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Keys to Keeping Pool Water Clear, Safe & Sanitary

Every pool owner dreams of having a crystal clear pool. When the sun hits the water and glistens, there's a real sense of pride. Unfortunately, a beautiful pool with clear water isn't always a clean one. Chlorine can't do it all, so pool owners have to be diligent about keeping germs that can live in pool water under control.

That said, with regular water testing, routine water treatment, and a few other sensible precautions, water that's clear and clean can be yours.

Possible Residents of Your Pool Water

The germs that can live in your pool water come from a variety of sources:

  • Trees and plants can drop debris such as leaves, twigs, and pollen into the pool year-round, but especially in the spring and fall.
  • Insect remains and bug parts carry their own unique microorganisms.
  • People! Sweat, lotions, oils, hair products, and more all contribute to the germ count in your pool.

If your swimming pool is clean, properly maintained, and has an active sanitation system, most of these germs in the water shouldn't cause you any sleepless nights. They're natural side-effects of pool ownership, and are why regular chemical maintenance and treatment with effective products are a must.

Unfortunately, regular doses of chlorine alone aren't always strong enough to take care of every germ living in your water. Some germs, such as the dreaded Cryptosporidium ("Crypto" for short) are chlorine-tolerant. Without proper treatment, Crypto can make anyone that swims in your pool sick. For more information on the treatment and prevention of germs like Crypto, we highly recommend consulting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Guide to Healthy Swimming.

Avoiding Germs in the Pool

The CDC recommends following four simple steps to keep germs from ruining your next swim session:

Do not enter pool if you are sick

Stay out of the water if you are sick.

Shower before using pool

Shower before you get in the pool.

Do not go to bathroom in pool

Do not use the pool as a bathroom.

Do not drink pool water

Do not swallow pool water.

1. Stay out of the water if you're sick

Most of the outbreaks linked to swimming pools are spread when one of the swimmers is sick with an infection or a gastrointestinal illness.

2. Shower before you get in the water

Showering for just a few minutes before swimming removes a vast majority of the potentially harmful dirt and oils from your body. It's hard to maintain clean pool water if the swimmers aren't clean, too.

3. Don't use the pool as a bathroom

If you need to use the bathroom, do just that — get out of the pool and go to the bathroom. You wouldn’t swim in the toilet would you?

4. Don't swallow pool water

Just a single mouthful of tainted water can make you sick. If you're thirsty, stick to the water fountain!

In addition to these four steps, there are some easy ways to tell how clean and safe your pool water is. First, you should be able to see the drain at the bottom of the pool, even in the deep end. Second, there should be little or no chemical odor; the smell of chlorine actually means that your chlorine is working overtime to kill germs and has probably lost most of its effectiveness already! Finally, use pool water test strips, a water test kit, or take your water to be tested; these can show you at a glance how safe the water really is.

Good, Clean Pool Water Fun

To ensure your pool water is always clean, safe, and ready for fun, get the most accurate test results by bringing a water sample into your local Leslie’s as often as you'd like for a free water test. Our in-store AccuBlue® water test provides a detailed treatment plan, and everything you need to get the job done can be found in our stores. If there are issues with the cleanliness of your pool water, our in-store experts can help you diagnose the problem. With their help, you can ensure that your pool stays clean and clear all summer long!

Recommended Products

Leslie's Power Powder Plus Calcium Hypochlorite Shock


Leslie's Perfect Weekly Triple Action Phosphate Remover


Leslie's Water Testing


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Leslie’s makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and Leslie’s assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Leslie’s assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.