Effective Ways to Lower the Alkalinity in Your Pool

If you have ever felt your eyes burn while swimming in your pool and wondered why, then you’ve come to the right place. This article delves into a possible culprit behind irritation and discomfort while swimming: pH.

Many people ignore the importance that optimum pH plays in pool water. This article will give you a handy guide on how to lower the alkalinity in your pool.

Let’s Talk Numbers

The pH level in a pool should range between 7.4 and 7.6 (neutral pH is 7.0). A pH level less than 7.4 can cause skin irritation or rashes a pH level above 7.6 increases calcium levels and can cause a burning sensation, cloudy water, and clogged filters.

Highly alkaline water can cause scaling in the plumbing and damage to the lining of the pool. Highly acidic water may lead to unwanted etching or corrosion of the fixtures and metallic surfaces in the pool. Any of these issues are quite expensive to repair.

The amount of alkaline substance (in most cases sodium bicarbonate) constitutes the total alkalinity (TA) of the water and is recommended to be between 80-120 ppm.

What Causes a Rise in The Alkalinity?

High alkalinity in pool water can be attributed to various things, including adding too much sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) into the water, or natural body secretions such as sweat or oil. Some external factors, such as dirt, dust, insects, or leaves may also alter the optimum pH.

Sometimes it can be the water source, so testing the water after filling or adding additional water is essential.   

How to Lower the Pool Water Alkalinity?

Muriatic Acid

The simplest way to lower the alkalinity is by increasing the acidity of the water. The compound that is most often used for this is Muriatic Acid. Muriatic acid can be found in a pre-diluted form, ready to be added to the water, or in an undiluted form that must be mixed with water before adding it to the pool.

Follow these steps to successfully lower the alkalinity of your pool:

  1. Check the pH level and the size of your pool, in the beginning, to determine how much acid needs to be added.
  2. Maintain a consistent value for your Total Alkalinity (TA). Values within the recommended range should be comfortable for a swim. Trial and error methods will help you adjust to your most comfortable TA value.
  3. Add muriatic acid to the water in the correct quantity. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine the correct amount. Once added, let the water circulate, with the pump on at high speed.
  4. Check the pH level at intervals of 6-8 hours, then 24 hours, and finally 48 hours. If the pH of the pool is within range, you are all set. If not, readjust the levels.
  5. Aerate your pool naturally by leaving the pump on to create a disturbance in the water and produce air bubbles.


When lowering the alkalinity, or adjusting any chemical component of pool water, always remember to wear protective gear, including gloves and eye protection. Always mix undiluted chemicals into water and NOT water into the chemical—this avoids splashing and possible injury. Purchase alkalinity test strips and a pH kit for easy, hassle-free measurement of the levels. Whether you own a pool or a jacuzzi pool filter cartridge, maintaining the pH of the water is beneficial for your overall skin health and overall experience.