Substitutes for Pool Water Clarifiers

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Plenty of natural alternatives to conventional chlorine pool cleaning systems exist.

Pools are an addition to any household that can provide memories and markedly improve the property value. However, many people are put off by the idea of using chemicals, especially chlorine, which can cause eye and skin irritation, to keep the water clean and clear. Chlorine can also be bad for the local environment if it gets into groundwater. Fortunately, a number of easy-to-use alternatives to conventional chlorine cleaning systems can do just as good a job while avoiding the ill-effects of chlorine.

Saltwater Systems

Saltwater cleaning systems use an electrolytic process to briefly break a small number of salt crystals down into chlorine ions, which are far more benign than ordinary chlorine and have the same microbe-killing properties. The chlorine ions revert back to salt crystals and can be re-used. To clean your pool this way, apart from salt crystals, you also need a specially-designed generator which can be easily found at pool supply stores or ordered from the Internet.

Alternative Chemicals

Chlorine-free alternative chemical systems such as Bacquacil or Pristine Blue are designed to be much more gentle than chlorine, but can be used in your conventional pool filter system in a very similar way. As they are generally branded, they can be more expensive than conventional chlorine systems.


An ionization pool cleaning system involves using cartridges that release minerals such as copper and silver into pool water. The minerals have an ionizing effect on water molecules kills bacteria and prevents the spread of algae. Ionized water molecules kill microbes such as algae and bacteria because they create an electrostatic bond with the organic cells, causing the cell walls to break down. The minerals then attack amino acids used in natural processes such as photosynthesis.


When water is oxidised it produces ozone, a powerful natural disinfectant that is nevertheless mild enough to be used in water purification systems across the world. The system works by using an ozone generator, which exposes water to electricity or ultraviolet light. The pool water is then aerated with the ozone molecules created in the generator, which rid it of organic matter and excess metals like iron. Ozone's oxidising effect, similar to the ionizing effect, also makes it an excellent bleaching agent, clarifying pool water.

Natural Pools

Millions of people swim in natural lakes and ponds every day with no ill-effect. In this scenario, plants such as water lilies, rushes and water primrose can be planted in a regeneration area whose natural processes clean and purify your pool water and keep algae at bay.

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Carl Mathie

Carl Mathie began working as a translator, editor and writer in 2004 at two independent literary publishers in London. His work has been published in the "Financial Times" and online at Readysteadybook and Vulpes Libris. He has translated for several important international publishers including Grupo Planeta and Oxygen Books. He has a Bachelor of Arts in comparative American studies from the University of Warwick.