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How Long to Wait to Swim After Adding Chemicals?

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How Long to Wait to Swim After Adding Chemicals?

test strips

Anyone who owns a pool has experienced the clamoring of kids wanting to know when they can swim after you have added chemicals. When being bombarded by impatient offspring, it is tempting to give in and say “go ahead, jump in” before the recommended amount of time has passed for safe swimming. The truth of the matter is that if swimmers enter the pool before the chemicals have had a chance to dilute and disperse, they could suffer skin and eye irritation. Ideally, it is best to do your chemical testing and balancing at a time when no one is going to use the pool. There are times when that isn’t feasible, so we have provided some recommendations to follow when wondering how long to wait to swim after adding chemicals.

Here are some guidelines for each type of treatment:


Wait 20 Minutes to an Hour for

  • Alkalinity treatments
  • pH balance
  • Calcium balance
  • Stabilizer
  • Clarifier
  • Algaecide

These chemicals are considered swim safe after being allowed to dilute and disperse for 20 minutes. To be on the safe side, wait an hour before allowing swimmers back in the pool. It may be hard for the kids to wait, but everyone can stand to take at least a one hour swim break.  A good plan may be to test the chemicals and make necessary adjustments first thing in the morning before the gang is up and at ‘em.


Wait Overnight for

  • Pool Shock

There is no getting around the fact that you must wait 12 to 24 hours to swim after adding pool shock to the water. “Shocking the pool” usually means adding a heavy dose of liquid or crystal chlorine to the water to raise chlorine levels quickly. This will probably have to be done once or twice a week, depending on how much use the pool is getting. The best time to shock your pool is at night when no one will be using the pool for an extended period of time. Pool shock raises the level of chlorine in the water to a degree that would definitely be irritating to skin and eyes. 


Testing, Testing

The way to determine if your chlorine and other chemical levels are safe enough for swimming is to test the water. Your magic numbers for the proper chlorine levels are between 1 – 4 ppm. If the level of chlorine is too high, it will be irritating to bathers. If the level is too low, it will not be effective to kill bacteria and algae. 

You will find that you need to test your pool water’s chemical levels at least once a week, more often during the summer and times of heavy usage. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the proper levels for all of the products you add to your pool water. The time guidelines listed above are good to follow, but testing is the best way to reliably answer the question of how long to wait to swim after adding chemicals. 

There are a number of excellent pool chemical testing kits on the market. Aqua Pools sells both liquid test kits and testing strips. If you are unfamiliar with pool testing or need help getting your chemicals to the right levels, we invite you to talk to our professional staff for more information. You can even bring a sample of your pool water into one of our showrooms and have us test it for you


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