A swimming pool and the smell of chlorine remind many people of carefree days when they were kids and spent hours in the pool enjoying a summer break from school. The person in the family who was responsible for all that enjoyment remembers chlorine for a different reason: keeping the pool clean! Chlorine is the most frequently used product to keep pools and spas free of bacteria.

But what exactly is chlorine and how does it work to keep swimming pool water clean and healthy? After all, people immerse their entire bodies in chlorinated water.

In this article, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about pool chlorine, including what it is, how it works, and how you can learn to use it properly.


What is Pool Chlorine?

Chlorine is a chemical sanitizer that is added to your swimming pool to keep the water clean and safe for swimming. It attacks everything from:

– Microorganisms that carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, and dysentery.

– Human waste, dirt, sweat, and saliva from people swimming in the pool.

– Dirt and debris from the wider environment.

– The growth and spread of different types of algae.

Chlorine comes in one of three forms: tablet, powder, or liquid. There are benefits and drawbacks to each and also differences in prices, effectiveness, and applications. Because of this, it’s to your advantage to know more about each:

Chlorine Tablets

Chlorine tablets allow the chemical to be released consistently from a dispenser. For this reason, many pool owners find it the easiest form of chlorine to use. Tablets also largely eliminate the need to buy algaecides or water clarifiers separately, since they are often included in the chlorine tablets. 

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Powdered Chlorine

Powdered chlorine, or “chlorine granules,” are either sprinkled into your pool or dissolved in a separate container and then added to the pool water. One advantage of chlorine in this form is that it gives you more control over exactly how much chlorine is added.


Liquid Chlorine

Liquid chlorine is poured directly into the pool and is the least expensive. However, with a pH level of around 13, it requires careful testing and balancing of your pool water. If done incorrectly, you will need to buy more, so the cost savings could disappear. Liquid chlorine is a popular choice for commercial pools since it can be added in large quantities very quickly.

So, chlorine eliminates harmful microorganisms from pool water, reduces algae, and attacks all kinds of human waste, sweat, viruses, dirt, and debris too. It helps to keep the pool water crystal clear, allowing everyone to enjoy the experience of swimming rather than worry about cloudy, unhealthy water. It is available in several forms with benefits to each and it has been the #1 choice for many years. 

But exactly how does pool chlorine do all of this?


How Does Pool Chlorine Work Exactly?

Are you ready to put your chemist hat back on? Pool chlorine works by killing harmful bacteria and other organisms in the water through a chemical process called oxidation.

Oxidation is a naturally occurring process and is part of the cycle of life, as it helps break down organic material to help form new molecules. This is how it works to purify water in your swimming pool.

The chlorine molecules bond with bacteria and other organisms that are present in the water. This destroys their cell walls and prevents them from reproducing and growing. Oxidation also helps to maintain pH levels and reduces the growth of algae in the water.

Swimming pools need to have a constant level of chlorine in the water. The moment that chlorine drops below accepted levels, algae and bacteria begin to flourish. There are several methods of keeping the chlorine levels within the acceptable range. (Pool School Videos can help with this balancing act between too much chlorine and not enough.)

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Are There Dangers to Using Pool Chlorine?

It’s a logical question. There are some side effects of chlorine that are harmful or unpleasant to humans, such as itchy eyes, a distinctive smell, and harmful effects on fabrics. At extremely high levels, the use of chlorine can lead to serious health issues. 

Despite the potential risks associated with chlorine, its use is still considered to be one of the safest and most effective methods of pool sanitation. And, to set your mind at ease, chlorine used at the levels found in swimming pools is safe for swimmers, pets, or surrounding plants and animal life. In fact, treated public water systems contain more chlorine than the average swimming pool.

Just as with many things with pool maintenance, knowledge is the key! Chlorine can keep your pool clean and safe unless used in dangerous quantities or used improperly.


We Can Help You Keep Your Pool Clean AND Safe!


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To make sure you are using chlorine properly, the expert information provided by “The Pool Doctor” Mike Steele in our Pool School Videos is invaluable. You will learn things like how to keep chlorine in your pool properly, how to save 10-40% on chlorine consumption, and more

With Pool School Videos, you will get in-depth, easy-to-follow information on how to handle both common and not-so-common pool maintenance problems. With over 30 years of experience as a pool maintenance professional, Mike has created this program of 20 online, self-paced videos that make DIY pool maintenance easier, cheaper, and more effective. These videos offer information not found anywhere else!

Once you buy Pool School Videos, they are yours. So, you can watch them whenever you want and as many times as needed. You will have the peace of mind that you are not putting swimmers at risk and you can spend more time enjoying your pool yourself. 

With your purchase, you also become a member of the Pool School Videos private Facebook group. Here you can ask specific questions that you may have and get a personal response within 24 hours with customized guidance!

Preview our top 5 videos to get a sneak peek and meet the Pool Doctor, Mike Steele. Then get started with Pool School Videos to take your pool maintenance knowledge to the next level today!