Can You Swim in a Pool with High pH

Having a swimming pool at home means summer is just a few steps away, no matter the weather. However, you should remember that pool maintenance is no joke. You need to keep it safe for swimming, and this means you must regularly monitor the level of chemicals in it, such as its pH. Water pH is a measure of the acidity of water. The question is can you swim in a pool with high pH?

What Happens if pH is Too High in a Pool?

Your type of pool surface has no bearing on the pH. Different pH levels can have dangerous effects not only on your swimming pool but also on your body. Let’s see what can possibly happen and what the ideal pH level for swimming is.

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What is the Ideal pH Level for Swimming?

Chlorine is a chemical added to pool water to get rid of germs. The right levels of pH should be obtained, however, to protect the eyes and skin from harsh chemicals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the pH level considered to be ideal and safe for swimming ranges from 7.2 to 7.8. This range matches that of our body pH levels, so the water won’t cause problems in the body as we swim.

What Happens in a High pH Swimming Pool?

A swimming pool with a high pH is considered alkaline, which can cause issues with the pool and swimmers. There can be several answers to what causes high pH in pool, such as a sudden rise in water temperature, but more importantly that the causes are its effects. If the pH level is above 7.8, you can expect the water to become cloudy and to see scaling along the pool sides.

Further, a pH that is above normal prevents the chlorine and other disinfecting chemicals to do their job. This means bacteria and other microorganisms may thrive in your pool. While you cannot see with your naked eye, bacteria in your pool water can be harmful when they enter your body. Read on to learn how to lower pH in pool naturally.

What Happens in a Low pH Swimming Pool?

On the other hand, swimming pool water with low pH levels (lower than 7.0) is acidic – this you can actually feel the difference as you take a dip and swim. If you swim in an acidic pool, expect skin irritation and burning eyes the moment you open them underwater.

Just like in an alkaline pool, chlorine and other chemicals may not be effective in pool water with low pH. Metal parts of your pool can also corrode, and vinyl linings may wrinkle if the water is too acidic.

Getting the Right pH Level

You may not get the right pH level for your pool water in one go, so be prepared for a bit of trial and error. When adding additives, always start on the low end. Check out below what to add to the water when the pH reading is either too high or too low.

1. Low pH Level: If the pool water is acidic, raise it by adding sodium bicarbonate. The levels vary depending on the pH level. It is recommended to add around nine pounds of sodium bicarbonate for every 10,000 gallons of water.

2. High pH Level: If the level becomes too high, here’s how to lower the pH in a pool: throw in a dry acid such as sodium bisulfate. Match the amount of dry acid you add based on the pH reading. For instance, if you have a 50,000-gallon swimming pool and the pH reading is 8.0, you should throw in 900 grams of sodium bisulfate.

After adding the appropriate substance, monitor the water pH level. If it has not stabilized after two days, continue to add the substance to lower or raise the pH.


1. How do you bring down the pH level in a pool?
Depending on the depth of your swimming pool, to bring down the pH level of your pool water, you can use a liquid acid like muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid) or dry acid such as sodium bisulfate.

2. What happens if pH is too high in pool?
It can be difficult to adjust the pH of a swimming pool that is too alkaline. A pool with a too high pH level will have cloudy water. You can also see scaling on the walls of the pool, plus the chlorine will no longer do its job of disinfecting the water effectively.

3. What pH should a pool be?
The pH scale starts from 0 to 14. The mid-level, which is 7, is neutral. Anything below 7 is considered acidic, while above it alkaline. In swimming pools, the optimum pH level is 7.4 – the same as that of our eyes and mucous membranes. It is also the right level for chlorine to work efficiently.  

Pool maintenance is one thing, and although adjusting the water’s pH level is a part of it, the latter is another task that pool owners should not neglect. Can you swim in a pool with high pH? Definitely, but know that chlorine in the water may not be as effective as it normally would and you may be exposing yourself to harmful microorganisms. Besides, the water can also turn cloudy and your pool sides may scale due to alkaline water. For more information about how to balance your pools pH, our professionals here at Regal Pools are happy to help.

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