Is Liquid Chlorine And Bleach The Same?

A chemical table with a magnified glass that is hovering and emphasizing CL chlrorine.

There are many different ways you can sanitize your swimming pool. You can use chlorine tablets, salt, liquid chlorine and bleach to name a few. Each method is more convenient and suitable for some than others.

Bleach is a very popular way that many pool owners choose to use when it comes to maintaining their pool throughout the season. Low cost and easy maintenance is one of the main reasons people choose this method. This often also brings up the question of whether or not liquid chlorine and bleach are the same.

If you use liquid chlorine or bleach as your primary way to chlorinate your swimming pool, either one can be used at anytime if the need arises. You can with no issues swap between the two and your pool water will continue to be crystal clear.

Liquid Chlorine and bleach both have the same active ingredient “Sodium Hypochlorite” which makes them the same water purifying compound. The main difference is that bleach is usually a much more diluted form and will require more to be added to the pool for the same effectiveness than if using liquid chlorine. The other possible difference is that liquid chlorine that is designed for swimming pools may contain stabilizer which is a minor additive that reduces the chlorine burn off time during the day.

Benefits Of Liquid Chlorine

A few reasons you may choose liquid chlorine over bleach is the concentration of the product. Bleach is typically 6% sodium hypochlorite and sometimes as low as 3%. Liquid chlorine on the other hand can be up to 12%.

This means less product use for the same result as if you were using bleach. This is also something you should always keep in mind when purchasing either products. Liquid Chlorine is almost always going to cost more money than bleach, but if you are only purchasing 3% bleach it ultimately could be less expensive to buy liquid chlorine since you would only need to use 1/4 of the same amount to raise chlorine levels to a specific level.

  • Higher concentration – Use lower amounts of product to gain the chlorine levels needed to maintain a clear and healthy swimming pool.
  • Some liquid chlorine may contain a stabilizer to help reduce burn off. This isn’t in all brands and can also be a negative. Too much stabilizer can cause your chlorine to burn off too slow and amount to high pool chlorine levels.

Benefits Of Bleach

Cost is the biggest advantage of using bleach. Sometimes you can find the 6% bleach bottles at local supermarkets or the dollar store for only $1 per bottle. You will want to check the expiration date and make sure they are not out dated and I don’t recommend purchasing a years supply like I do if you get chlorine tablets because the bleach will become less effective over time.

You can also find it anywhere. When it comes to liquid chlorine you will need to likely find a store that either specializes in pool care or one that has a section dedicated to such products. Bleach on the other hand can be purchased just about anywhere anytime.

  • Low cost – You can usually find bleach for just a few dollars a bottle compared to liquid chlorine which can be ridiculously expensive. I would definitely avoid purchasing liquid chlorine from most pool stores. Unless they are having a sale or you have a coupon it will be outrageously priced.
  • Easy to find – Out of chlorine? No problem, just run down to your local grocer and grab a few bottles of bleach and head back home to sanitize your pool.

Not All Bleach Is Equal

When grabbing bleach to use as chlorination, do not get the special editions and flavors of bleach. Avoid scented, flowery and beautiful bottles that make insane promises. Original bleach is what you should be using for chlorine.

As mentioned early the percent of sodium hypochlorite is key. Not only is it key, you must know this number when adding it to your pool. You should find the percent containd near the ingredients portion of the bottle specifying the concentration. I would not buy anything other than 6% bleach unless it was a heck of a bargain. If you have several bottles of 3% concentration, it will take several bottles a week if not daily to keep your pool clear.

Age Of Bleach

Another problem you may have when using bleach is old bleach. While I don’t endorse purchasing a years supply, I do however recommend stocking up when you find a sale.

Tips For Storing Bleach

If you have a lot of bleach be sure and keep it in a cool place (or room temperature) and not outside near the pool. The bleach should be able to last up to 6 months in normal conditions before it begins to become less effective.

Leaving it in the heat will reduce this shelf life significantly. There is also a chance that as you get closer to the 6 month mark it will not be quite as productive in chlorinating your pool water. This is why I always recommend never purchasing more than about 3 months worth of bleach at a time when you find a super sale.

Final Thoughts

Liquid chlorine and bleach are both the same thing. The active ingredients match and they both raise the chlorine PPM of your swimming pools water to desired levels.

Depending on where you live and what types of local and national retail stores are available in you area, the type of liquid chlorine that is most accessible and inexpensive for individuals use will vary.

You will simply need to weigh all the factors and choose which method you prefer. It won’t matter to your pool as either method will keep you pool clean, but choose the one that is lightest on your wallet if liquid chlorination method is the choice you plan on using for your pool.

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