How Long to Wait After Adding Baking Soda to the Pool

Baking soda is typically used in small amounts to adjust the pH and raise the alkalinity of the pool. So how long do you wait to use the pool after adding baking soda?

In theory, you can use the pool right after adding baking soda. But in the case a high amount of baking soda is required to increase an acidic medium or to stabilize pH bounce, then a longer waiting period is advisable.

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In the next sections, we’ll discuss this matter in full detail.

What Happens When the Pool pH Is Too Low

Sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, is known to increase the pH of the pool water to the range of between 7.2 and 7.8. So what happens if the water’s pH dips down to the acidic ranges?

This situation is actually rather common, and it happens if the pool goes a tad too long without maintenance, or after a huge chlorine shock. In such cases, you’d notice the following:

  • The swimmers’ skin becomes itchy after a little time in the pool
  • The acidity makes the eyes red and stingy
  • The low alkalinity could reach a point of destabilizing the pool PH entirely
  • Any metal parts around the pool, like the ladder, would be pitty after a while
  • The pool liners would become worn out
  • Many components of the pool would become corroded

Clearly, these are all effects that no one wants around their swimming pools. And the answer is simple; just add the needed amounts of baking soda to raise the pool pH and alkalinity.

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What if the Pool Water Becomes Too Alkaline

Pool water should remain within the correct limits of 7.2 and 7.8 at all times. If the water alkalinity rises, and bumps the pH above 7.8, we often see the following effects:

  • Highly alkaline water is quite uncomfortable and also causes itchy skin 
  • The water becomes too cloudy, which isn’t too appealing.
  • The high pH neutralizes the effectiveness of chlorine, which means more germicidal activity.
  • High pH, together with an abundance of disinfectants containing calcium, causing an increase in scaling. This could extend from the tiles to the plumbing of the pool.

When this happens, pool owners often add an acidic substance to balance the pH and pull it down to the optimal levels. This process usually needs some fine-tuning, as the pH might become too low. In that case, adding a pinch of baking soda evens things out.

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When to Add Baking Soda to the Swimming Pool Water

Baking soda is an important ingredient in the swimming pool cleaning kit. In fact, there are many instances when adding a little, or a lot, of baking soda, would save the day.

Here are some examples:

1. After Treating a Green Pool 

Green pools become that way as a result of an active population of algae. The remedy is typically using an algaecide and super-chlorinating the pool.

The pH would naturally be thrown off balance, and a healthy dose of baking soda should bring it back to the required range.

2. Saving Pitted Tiles and Corroded Ladders

These signs point to a highly acidic pool of water. And the best way to treat that is to increase the alkalinity. Baking soda should be added, and the water pH level needs to be checked after incremental doses.

3. To Decrease Scale Buildup

Scaling is highly annoying, and not only because of its dull appearance. It harbors various types of contaminants, and could potentially degrade the plumbing of the pool.

This symptom typically points at a highly alkaline medium. The answer is often super-chlorination, then readjustment with baking soda.

4. While Clearing Up Cloudy Pool Water

Cloudy pool water is often caused by excessive alkalinity, using unsoftened hard water, or opting for disinfectants containing too much calcium.

The answer is often to super-chlorinate the pool. However, this treatment lowers the pH levels considerably. To bring it back up, you’d need to add around 5-10 pounds of baking soda. The right amount depends on the size of the pool and its current pH value.

It’s best to add the baking gradually and test the level of alkalinity after every pound. This way, you wouldn’t boost the pH level too far up and need to equalize it with an acid.

5. For Fine-Tuning Pool Alkalinity and Balancing pH

Baking soda is a versatile product that you can add in small amounts to adjust the alkalinity of the pool water and re-balance its pH.

Sometimes, sprinkling as much as half a pound of baking soda in the pool is all that’s needed to make the water easy on the skin and eyes. That’s because a more acidic medium isn’t easily tolerated by humans.

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How Long to Wait After Adding Baking Soda to the Pool

Baking Soda, which is the commercial name of the chemical sodium bicarbonate, is generally safe. Typically, it doesn’t cause skin itchiness, rashes, or eye stinging like most other pool water conditioning substances.

In theory, you can use the pool right after adding baking soda. Especially, if you only added a small amount of less than 1 lb per 10,000 gallons of pool water. This fine-tuning dose of baking soda should disperse in the water within around 20 minutes, and mostly, no further pH adjustments are needed.

In cases a high amount of baking soda is required to increase an acidic medium or to stabilize pH bounce, then a longer waiting period is advisable. That’s primarily because other chemicals are often needed along with baking soda, and these aren’t as safe on the skin.

It’s best to perform any required pool maintenance after the pool shuts down for the day or the night before. This gives the chemicals the opportunity to do their balancing, sanitizing, or decalcifying job. Additionally, the water gets to fully circulate and go through diligent filtration.

Conclusion

Splashing in crystal clear water doesn’t take much effort. Luckily, there are some domestic substances that can be used to get that degree of purity. Baking soda is among the most popular pool maintenance materials. It’s safe, available, and easy on the pocket.

Pool owners often need to use baking soda on a weekly basis. The quantities used vary from maintenance amounts to increase the pool alkalinity slightly, all the way to several pounds after a pool shock.

The question of how long to wait after adding baking soda depends largely on how much has been added, as well as, what other chemicals were used. Thus, the splash party could start right away if only a small amount of soda was tossed in. Or the swimmers would need to wait 6-12 hours if a more radical pool treatment was needed.

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