What Happens If You Don't Put Chlorine In Your Pool?

What Happens If You Don't Put Chlorine In Your Pool

With the sometimes hundreds of people that swim in a pool, the use of chlorine is vital in preventing the spread of germs in a pool. Chlorine helps keep the pH of a pool at a certain level, between 7.2-7.8, to keep swimmers comfortable and prevent them from getting sick.

However, chlorine is not only vital to protecting swimmers’ health, but it’s also beneficial for maintaining the plumbing of the pool. Using the correct amount of chlorine to keep the pool’s pH in the desired range prevents the pipes from corroding and eventually breaking down. With all the benefits of a chlorinated pool, let’s examine what happens when a pool isn’t chlorinated.

Benefits of Chlorine

Chlorine provides swimmers with four levels of protection against developing illness from pathogens in untreated water. Chlorine acts as a sanitizer, which essentially means that it helps to reduce bacterial agents in the water.

While the oxidizing properties of chlorine can be a detrimental effect, it can also have a positive effect by combining with oxygen to form hypochlorous acid, which kills algae. This comprises chlorine’s third property: it’s an algicide (meaning an algae killer). Lastly, chlorine holds a residual value in water which prevents diarrheal disease from being spread and also prevents contamination during storage.

Negative Effects of Chlorine

Since it is a chemical, chlorine gets a bad reputation for being dangerous. Chemically, chlorine is an oxidizing agent, which means that it can have irritating effects on the eyes, leading to the side effect of red eyes that are common after a long swimming session and on the respiratory passages.

Additionally, when certain body fluids, such as sweat or urine, mix with chlorinated water, it releases trichloramine, an irritant, which can lead to an increased risk of asthma in young kids. This is because it can damage the protective cellular barrier of the lungs. Trichloramine can even impact those who simply sit on the edge.

Chlorine-Free Pools

Pools without chlorine can be a breeding ground for flesh-eating bacteria. The presence of this bacteria can lead to the loss of limbs and, in severe cases, death. Lack of chlorine in a pool can be a breeding ground for diarrheal-borne bacteria such as crypto, giardia, shigella, and more.

Pools can also be a breeding ground for legionella, which can cause a type of pneumonia called legionnaires. All of these bacteria form in man-made bodies of water that are not disinfected properly.

Improperly cleaned pools can also lead to a swimmer developing MRSA, which predominantly lives on the skin and in the nose of healthy people. MRSA is particularly dangerous because its bacteria are resistant to some antibiotics.

Chlorine Alternatives

While chlorine is a strong protective agent, there are alternatives that provide strong enough protection. One common alternative is Baquacil sanitizer. Baquacil sanitizer works as a strong sanitizer as it is primarily an oxidizer (similar to chlorine), and that helps protect the pool from diseases.

It is also able to maintain a residual pH value which, while not common as an oxidizer stand-alone solution, makes Baquacil an adequate alternative.


How long can water sit in a pool without chlorine?

Water in a pool can sit without chlorine for anywhere from 24-48 hours. It is important to maintain chlorine upkeep in order to prevent bacterial and fungal growth. After this time, a pool will develop algae and fungal growth. After a couple of weeks without sufficient chlorination, the pool will begin to develop the characteristics of a pond and require the pool to be drained, cleaned, and refilled in order to safely swim in it and prevent the spread of bacterial diseases.

Is chlorine necessary in a pool?

Chlorine is not strictly necessary in a pool. However, if chlorine is not being used to disinfect the water, another disinfecting agent must be used. Alternatives include Baquacil sanitizer or bromine sanitizers, which are commonly used in hot tubs. Currently, there are not many other safe ways to sanitize a pool without chlorine, and so chlorine is the best option when it comes to preventing the spread of pathogens and parasites.

What are the dangers of untreated pool water?

Untreated pool water is a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Untreated pool water can house flesh-eating bacteria, and their presence can lead to the loss of limbs and, in some severe cases, death.