Homemade Pool Clarifiers You Need to Know

When pools get dirty due to one reason or the other, you need to clean the water without necessarily draining and replacing it with clean water. Such dirty water is not only unpleasant to look at, it’s also a sign that it might have bacteria and other microorganisms which can cause infections and diseases.

The standard cleaning method is usually running the water through a pool pump filter which would filter out the dirt from the water. However, these filters rarely clean out the germs or even completely clean out the water. As such, you need a better cleaning method to clarify your pool.

Some of the best natural homemade pool clarifiers include baking soda solution, bleach, white vinegar, lemon juice, rubbing alcohol and borax. Compared to commercial chemical clarifiers natural ones have enzymes that break down the dirt in the water making it easy and cheap to filter them out. The chemical ones are manufactured directly for clarifying pools.

Baking soda

Baking soda finds use in many places in the home and the pool is one of them. If you notice that your pool is cloudy due to being too acidic, it means that there’s too much acid in the pool that it’s scrapping off the walls of the pool with the resulting debris making the pool cloudy. Arm and Hammer is the most popular baking soda brand for your pool.

Baking Soda for DIY swimming pool clarifying
Baking Soda

For this case, you need to first scrap off the rest of the paint and any other debris that would have formed due to the corrosion of the wall. One homemade cleaner for this purpose is a paste made with baking soda and water. This paste can be used on pool tiles, grout and even on pool decks made of stone or concrete.

The advantage with using baking soda for this purpose is that it increases the alkalinity of the water thus reducing the amount of acid in the water. You can add 1.5 pounds of baking soda to 10,000 gallons of water to increase its alkalinity by 10 ppm (parts per million).

Further Reading: How much Baking Soda to Control pH and Alkalinity?

Muriatic Acid

Muriatic acid is used to wash pools that are made of concrete or gunite as it has the qualities to provide a deep cleaning effect. This type of cleaning is done at least every 5 years to wash the pool’s inside walls to get rid of the grime and any other sticky dirt.

Muriatic Acid
AcidBlue Muriatic Acid

The benefit to using muriatic acid to clean your pool is that it can help reduce the alkalinity of the pool by as much as 10 ppm on a pool that is 10,000 gallons large. As such, if your pool is cloudy due to too much alkalinity, muriatic acid will be a good solution to this.

When using muriatic acid or any other strong chemical, it’s always good to protect yourself with heat such as gloves, googles and gum boots that withstand corrosive chemicals.


Bleach is made up of sodium hypochlorite which is one of the chemicals used in shocking a swimming pool. Shocking a swimming pool refers to increasing the amount of chlorine in the water such that it’s too much for the microorganisms. This kills them off making the pool safer for use.

Clorox Bleach

Bleach is also used in cleaning the pool on the sides in a way similar to that of baking soda. You can use it to clean the pool’s sides and floor and even the pool deck to remove any debris that might have formed due to chemicals that are too strong.

Another role for bleach in the pool is to raise the free chlorine value in the water. A gallon of chlorine at 5.25% A gallon of chlorine at 5.25% per 10,000 gallons raises the value of free chlorine by 5.25 ppm. This is a significant amount and you should thus be careful since it can easily surpass the recommended 3 ppm of free chlorine for swimming pools.

Further Reading: How to use bleach for your pool


Another common cleaner in the home is borax which is used in boosting laundry by helping clear out tough stains. Borax, however, is also a great cleaner of surfaces and the pool can benefit from this feature.

To use borax for this purpose, you only need to add some water to make a paste out of it. You then use the paste to clean off surfaces as you please until they’re clean. After that, you simply rinse it off with clean water.

Another role for borax is to raise the pH of the water as it is a base. You can do that by adding it to the water in small amounts from a cup until the pH is raised as desired. Be careful not to overdo it. You should read the label to know the exact pH value of the borax you bought.

White vinegar

White vinegar is another cleaner that can work as a pool clarifier. While you won’t be adding it directly to the water, you can use it to clean off the sides of the pool caused by too much acidity or basicity in the water. It is best suited to cleaning off calcium deposits that form on the side of the pool making it look ugly and unpleasant. The calcium deposits are usually from too much acidity or a high concentration of calcium compounds and will make the water hard.

Cleaning White Vinegar
Calyptus Concentrated Vinegar

You can use white vinegar by mixing it with water in equal parts. The resulting solution is then used with a piece of sponge to wipe off calcium deposits. Besides that, white vinegar is great at cleaning metal surfaces. This means that you can use the same mixture to clean the ladder and rails of the swimming pool to a shining finish.

It is okay if some of the vinegar finds its way into the water as it won’t change the pH or make the water poisonous in any way.

Further Reading: Vinegar for Pool Uses

Rubbing alcohol

Chances are high that you have rubbing oil in your medicine cabinet. Rubbing alcohol is great at killing germs on wounds and other external injuries in the body. You can, however, use the same alcohol mixed with water to clean off surfaces around the pool.

When mixed with water to make a solution that’s between 50% and 70% rubbing alcohol, you can clean off steel and tile surfaces to scrub off gunk and other stubborn dirt. Chemically, rubbing alcohol is called isopropyl and shouldn’t thus be confused with other types of alcohol in the home.

Lemon juice

Lemon juice has citric acid which can be used as a cleaner for lots of surfaces. Being a mild acid, lemon can be used to clean off any dirt on tiles, metals and concrete surfaces. This includes rust, grime and even calcium and other mineral deposits. You should consider using lemon juice in the place of white vinegar as it’s more friendly to the environment.

To use lemon juice for this purpose, you simply mix lemon juice with salt to make a slurry mixture then use a sponge to scrub surfaces with it. For stronger dirt, use undiluted lemon juice. The amount of acid in lemon juice isn’t enough to affect the pH of the water in your swimming pool.

Simple green

Simple green is another household cleaner that can be used to clean surfaces such as tiles and metal of your pool. It can be used to clean your pool filter which will, in turn, make the water clean and clear.

Use simple green to do away with grease, mineral deposits and gunk from your tiles and metal frames. You can dilute it to get the right cleaning results.

Simple green all-purpose cleaner
Simple Green

Tips to Ensure Best Results with DIY Clarifiers

To get the best cleaning results from your homemade pool clarifiers, follow the tips below:

  • Know how to dilute them to get the strongest cleaning effect without damaging the pool or your hands.
  • Use protective gear at all times.
  • Note the effect of the cleaning agent on the chemical balance of the water.

With these tips, you’re sure to keep the pool clear

Further Reading

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Details here