Saltwater pools are sometimes preferred by pool owners because of the lowered expense of maintenance due to less chemical needs. They are also advantageous because of the decreased harsh chemical odors and the associated skin and eye irritation. But these pools do have some of the same problems as freshwater pools. Cloudy water is one of them. Several reasons exist as to why your saltwater pool could get cloudy.

If your saltwater pool isn't crystal clear, there could be several reasons.

Heavy Use

Heavy use, such as hosting a pool party, can lead to cloudy water in your pool. Sunscreens, soaps, shampoo residue and other foreign substances can build up in the pool and cause the water to lose its sparkling clear appeal. Although a saltwater system uses a chlorinator to transform the salt in the water to low levels of chlorine, a higher dose may be required to burn out these elements. Using a chlorine shock treatment after heavy use will likely take care of the problem.

Dirty Filter

Pools keep debris and other impurities out of the swimming area by sucking the water through the skimmer and into a filtration system that traps the impurities in sand or another filtration device. This process is identical to the one used in freshwater pools. When the filter becomes clogged and dirty, it is unable to filter out all of the impurities and allows much of it to reenter the pool through the plumbing, which can cause the water to get cloudy. Backwashing is the solution to this issue. Backwashing means reversing the pump and causing the water to wash back through the filter where it ejects the impurities from the pool through an outlet on the exterior portion of the pool.

pH and Alkalinity

If your pool's pH level is not within the acceptable range, the water can become too acidic and become cloudy or dull. The same applies if the alkalinity of the pool is not within the preferred parameters. According to the GLB Pool and Spa website, a saltwater pool should be tested regularly for pH levels and should be maintained within the range of 7.2 and 7.8 on your test strips or water testing kit. Using pH up or down additives will adjust the pH as desired. Alkalinity should be between 80 and 120 parts per million.


While algae is not as much of a concern in saltwater pools as in freshwater pools because the salt does not provide a friendly growing environment for the algae, it can occasionally be a problem. Algae can cloud water or even turn it green. Lots of algaecide products are on the market to control this problem.