What Can Be Used Instead Of Chlorine Tablets For Your Pool? (During Shortage)


Shortage of chlorine tablets is not common during most swimming pool seasons. In fact, it has never happened until the beginning of the 2021 swimming season. There are, however, other ways you can sanitize your pool.

So, what chlorine tablet alternatives are there to keep your swimming pool clean and healthy if you either are unable to find chlorine due to a shortage or prefer other methods of sanitation for your family’s pool?

Bleach, bromine, and a saltwater chlorinator system are alternatives that will sanitize your swimming pool’s water keeping it fresh and clean all summer long. When using bleach or the salt chlorinator method, you will still have chlorine in your pool as it generates chlorine without needing tablets.

There are other methods as well including using an Ozonator to use UV sanitation or adding mineral supplements, which does not actually sanitize the water of your pool completely, but can be used to reduce the amount of chlorine needed if you are simply wanting to make the chlorine tablets on hand stretch farther and last longer.

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Liquid Bleach For Chlorinating A Pool

Bleach contains an active ingredient sodium hypochlorite and chlorine contains calcium hypochlorite. The strength of the pool chlorine is about 10 times stronger that that of bleach, but can still be just as effective.

When using bleach as a sanitizer for a pool, be sure you do not get any colored, special, or any brand that contains additional ingredients. Look for it in stronger doses of at least 6% rather than 3% so that you will not be required to use as much when adding to the pool water to raise your pool’s chlorine levels.

For more in-depth information on using bleach to sanitize your pool including a dosage charge, check out this article I have explaining how to chlorinate your pool with bleach.

When using bleach

  • Only use regular bleach, no special additives.
  • Get the stronger jugs of at least 6%. Some less expensive brands may only have 3%, but if you have to pour double the liquid to get the same effect, it may actually cost more in the long run.
  • Check your chlorine levels daily and add bleach as needed to maintain a chlorine level between 1 and 3 parts per million at all times. 3 ppm is the goal at all times.

I recommend searching for a free app called Pool Pal. It is available on Apple and Android and will help you determine the exact amount of bleach you need to add to your water based on your pool’s water volume and needs.

Bromine

More commonly used in spas, hot tubs, and indoor swimming pools, Bromine is a great alternative for sanitizing a swimming pool.

Many pool owners of indoor and enclosed pools opt-in for Bromine because it does not produce the same type of chlorine smells that you get when using traditional chlorine. This makes it a more pleasant and less “bleach” smelling experience when enclosed in a building or using a small hot tub.

A few facts about Bromine

  • Dissolves slower than chlorine in most cases.
  • Is stronger than chlorine.
  • Will be a more expensive alternative.
  • Still requires routine shocking of your swimming pool water.
  • It is best to keep your swimming pool bromine in a range between 3 and 5 parts per million at all times. The goal range is 5 ppm all the time.

Ozone Generator

If you decide to use an ozone generator, it is going to require a bit more work and hardware to get installed onto your pool system. It is also important to note that while using this method your pool’s water will be cleaned without any chemicals, it is still in most cases recommended to add some chemicals to maintain your desired chlorine levels.

You can reduce chlorine usage by up to 95% when using an ozone generator. This is a great method if you only want to add a minimum amount of chlorine tablets each week, or would like to use the bleach method with limited pours into the water.

This is great option for pool owners that wish to have little required maintenance to their water, but will still need to occassionally add a small portion of sanitizer of your choice to keep it the clearest water possible during the swimming season.

When using this method, it will send UV lights into the water that exiting your swimming pool and clean the water prior to it returning back into the pool giving you and your family clean water to enjoy.

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Salt Water System Which Produces Chlorine

The most expensive chlorine tablet alternative on this list is installing a Salt Water Chlorination system for your swimming pool. You can install this on any pool, above ground or below and it is one of the best ways to keep your pool chlorinated with the least amount of effort once it has been installed.

Now this is a chlorine tablet alternative, but not a chlorine alternative. When using salt, you add salt to your water which will be pumped through a salt chlorinator. As it goes through the cells, it produces chlorine using the salt in the water and your pools return will be having chlorine pumped directly into the water.

You will be able to set the strength that you would like for your generator based on your swimming pools size and other factors that may contribute to needing stronger or weaker settings such as weather, temperature and swimming frequency.

A few salt water chlorinator facts

  • You will not be able to taste the salt that much. It is nothing like the ocean.
  • If you are sensitive to chlorine and looking for an alternative – Salt is NOT your answer! The salt chlorinator makes chlorine with the salt in your water, therefore your pool will have chlorine in it. This isn’t a substitute for chlorine but is a substitute for chlorine tablets.
  • Salt doesn’t evaporate – You do not have to add salt every time you add water due to evaporation. You do have to add salt after an excessive water loss causing water refills.
  • Chlorinator cells can die. Salt chlorinators may have several cells that generate the chlorine. If one goes out, you may have to replace a cell on the unit. It is best to look for one with a decent warranty of 3 to 5 years for peace of mind.

Add Mineral Supplements To Your Pool To Use Less Chlorine

Another way to conserve any chlorine on hand by reducing the amount of chlorine that you use on a daily basis is by adding mineral supplements. This will add silver and copper to your pool which kills unwanted bacteria. The problem with this method however is that it will not illuminate all the pathogens in your water, so you will still need to add a little chlorine.

The most common way to set this system up is by adding a mineral dispenser to your current filtration system. Once installed, you can add a new mineral cartridge as needed and it will automatically begin clearing your pool’s water and require up to 50% less chlorine instantly.

Nature 2 Express mineral sanitizer cartridge –> Buy it here on Amazon is a product that works in most above-ground and below-ground pools up to 25,000 gallons of water and lasts up to 6 months per cartridge. This means most pool owners will only require one cartridge per swimming season.

It will require some plumbing to your current filtration system. Install it just before returning to your swimming pools water or just before your in-line chlorinator if you have one installed.

When adding mineral supplements to your pool you will:

  • Only need to keep your chlorine at a level between .5 and 1.5 parts per million. The ideal range you want to keep your chlorine at is it at is the low end of only 0.5 ppm. This will dramatically reduce the number of chlorine tablets, bleach, or liquid chlorine you use on a regular basis.
  • Cartridges will typically last an entire season. This will vary based on the size and brand you choose. Be sure you get one that does not require any hands-on for much of the swimming season.
  • Reduces chlorine smell and eye irritation since you will be using less chlorine.
  • Works with chlorine tablets, saltwater filtration systems, liquid chlorine, and bleach methods. This will reduce the amount of product you add to your pool regardless of the method you currently use. However, if you are using salt, it will not reduce the amount of salt you need to add to your pool, but you will want to lower the amount of chlorine it generates to .5 ppm.

In Closing

Whether you are looking for an alternative to chlorine tablets in general, or are suffering from a shortage of chlorine at your local pool stores, there are options available so that you and your family can still enjoy the swimming season all season long.

Don’t let the inability to use or obtain chlorine tablets cause you to keep your oasis closed this summer, but instead become creative and simply switch the way you maintain your water this season and you might even find it is better than the previous methods you have used.

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