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How to Lower pH in a Pool Naturally: The Organic Approach

As most pool owners know, figuring out pool chemistry is extremely important. Finding out how to lower pH in a pool naturally is especially helpful.

A pool’s pH is supposed to be between 7.2 and 7.8. Pure water has a pH of 7. Anything lower is considered acidic and will cause eye and skin irritations or corrosion to whatever pool system you are using. Anything higher than 7 will indicate an alkaline state and will cause other discomforts in swimmers.

Pool chemicals are the easiest way to get your pool leveled correctly but there are natural and organic ways that can get the job done. Some people prefer these methods and have found them to be safer and more environmentally friendly. This article will outline some methods in which you can lower the pH in your pool naturally.

How to Lower pH in a Pool Naturally

Installing a distilled water system in your home is the first suggested method of lowering water pH. Some areas have naturally “hard water” which means that the water that you fill the pool with will be more alkaline.

Since distilled water is almost pure, it does not have any of the extra metals and minerals that raise the pH unnaturally. The downside to this method is that it would be difficult to get the water from the inside of your house to the pool area if you want to drain your pool and fill it with distilled water, but it could be worth it. Make sure to use the pH test strips to check how much the distilled water has lowered the pH.

The next option is getting a heater. Hot water has a higher solubility rating which means that it can dissolve natural substances, such as calcium carbonate, more easily. This compound lowers the pH levels and increases the acidity of the water.

Another method to lower the pH in your pool water naturally is to just leave it alone. Don’t change the water as much. Minerals that decrease the pH build up naturally over time. If you let this happen the pH is going to go down on its own. Continue to use the test strips to check the levels and you should change the water once it gets below the recommended pH.

Although the next technique is a laborious one, it is definitely doable. You can lower the pH in your pool naturally by directing the downspouts from your house into the pool. If a pool becomes too full due to backwash it dumps water. Since rain is about 5.6 pH it is going to bring down the pH of the water naturally.

The problem that you will have with rainwater is its low alkalinity. If you decide to use this method you will have to continually have to check your pool and make sure you are always balancing it so the chlorine is not corroding your pool and the pipes in the system. However, if you live in a space where your water source is expensive, using rainwater might be a good way to cut the water bill.

Regardless of if you go the natural route or not, lowering the pH of pool water will always require you to add something to it. Most people use hydrochloric acid, sulphuric acid, or granular sodium bisulfate as additives for their swimming pools or spas.

Sometimes, it is best to regulate pH by adding CO₂ to the water. While there are many different household products that you can use in your pool make sure you check the labels. You always want to make sure you know what you are putting in the water. If you don’t, not only could you end up with poor water quality but you could damage the liner, the plumbing, or even put your swimmers in danger.

Household Items to Lower pH

People have been using household products in their pools for years and they definitely work. However, they are meant for tradition chlorine-based pool systems only.

Also, pool experts will tell you that household products do not work as well as those formulated specifically for pool use. Still, if you are on a budget these products will make great alternatives and can help you save quite a bit of cash.

Sodium bicarbonate, more popularly known as baking soda, will raise the alkalinity of pool water. It is the same or similar to the sodium hydrogen carbonate that you will find in a pool store. You have to add 1.5 lbs of baking soda to 10,000 gallons to total alkalinity by 10 ppm. Remember however that while you can use baking soda in a pool you should never use the pool version for cooking or baking.

Not only can household bleach, such as Clorox, be used to shock a pool just like pool shock, but if you have hard water issues, it can also be helpful since it will not add calcium to your pool. This may seem obvious, but please make sure to use the unscented brand of bleach. If you add a half gallon of bleach to the water you can raise the chlorine level in a 10,000-gallon pool by 5 ppm.

Although most experts do not suggest using anything other than products approved for pools, these items can work in a pinch. Alternatively, you can use these methods if you are trying to stay within a budget or if you want to try a more natural approach to pool maintenance.

Josh Hurd


Monday 20th of June 2022

What is your source for stating that household bleach can lower calcium hardness? In my area we have nothing but hard water. I've never heard of any chemical that can lower the calcium level in a pool.


Sunday 25th of June 2023

@Lisa, I have used bleach for years so did my parents and it does work wonders.

Josh Hurd

Tuesday 21st of June 2022

Thank you for pointing this out. You're right, it will not reduce the water's calcium hardness. Using household bleach can be useful instead of Cal-Hypo which raises calcium hardness.