Using chlorine in a swimming pool to keep it hygienic and get rid of germs and bacteria is a common phenomenon. But excessive chlorine is harmful to the overall swimming pool experience.
Thus people who are aware of the side effects of too much chlorine look for easy solutions like using baking soda in a pool or in a tub. But does that really work? Let’s dig deep!
Will baking soda lower chlorine levels in a pool or hot tub?
Baking Soda does not directly reduce the chlorine level in a swimming pool or hot tub. Instead, it helps to increase the pH level and alkalinity of water. A higher pH level is suitable for Hydrogen Peroxide to react with the dissolved chlorine in the water and evaporate chlorine gas.
A higher pH level constrains chlorine to work in a swimming pool to defeat bacteria. On the other hand, a lower pH level creates an unfavorable environment for chlorine neutralizers to work. So, to reduce the chlorine content in a pool, you must increase the alkalinity first.
Sodium Bicarbonate, known as Baking soda, is an alkaline chemical that is cheap and easily accessible. When applied to water with a lower pH level, it increases the alkalinity suitable for other chemicals to react with chlorine.
Chemicals such as Hydrogen Peroxide and Sodium Thiosulfate are regarded as chlorine neutralizers, but they can only work at higher pH levels. So, after putting baking soda in a swimming pool, the pH level will no longer be a constrain.
If Hydrogen Peroxide is applied, it will react with chlorine, and the chlorine gas will be evaporated; as a result, the chlorine level will get lower.
Does Baking soda neutralize chlorine? How much baking soda does it take to lower chlorine in a pool?
Chlorine is an essential chemical for maintaining hygiene in swimming pools and water tubs by killing bacteria and germs and only works at a lower pH level.
But excessive chlorine can be harmful, and so many chemicals such as Hydrogen peroxide are used to neutralize the excessive chlorine.
But due to lower pH levels, neutralizing chemicals cannot react with it. On the contrary, baking soda is an alkaline chemical with a higher pH level. If added into chlorine mixed water, baking soda will increase the pH level so that other chemicals can react.
And so, even if it does not neutralize the chlorine directly, it indirectly helps others to neutralize.
The study says 1.5 pounds of Sodium bicarbonate will increase alkalinity by 10 PPM if added in 10,000 gallons of water. In such a manner, if the pH level is below 7.2, you should add 3-4 lbs. of baking soda to minimize the acidity of the water.
What chlorine level is too high to swim?
Chlorine helps a swimming pool for self-cleansing by killing bacteria and germs in it, thus making it a vital chemical to make a swimming pool more habitable for swimmers. But beyond a certain level, chlorine that exists in a pool can be toxic and cause skin rashes and diarrhea.
The amount of chlorine in water is measured with a PPM (Parts Per Milliliter) unit. Ideally, 1-3 PPM is regarded as the most suitable chlorine level for a residential swimming pool. For public use pools, 3-6 PPM can be an ideal measurement, as these pools are used by many people and are exposed to various germs and bacteria.
If the chlorine level in a swimming pool is higher than 6 PPM, that swimming pool is recommended not to use, as they are potentially harmful to our body. However, if the chlorine level surpasses 9 PPM, this is regarded as hazardous for swimming.
What if the chlorine level in the pool is too high?
As much as you need chlorine for a hygienic swimming pool, excess chlorine content can cause you harm. Ideally, more than 4 PPM is considered high chlorine content. Here is what happens to your health if the chlorine level is too high –
- Causes eye irritation.
- Causes skin rashes and hair loss
- Respiratory problem
- Irritates swimmers
Apart from the health issue, high chlorine can also cause some other damage. For instance
- Enables chlorine-like odor
- Damages swimming pool equipment’s
- Damages swimming pool finishes
High chlorine is not an appropriate water condition. As much as it is harmful to human health, it also damages the swimming pool in the long run. Higher chlorine content will reduce the pH level and will leave stains and smells of chlorine.
To avoid such scenarios, chlorine must be applied in a calculated manner, and water must be tested regularly.
How to tell if there’s too much chlorine in a pool?
If less than 1 PPM chlorine is dissolved in a swimming pool water, that pool is considered unhygienic. As chlorines are used to kill germs and bacteria, this must have a chemical to use for a habitable swimming pool. But excessive chlorine cause irritation and discomfort.
After a level (More than 9 PPM), chlorine content is considered hazardous for swimming.
Checking on the chlorine content in a pool, you should consider it responsibly. There are many ways you can tell if there is too much chlorine in your pool, such as.
Checking pH level:
There are many pH testing strips available. By using them, you can determine if the chlorine is too high. Ideally, 7.2-7.6 is the most suitable pH level. But anything more than 8 is a problematic range that indicates higher chlorine content.
It is most likely you will feel discomfort in water with high chlorine. The most common phenomenon is irritation feels in the eyes. For that will feel discomfort looking, or there will be reddish transformation.
Itchy skin or reddish lines on the body are commonly observed among people who have access to a high chlorine level swimming pool. As problematic as it sounds, swimming in such water can leave rashes on the skin.
Swimming in an excessive chlorine pool, one can feel dry hairs or hairs that look like straws. If so, the pool might be having more chlorine than what is suitable for a swimming-friendly pool.
What will bring chlorine level down?
Chlorine is a highly used sanitizer for swimming pools and hot tubs. But since higher-level chlorine is harmful, you should consider lowering it. You can reduce chlorine levels in a few steps:
Firstly, if you do not have any rush to use them, you should keep patience for a while. If given enough time, chlorine naturally breaks down and evaporates; as a result, the chlorine content will decrease.
Secondly, cleaning the water by clearing a portion of them out. Many do not want to wait or use any external substances, so changing water is a good solution. It’s not necessarily you have to change the entire water, but a portion of it.
Thirdly, many neutralizers are available, such as Hydrogen peroxide and Sodium Thiosulphate. These chemicals react to chlorine and release them into the air by evaporating. They ensure a habitable pH level and reduced acidity.
How to lower chlorine levels in the pool and hot tubs?
You can reduce chlorine levels in a pool or hot tub following a few simple steps in the pool or in a hot tub.
Stop adding chlorine:
If your pool or tub shows the symptoms of having too much chlorine, such as eye or skin irritation or dry hair, you have to stop adding any more chlorine.
Test the chlorine level:
Testing the chlorine level is a reasonable step as it will first clear your doubt and, secondly, let you know how much excessive chlorine you have to deal with.
Uncover the pool:
The sun is a very powerful natural chlorine neutralizer. Sun creates heat on the water surface and evaporates chlorine out of water.
Use chemical neutralizers:
There are some available chemicals that are highly effective in neutralizing chlorine levels in swimming pools. Hydrogen peroxide and Sodium thiosulphate are most commonly used since they show results within a short time.
If used excessively, the chlorine content will decrease to the point that it is considered unhygienic, and the pH level will be inhabitable. And using chemicals should be according to the test result.
Drain some water and refill the tank:
Finally, draining a portion of water is very effective. Half or one-third of water can be replaced to balance the pH level, alkalinity, and calcium hardness in the water.
There is no alternative to keep testing for pH level and chlorine content after all these processes for continuous, suitable conditions for swimming in a pool or hot tub.
Baking soda increases the alkalinity and pH level if added to the pool water. As a result, other chemical neutralizers can react with dissolved chlorine and evaporate it. So, although baking soda does not reduce the chlorine level directly, it is an essential part of chlorine neutralization.