What Does Baking Soda Do for a Pool?

Reviewed by Andrada Simion, Master of Science in Chemistry

There’s a secret weapon that should be in every pool chemist’s arsenal: Baking soda. While it’s something commonly found around many households, you should also keep it with your supply of pool chemicals. Here’s some tips on how you can use it in your pool and why:

  1. It Can Be Used To Maintain The Water Quality of Your Pool
    A major reason to use it in your pool is that you can use it to raise the pH level of the water when it gets too low. A lower pH level means the water is too acidic, which can damage the pool and is harmful to swimmers. You want your pH level to be around 7.2-7.4.
  2. You Can Use It Instead of Alkalinity Increaser
    The main ingredient in many brands of alkalinity increaser is sodium bicarbonate, which is just another name for baking soda. Using it will increase the alkalinity concentration of the water to keep the pH levels from dropping back down too quickly. The alkalinity should be 80-120 ppm.
  3. Make Sure To Add The Right Amount
    You’ll want to add about 2.4 ounces of baking soda per thousand gallons of water to raise the alkalinity by about 10 ppm. Adding too little or too much can send your pH level off balance in either direction.
  4. Pour It In The Deep End When Adding It To The Pool
    Once you’ve measured out the right amount, add between half and three quarters of it into the water. Distribute it in the deep end of the pool by pouring it in a large circular motion.
  5. Give It Enough Time To Dissolve
    Let your filter run for about six hours while it circulates throughout the pool. When that’s done, retest the balance levels to see if you need to add more. If so, repeat the process with the remaining baking soda from the amount you measured out.
  6. It Can Restore Your Water Clarity
    In addition to maintaining pH and alkalinity levels, it will get rid of cloudy water so it’s sparkling and clear again. It’s always more fun to swim in a pool when you can actually see the bottom.
  7. Use It To Clean Your Pool
    You can use it to spot clean algae build ups in the pool. It’ll also prevent corrosion on your pool tiles, lining, ladders, and pipes, keeping them looking new for much longer.
  8. It Can Give You A More Comfortable Swim
    Because baking soda raises the pH and alkalinity levels, thus reducing the acidity, your eyes won’t sting as much when swimming and the water will be less harsh on your skin.
  9. Get Some Soda Ash To Use With It
    Soda ash, or sodium carbonate, is similar to baking soda with what it does, but the difference between them comes down to how each one actually works. Baking soda raises the alkalinity level and slightly brings up the pH level, while soda ash raises the pH level and slightly brings up the alkalinity level. If your pH level drops too much, having soda ash on hand can allow you to bring it back up without the risk of making the water too high in alkalinity by adding too much baking soda.
  10. Remember To Practice Good Safety Habits
    Whenever handling baking soda and other similar chemicals in powder form, be sure to wear safety glasses and gloves. And if you happen to scuff up your safety glasses while using them, you can always use it to get those scratches out.

Now you see why baking soda is so useful for any pool owner. Hopefully these tips inspire you to go grab some and try it out for yourself next time you take care of your pool!