Can Baking Soda Replace Chlorine in a Pool?

Can baking soda replace chlorine in a swimming pool?  Nope.  Baking soda is a very similar composition to what is known as soda ash.  Soda ash is used to raise pH in a swimming pool.  It does absolutely nothing to sanitize the water.  A swimming pool without sanitizer should never be used as it has no protection against bacteria and viruses.  Always, always test your swimming pool water before going in to ensure a residual chlorine level of ideally 2-5 parts per million (PPM).  So what are some chlorine replacements?  We will chat about that here.


Bromine is an alternative to chlorine, but has very limited usage.  Bromine was originally created and used in indoor bodies of water.  This is because it cannot be stabalized like chlorine can.  We stabilize chlorine with what is called Cyanuric Acid.  Also referred to as “conditioner” or “stabilizer”, it all is the same product.  We don’t ever want to over do it with cyanuric acid (CYA) as too much can make the chlorine less effective.

Bromine is very popular among spa owners.  Since most spa enjoyers keep their spa covered during the day and only use it at night, it can be a lovely substitute.  It does not gas off like chlorine does.  It also functions at a higher pH.  It is not, however, recommended for outdoor bodies of water that are not covered throughout the day.  Bromine can be a tad more expensive to chlorine and that is really the only other downside I can think of.


Ultra violet systems are an alternative to chlorine.  You would initially install a UV system to your swimming pool or spa.  As the water passes through your filtration system, it also passes through the ultra violet rays.  Ultra violet can destroy germs, microorganisms, bacteria and our enemy, algae.  This is accomplished by the UV penetrating through the aforementioned cell walls.  Don’t think a UV pool is 100% chlorine free.  Nay, you have to keep a residual of 0.5-1.0 ppm of chlorine.  This can be difficult to maintain as it is such a low requirement,  Most UV owners add too much chlorine and end up with a chlorine AND UV pool.  Which is not a bad thing.


Ozone also requires a chlorine residual od 0.5-1.0 ppm of chlorine.  So you aren’t entirely chlorine free.  Ozonators are swimming pool or spa generators that sanitize your water by generating ozone in the water.  Presenting as a blue colored gas, ozone is made up of three oxygen atoms.  It is not something you add to your swimming pool water.  Rather, it is plumbed into your circulation system.  Ozone can be a germ killing machine!  Rumor has it that it has the ability to kill the Covid-19 and influenza viruses.  It also kills off bacteria and helps combat algae.  Many pool owners have found this system quite beneficial.  

Salt Systems

While still a chlorine pool, salt systems are a widely used alternative to the traditional chlorine method.  Pool salt is added to the water and a salt cell and salt cell board is installed.  As the water is sucked from the skimmer and main drain, it will make a pit stop through your salt system.  Then, by a process called electrolysis, the salt is converted to chlorine in its natural form.  This is a chlorine gas.  So when I say, “you still have a chlorine pool”, this is why.  You are just making your own!  

Salt pools have many benefits.  They feel better on the skin.  They do not require weekly chlorine additions.  Some downsides are they are no less work to maintain as you still need to balance your swimming pool water every week.  Since the chlorine created is very basic, meaning high in pH, you will find yourself in need of adding acid one to two times a week.  Salt cells typically come with a 3-4 year warranty.  After that, they are around $1,000 (give or take) to replace, depending on the brand.  The boards can also go bad, costing you additional money.  So, if you are opting for salt thinking you save time or money…don’t let that be your reason.  If you just want smoother feeling, more natural water, then a salt system may be right for you!  

However you sanitize, don’t forget the most important part of owning a swimming pool….ENJOY IT!  See you poolside!