloudy water. 

Filtration Issues

Your pool pump should be running most of the day to properly circulate (at least 8-12 hours) and filter the water. If you are experiencing water clarity issues, make sure to check and clean your pool filtration system. Ask the following questions:

  • Is my pump working correctly?
  • Are any filters compromised? Do any need to be replaced?
  • Is there debris in the filter that needs to be removed?
  • Is there debris in the bottom of my filtration unit that needs to be removed?

Need help cleaning your pool filtration system? Take a look at a few helpful blogs.

 Environmental Factors

Dust, pollen, and leaves can build up in your pool water and filtration system. The debris will hinder the cleaning process in two ways. 1) The pump and filters will no longer be able to clean the water due to the debris buildup 2) The pool chemicals will become less effective because they are busy attacking the natural debris and non-hazardous bacteria and pathogens. Excessive run-off water after a storm or rain can also contribute to cloudy water. The run-off water can bring foreign minerals into your water (nitrates, phosphates, silicates, sulfates).  

How to Remedy Cloudy Pool Water

Balanced pool water allows your pool sanitizer to work more effectively to create clean and comfortable swimming conditions. It is best practice to routinely check your pool water each week. While there are different levels to measure within your pool water chemistry, the three most important chemicals to test regularly are

  • Total alkalinity
  • pH
  • Calcium hardness

Once those levels are addressed, other pool chemicals to analyze are 

  • Saturation Index
  • TDS (total dissolved solids)
  • Optimizer
  • Free Chlorine
  • Total Chlorine
  • CYA (cyanuric acid)
  • Phosphate
  • Salt (if applicable)

Want to learn more about these levels? Take a look at the following blog

  • Chemicals to Balance in Your Pool 
  • How to Balance Your Pool Chemicals

Need Help Testing the Water?

At Parnell Pool & Spa, our trusted specialists use only the best equipment and procedures to get a complete and accurate reading of your pool water. Our computerized Water Analysis System, BioGuard’s® ALEX®, provides results in an instant with step-by-step instructions. Bring us your water sample today and leave knowing every step needed to get your pool water safe and sanitary. 

Contact Us Today

If you have a question about the proper running of your pool or spa, contact us or stop by our Fayetteville or Lumberton location anytime. While in the store, check out our products, purchase chemicals for your pool/hot tub, or get a specific question answered by one of our experts. Feel free to follow us on Facebook and Instagram as well.

Want to read more about interesting pool topics?

Take a look at the following blogs:

Let's Get Started

Request a quote, schedule service, or just let us know what water care questions are on your mind.

Contact Us

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


(910) 425-6138

4206 Cumberland Rd
Fayetteville, NC 28306

Mon-Fri: 9am to 6pm
Saturday: 9am to 3pm
Sunday: Closed


(910) 738-8110

1380 Linkhaw Rd
Lumberton, NC 28358

Mon-Fri: 9am to 6pm
Saturday: 9am to 3pm
Sunday: Closed

Follow Us

Scroll to Top